Online reputation management is becoming more and more important to corporate executives according to a report recently released by the The Conference Board. This detailed report highlights the results of a study that confirms online reputation management concern is significantly on the rise among corporate executives.
This is great news, and certainly to be expected considering the recent nightmare scenario experienced by Dominos. But although the report highlights advances in this regard, it also demonstrates how behind much of the corporate world is.
- Only 49 percent of executives surveyed in the report said that the management of reputation risk was highly integrated with their ERM function or other programs.
- Only 34 percent of respondents said that they monitor social media such as blogs, online forums and social network sites.
- Only 10 percent actively participate in social media
This is not good. Sure it’s better than it has ever been, but companies still need to be more active in guarding their brand, whether online or offline. Sometimes, companies look down at digital media and user generated content as something small and unimportant. But as the situation with Dominos indicates, these new channels can be detrimental to a brand. Consumers obviously have a large impact on a brand’s reputation, and if they are moving the conversion to digital channels, then it makes sense that companies need to adapt with their customer base and shift their monitoring priorities.
Now, I have heard some executives state that they are worried to join the conversion online because they do not know all of the “rules” that are inherent with social media, and do not want to damage their own brand inadvertently. Also, many executives do not want to encourage customers talking about their brand online for fear that they will get some bad reviews or scathing public comments. This is definitely a legitimate fear. But companies have to understand that customers are going to carry on the conversation about them whether they are present or not. They can either participate and thus influence/monitor the conversation, or they can try to ignore it, and thus be totally out of control. Put this way, isn’t it obvious that the right thing to do is to participate?
I understand that the technical nature of monitoring one’s reputation online can be daunting. But there are so many tools that help make this easy! For a detailed list, see this post.
Corporate executives, please start managing your online reputation! You will learn a lot about your own brand, and possibly have some fun along the way.