Companies that are looking to improve their brand image or get ahead of their competitors in the industry can greatly benefit from public relations and reputation management. This is a tool that can be used both on the offense and defense.
For example, with public relations focusing on a company’s reputation, certain strategies can be utilized to protect the company’s online reputation such as removing articles that put the brand in a bad light or dealing with negative reviews from customers.
It can also be utilized to improve the brand’s reputation online by implementing search engine optimization, sharing positive reviews, or developing valuable content.
What is Reputation?
A company’s reputation is an intangible asset that’s based on the company’s values, actions, behaviors, and relationships. It’s often seen on its own, as well as in relation to the brand’s competitors. Companies that consistently have a good reputation may enjoy more benefits such as improving the bottom line, defense against competitors or bringing in new customers.
Getting Ahead in the Industry
Companies can get ahead of their competitors in the market or industry by utilizing public relations.
For example, a common strategy with politics is where candidates share stories that place their opponents in a negative light ahead of elections.
This way, when the audience searches that candidate, aside from all the other available information, those articles also show up.
In those cases timing is essential, as sharing those stories too early can result in the opponent being able to fix the issue, while sharing them too late means not many people will see or share them. A similar strategy is used in the stock market where short-sellers can create panic with negative articles that influence the prices of certain stocks.
Improving a Company’s Image
In most cases, public relations is used positively. That’s when stories are shared that correct online misinformation about a brand, improve the brand’s reviews, or repair and rebuild the brand’s reputation in general.
Traditional vs Digital Reputation
Traditional PR and brand reputation is mostly based on existing relationships. When the business owner or the agency knows a relevant journalist and has built a strong relationship with them, the journalist will be more likely to listen to the company’s pitch and trust the brand.
In the digital world, things are a lot more technical. A brand’s reputation can be about search engine optimization, influencer outreach and testing different messages that can resonate with the audience or segments of that audience.
It’s crucial that brands maintain a positive image with the public and the target audience. A bad reputation can greatly damage a business. However, even the smallest things can create potentially negative situations where the brand’s image and reputation suffer. This may be a single negative review that gets a bad response, or no response at all.
Although a company’s reputation is an intangible asset, the brand has to work consistently to maintain its good image and positive reputation through various strategies.