In a period when the digital world is booming, rather, taking over the physical world, brands cannot risk leaving their online reputation on its own. It is about time that they start investing in Online Reputation Management and take charge of their Virtual Brand Image. Let us understand this better by this situation:
Two brands, Brand A and Brand B, set out to make their mark online. Brand A launched its products and eagerly awaited customer engagement, while Brand B went a step further, actively monitoring and responding to online feedback.
As time progressed, Brand A's passive approach led to mounting negative reviews and a tarnished image. In contrast, Brand B's dedication to managing its online reputation resulted in increased trust and a robust online presence. All thanks to its focus on Online Reputation Management.
As we see, a brand's online reputation can make or break its success. With the proliferation of social media and review platforms, consumers are more vocal than ever about their experiences. A single negative review can deter potential customers, while positive feedback can significantly boost trust and credibility.
85% of Indian consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 90% of Indian consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. 70% of Indian consumers have changed their minds about a purchase after reading negative reviews.
Moreover, the online journey of brands has evolved. It's not just about having a digital presence but about maintaining a positive and consistent image across all platforms. ORM ensures that when customers search for your brand, they find positive and relevant content that reinforces trust and credibility.
Evolution of ORM and Its Increasing Necessity
Initially, ORM was primarily about managing the online presence of celebrities and high-profile individuals. It was about ensuring that any negative news or rumours were addressed promptly.
Rise of Social Media: With platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn becoming popular, businesses started realizing the power of customer feedback. Negative reviews or comments could significantly impact a brand's image.
Today, it has become a necessity for almost every business, irrespective of its size. It's not just about managing negative feedback but also about building a positive online presence.
Instant Feedback: Customers can now give instant feedback on any platform, making it crucial for businesses to respond promptly.
Impact on Sales: Studies have shown that online reviews can significantly impact purchasing decisions. A single negative review can deter potential customers.
SEO Impact: Search engines play a significant role in ORM. Negative articles or feedback can rank high on search results, affecting a brand's online image.
The ORM Process: A Step-by-Step Guide
By consistently monitoring online mentions, businesses can stay informed about the public's perception in real time. This allows them to address issues promptly and capitalize on positive feedback. It also ensures that no positive or negative feedback goes unnoticed.
Analyzing the sentiment and themes of online mentions helps businesses understand their strengths and weaknesses from the customer's perspective. It provides valuable insights into areas of improvement and what's working well.
A well-thought-out strategy ensures that businesses have a clear plan of action for different scenarios. For instance, having a plan for handling negative reviews ensures that the response is timely, appropriate, and consistent across all platforms. Similarly, strategies for amplifying positive feedback can help enhance the brand's image.
Engaging with the audience shows that the business values customer feedback and is willing to listen and make improvements. It builds trust and fosters loyalty. Responding to negative feedback with empathy and taking corrective action can turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one.
Creating and sharing positive content helps in shaping the narrative around the brand. Highlighting success stories, testimonials, and positive initiatives can counterbalance any negative mentions and showcase the brand's commitment to excellence.
Ensuring that positive content ranks high in search results means that potential customers or partners see the best of the brand first. It helps in making a positive first impression and pushes down any negative content, making it less likely to be seen.
Review and Refine:
The digital landscape is ever-evolving. What worked a year ago might not be as effective today. Regularly reviewing and refining ORM strategies ensures that businesses stay ahead of the curve. It allows them to adapt to changing customer behaviors, emerging platforms, and new challenges.
We can say that proactive Online Reputation Management (ORM) is not just a luxury but a necessity. Brands must prioritize ORM to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, ensuring they consistently present a trustworthy and positive image to their audience.
Benefits of ORM
1. Builds Trust and Credibility: Positive online reviews and feedback enhance consumer trust. A well-managed online reputation fosters credibility among potential customers.
2. Feedback Loop: ORM provides businesses with valuable feedback on their products and services, helping them identify areas of improvement.
3. Crisis Management: ORM allows businesses to quickly address negative feedback or PR crises, mitigating potential damage to the brand's image.
4. Improved Customer Relationships: Engaging with customers online and addressing their concerns fosters stronger relationships and loyalty.
5. Cost-Effective: Addressing issues early through ORM can prevent expensive PR disasters and potential loss of business in the future.
6. Global Reach: ORM ensures that a brand's reputation is maintained not just locally but on a global scale, essential for businesses looking to expand internationally.
Some Early Starters
A Private Bank: One of India's leading private-sector banks was among the first in the banking sector to realize the potential of social media for ORM. They set up dedicated teams to monitor online conversations and address customer grievances on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. By actively engaging with customers online, they not only resolved issues but also built trust. Their proactive approach to ORM has played a role in establishing them as a customer-centric bank in India.
An Online Travel Company: It understood the importance of online reviews and feedback. They actively monitored travel forums, review sites, and social media to address customer concerns. Their proactive ORM strategy has played a role in establishing it as one of India's top online travel agencies. Their focus on customer satisfaction online has translated into trust and loyalty among users.
As we can see, Online Reputation Management is not a new concept. However, with the rapidly increasing digital reliance of both customers and companies, it is about time that each business actively focuses on ORM and implements practices that result in upgrading the online reputation to become & stay as customers’ favorite brands!
Source: QDegrees, KPMG, Media