A brand is all about perception, so it makes sense to think about public relations (PR) and reputation management as key pieces in your marketing and branding activities. As you build a reputation – both online and off – you build up your brand’s profile. And as you grow your brand, you grow its value.
When people think of a ‘good brand’, they describe their positive perceptions of the brand and the company. Those perceptions didn’t just happen. They were carefully nurtured and crafted in how the brand behaves and how it communicates.
Enter the 24/7, instant news era
No doubt you realise that news today travels faster than ever before and thus PR and reputation management must be seen in this context. Any person, business or brand that is using social media is their own news channel. So unhappy customers, disgruntled employees and near-to-live updates allow ‘bad news’ stories to spread beyond your control in minutes.
Managing your media response is important to commanding your reputation, both online and through the traditional media publications and broadcasters.
Where to begin
Many businesses and brands get squirmy and shy away from their brand responsibilities because of all this – they hide their heads in the proverbial sand of ‘not participating’. And, they reap those rewards in lost customers, slowing sales and lack of credibility.
Because you’re looking to build your brand online, here are a few of our tips for managing your reputation:
Know the influencers – by having an understanding of who your brand’s key connections are, you will understand their importance and influence. Devise an action plan based on the relative importance of these customers, employees, suppliers, community members, bloggers and others so that you know who to go to and when.
Have clear goals – As in all areas of business, having clear goals is an efficient and effective way to make sure you are responding correctly to what you are presented with. By knowing what you want to achieve as a brand, you will be able to correctly target key stakeholders and set both a PR strategy and subsequent activities that have the most effect.
Develop key messages – You need to know what you have said and what you will say to each of your influencer groups. Make sure that you follow through on these messages across all communications, whether on your website, in newsletters, your press releases and in your marketing comms.
Be proactive – Don’t wait around for things to happen (or go wrong). Make sure you are proactively managing your media relations and contacts. By sticking to your goals and key messages, you’ll be able to use the media effectively in nurturing and supporting your reputation.