Managing your brand and business is difficult, but it is possible when you understand all that goes into it. Whether it’s through crisis communication and management or reputation building, it’s essential to monitor what’s said about your business online.
What’s The Difference Between Crisis Communication and Reputation Management?
Crisis communication is a common term used in public relations, but it is something every business professional should be familiar with.
Businesses do everything they can to avoid a crisis; however, it may still happen. Public relations professionals believe crisis communication is collecting, processing, and disseminating information required to address a crisis situation.
Sometimes crisis communications teams anticipate bad news and work on strategies and tactics to combat the crisis. Whereas other times, a crisis happens, and they have to react quickly and in the best way they can.
Businesses should be proactive when it comes to a crisis, so developing a crisis communication strategy before the crisis hits is ideal but sometimes not possible.
On the other hand, reputation management is equally important to crisis management but is different in practice and strategy.
Crisis management is a short-term solution to help combat bad news about your brand, but reputation management is more of a long-term process to help improve your visibility online.
Reputation management’s objective is to safeguard and enhance your online reputation by managing the good, capitalizing on it, and preventing the bad.
This article will go into more depth about the difference between reputation management and crisis management.
What is Reputation Management?
We’ve talked a bit about reputation management, so let’s dive deeper into a more meaningful definition and mention why it’s so important.
With the growth of the internet over the past few decades, reputation management has become increasingly important. Simply put, reputation management is the practice of influencing perceptions and conversations about your company or organization.
Online reputation management is managing multiple conversations and mentions about your brand and business online, specifically on social media, popular search engines, and other places where users can receive information about your company online.
Reputation management is a comprehensive marketing strategy that entails multiple business sides, including communications, marketing, legal, customer experience, and more.
Monitoring your online reputation on your own is possible, but it is an extensive process that takes patience, consistency, and constant monitoring of all information about your business online.
Many companies hire reputation management services that can help strengthen the positive mentions about their company and combat the harmful content circulating for their business.
Our team at BRANDefenders specializes in reputation management for personal or brand use to help strengthen one’s online presence and negate negative information through SEO and marketing tactics.
Why is Online Reputation Management Important?
As mentioned above, the internet has grown over the last few decades, and with the growth of the internet, so much more information is circulating, and users can find information on their own more easily.
There are a few steps in a potential customer’s purchasing process, and one of the first steps is research. Before a consumer buys a product, especially an expensive one, they will Google the company and do a cross-examination between your business and your competitors.
If there are negative reviews about your product or negative news about your brand or anyone that’s connected to your business, this could heavily impact the buyer’s decision-making process.
Also, online reputation management is essential because most customers are likelier to complain online or publish a negative experience with a brand or product than publish a positive one.
Therefore, your sales and profits can significantly impact these reviews and negative comments online. However, monitoring your online reputation allows you to respond to and fix customers’ problems before they get out of hand.
Not all information on the internet is negative, some brands have a lot of positive press, but online reputation management is still important for these businesses to ensure their reputation stays positive.
Insulating your brand and focusing on maintaining a positive image online will help you navigate the negatives when they do come.
Reputation As An Asset
Reputation can be the most important asset for a brand or a person. However, many CEOs and business leaders do not create a process and plan to measure, monitor, and manage their reputation.
Although reputation management and crisis communication are different, reputation management can often be a protective barrier and proactive measure to help benefit a crisis communication plan or avoid a crisis altogether.
Most large companies have risk management teams that manage financial and legal risks, but this is only half the battle. Creating a team of communicators who know how to create objectives and strategies to monitor reputation will pay its dues when done correctly.
Reputational capital is estimated to be about 20% of market capitalization for many corporations and businesses. Therefore, it is extremely important to take care of your reputation.
By managing and monitoring your online reputation, you can increase profits, gain the trust of customers, and avoid crises’, alongside many other benefits. As mentioned before, your reputation is your greatest asset.
What is Crisis Communication?
Now that we have discussed preventative measures and the importance of online reputation management, we can talk more about crisis communication.
Because there are few regulations regarding what can be said, published, and shared on the internet, misinformation can circulate. Because of human nature, misinformation and negative news are often circulated faster than positive information.
Even those with the best reputation may falter to a big mistake made internally, a leak from a team member, mistreatment of a customer, or other problems, creating a crisis to clean up online.
Aside from internal crises’ there may be negativity and bad situations that are entirely out of your internal control, like natural disasters, security breaches, or false rumors and misinformation.
Many different crises can take place, and whether the crisis was in your control and could have been avoided, it still takes a team of professionals to clean it up and get your reputation back on track.
As a simple definition, crisis management is the application of strategies designed to help an organization deal with a sudden and significant adverse event.
A crisis management team may not be able to clean up all the damage done to a company, but the team’s goal is to minimize the damage a crisis causes or can cause. Sometimes crisis communications teams are aware that something terrible may be coming, and they can work to find ways to minimize the damage.
Stages Of A Crisis
1. Warning And Risk Assessment
It is essential to look for warning signs of a crisis and establish a monitoring system to help you do so. That way, your team can understand the warning signs and any signals of a foreseeable crisis.
Equally important is identifying risks and planning ways to minimize them and their effects. Coming up with a way to understand and monitor risks is the first and one of the most critical steps to crisis management.
2. Crisis Response And Management
When a crisis hits, it’s important to have a team with defined roles and responsibilities, so you can immediately implement your crisis plan. The crisis manager is responsible for directing the company’s plan to respond to the crisis.
The crisis manager is also responsible for communicating with the public and informing them of everything the company does for its stakeholders.
3. Post-crisis And Resolution
After a crisis hits and the company responds, there is still work to be done. The crisis manager should continue to meet with team members of the crisis management team to evaluate the progress of their recovery efforts.
Once progression is evaluated, the crisis manager needs to continue communicating with the key stakeholders to keep them in the loop of the current situation and if they are on track to recover. This is a crucial step to ensure that the business can recover from the crisis and rebuild any damage that was done.
Reputation management and crisis management are essential measures to take when building a business. As you continue to grow, the risks increase, with a potential for more significant crises that could impact the business significantly.
Coming up with a crisis management plan will allow you and your team to be prepared for a crisis when it does come.
Aside from crisis plans, managing and monitoring your online reputation should be a regular practice as it can help safeguard your brand from the crisis’ and ensures that your online perception is positive and paints your business in a positive light.
Without reputation management, the potential for crisis increases and can be fatal to your business.