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May 10, 2012

Brand reputation management and the media channels

The term brand reputation management has been around for some time now and, over the past year or so, more websites have explored the possibilities of getting away from the hackneyed SEO tag and have embraced the need for brand restoration and management as forms of modern business communications are far broader and personal than reacting to negative posts on Google.

A recent article on Mashable spoke with five companies, with each taking a different path to co-ordinating a company’s message on various media classes. Some media types work much better with personalised communications, such as Twitter, with personal customer interactions, suggestions, industry retweets, adventures, film and documentaries, while Facebook seems to lend itself towards more behind-the-scenes content, such as newsletters, Instagram posts, video links, magazine features, Google maps of store locations, product launches, books, customer photos, exclusive discounts for Facebook fans, news updates, etc.

So when we talk about brand reputation management it surely isn’t all about mere brand restoration from an unscrupulous business rival or dissatisfied customer. It goes much further than traditional SEO and the manipulation of search engine listings; this involves looking at all the major media channels and deciding what approach should be taken and how to achieve it.

In the Mashabale articles, they cited women’s apparel fashion designer Tory Burch as perhaps the best spokesperson on how to achieve this mix, when she opined that “social networks are not best used as a conduit to the brand’s marketing messages, but rather a place for “of the moment” and “off-the-cuff” comments that are “compelling”. Add to this the blog, YouTube promotional videos, Pinterest and Tumblr and you perhaps get to the point where the brand consultant brings scope and understanding of how these media types work to the table.

Social communications require a voice that lends itself to feeling a connection with the brand: they want the company to be approachable. But keeping the voice consistent and broadcast in tones relevant across a disparate range of media channels is challenging. But, in my view, that is the role of the brand consultant, not just knocking back comments that are negative.

Other considerations can be found in the approach and manner in which the brand voice is being dealt with. One of the worst cases of bad press is denial. Remember the affects on the company following the BP oil spill? This is a classic example of the press highlighting the inadequacy of management at addressing the issue. Later, they included an entire section on their website through admission of responsibility and steps they were taking to tackle the problem.

Social media does not take kindly to dishonest communication and denial of responsibility where a company is at fault. Instead they should admit their mistakes and speak directly with customers to reassure them that the problem is being rectified with good intent.

Article by John Sylvester. Brand Reputation Management is comprised of a professional team of writers, journalists and reputation management specialists with years of internet marketing experience.