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A good reputation could help your company avoid crises

By Lisa Goldsberry

17760182_sLet PR show you how to make sure the public sees you as the superhero, not the villain

A crisis can occur in any company at any time. This is one area where size does not matter. While there’s no way to truly plan for every type of disaster, there are actions you can take today to help prevent a crisis tomorrow. One way is through reputation management.

When a crisis occurs, it can damage your brand. Part of your brand is your reputation. With help from PR for reputation management, you can protect your company and control your image.

What is reputation management?

The reputation it took you years to build can crash and burn in a heartbeat, costing you sales and affecting consumer trust. Your reputation also matters to potential employees. The only way to attract the best and brightest is with a solid reputation.

In the past, word of mouth, surveys and customer recommendations were the only things consumers and job candidates used to form opinions about a company. Now there are social media platforms, business review sites and hundreds of online publications to help them make up their minds.

Monitoring your presence online can be vital in preventing a crisis. For example, if consumers are experiencing poor customer service, they may not tell you directly, but they’ll likely complain on social media or online business review sites.

This is even more damaging because millions of people can see it and it may persuade prospects not to do business with you. If you are unaware of these issues, your profits could steadily decrease and you wouldn’t know why. As a result, you’d waste time and money chasing other potential causes for your slow sales cycles.

Your reputation isn’t what you are; it’s what people say you are. Although you can’t control what people actually say, your words and actions can help to direct the conversation. That is reputation management.

How reputation management can keep a situation from turning into a crisis

In this digital, instant world we live in, reputation management is more important than ever before. Today’s consumers are quick to air their grievances online for everyone to see, and they expect an immediate response from the companies they’re talking about.

There are numerous ways you can use communication to your advantage in managing your reputation to help prevent a crisis:

Engage your target audiences. When you have real dialogue with customers, you’re more likely to hear about a problem before it blows up in your face. Also, when they feel like you’re listening, responsive and caring, they may be more willing to wait while you address an issue before taking it to the Twitterverse.

Pay attention to what people are saying about you. Identify and fix any outstanding issues and report back when you’ve resolved them. This is the best way to turn even the most cynical customer into a fan. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to make purchases based on the recommendation of someone they know rather than any message you create. Therefore, the more fans you have singing your praises, the better.

Maintain tight control over your social media accounts. There have been way too many instances of companies who face media firestorms or public backlash based on some ill-conceived post or tweet. Remember that your employees are also a part of your brand.

Hire an experienced PR firm to help you. Managing your company’s reputation is a big deal, and you can’t leave it to amateurs or already-overworked personnel.

Let the professionals at Axia handle this crucial task for you. We have the right tools and tactics to develop your reputation management strategy for increased recognition and profitability. Download our Online Reputation Management e-book or contact us today to learn how we can help your company put its best face forward.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.

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Topics: public relations, crisis communications

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