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What’s the difference between crisis communications, reputation management, and review management?

By Marjorie Comer

Keep these big differences in mind.

As a public relations firm dedicated to helping companies manage crisis communications, improve their reputations, and manage online reviews, it often surprises us how many of our prospective clients don’t understand the differences between these things. We think it’s important to educate companies about these critical areas of PR. If you don’t know the difference between crisis communications, reputation management, and review management, you’re in luck, as we outline the three below.


Crisis communications and crisis management

A crisis is a live issue – one that’s happening now. A crisis could be a scandal, or a faulty product, or some other unforeseen calamity that results in media coverage. Crises are typically newsworthy. Your company should always be ready and prepared for a crisis, because you never know when one might happen. Part of preparing for a crisis is having a plan in place that spells out how to handle crisis-related issues. It’s also a good idea to have a PR firm on retainer that’s already familiar with your company when a crisis arises. Otherwise, you waste precious time searching for a firm to help you. Or, you might find the “PR” firm you hired doesn’t actually specialize in crisis communications, despite what they tell you.


Reputation management

Often, a crisis impacts a company’s reputation. A reputation issue typically means your company has negative content on search engine results pages (SERP). Reputation management is about changing the negative perception that consumers hold. A single headline-making crisis can alter a company’s public perception forever. Think of the recent crises that have occurred with airlines removing passengers from their seats to accommodate others. These may each be isolated incidents; however, the crisis still impacts that airline’s reputation, and it needs to work to remove that negative content from SERP – or at least move it past the first two pages on a search.


Review management

There is a difference between an online reputation issue and an online review issue. A review issue is when a company has bad customer reviews, especially online, with no other negative content. We find many of the companies that need review management are in the service industry, like cable companies, restaurants, and home warranty companies to name a few. When consumers become frustrated with your service – or lack thereof – they often like to voice their frustrations online. Prospective customers then visit Google, Facebook, and Yelp to see what kind of company you are and how you do business. Customers don’t want to do business with a company that has a 1-star rating. The mob mentality of social media is real and something your company should be aware of.


Don’t be the company that’s caught with egg on its face. Being prepared is an essential part of being a successful company. And communication is also critical. If your company wants help from a PR firm, you must communicate with that firm. The more the PR firm knows about your company, the more it’s able to help to ensure you’re ready for a crisis communications issue, a reputation issue, or an online review issue. Download Axia Public Relations’ complimentary e-book “Managing Public Relations in a Crisis” for more information on handling a crisis.


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axia-leadership-marjorie-cormereClients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.





Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations, reputation management, crisis communications, online review management, earned media

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