In today’s digitally interconnected world, listening to consumer conversations across various geographic markets is a must for international brands aiming to manage their online presence and protect their reputation. It might seem obvious, yet you’d be surprised by how many brands fall short in dedicating sufficient attention to this aspect of their business. Often, they are overwhelmed by the multitude of necessary components required to stay a step ahead in online reputation management (ORM). While there is no one-click solution that guarantees long-term coverage, neglecting to develop a robust ORM strategy, especially one built on culturally sensitive social listening, can lead brands into taking avoidable risks.
At Convosphere, we do more than just topline data monitoring. We delve deep to provide you with comprehensive consumer insights for your target markets. Our team of over 150 seasoned, in-country analysts brings linguistic expertise and a native understanding of local nuances. This depth of expertise enables us to offer culturally relevant insights about your target consumers, while also helping you to navigate potential reputational risks.
In this blog post, we will examine the intricacies of brand perception in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, recognising how consumer behaviours and brand discovery have changed with the advent of the internet and social media. We’ll examine some of the typical challenges faced in ORM, highlighting the crucial role of maintaining a strong online presence, managing customer interactions effectively, and why integrating expert-led, culturally sensitive social listening and digital insights is vital to your brand’s ORM strategy.
Navigating Brand Perception in a Digitalised World
Consumer behaviours have undergone a massive transformation in the past few decades, mainly driven by increased internet accessibility and social media use. Previously, people were learning about brands and products through local word of mouth or through ads on traditional media platforms. Now search engines, digital ads and social media conversations are among the most popular sources of brand discovery.
That means what people see online has a substantial impact on how they perceive brands, which influences their decision-making. This makes it crucial for brands to maintain a strong online presence to influence people’s perceptions and buying decisions.
What makes this more challenging is that brands now have limited control over their image. With the internet giving consumers a voice that everyone else can hear, public feedback is a strong factor determining brand image.
Brands have therefore taken to digital marketing to gain better control of their digital presence and safeguard perceptions of their brand. At the most basic level, these digital marketing efforts help you improve visibility so your target audience can easily discover your brand.
However, maintaining your digital presence goes beyond simply promoting your brand and talking about the positives. It also involves fostering a positive brand image by actively protecting and even defending your brand against reputational risks. That’s why online reputation management goes hand in hand with digital marketing as it helps you stay on top of what people are saying about your brand and manage those conversations to create a positive impact.
When you have better control over your digital presence, it minimises reputational risk as you can quickly identify potential issues and resolve them before they escalate. That’s where your social listening and digital insights come in, providing you with the information you need to effectively manage your online reputation. In this post, we dive deep into the world of online reputation management and how you can leverage social intelligence in your efforts.
What is Online Reputation Management?
ORM refers to the process of managing your brand’s digital presence with the intention of maintaining a positive public perception. It may involve monitoring negative brand mentions across online channels and responding to them. ORM may also involve generating reliable content to improve how people perceive your brand.
As such, it plays a vital role in improving trust and authority for your brand. It helps ensure that the information people can find online about your business is accurate and trustworthy.
Online reputation management also helps to create a positive brand image by effectively managing customer interactions and addressing pain points in a timely manner. You can keep track of conversations, respond to comments and participate in relevant discussions to manage how people feel about your brand.
The Role of Social Listening in ORM
With the growing use of social media among consumers, social listening plays a vital role in online reputation management. Social listening is the process of analysing conversations that take place on social media related to your brand so you can gauge audience perceptions and interests. By staying on top of these conversations, you’ll have the insights needed to take timely and appropriate action to manage your brand reputation.
Social listening tools allow you to closely monitor brand mentions and other online conversations related to your brand. This will uncover social media posts, comments, forum discussions and other content that could affect brand perception. These may include brand mentions where people are asking questions or raising a complaint directly with your brand. They may also include social media posts and comments where people talk about your brand with other consumers.
Making Sense of Social Intelligence for Enhanced ORM
You can then make sense of this conversational data with the help of experienced analysts who will extract valuable insights to inform your online reputation management. Convosphere’s multilingual analysis team conducts proactive social listening to gauge your brand reputation. Our team analyses consumer perception towards your brand over time and benchmarks it against your competitors. This provides you with actionable insights to help you gain a competitive edge.
Working with a global and multilingual digital insights agency like Convosphere can make a huge difference, especially if your brand has a global reach. As digital conversations about your brand take place in multiple languages across various geographical regions, our native analysts add cultural context to give you an accurate understanding of your brand perception. These insights then shape how you manage your online reputation by informing how to respond in an appropriate manner.
Benefits of Integrating Social Listening and Digital Insights for ORM
The digital insights gained from your social listening efforts can effectively inform your online reputation management strategy. This serves several benefits for your business:
- Proactive crisis management: Discussions that paint your brand in a negative light, whether baseless or not, could easily get out of hand and cause serious damage to your brand reputation. Online reputation management enables you to monitor the digital landscape for discussions related to your brand and quickly identify any potential threats so you can mitigate them before they become a serious brand crisis.
- Fine-tuning brand messaging: Brand perception changes over time as consumers’ values, interests and pain points evolve. What used to work several years ago may no longer resonate with your audience today. Moreover, new marketing campaigns may not always yield the desired impact. Online reputation management helps you fine-tune your brand messaging to ensure that it continues to resonate through all of this.
- Enhancing customer service: Online reputation management involves addressing concerns and feedback from your customers in real time. This means you get to deliver prompt and efficient customer service that enhances the overall experience for your customers.
- Competitive advantage: With online reputation management, you can gain a valuable understanding of the market landscape. This gives you the insights you need to get ahead of the competition by learning from their mistakes and leveraging missed opportunities.
Good and Bad Brand Examples of ORM
Brands like Chewy have built a name as a business that genuinely cares about their customers thanks to ORM. The brand actively monitors and responds to social media posts and comments to address customer concerns or even to simply acknowledge their top customers. Chewy has even been known to surprise grieving pet parents with floral arrangements or portraits of their deceased fur babies.
Meanwhile, companies like United Airlines have been less graceful with their online reputation management. Back in 2017, the airline landed in hot water after a video went viral of a passenger being forcefully removed from one of their flights. Although United’s CEO issued a public apology, he later sent a letter to employees supporting the flight crew in how they dealt with the situation. Needless to say, the airline’s reputation took a massive hit, with stock dropping by an estimated $255 million by the next day.
In comparison, KFC handled their 2018 chicken shortage crisis extremely well. The company unexpectedly ran out of chicken due to issues in the U.K. supply chain. Instead of waiting for the issue to turn into a full-blown media crisis, the company’s marketing team immediately put a positive spin to it. They published public statements through multiple online sources including email, websites and social media. The company remained apologetic while making light of the situation through videos and tweets. They used social media to provide regular updates and answer to people’s questions. To this day, KFC UK’s handling of the situation continues to be a shining example in crisis management.
Best Practices for Effective ORM Using Social Intelligence
Social intelligence is a powerful tool for managing your online reputation. Follow the best practices below to make the most of your social intelligence insights for effective ORM.
Be consistent and comprehensive: The thing with the digital landscape is that even a small comment in an obscure channel has the chance to ruin a brand’s reputation. It’s important to stay on top of any important online platform where conversations about your brand take place and to do so consistently. Make sure you regularly monitor brand mentions across platforms and respond appropriately.
Engage, even with negative feedback: Nothing good ever comes from ignoring a bad comment. In fact, it leaves more room for reputational risk as you’re no longer in control over the situation. On the other hand, acknowledging negative feedback and coming up with an appropriate response is an effective way to appease disappointed customers and show others that you care.
Analyse to make informed decisions: Online reputation management doesn’t just end at monitoring online conversations. You need to analyse the digital insights to get a better understanding of your market, target audience and brand perception. Then use those insights to inform your decision-making process. You should be able to use social listening insights to inform things such as your marketing strategy, customer service, product development and content production.
Adapt according to evolving digital trends: People’s behaviours and preferences may evolve over time, which in turn results in evolving digital trends. The content they enjoy today may no longer be as engaging a few years down the line, and their expectations for how a brand should respond may change over time. So you need to constantly adapt your online reputation management strategy in alignment with those changing trends.
Between growing your business and managing your internal operations, online reputation management can be an added burden for your brand. Instead, you can leverage the expertise of analysts at Convosphere to streamline your ORM strategy according to the best practices highlighted above.
Take Charge of Your Online Reputation Management with Convosphere
In short, in today’s digital era, where even a single social media post can significantly impact a brand’s reputation, ORM has become an indispensable necessity, not just an optional “nice-to-have”. Given that social media is a pivotal source of conversations shaping brand reputation, a comprehensive ORM strategy must incorporate effective social listening. At Convosphere, we blend our prowess for behavioural consumer insights with our access to the best cutting-edge digital research technology, enabling us to support ORM strategies that are both culturally resonant and technologically sophisticated. Our expertise helps companies manage their online reputation more confidently and effectively, ensuring their brand consistently makes a positive impact regardless of the target space or market.
To discover how Convosphere’s proactive social listening and impactful digital insights can support your ORM strategies, contact us today. Let us help you turn challenges into opportunities, ensuring your brand stands out for all the right reasons.
With a background in PR, communication and journalism, Moa heads up Convosphere’s content marketing, blog and social media channels.
Before joining Convosphere, Moa worked as a PR and brand consultant for agencies including The Future Laboratory, LS:N Global, Canvas8 and Stylus, with a focus on packaging, retail and technology trends in the UK and Scandinavia.