Since the advent of the Internet and online channels, reputation management in the virtual sphere has become instrumental for businesses. As more consumers get access to the fast Internet, the role of managing online management of the brand will become absolutely critical for businesses of all sizes. Interestingly, online reputation management is still a new subject for many. Therefore, it is most often described as preventing negative publicity on the social media channels or improving public relations. However, online reputation broadly deals with all aspects of brand image on the Internet.
Perhaps, it will be logical to describe online reputation management as something that has to do with preventing the transparency risk. For modern businesses, transparency in the online space means describing their brand honestly without using marketing gimmicks. It also means that companies should also allow consumers to post honest reviews irrespective of the negative tone. In addition, transparency also means asking for feedbacks from customers without enticing them to post a positive review. If the company is transparent about its product, then the management of preventing negative image can be described as effective online reputation management that will not only help consumers seek fair expectations of the service, but also allow the management to get an honest feedback that is closer to reality.
While portraying an honest image of the brand may be difficult, but there are many instances of large-scale failures, which emphasize the importance of letting consumers post honest feedback. For instance, just a few years earlier, consumers bashed Nestle for their environmental practices. Instead of listening to the consumers and answering their concerns, Nestle did nothing to address the problem. Most consumers saw it as a dishonest practices, therefore the public became more aggressive. As a result, Nestle had to close its public relation page. Similarly, Amy Baking Company went a step further by aggressively commenting on a 1-star review left by a consumer. The issue turned into a heated debate forcing the local news channels to market the debate. As such, a 1-star review that should have been left alone automatically turned into viral news that hurt Amy Baking Company’s reputation.
These case studies demonstrate the importance of seeking honest feedback from customers. Perhaps, online reputation management is not the management of brand reputation on the Internet; instead, it is the management of honest feedback from consumers.