This article first appeared on Visibility Magazine on August 1st, 2016.
How many reviews and social media sites are there today? At this point, anyone can say anything on the Internet with notable degrees of anonymity. For this reason, executives at major companies rank potential backlash from reputation attacks as the number one strategic risk. Many businesses acknowledge this liability, but are still trying to discover and implement reputation risk management best practices. Here are a few ideas for the reputation-conscious.
Bad publicity will eventually affect most big businesses in one way or another. No company is immune to damage from declining public opinion, and top executives are especially susceptible to reputation attacks. Sadly, most individuals and businesses begin applying reputation risk management only once they already have a pressing reputation issue. In many cases, minor attacks can be minimized or completely avoided if companies and individuals make an early effort to establish and consistently build an online presence before attacks take place. Building a strong portfolio of search results is much easier to do proactively than it is once an attack has already started. A forward-looking strategy is often the most efficient way to keep minor allegations and attacks off of the first page of Google.
Monitor your Online Reputation
Today, there is no excuse for not knowing what search results are appearing when people look for your company and key, public-facing executives. There are a plethora of options when it comes to the top online reputation monitoring tools, but what is important is to be notified immediately when negative information is posted about you, your company, or public figures at your organization. Monitoring your search results affords you the opportunity to respond and react to reputation attacks and negative information before they start to spread virally and cause financial difficulties.
Have a Crisis Management Strategy
Once you have implemented a monitoring solution and a strategy to create positive online assets around your brand name and key people, you should determine ahead of time how you will handle a reputation crisis. Who will be responsible for creating content to respond? How will you handle questions on social media? Do you have a PR team? Will you hire consultants? When you are in the limelight for unfavorable reasons, composure and response time count. A plan of attack on how your team will respond to attacks does not take very long to develop, but it’s a significant reputation risk management best practice.
Executives agree that reputation risk is among the top strategic risks for companies today. Businesses and executives can mitigate their exposure to this risk by adhering to a few reputation risk management best practices. A proactive approach can ensure that resources are not squandered on minor issues when they arise. A monitoring solution gives your company the best chance of handling reputation attacks before they start to spread virally on the Internet. By implementing a few reputation risk management best practices, your organization can maintain a positive, established online presence and be better prepared for online reputation attacks.