Your company’s corporate reputation is your most valuable asset. And in the digital age where everyone has quick access to a brand’s credibility, reputation is invaluable.
This is not to say the reputation of your organization did not matter before, because word of mouth is — and continues to be — a timelessly powerful channel.
But with the advent of the internet and social media, your company’s corporate reputation online can be instantly devastated.
Below you’ll learn about the following:
- Why Corporate Reputation Matters
- How to Grow A Positive Brand Reputation
- Mastering Corporate Reputation Online
- Corporate Reputation Statistics
Why Corporate Reputation Matters
Since your company has so many places where corporate reputation can be affected, leaders and departments need to be more proactive.
Meaning, instead of waiting for something to happen or being reactive to negativity, your organization prioritizes building brand credibility and trustworthiness.
Too many times, brands that have been around for years feel they are untouchable until something happens and starts going viral online. Yikes!
Certainly, many will recover if they have established trust and credibility in the past, but ignoring the popular reception of your brand on social media can still negatively impact the overall business.
Firstly, it’s important to note that corporate reputation matters to everyone in the company from employees, leaders, and investors to the customers and overall industry your organization is a part of.
And while you want the reputation to help stop negative press and ensure good future financials, your motivation has to be genuine for real long-term success.
Doing some quick damage control might temporarily work, but everyone starts to see through that. In a way, being strictly reactive and without sincerity can do just as much damage to your reputation.
So why does building genuine corporate reputation matter? Well for a few reasons:
- To build brand confidence among employees, customers, investors, influencers, partners, and your industry.
- Continued growth and trust in your products and services. No company is perfect, so this helps offset if any negative things pop-up.
- Keeps a happy team of enthusiastic employees, willing to go above and beyond for their work and company.
- Attracts top talent and interest from people wanting to work for your company. This helps keep hiring costs down, improves employee retention, and helps productivity.
- Impacts marketing and sales results. Negative reputation, distrust, work culture turmoil, etc. can all impact how others choose to do business with your company. Give them a reason to support and continue supporting your business, which can lead to great growth.
How To Start Growing A Positive Brand Reputation
Your organization has to dedicate time to the brand reputation. Especially by growing employee experience, increasing company transparency, and the online world, your brand image needs to be taken extremely seriously.
Yet even so, many businesses will still struggle to come up with a strategy for managing or creating a proper vision for their corporate reputation.
Understandably, there are quite a few factors your company has to work with and keep tabs on. Things like:
- Company ethics
- Current leadership
- Financial performance
- Product(s) or service(s) quality
- Customer service
- Employee experience
However, here are a few things your company should start doing (if it’s not already):
- Master content marketing – This is how you show your audiences your expertise, quality of products or services, work culture, and company news. The more people trust your content, the more credible and positive they feel towards your brand.
- Focus on customer experience – The value of the customer is nothing new and every company says “customer is #1,” but not all treat it as such. Every touch point with customers or potential customers from marketing, sales, customer support, must deliver. Honesty, transparency, and owning up to any mistakes will improve your company’s reputation.
- Don’t forget employee satisfaction – Your employees are the driving force behind the success of your business. You want to maintain top talent and attract them as well. Employees can become your brand ambassadors and most trusted spokespeople. But treat them badly or have a terrible work culture, your reputation can be tarnished. This also affects sales as people want to do business with companies who treat their people well.
- Address issues ASAP – Before any challenges come to light, start improving them internally to get ahead. Again, back to being proactive. Additionally, when anything comes up that does start to tarnish your reputation online, take actions to find solutions instead of sweeping it under the rug. Hoping it goes away is not a strategy. People will respond well to any sincere efforts your brand makes.
- Build a genuine and personable company – People can sniff out fakeness and can tell if your company is only being reactive to bad reviews or a negative reputation. If you want positive results, your company has to care and want to be a great company. Build a culture of transparency, focus on improving products and services, hire people who believe in what you do, be aware of brand sentiment, treat your people well, give back to your community, etc.
There is one other tip I left off from this section and that is managing reputation online. Since it is probably one of the most important aspects, there is plenty to talk about and worth its own dedicated section.
Get Digital: Mastering Corporate Reputation Online
The online world has many places that your brand must be active on and seen. So prioritizing one of these key areas below is not going to be the only solution.
Instead, you’ll have to find a balance and strategy for each area in order to fully master your corporate reputation online.
Without a doubt, social media platforms are a MUST for corporate reputation.
The sheer number of people on social platforms is astounding, for example there are approximately 247 million U.S. social media users as of 2019!
Social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are places your company can do a lot with. Includes:
- showcasing education content
- showoff employer brand and work culture
- be transparent about your business
- share a brand personality
- engage with customers
- highlight your customers and employees
And don’t forget social listening, where you can monitor and see what others are saying or feel about your company. It can help you engage, provide value, and make shifts in your strategies to correct the narrative.
Social media in the workplace
Social media in the workplace is also something your company should consider for reputation management. If you are building a culture employees love, give them a chance to be your best brand advocates and share on social media.
That’s what employee advocacy is all about — nurturing and providing a platform for employees to engage with content, their colleagues, and more.
You don’t want a fake army of employees just spamming the same message to bury bad press. That defeats the purpose and your audience will catch on quickly.
Instead, you want employees sharing content, but adding their insights and creating content as well. This creates a network effect to your brand reputation via social media.
After all, Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
Related: Learn how Dell created an employee-centric social program to help boost marketing reach, brand reputation, and more. Download your case study.
Another area of online reputation management is through review sites. Depending on your industry and focus, there are quite a few out there.
One bad review can cost you up to 22% of potential customers. The risk increases to 59.2% for three bad reviews. Four or more negative posts drive this number to 70%. (Moz)
Inevitably you might get a bad review on your product or service, or have a disgruntled employee leave bad feedback about working for your company.
It happens to the best of companies as no organization is perfect.
But your company should be engaging and responding to anything negative with respect.
Your goal is not to just respond perfunctorily either, but to take action internally to ensure that your products, services and work culture all continue to improve.
Tip: Stay civil among the rude, even if you do not agree. Others will be looking at your responses, so professionalism is key. There is always a high-road to be taken!
There are plenty to choose from but focus on the popular outlets where your company should be fairly active on and monitor them accordingly. It’s also good to encourage happy employees and customers to leave reviews too.
Here are a few that your company should consider using for corporate reputation.
- G2 (Software Review)
- Glassdoor (Company Reviews)
- TrustPilot (Customer Reviews)
- Comparably (Company Culture)
- Yelp (Business Reviews)
Search engines, like Google and Bing are going to be major influencers on your corporate reputation.
Besides driving traffic to your content and website, these search engines are also the outlets most people turn to in their research besides social media.
Many brands have had plenty of negative news ranking on the first page of Google, which is frustrating and impactful on the reputation. Of course, your company should be working to never have that happen but it can.
This is where your marketing team should work on SEO, to help improve the positive content that shows up at the top about your brand. Exactly where a strong content marketing focus will be helpful.
But you don’t want to trick the search engines or try any shady SEO tactics for risk of impacting your brand image even further.
Search engines like Google are getting smarter and their ranking algorithms are extremely advanced. Even as you type in the search bar, suggested content comes up or in your search “people also ask” of topics.
Having negative content suggestions or news in these areas can be a kick to the teeth for your brand.
Instead, be proactive by doing good as a company so media outlets want to write about your company or link to you.
Boost your company social media image, nurture employee ambassadors to advocate online, and work on company/product reviews, all of which contribute to your ranking in search engines too.
Corporate Reputation Statistics
Before I end this article, I wanted to share some interesting data and statistics related to the topic.
Although you should know how important reputation and brand image is, sometimes the numbers can be the booster you need to prioritize efforts further.
Below are just a handful I found, check them out:
- A bad reputation costs a company 10% more per hire. (HBR)
- 69% of jobseekers would turn down an offer from a company with reputation problems (StatusLabs)
- 41% of companies that experienced a negative reputation event reported loss of brand value and revenue (StatusLabs)
- 96% of businesses believe brand and reputation can affect revenue, yet only 44% monitor that impact. (CareerArc)
- A company’s reputation is responsible for at least half of a company’s market value. (Zignal Labs)
- 83% of buyers no longer trust advertising, but most trust recommendations from users online (StatusLabs)
- It takes nearly 40 good customer experiences to reverse the damage of one negative review. (Inc.)
- One bad review can cost you up to 22% of potential customers. The risk increases to 59.2% for three bad reviews. Four or more negative posts drive this number to 70%. (Moz)
- Consumers are willing to pay more for a product if the company selling it has a good reputation. (University of Technology Sydney)
- Companies with a poor reputation have twice the hiring costs of companies with good reputations. (LinkedIn)
- 46. 95 percent of job seekers surveyed say an employer’s reputation impacts their decision. (Glassdoor)
- 92% of people presently employed would abandon their current job to take one with a company with a stellar reputation. (Corporate Responsibility (CR) Magazine)
- 58% of executives believe that online reputation management should be addressed, but only 15% actually do anything about it (StatusLabs)