For brands in today’s day and age, the way you are talked about online can make or break your brand. The role of ORM in shaping and managing your online reputation has become more important than ever, as research states that 77% of consumers either ‘regularly’ or ‘always’ read online reviews when they’re searching about local businesses. This is why many brands in 2023 are opting for online reputation management services to build a positive brand image and protect it.
Online reputation management (ORM) has become a pivotal aspect of digital marketing, as it helps build trust with prospective buyers and can lead to having loyal customers for life. Let’s explore the importance of ORM for brands in 2023.
The vital role of ORM in building and protecting a brand online
A brand is what consumers perceive it to be. So, to shape buyers’ perceptions by building and protecting your brand image, you need to manage how you are reputed online. Just one negative review has the power to drive 22% of prospective customers away, with three driving away 59%!
But, of course, it is hard to avoid getting a negative or lukewarm review forever. Moreover, it is only realistic to have a balanced mix of all kinds of genuine reviews. So, dealing with negative feedback can also go a long way in building and protecting your brand image.
56% of users changed their view of a brand because of how they responded to a review. Additionally, not responding to feedback can increase customer churn by 15%.
An overview of the current state of ORM and its role in the online landscape
ORM is important due to its direct correlation with sales. In short, if you have a good reputation online, you will see an increase in purchases and vice versa. As per a report by PwC, 60% of consumers in the US stated they wouldn’t want to buy from a business that seems ‘untrustworthy.’
Untrustworthiness will, of course, stem from having a negative reputation online. So, ORM is incredibly important in helping businesses build their digital footprint in the online landscape.
The Impact of ORM on Brand Perception
ORM strategies have become integral in shaping the way consumers perceive a brand. Here are a few ways it influences brand perception:
How ORM can influence customer perceptions and decision-making
Several studies have proven that online reviews can influence the decision-making of customers. Online reputation management can help in this regard, as a significant part of ORM is managing reviews. Consumers get to see positive, helpful reviews and the grace with which you deal with negative feedback. This can make them perceive you in a good light, influencing their decision to do business with you.
Examples of companies that have successfully used ORM to improve brand perception
Companies big and small have utilized online reputation management to improve customer perceptions. Here are two companies that had elaborate crisis management in place, which helped them resolve situations that could have possibly tarnished their reputation online for good:
It’s human nature to get extremely annoyed and disheartened when flights are canceled or delayed. It is even worse when the staff doesn’t inform customers about the delay or cancellation and dismisses their complaints. Moreover, unhappy clients usually head on to social media, particularly Twitter, to talk about their frustration.
JetBlue, an airline, recognized that these issues are present within the industry, so it worked on building its brand image as that of a company that values its customers. It has done so by ensuring that they quickly reach out to clients complaining about a flight cancellation or delay and providing helpful responses. Now, JetBlue is known for its positive reputation online.
2. Whole Foods
Whole Foods is a grocery store that offers natural food items and a good selection of clothing and household items. They also have a good reputation online, but the company has been controversial. But the way it responded to conflicting situations makes it an excellent example of a company with a successful ORM strategy.
There was an instance when an op-ed was posted in the Wall Street Journal by the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, in which he talked about his stance on President Obama’s healthcare reform. Though this was a personal opinion, it harmed his brand. Customers started speaking out against him and Whole Foods, boycotting on Facebook groups.
After quickly assessing reputational risks, Whole Foods took swift action and published an official statement a couple of days later, which helped diffuse the situation. In fact, they opened up a dialogue by asking people to share their feelings on the topic. This brought their customers together and fostered healthy discussions, helping maintain their reputation as a customer-centric brand.
Tips for using ORM to build a positive brand reputation
There are a few simple tips you can follow to make a positive brand reputation:
Step 1: Set Goals
When devising an ORM strategy, personalize it for your business, and decide what results you’re looking for from the campaign. When setting your goals and putting them down on paper, developing the strategy will become easier and help you achieve them quicker as well.
Step 2: Create A Response Strategy
Create a strategy to help you appropriately respond to customers online. Have someone moderate comments and check for brand mentions so you can promptly reply to them.
Step 3: Conduct An Audit
There are many ways to conduct an audit of your online reputation, the easiest of which is looking up your brand in incognito mode. You will be able to see what customers see online, which will help you understand how you rank on search engines.
Step 4: Check Out Discussions Regarding our Brand Online
Though ORM mainly revolves around moderating reviews and comments, your reputation can be significantly affected by discussions taking place on online forums and social media. You be an active participant in these discussions to take control of the narrative and clear misunderstandings.
ORM Strategies for Protecting Your Brand in 2023
Now that we’ve established the effectiveness and importance of online reputation management let’s look at how to utilize ORM strategies for brand protection.
The role of ORM in managing and mitigating negative reviews and content
ORM involves managing and mitigating negative content and reviews regarding your brand. Online reputation management services ensure that your brand’s USPs are highlighted and the online narrative paints you in a positive light.
This is done by removing inappropriate comments and reviews online and responding to them graciously. It’s essential to rectify untrue notions and takes accountability when you are in the wrong, letting complainants know that you are listening to them and caring about their feedback.
Techniques for responding to and addressing negative feedback
When you get negative feedback online, it’s essential first to determine if they are credible, as sometimes, people leave nasty comments just to defame businesses or get stuff for free. You should then flag down the comment or review. If it is credible, own up to it, apologize for it, and ask them to contact you.
Sometimes, the comment may just be constructive criticism, in which case, you should appreciate the reviews, letting them know that you will work on improving in this capacity. Be honest online, giving genuine and personalized responses to tell people that you care about your customers.
Furthermore, it’s better to outsource the moderation of negative comments and reviews so that you can work on improving your brand. You can hire digital marketing firms such as Digital Caterpillar to help you manage your brand image and perception of consumers.
Tips for proactively building a positive online presence
Instead of being reactive, it’s better to be proactive. When creating a presence online, it’s better to start simple. Don’t make big, unrealistic proclamations about what you offer, but be honest, letting customers know that your priority is always theirs.
- Start simple: Don’t overcomplicate your online presence by making unrealistic promises or grand statements.
- Be honest: Let your customers know that their satisfaction is your top priority.
- Be proactive: Don’t wait for negative reviews or feedback to come to you, take charge of your online reputation.
- Consistency: Maintain a consistent tone, messaging and image across all of your online platforms.
- Engage with customers: Respond to customer inquiries, comments, and feedback in a timely manner to show you care.
- Monitor your online presence: Regularly monitor your online reputation, including review sites, social media, and news mentions.
- Address negative reviews: If you receive negative feedback, respond professionally and offer a resolution to the issue.
ORM and Social Media
Social media is a huge aspect of ORM. In fact, according to a 2022 survey, 92% of digital marketers in America working for businesses with over a hundred employees are expected to use social media to build brand image. Let’s discuss how social media marketing services are integral to ORM.
The impact of social media on brand reputation
Misusing social media can negatively affect your brand reputation. This directly impacts brand value, goodwill, trust, ethical reputation, and even revenue.
For example, Pentland Analytics, in 2018, reported how companies losing reputation because of their social media presence had a 30% decline in their value. However, the companies who used crisis management services for their reputation had a 20% increase in value!
5 Best practices for managing your brand’s social media presence
There are five tips for managing your brand’s social media presence:
- Frequently analyze how your social media accounts are doing in terms of engagement to get a better idea of where you need to improve.
- Ensure that your social media accounts are consistent in their messaging, tone, and visuals.
- Focus more on the quality of the content you put out rather than prioritizing quantity.
- Ensure that the stuff you post is of value to users.
- Start conversations by asking important questions, pertinent to current situations, such as the holidays, mental health month, etc.
The role of ORM in social media crisis management
ORM plays a crucial role in managing social media crises by providing a comprehensive view of your brand’s online reputation. With the help of ORM, you can track and monitor your brand’s social media presence to identify potential threats and take proactive measures to mitigate them.
ORM services use popular social media platforms to help you connect with your customers, address their concerns and let them know that their satisfaction is your top priority. In times of crisis, prompt and efficient communication is key, and ORM services help you to communicate effectively and efficiently with your target audience.
ORM can also help you to control the narrative around your brand by providing real-time insights and data-driven recommendations to guide your response during a crisis. By leveraging ORM, you can effectively mitigate the impact of negative publicity, build trust and credibility with your target audience, and ultimately protect your brand’s reputation.
ORM and Content Marketing
Content marketing services have become supplemental to online reputation management, as it allows customers to learn about your brand’s values through the content you produce. Here is what you should know about the importance of content marketing relative to ORM.
The relationship between ORM and content marketing
Content marketing ties in with ORM management efforts and is linked to SEO. And where do customers head to when they want to learn about anything? A search engine! So, the content you put out needs to reflect your brand, what it stands for, how well it meets customers’ needs, etc.
How integrating ORM into your content marketing strategy can improve brand reputation
Effective ORM strategies involve consistently posting customer-centric stories on your social media, turning negative experiences into positive content, and shaping search results that positively reflect your brand and its personality. All of this requires compelling and consistent content.
Tips for effectively combining ORM and content marketing efforts
As part of your SEO & content strategy, you should dedicate a small portion of it to reputation and brand management. Here are simple tips to help combine content, ORM and SEO:
- Ensure that your content calendar includes brand-specific content that promotes business in a positive light online.
- Monitor whether your search results are either negative or non-existent.
- Develop a strategy for removing or minimizing content that portrays your brand negatively.
Examples of companies that have successfully integrated ORM and content marketing
Here are two examples of companies that successfully managed to improve their online reputation through content marketing:
Canva introduced an initiative called Design School on its website. It posts valuable content for its users, teaching novices the process of creating engaging images simplistically. Because of this, Canva users find that they have helpful resources and help available online to use the platform properly.
Birchbox is an online beauty product seller with a fantastic blog, offering users valuable advice whilst subtly letting visitors know the value and reliability of their product offers. They also post video content that gives users tips on trimming their beards or mustache.
ORM Trends and Best Practices for the Future: Staying Ahead in the Online Reputation Management Landscape
The future is now, and it is digital. Thus, it’s more important than ever to manage your reputation online, as the future of your brand depends on it.
Predictions for the future of ORM and its role in the online landscape
ORM predictions include using automated software to navigate the online landscape and find negative mentions of brands online. Since there is an excessive amount of content stored and shared online every day, it can be impossible to keep track of each mention manually.
The way automated software works is by scanning social media platforms and internet to check for specific key phrases or words related to the brand. This helps the ORM team identify any mentions with a negative connotation and address them timely.
Other than this, social media and newer technologies such as the Metaverse will play a bigger role in managing brand reputation online. Since people are increasingly spending time on social media and VR platforms, brands must have a strategy that helps them build a presence there, and an ORM strategy specific to that as well.
The Metaverse particularly is an up-and-coming digital ecosystem that experts predict will play change the way people communicate online, and therefore, will also revolutionize reputation management. Moreover, brands will need to adapt accordingly, engaging with consumers in a brand-new digital landscape.
The importance of adapting to the evolving ORM landscape
Since the ORM landscape is constantly evolving, it’s important to adapt to it. Gone are the days when you relied on archaic marketing processes and avenues and took your brand online, where the people are. Moreover, visuals will be the main aspect of all kinds of marketing, as 55% of a brand’s first impression relies on what viewers see. Thus, you need to create a reputation for your brand through visuals that people can relate to.
Tips for staying ahead of the curve in ORM
The biggest tip to stay ahead of your competition regarding ORM is to have automated software or an outsourced team constantly monitoring what people are saying about your brand. This ensures that you are dealing with negative views immediately and shows your customers that you do care about them.
Furthermore, it’s important to prioritize the following:
- Staying informed regarding new technologies and platforms
- Regularly monitoring brand mentions
- Being proactive in building a positive reputation
- Using data and analytics to measure impact
- Collaborating with key stakeholders
- Leveraging user-generated content
- Keeping an eye on the competition
Additionally, having a crisis management plan in place and training your team to handle negative events is crucial.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations from Digital Caterpillar’s ORM Experts
In 2023, building and protecting your brand will require a stringent ORM strategy. Digital Caterpillar is an expert in online reputation management, and thus, we know firsthand the impact it has on whether a brand is successful or not.
ORM is a critical strategy for companies to ensure their online reputation is positive and aligned with their brand values. Investing in a dedicated ORM strategy can help companies stay current on the latest trends and best practices, and position them for success in the constantly evolving online landscape.
Moreover, our experts believe that all digital marketing strategies require ORM and have helped several clients improve their brand image and perception. Essentially, companies must proactively manage negative feedback, monitor and analyze their stats, and create content.
Our team of ORM specialists here at Digital Caterpillar have helped companies build and protect their online reputation. For assistance or questions in enhancing your ORM strategy and efforts, feel free to contact us!
Your success is our success.