The three phases of reputation management

All companies and brands today are in the public eye. Since the internet and social media have taken off, there is an all-the-more need for businesses to shine through for the customers and audiences. To know whether your brand reputation is under check, ask yourself – do you know how your customers and audiences perceive your brand? Public relations services are the piece of the puzzle that can help with reputation management. 

Photo by Werner Pfennig from Pexels

The call for reputation management

Know that reputation isn’t built from thin air, nor by chance. It comes from a reality check through reviews, comments and conversations. A painstaking attitude towards knowing what people say will go a long way in giving your brand that extra edge. 

Reputation management is the exercise of controlling and improving brand perception in the eyes of the general public. It is no quick-win; be it film celebrities, sports personalities or political leaders, everyone is availing this service. That being said, the fast-paced environment has made it challenging for brands to preserve their online reputation; this is where social media empowers people to speak (type out) their minds. 

The founding principles of a reputation management strategy

  • Monitor – It is crucial to know what your customers, audiences, influencers and competitors have to say about your brand and business
  • Respond – Take appropriate measures to curate a favourable brand identity, improving what people say about you.

However, when working around the above aspects, make sure you do the most crucial thing – listen and listen well. 

The three phases of reputation management

Reputation Building

At this phase, your primary objective involves creating a name for yourself, developing a positive presence. The crux of this exercise is building brand visibility, and you can start with:

Reputation monitoring

When starting with the basics, the good thing is that you need only a handful of resources. A reputation monitoring program focuses only on five or six web properties, thereby enabling your company to curate quality content. 


Since the focus is on the ‘high return, low risk’ aspects of brand visibility management, ensure that the website ranks on the first page of popular search engines using keywords and phrases. Also, optimize your website for (branded) voice search.

Social media accounts

There are many social media platforms available right now. So, start with the most renowned ones – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Curate a company or business page on these spaces, making it convenient for customers and audiences to look you up. 

Review and rating program

Depending on your industry, the review and rating program will differ. So, evaluate the ones used most actively by your competitors. For example, Yelp is best suited for a restaurant chain, whereas TripAdvisor is for the hospitality market.

Since you are starting ground-up, the focus will be on content creation and managing relationships with customers. The nascent stage shall garner positive reviews, so do not get complacent. 

Reputation Maintenance

If you have been in business for a while and your brand has made a name for itself, you only need maintenance. But do not take this too lightly. Social media can get toxic and overturn your brand’s fate in seconds, irrespective of whether it deserves it or not. However, if your brand has built and maintained an air of positive sentiment online, defending the reputation becomes simpler, given its robust online profile. 

The Plans of Action

  • Optimize your site through a mobile-friendly site, quick loading time, and ample relevant and quality content. Ensure that your website is refreshed regularly with up-to-date information.
  • Build relationships with websites to boost your reputation by offering to be a guest contributor on industry websites; you can do so by leveraging your social media profile setup.
  • Work on your SEO by using appropriate tags, keywords, and image descriptions. Doing so is paramount to remain at the top of the SERPs. 
  • Continue with the review management efforts

Reputation Recovery

If your brand reputation is comprehensive, reputation recovery will be much simpler. Most businesses, unfortunately, resort to curative treatments. But, reputation problems are no small fish. 

Bad reviews

All it takes for an unsatisfied customer is to tweet his mind. When this happens, be responsive and considerate and try to fix the issue. Also, be observant of sites where negative reviews can be changed or deleted. 

Bad rankings

Most people do not go beyond the first page of the search results. Worse even, if search results spurt out too many negative associations, you will need considerable damage control. So go back to reputation maintenance and amp up positive content. 

Direct attacks

Often, the fight of the clicks will have bloggers and competitors seeking direct harm to your brand name. Now, these are big, bad blows. You can either ask politely for content removal or boost your efforts towards driving up branded content. Sadly, the web algorithm is askew towards negativity bias, but inaction will bring your brand to a dead-end.

Parting Words

Despite being a complex endeavour, you can do reputation management seamlessly with tracking tools. Google Alerts, Twitter Search and Social Mention are some of the renowned platforms for immediate access. Keep a keen eye on your competition to learn from their mistakes. Also, have an integrative project management dashboard. This helps ensure that all branding tasks are tracked, recorded and finished in time. 

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