The ancient Greeks had it right: Know Thyself. People are talking and forming opinions about you everywhere, and not just in the obvious places. Sometimes it’s a major site like Facebook or LinkedIn. More frequently it’s a Yelp comment or a brief blog mention. Maybe there’s an extended Reddit discussion of your products and customer service. There’s also that obscure YouTube rant, a podcast riff, and a column in a small community paper. This is happening whether or not you have a reputation management plan in place. How are you monitoring it?
10 Dangers of Ignoring Your Reputation Management
Your business invests heavily in protecting and projecting its image. You carefully select logos, signage, and décor. You spend countless hours ensuring your web site is user-friendly. You write customer service manuals, hold trainings, and take some calls yourself. Without a concerted reputation management effort, you have no idea how you’re doing. We would like to discuss 10 major dangers of ignoring your reputation management.
One: General Cluelessness
Ever been in a conversation with someone who just didn’t understand how people perceived them? Maybe they were dressed inappropriately for the setting. Maybe they talked too loud and bragged too hard. Maybe they refused to read the signals that everyone was annoyed with them. Off-topic, insensitive, possibly boorish: that might be your business without a reputation report.
Two: Small Problems Grow
Termites and heart disease are major problems that could have/should have been caught and solved when they were small. Our culture is filled with stories and warnings about this. We return regularly to the proverbial frog in the boiling pot. He jumped in when the water was cool and refreshing but didn’t realize the temperature was slowly rising until it was too late. A reputation tracking and management plan helps you catch those little things being shared about your firm while they can still be corrected.
Three: False Information Becomes True
A little lie repeated often enough becomes accepted as truth. Our online dialogue is awash in false information. Rumors, innuendos, all-out disinformation campaigns. Numerous companies and organizations are battling little lies that have circulated for years to the point that they are accepted facts.
Even decades past tiny misperceptions, Dominos, Disney, and Apple all have to work to overcome uncomfortable myths about their founders. Being aware of false or misinformation and addressing it early makes all the difference.
Four: Missed Capitalization On the Positive
The flip side of False Information Becomes True is that positive information about you never gets shared. It might be that your organization received industry accolades for a revolutionary innovation. Maybe you have an exceptionally diverse workforce and executive team modeling success during a rough economy.
Perhaps your organization has helped a humanitarian organization take major strides in addressing an important cause. Are you getting recognized? Knowing where people aren’t mentioning your positive news (but should be) is a major step toward helping them do so.
Five: Losing Out on Free Media
Maybe you have a PR firm or a dedicated PR staffer. True PR professionals are highly skilled at identifying and seizing on opportunities to be part of the positive media discussion, and it’s not always directly about your company. Sometimes the media suddenly starts talking about something your company can share.
It might be the cutting-edge technologies you use. Perhaps you have an award-winning workplace. Could be a product you produce every day has an innovative new use. A reputation dashboard would have helped your PR team seize this opportunity.
Six: Missed Business Opportunities
It comes down to a blatant referral. A well-regarded blogger tangentially connected with your industry just sang your praises and suggested that a particular firm should hire you. She’s not associated with you in any way, so this is the highest praise there is. It also opened the door wide for you to make a sales call that could lead to a major new client.
However, because you were too busy to keep up with this blog (really, who can read them all?), you missed it. But your competition caught it. They made the call and said, “You know, we’re even better than these guys.” A reputation dashboard could have helped you call first.
Seven: You Can’t See Creative New Directions
Every year you hold that planning retreat with your leadership team. There’s the inevitable coffee, bagels, and the “icebreaker” exercise. You review the year, cry a little, and cheer a lot. Then everyone looks deep into that crystal ball.
It’s difficult because the future is murky and muddied further because everyone has a different read. If only you had some sort of “dashboard” that could summarize what the market was saying. Maybe even brilliant product suggestions your customers had discussed in-depth on Reddit. Without your report, you’re missing that.
Eight: You’re Missing Some Fun
We have to say it: reading what others are saying about you is entertaining. It can be maddening (but very informative) when they’re criticizing. It can be an ego-boost when it’s good stuff. It can be distressing when there’s just too much silence.
You try to keep up on your own. You have favorite journalists, maybe a blog or two, and the intern gives you that weekly collection of Facebook comments. But having everything collected in one place, in a quickly-digestible report covering your company, industry, and mentions of specific terms you monitor isn’t just incredibly useful; it’s fun. You would have loved sitting down with it over morning coffee. Too bad you’re missing it.
Nine: You Can’t Hear Powerful Whispers
Whispers are loudest. Children speak truth. Most former customers walk without saying anything. We all know that the quietest voices are often the ones speaking what we need to hear. Unfortunately, workplace culture is such that the loudest, leader-praisers and political operators tend to drown out what needs to be heard. Big headlines from big places go at the top of the report that gets reviewed and edited to please the powers-that-be.
Not so with a reputation management dashboard. It gathers all the discussions and mentions. It allows you to quickly scan and sort to see the quiet, but powerful whispers that could shift your empire. Or, if you were listening closely, they might help you catch the trend that helps you define the future.
Ten: You Can’t See How Well You’re Doing
Bragging too much and being too humble are equally-dangerous ends of the same spectrum. In fact, not seeing how well you’re doing is just as dangerous as being clueless about criticism. If your organization is receiving stellar media coverage, glowing light on social media, and/or online reviews that are basically referrals, you need to adjust.
Are there other products or services that need attention? Do you need more sales team or additional production lines? A reputation management program can help you catch this early and prevent that “oh, how the mighty have fallen” slip-up.
Make Reputation Management Your Dashboard
Ancient Greek philosophers regarded self-awareness as the highest of ideals. At the same time, general cluelessness is the first step to failure. It is also unforgivable in a time when an instant, targeted, and quickly-readable reputation management report detailing exactly what the world is saying about you is readily available. Contact Affluent Solution Group, where one of our specialists can help you start your Reputation Management dashboard today.