Stacy CornayCommunication Concepts

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

Whether he knew it or not, he was talking about reputation management, an important aspect of public relations. PR is on an upswing. And when it’s leveraged by companies we admire, the sky’s the limit. The internet and social media in modern times have, in many cases, rendered traditional marketing efforts less effective. Reputation management is now the chief concern of almost every business and individual in the public eye.

So, what is this element of PR? Let’s start with the definition of PR. It’s defined as the art of communicating on behalf of an individual, company or other organization, mainly through unpaid channels and often with the goal of gaining third-party support (think customers, clients and donors).

Once considered the icing on a good campaign, PR is now rightly at the center of many business strategies. PR expenditures are at an all-time high. This isn’t surprising. Even minor gaffes can ruin careers and reputations. Additionally, a single well-placed endorsement can launch an unknown startup into the stratosphere.

Character-based communication strategies, reputation-management strategies, that have bullet-proofed countless businesses may be used by us all. For the strategies to be effective, they must include relationship building, media relations and publicity, the power of a business or personal brand, intentional planning, and reputation protection.

Online reputation management is what most people think about. Numerous misconceptions circulate around the concept of online reputation management. Some people believe it’s all about social-media monitoring. Others think it’s all about public relations. The goal for any reputation-management  strategy should provide an organic opportunity to create new customer relationships, build a positive brand presence, be proactive when things go wrong, and comprehend how others really feel about your organization.

As most of us know, first impressions count for a lot and will go a long way in determining the overall sentiment, positive or negative, that people will develop for your organization over time.

The whole idea behind online reputation management is to generate positive feelings and opinions, while also handling any bad comments and negative reviews that may surface. All of this is done with the purpose of building trust and, thereby increase sales and/or engagement.

It is estimated that over 90% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 trust online reviews as much as they believe in personal recommendations. In addition, 86% of people read reviews when it comes to local businesses in their area. If reviews are poor, they are less likely to do business with them.

The good news is that by being proactive with online reputation management, businesses actually influence what other people are saying about them and what type of information makes it to the top of users’ Google search results. By encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and to provide useful feedback, and by minimizing the effects of negative search results, reviews, and articles, organizations will be in a far better position to get ahead of any negative press and keep their customers’ trust levels high.

Before you can start improving your reputation online, you will need to gauge how people are already feeling about your brand. The first step could be as simple as asking friends, family, business partners, and various other stakeholders for some honest feedback. You can also go ahead and google your brand name to see what pops up at the top of the search pages.

So, never forget your tree. To do so risks your shadow.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. She may be reached at 303-638-7127; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or LinkedIn.

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Stacy Cornay
2022-05-22 13:00:54
Boulder Daily Camera
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