Strategic reputation management is the process of identifying, monitoring, and influencing the stakeholders that can impact your business’ reputation.
One bad review can impact your business reputation negatively. You can lose customers, trust, and credibility. Protecting your business reputation is essential for maintaining a successful business. So, it’s important to have a strategic plan in place so you can effectively manage your reputation and respond to any crisis that may come up.
Crises are comparatively rare events. But they are unwanted and unpleasant. And if you don’t plan for a crisis, it will also be unexpected and therefore the consequences will be much worse.
If you don’t know how to put together a strategic reputation management plan, you’re not alone. Many businesses don’t have one in place, and as a result, they’re not prepared to handle a crisis.
When developing a strategic reputation management plan, businesses should consider the following:
1. Define your stakeholders.
Stakeholders are individuals or groups that can have an impact on your business’ reputation. There are many different types of stakeholders, and it’s important to identify and understand them all.
Some of the most common stakeholders include customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, partners, and the media. Each of these groups can have a positive or negative impact on your reputation.
It’s important to understand who your key stakeholders are and what they can do to your reputation. We recommend creating a stakeholder map. This helps you understand who they are and what they need.
You need to build positive relationships with these groups and be prepared to respond to any negative comments they may make.
2. Define your core values.
Your company’s core values play a key role in shaping your reputation. These values represent what’s important to your business and guide your decisions when it comes to how you interact with stakeholders.
Your core values should be communicated to all stakeholders, and you should always strive to live up to them. When you do this, you create trust and credibility. They’ll know that you’re honest and ethical, which will help protect your reputation in times of crisis.
3. Define your brand promise.
Your brand promise is the commitment you make to your customers about what they can expect from your products or services. It’s important for businesses to live up to their brand promises, as this builds trust with customers and helps protect their reputation.
When developing a strategic reputation management plan, you should outline your brand promise and make sure you’re always working to deliver on it. This will help keep your customers happy and protect your reputation from any negative comments or reviews.
4. Monitor your stakeholders
Monitoring your stakeholders is an important part of strategic reputation management. You need to be aware of who they are, what they’re saying about you, and how they’re impacting your reputation.
There are many ways to monitor your stakeholders, and it’s important to tailor the process to fit your business. Some of the most common methods include social media monitoring, email tracking, and surveys.
Social media monitoring is a great way to keep track of what people are saying about your business online. You can use tools like Google Alerts or Social Mention to track mentions of your business on social media platforms.
Email tracking can also be useful for monitoring stakeholders. You can use tools like Salesforce or HubSpot to track who’s opening and clicking on your email marketing campaigns. This will help you identify which stakeholders are most interested in your products or services.
For surveys, use survey tools like Survey Monkey or Qualtrics to ask customers and other stakeholders about their perceptions of your business. This will help you understand what they think of your brand and how they’re impacting your reputation.
You should also be aware of where they spend time on the internet. So you can be sure, you have a profile and engage with them. This is crucial for building long-term, dynamic relationships with them.
5. Understand your stakeholders’ needs and concerns
When developing a strategic reputation management plan, it’s important to understand your stakeholders’ needs and concerns. You need to build positive relationships with these groups and be prepared to respond to any negative comments they may make. Pro tip: don’t ignore positive comments either – this helps you gather more information about them.
It’s important to know what your stakeholders want from you and what their concerns are. When you understand their needs and concerns, you can work to address them and improve your relationship with them. This will help protect your reputation in times of crisis.
6. Have a crisis management plan
If your business experiences a crisis, it’s important to have a plan in place to deal with it. A crisis can damage your reputation and cause serious financial losses.
When developing a strategic reputation management plan, outline your crisis management plan. This plan should include:
- A risk analysis (study of the most likely crisis your company will face)
- Chain of command (lines of authority during a crisis)
- Response action plans (detailed plans for the actions you will take)
- Internal communications (systems for crisis team communications and information sharing with employees)
- External communications (A plan for communicating with media and your stakeholders)
- Resources (information, outside advisors to have available)
- Training (plans for practising crisis response)
- Review (procedures for updating the plan and analysing crisis response)
It’s important to be prepared for a crisis and have a plan in place to deal with it. When you do this, you’ll be able to respond quickly and effectively, which will help minimise the damage to your reputation.
7. Build positive relationships with your stakeholders
Building positive relationships with your stakeholders is an important part of strategic reputation management. When you have strong relationships with these groups, they’ll be more likely to support you during a crisis.
There are many ways to build positive relationships with your stakeholders. Some of the most common methods include social media interaction, customer service, and public relations.
When you interact with your stakeholders on social media, you show them you’re interested in their opinions and that you care about their concerns. This will help build trust and credibility with these groups.
Customer service is also a great way to build positive relationships with your stakeholders. When you provide excellent customer service, you show your stakeholders that you’re responsive to their needs and that you’re committed to their satisfaction. This will help build loyalty and trust with these groups.
Public relations is another way to build positive relationships with your stakeholders. When you use public relations to promote your business, you show your stakeholders that you’re proud of your products or services. This will help build credibility and trust with these groups.
8. Be prepared to respond to negative comments
No matter how well you manage your reputation, there will always be some negative comments made about your business. It’s important to be prepared to respond to these comments positively.
When responding to negative comments, it’s important to stay calm and professional. Never attack the person who made the comment. Instead, focus on addressing the issue that was raised.
It’s also important to take responsibility for your actions. If you made a mistake, admit it, apologise and promise to do better. This will show your stakeholders that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions and that you’re committed to making things right. Remember to always keep your promise, otherwise, your reputation will suffer.
9. Monitor your reputation regularly
It’s important to monitor your reputation regularly so you can identify any issues early on. There are many ways to do this, but some of the most common methods include:
- social media monitoring
- review site monitoring
- setting up Google alerts
- performing regular search audits
- identifying and following industry hashtags
When you monitor your social media accounts, you can quickly see any negative comments that are made about your business. You can then address these comments professionally.
10. Put it all together
It’s important to be prepared for a reputational crisis and have a plan in place to deal with it. When you do this, you’ll be able to respond quickly and effectively, which will help minimise the damage to your reputation.
If you want to make sure your company’s reputation is protected, it’s important to develop a strategic reputation management plan. This plan will help you identify any potential risks to your reputation and come up with a plan of action for dealing with them.
A strategic reputation management plan is essential for any business. By following the tips we’ve provided, you can develop a plan that will help you protect your reputation during a crisis. You’ll also be able to build positive relationships with your stakeholders, which will help them support you during difficult times.
If you don’t know where to start, contact We Are Innovative today. We will help you manage your reputation and prepare a crisis management plan for your business.