Inside the Profession

Friday Five: Reputation Matters…Where Does Your Brand Rank?

Reputation is the foremost concern for a number of brands; some are currently experiencing  a crisis while others  are desperately dodging crisis-causing landmines. While some brands have figured out the magic formula comprising of consumer engagement, quality products and a good rapport online and off, other brands are still struggling to make themselves stand out within very diverse markets and among their competitors.

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we explore various brands and public figures who tackle the construct of reputation by rebuilding it, sustaining it or figuring out how to boost their brand to a next level of recognition. We also hear from experts who offer reputation building tools simple enough for all brands to use.

4 Ways to Rehabilitate a Sullied Image (PRNews)

PRNews Bill Miltenberg discusses Anthony Weiner’s attempt to make a comeback in the world of politics. Weiner was featured in last week’s New York Times Magazine cover story  which discussed the scandal and his attempts to regain a favorable reputation. CEO of Strategic Vision David Johnson commented on Weiner and other politicians who have been caught up in scandal but have somehow managed to redeem themselves. Johnson offers four pieces of advice on how public figures that have been immersed in scandal can start rebuilding their reputation. Here is a preview:

  • Defuse the situation. Johnson advises public figures to try and get ahead of the jokes. Book a late-night television spot and poke fun at yourself and the situation.
  • Exhaust the media by holding a press conference.  Answer all media questions until there are no questions left to ask.

6 Free or Cheap Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation (Inc.)

There have been plenty of brands on the front page of top-tier media outlets under less than desirable circumstances. While crisis communication plans help brands avert the more predictable disasters, social media and consumers just move too fast nowadays for brands to keep up with every possible reputation infringement. Inc. contributor Hollis Thomases recommends some simple tools and methods for brands in their never-ending quest to maintain favor in the public eye. Here are a couple of her suggestions:

  • Simple searches. Conduct routine online and news searches of your brand to ensure that you are getting a full scope of what is being said. While you cannot capture the whole picture, it certainly offers enough feedback for businesses to determine their favorability and reputation standing.
  • Google alerts. If you haven’t set up Google alerts for your business or the major key players, stop what you are doing and create personalized Google alerts. These allow you to be notified by email each time your company or brand is mentioned.

How Online Search Is Becoming More Like Offline Search (EverythingPR)

In the past, when a company or brand was mentioned, the immediate associations that came to mind had to do with a product or service that company offered. Today, when a brand name is mentioned, most consumers immediately think of their last interaction the brand, what’s been said about the company online and any word-of-mouth marketing that stood out. The better the reputation, the more a brand stands out and this is true even for where a brand ranks in a Google search result. EverythingPR contributor explains, “Google is moving away from favoring websites that pursue rankings through anchor text and towards the websites that establish their brand.” What does this mean for brands that aren’t making it to page one in Google search results? It may be time for them to regroup and develop a plan that helps boost their reputation and better engage their audience.

Ben & Jerry’s Milks Brand Loyalty for PR Bonanza (PRNewser)

Ben & Jerry’s had a successful public relations campaign this past week while celebrating their 34th annual Free Cone Day. Consumers were so eager to get their hands on free ice cream that they crashed the Ben & Jerry’s website while trying to locate the nearest 650 stores in 20 countries. For awhile now, Ben & Jerry’s has been known as a company that really took the time to engage with customers and built a long lasting relationship in the store and online by the brand simply being itself. The point is that while consumers are tired of being offered freebies as an attempt to reel you in to spend real money later, Ben & Jerry’s focused on a brand-and-consumer bond that keeps customers coming back for their free cone every year. 

The 9 Most Damaged Brands in America: Report (Ragan’s PR Daily)

Finally, we wrap up this week’s Friday Five with a report of from 24/7 Wall Street that indentifies the nine most damaged brands. Here is a preview of the list:

  1. Martha Stewart
  2. Apple
  3. Hyundai
  4. Boeing

Carefully look at each of these companies and find an area where you can improve your brand’s reputation before it ends up on this list.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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Nicole Castro

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  • Identifying the key publics in play is always important. One must make an effort to start within and work outward. Employees are the backbone to any business and if they aren’t happy, then the customers are more likely to be unhappy as well. If employees are treated well, the word will get out and the brand will benefit from it. Take Google for example, it is commonly known that Google treats its employees well and maintains a serious yet playful atmosphere. Therefore, Google’s brand has benefited from public knowledge of how they treat their employees. These days, consumers want to see action. It is no longer good enough to simply say, “We are a green company.” Consumers want you to prove it and back up what you are saying. A little bit of community service and a heart for the environment goes a long way these days in improving the brand of a company.

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