Online Reputation Marketing: The Basics

What is online reputation marketing?

Online Reputation Marketing (ORM) is an element of digital marketing that focuses on what other people are saying about your business online. Often overlooked until it’s too late, mastering the art of ORM can help your business prepare for the worst, offer the best, and win over old and new customers alike. 

Why is Online Reputation Management important for your business?

Word-of-mouth recommendations, referrals, and reviews are ways new customers can check out a business they are considering purchasing services or products from, so it’s essential your online reputation reinforces positive feedback about your business. With the rise of online reviewing, it’s easier for people to discover what your business is all about and how customers perceive it.

Just like good reviews are good for business, so too is a good online reputation. 

What is the impact of Google Reviews on my online reputation?

A bad review can lead potential customers to avoid your business, especially from Google Reviews since it's a popular platform for customers to share their experiences on. When was the last time you went to a restaurant where someone you knew had a bad experience? If you know that the staff has been rude, the food has been slow, and you’re likely to be overcharged for unsatisfactory service, you’re likely to go into that restaurant with a preconceived notion of how your meal is going to go (if you would even want to go at all!). 

Your own experience of that restaurant might be different, but your opinion might be subconsciously influenced by that preconceived expectation of what that restaurant is going to offer.

This is a lot like online reputation management. Everything about your business that is out there on the internet is information that customers - both new and old - can access. This information can influence opinions about your business for years to come, whether good or bad. 

Using online reputation management, you can influence the way people perceive your business and brand and protect your business from reputational risk.

Is Online Reputation Management the same as digital marketing?

While very similar, ORM and digital marketing are two different methods of promotion that you can use to market your business. However, while each of these tools has its qualities, it’s essential to understand that you shouldn’t be operating one without consideration for the other.

A well-planned and executed social media campaign can help take your business to the next level. A viral media campaign can launch your business, but if you’ve not put a good Online Reputation Management strategy in place, you could find that newfound business boom goes bust.

So what’s the difference between Digital Marketing and Online Reputation Management? 

Digital marketing is anything that markets your business or project digitally, while online reputation management uses your business's reputation to attract new clients and customers.

Examples of digital marketing include: videos, blogs, banner ads, and social media posts are forms of digital marketing that businesses use every day. Meanwhile, online reputation management can be used in tandem with all types of marketing (not just digital) and can be used more subtly than traditional product marketing.

 

CASE STUDY: KFC Chicken Crisis

If there’s one key feature that you expect when visiting a Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food restaurant, it’s that there will be fried chicken on sale. It’s in the name, after all. But in 2018, a change in delivery providers left the UK in disbelief when KFC ran out of chicken.

Restaurants across the UK were forced to close, causing outrage amongst the fast-food restaurant's biggest fans and supporters. The shortage scandal hit the mainstream news channels, and social media was buzzing with criticism for the brand. 

KFC, however, didn’t chicken out when it came to handling the coverage of the crisis. As soon as news broke of the shortage, they responded with humor and brevity on their social media pages. Memes, self-deprecating jokes, and constant contact with their audience turned opinions from frustration and anger at the company's failings to one of camaraderie and brevity. Rival brands were able to jump on the bandwagon poking fun at the fast-food chain (a fantastic opportunity and great use of Online Reputation Management!).

However, as the shortage continued, KFC monitored its audience. Frustrations at food wastage from chicken stuck in delivery depots and wage concerns for the restaurant workers were valid criticisms that could have turned the audience's opinion against KFC. 

KFC responded with a quick and honest FAQ and answered their questions with humility and brevity. Full-page adverts were taken out in the paper featuring an apology for the mishap, while the social media teams were in constant contact with their audience to answer any follow-up questions.

Throughout the crisis, KFC stayed true to both its brand and their customer, and in the end, it came out on top. Flooded with praise for the brand, it's handling of the crisis, and its humor in a time of crisis, negative opinions and criticisms from activists were drowned out by positive brand marketing. The publicity increased awareness of the brand while diverting public opinion away from the darker side of the issue – the 255 redundancies that the switch to a new delivery supplier had cost and the closure of a depot.

 

CASE STUDY: Nike and Colin Kaepernick

From doping revelations to sex scandals: Nike is no stranger to its ad campaign stars and scandal.  However, no representatives have caused as much of a stir as their 2018 campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.

The American Football star turned human rights activist became infamous in 2016 when he chose to take a knee during the national anthem to raise awareness of the injustices of police brutality and racial inequality in America. This action divided opinions greatly between support of the peaceful protest to anger at the perceived disrespect to American national pride. 

The “Dream Crazy” campaign, which featured Kaepernick’s face overlaid with the text “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.” went viral almost instantly and greatly divided opinions. The initial reaction to the brand seemed to be a highly negative one, with even the President of the United States, Donald Trump, criticizing the brand for the campaign. Stock prices dropped by 2% overnight, and previous supporters of the brand took to social media, with some even posting videos of them burning Nike products or threatening to boycott the brand if they didn’t withdraw the advert. 

However, Nike remained steadfast, and despite the initial extreme response in the first few days, the positive reaction soon began to overwhelm the negative. An outpouring of support and celebration of the brand led to an increase in stock prices that were 5% higher by the end of the week than before the campaign. Mentions of the Nike brand increased by 135%, and sales grew by 31% in the weeks following the campaign's release. The commercial would win the “Outstanding Commercial” award at the Creative Arts Emmy Award.

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