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Rhea Drysdale, @rhea at Outspoken Media, began her presentation on ORM by announcing that it makes no sense that she does online reputation management because she tends to be crude and outspoken! I enjoyed listening to what she had to say and her delivery, and I have a few takeaways to share.

She asked the audience two questions to get everyone thinking:

  1. Your CEO just got caught embezzling funds. What are you going to do and are you prepared?
  2. You represent a really large consumer products company and your product just hurt a lot of kids, what are you going to do? What about your search results? How long do you think it will take to recover?

It takes six months to one year to recover your search standing and three years for your brand to start to recover. You never know if or when you will be hit with the unimaginable. Companies need a long term strategy that will allow them to effect true organizational change.

Brands don’t have insurance policies, but there are things that can be regulated and implemented to ensure that you are covered in the event of a reputation scandal.

  • Social media policies
  • Community management
  • Use listening tools
  • Brand development
  • Customer service
  • Affiliate management (have policies in place for what your affiliates can and can’t say)

In the next 10 years there will be 21% increase in PR jobs. This is in direct response to businesses and government agencies needing to respond quickly to news and information that moves rapidly on the Internet and in social media. Crisis management/communication is not new, we’ve always had disasters happen. ORM works to fix the problem rather than treating the symptoms.

Organizational change requires trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results. This is where most companies fail, as most ORM issues are due to a problem in one of these areas. And, the most common reason for an ORM problem is poor leadership. You can prove that there’s a business case for implementing online reputation management:

  • Identify your organizational allies & threats (SWOT analysis)
  • Do a needs assessment (look at Autocomplete results in Google, just don’t hit enter!)
  • Look at search results
  • Monitor social mentions (socialmention.com)
  • Customer feedback (GetSatisfaction.com)
  • Understand customer loyalty (know your Net Promoter Score)
  • Look at conversions
  • Do competitive analysis (look at branded queries, purchase related queries with Google search suggest)
  • Audit corporate communication (socialmediagovernance.com database)
  • Audit customer communication

ORM is not magic, it’s just SEO. Are you prepared? We can’t insure or replace our brands. We can protect them. Be brave and care, start implementing!