Reputation management has become an integral part of the current media landscape. Brand reputation has been closely monitored for decades, but with the advent of the internet and social media, new channels have been added that can also influence a brand or organisation’s reputation. Online reputation management has, therefore, become vitally important for large organisations. After all, a dwindling reputation will have a direct impact on an organisation’s success.

What is reputation management exactly?

Reputation management is the structural monitoring of all reporting that influences how people view your product or brand, with the aim of acting on it in such a way that will help to improve or protect the reputation. By monitoring your reputation, you can inform everyone in your organisation about what is going on and what expectations are met. Brand reputation nowadays isn’t just determined by many direct stakeholders but mostly by a much larger group of fans, consumers, critics, customers, influentials, politicians and bloggers.

The basis of reputation management is good media monitoring: mapping, protecting and improving an online reputation. You can monitor what is being said about your brand by monitoring both online and offline media, such as social media, RTV and newspapers. But first, you need to define what you want to monitor clearly. What information is important and has specific relevance for your organisation? Equally important is ensuring that this information is brought to the right people’s attention in a manageable and understandable way. Based on these insights, you’ll get a closer view of what the general sentiment of your brand is so that you can keep a closer eye on your reputation and make adjustments where necessary.

The importance of reputation management

By structurally setting up media monitoring, you will be able to collect input for communication, marketing and customer service, as well as analyze which factors influence your brand’s online reputation. Brands are hit daily with messages from stakeholders on social media, news sites, blogs, newspapers, and magazines. To get a good overview of your reputation, it’s important also to get a good overview of all these sources and messages. It gives valuable insight into messages from customers, potential customers and stakeholders. This way, you know what’s going on and can decide which buttons need to be pushed.

To manage a reputation properly, you must first know what to look at. Reputation management – online and offline – identifies, influences and optimises public confidence in an organisation via online and offline media. As a communication professional for your brand or organisation, you collect data on what is being said about your brand, exert influence where necessary to adjust your reputation, and optimise all of this to strengthen your reputation.

How do you measure brand reputation?

When measuring your organisation’s reputation, 4 emotional indicators are important: trust, appreciation, admiration and a good feeling. The most commonly used method for measuring this is the RepTrak© method – also known as the 7 reputation pillars – of the Reputation Institute (Van Riel, C., 2014). The purpose of the Reputation Institute is to help organisations answer the following questions:

  • What is my reputation?
  • How does my reputation compare?
  • How can I improve my reputation?

These elements combined form a reputation score. The pillars externally measure the attitudes among the target groups about various topics that have to do with your organisation. In addition to consumers, the opinions of important stakeholders are also included. The 7 dimensions on which an organisation is assessed:

Action! From data to insights

Monitoring and analysing data allows you to gain insights that you, as an organisation, can use to help take further steps. Data analysis and in-depth reports will give you new insights on a weekly or monthly basis and can also be used ad hoc, for example, in the event of a specific incident or the launch of a new product.