Online Reputation Management - Bachelor

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"Monitoring the buzz- Online Reputation Management", my Bachelor thesis 2010. Media & Communication Bachelor study at Oslo University College.

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Online Reputation Management - Bachelor

  1. 1. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Bachelor thesis title:Monitoring the buzz – Online Reputation ManagementRune Haugestad+ 47 94 88 29 01rune_haugestad@yahoo.noMy digital CV and recommendations:http://no.linkedin.com/in/runehaugestadMedia & Communication 6th termOslo University College – 19.05.2010Appendix A: Survey documentation & respondent answersAppendix B: Screenshots from monitoring search tools.1|P a g e
  2. 2. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Contents1. Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 42. Research objectives and purposes .................................................................................................. 4 2.1 Excluded topics ............................................................................................................................ 5 2.2 Purposes ....................................................................................................................................... 6 2.3 Theory and methodology .............................................................................................................. 6 2.4 Chosen methodology .................................................................................................................... 73. Theory ............................................................................................................................................ 8 3.1 A new era within Corporate Communication ............................................................................... 8 3.2 Stakeholders and Stakeholder Management ............................................................................... 10 3.3 Trust ........................................................................................................................................... 13 3.4 Identity versus Image ................................................................................................................. 13 3.5 Transparency .............................................................................................................................. 14 3.6 Branding versus Reputation........................................................................................................ 15 3.6.1 What is branding? ................................................................................................................ 15 3.6.2 What is reputation? .............................................................................................................. 15 3.6.3 Where‟s the difference between branding and reputation? .................................................. 15 3.7 Marketing versus Public Relations anno 2010 ............................................................................ 16 3.8 What is Reputation Management (RM)? .................................................................................... 17 3.9.1 What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)? ................................................................... 18 3.9.2 Why ORM? ......................................................................................................................... 19 3.9.3 What to track? ..................................................................................................................... 20 3.9.4 Sentiment/Tone text analysis search engines ....................................................................... 20 3.9.5 What kind of ORM monitoring tools is out there? ............................................................... 21 3.9.6 Quantitative based tool examples (See appendix B for screenshots): .................................. 21 3.9.7 Qualitative based tool examples (See appendix B3&B4 for screenshots): ........................... 22 3.9.8 Qualitative and Sentiment/Tone based tool examples (See appendix B5 for screenshots):.. 222|P a g e
  3. 3. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis. 4.1 Defining a ORM strategy ........................................................................................................... 23 4.2 Damage control planning............................................................................................................ 24 4.3 How to Recover from an Online Brand Attack ........................................................................... 24 4.4 ORM and ethics .......................................................................................................................... 26 4.5 When it`s time to wrap up your written strategy ......................................................................... 27 5.1 ORM & Social Media Monitoring Tools .................................................................................... 27 5.2 News site monitoring vendors .................................................................................................... 27 5.3 Web trends/analytic tools: .......................................................................................................... 28 5.4 Monitoring tasks and routines inside Alterian SM2 (See appendix B9 for screenshots): ............ 286. Discussion ........................................................................................................................................ 31 6.1 Analyzing my survey .................................................................................................................. 31 6.2 Patterns & themes ....................................................................................................................... 33 6.3 My interpretation ........................................................................................................................ 347. Summary & conclusion .................................................................................................................... 358. References ........................................................................................................................................ 36Appendix A: Survey documentation & answers ................................................................................... 37Appendix B: Screenshots from monitoring search tools. ...................................................................... 443|P a g e
  4. 4. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.1. IntroductionMy choice of theme Online Reputation Management (Hereafter shortened to the acronymORM), and title; “Monitoring the buzz - Online Reputation Management” is based on myinterests in online user behavior, online brand perception, digital communication, businessstrategy and Internet technology, in addition to rapidly new developments and challengeswithin online corporate communication including reputation management. Through 11 yearsof experience from the IT branch, I have worked with project management of ERP, CRM andWeb solutions, and consulting about strategic thinking within both business strategy and ITstrategy. I decided on ORM as theme for my Bachelor thesis last term when I was luckyenough to start an ORM project at a big Norwegian software developer company (Hereaftercalled company X) as part of my two weeks practice in the course Information andCommunication in practice. I got the opportunity to continue on the ORM project for neweleven weeks this term as a (15 ECTS) practice module in the Bachelor program. Company Xhas truly global market share and reach with several millions users of their different productportfolios. To get both an historical and modern perspective on reputation management Ifound the following two quotes: Before: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and fiveminutes to ruin it. If you think about that, youll do things differently”. Quote: Warren Buffett.Source:http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/warren_buffett.html. Now; the new socialWeb era: “In this new world of instant connection and networked customers, understandingwhat people are saying about your company, your products, and your competitors is vital forbusiness success. Reputations, like trust, are built over time, but can be destroyed in aninstant!” Quote: David L. Sifry, founder and Chairman, Technorati, Inc. (Beal & Strauss2008). So with online reputation, we`re talking about minutes or hours and just a mouse clickto ruin a reputation…..2. Research objectives and purposesWhy is online reputation so important in addition to traditional offline reputation fororganizations? What kind of challenges will ORM create for an organization and itscommunication/PR and marketing departments? Therefore to try and answer this question Ihave decided to ask two top level executives, one Vice President of CorporateCommunication (Hereafter called Manager A) and the other is Director of Marketing,department of Consumer Products (Hereafter called Manager B) as respondents. They bothwork at the same software company where I have my practice and internship, anonymously4|P a g e
  5. 5. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.hereafter called the alias; company X. I have created a questionnaire with twenty open endedquestions to gather my empirical data in this educational research. I have decided on thefollowing research objectives: How important is it to have a written plan or strategy forORM? Who should participant developing an ORM plan or strategy? Who should own ORMin an organization? Should ORM strategy be a part of CRM/market strategy, corporatecommunication strategy, digital strategy, social media strategy or stand for itself? How canthese strategies support and be coordinated towards already defined business goals? Whatkind of goals, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), ROI (Return On Investment) (Haugestad2009A, B) and success criteria‟s can be identified and defined within ORM? Is ORMimportant today or is it a future feature? This is the strategic and tactical questions I want toexplore and research. Then will I look into the more practical part of ORM; monitoring tools,services and internal organizational routines. What kind of monitoring has been done in thepast inside the software company, and what kind of new monitoring tools and services areadapted or planned to be deployed? Who do they want to monitor? What kind of target websites, blogs and social media platforms are important to monitor? Do the marketing andcommunication departments have any online outreach guidelines? And do they have anyinternal online damage control guidelines? Does the view and approach regarding ORM differmuch from a communication/PR and a marketing manager‟s point of view? To find out this Iwill also look closer to the differences and relationship between online branding and onlinereputation.2.1 Excluded topicsI will not explore online branding or Brand Management in details, just look into therelationship branding has with reputation related to ORM. Ethics regarding social media, e-marketing and online PR are discussed in my two earlier term paper exams; e-marketingstrategy (Haugestad 2009A), and Social Media Strategy (Haugestad 2009B). These topicsmentioned above are excluded because I want to do an in-depth analysis into the theory andpractice related to ORM listed in the theory and methodology section, and ORM ethics alonecould deserve twenty pages alone …5|P a g e
  6. 6. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.2.2 PurposesMy purposes with my research are to sum it up; identify and discuss strategic and tacticalusage of ORM. Analyze the relationship between online branding and online reputation, andthe relationship between communication/PR and marketing. Then will I identify ORM toolsand services and I will try to categorize some of them. I will also create a step-by-step ORMstrategy/plan based on insights from my curriculum, respondents and my achieved knowledgefrom my ORM internship practice. Because of this I decided on the following researchquestion: “How can ORM be a tool to sustain and grow an excellent reputation?”Aselection of a few ORM tools will also be presented with some practical insights with usageof screen shots to support the theory and to visualize the practical “hands on” usage ofmonitoring tools and services. The multi disciplinary of ORM topics and use of illustrationsand screenshots from monitoring tools will cause increased page numbers, and therefore haveI got permission after asking, from Robert Wallace Vaagan, my thesis supervisor to extendthis bachelor paper up to 30 pages (Our (Studieplan) course guidelines says 20-40 pages).2.3 Theory and methodologyI decided to provide my bachelor curriculum literature based on the following topics;corporate communication, public relations (PR), branding, marketing and ORM. I choseliterature based on these topics because ORM is multidisciplinary. Therefore I provided thefollowing literature as my bachelor thesis curriculum: Corporate Communication – Astrategic Approach to Building Reputation, by Brønn, Simic Peggy and Wiig Berg, Roberta(2008), Public Relations, by L‟Etang, Jacquie(2008), and From Brand Vision to BrandEvaluation – The strategic process of growing and strengthening brands (2006), byChernatony, de Leslie will I use to understand the theory behind reputation managementincluding defining related areas such as; identity versus image, trust, transparency, brandingversus reputation, reputation management, stakeholders and stakeholder management, publicrelations/online PR. These literature insights facilitate a deeper understanding of reputationmanagement theory and background, so my thesis can be theoretically well grounded. To lookinto different (culture) approaches and the relationship between PR and marketing will I usechapter 14: Defining the Relationship Between Public Relations and Marketing by Hutton,James G from the book Handbook of Public Relations (2001), by Heath, Robert L. &Vasquez, Gabriel (2001). In addition will I use the following literature to understand andlearn the practical approach to ORM: Radically Transparent – Monitoring and Managing6|P a g e
  7. 7. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Reputations Online (2008), by Beal, Andy and Strauss, Judy and Understanding DIGITALMarketing – Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation (2009), chapter 8;Online PR and reputation management by Ryan, Damien & Jones, Calvin. These literatureinsights point out the paradigm shift within online communication/PR and marketing relatedto ORM. I will use “Educational Research – An introduction (2003), by Gall, Meredith D. &Gall, Joyce P. & Borg, Walther R., as a framework to support my research methodology andthesis document structure.2.4 Chosen methodologyI‟ve chosen a multi research methodology approach to my bachelor thesis (Gall, Gall & Borg2003); I will use text analysis to understand relevant theory from the curriculum mentioned inthe theory and methodology section above. To do my own research have I chosen qualitativemethodology, and more specifically, an open based e-mail based questionnaire to gather myempirical data to this educational research. This is because I wanted to coordinate findingsand insights from the curriculum authors with my own survey. Norman Denzin and YvonnaLincoln define qualitative methodology like this: “Qualitative research is multi method in itsfocus, involving an interpretive naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means thatqualitative researches study things in their natural settings. Attempting to make sense of, orinterpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them” (Gall, Gall & Borg2003 p. 24). My questionnaire tries to explore status quo due to the topics and questions listedin the Research objectives and purposes section. See appendix A for how exact the openquestions are written, and to find the original answers from my respondents as documentationand verification. I have used electronic forms and e-mail as delivering tool after I hadexplained all the questions to the participants face to face, so I didn‟t need to transcribe myquestions and their answers. Both my participants understand my questions when I explainedthem, so I didn‟t need to re-phrase them.7|P a g e
  8. 8. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.3. Theory3.1 A new era within Corporate CommunicationCorporate communication was much less complex before the Facebook era, the Google age orthe recommendation age arrived on everyone‟s doorstep. Web 2.0 technology and theexploding force from all the people joining social media networks and the blogosphere, createchallenges for organizations who do not grasp the forces from the social sphere (Haugestad2009B). The main differences are that one way mass communication was the standard before,but with the social sphere exploding, one to one and two ways communication are forcingorganizations to listen and engage to multiple online channels (Beal & Strauss 2008, Ryan &Jones 2009). Before the new social Web era, a company had to worry about somethingnegative when it appeared in the newspaper, at the TV news or at the radio news. But todaythe situation is radically changed: “Online is where reputations are made now” says Dr.Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist at PR firm Weber Shandwich (Beal & Strauss2008 p. 9). The social media sphere and Web 2.0 has already changed the playing field.Everyone online has now been their own publishers. The social media sphere and ConsumerGenerated Media (CGM) provides a megaphone for all the disgruntled; with no entry barrier,few online global legal marketing/PR laws and therefore little legal accountability, instantpublishing and commentary and most important; Internet as a free distribution channel tothousands and millions of people. All this people are instantly connected, communicating,sharing, collaborating and recommend information and sharing their opinion including whatthey think about organizations and their respective brands, products and services. And mostimportant to understand is that they trust each other and their word-of-mouthrecommendations several times more than traditional commercials and ads from TV, radio,newspapers or e-marketing campaigns (ibid). “The old rules of Marketing and PR areineffective in an Online world” says David Meerman Scott (2009). Of course we find positiveonline mentions about a certain brand, but it seems that the negative mentions and opinionsdraw the huge and collective crowd. Securing that online brand and investing in andcultivating an impeccable and influential reputation are critical to establishing andmaintaining a consistent, strategic, and complementary presence from stakeholder tostakeholder, not just about whats popular today, but ultimately engaging where yourcommunities are congregating. Meerman Scott (2009) adapt Chris Andersons (2008) “Longtail” concept and uses phrases such as “The Long tail of PR” and “The Long tail of8|P a g e
  9. 9. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Marketing” to explain changes described above. Today we are living in the recommendationage, the Facebook age and the Google age to mention some popular phrases (Friedman 2006,Anderson 2008, Shih 2009, Safko & Brake 2009). Everyone in the social sphere seems tohave an opinion, and they post it “everywhere” accessible for others to read. It is essential tograsp what all this means for business. So related to reputation, it‟s important to focus onbuilding a strong organizational and brand identity, which transfer its online brand image tobe perceived in the social sphere. To monitor the results of online branding, e-marketing,communication and online PR, you need online reputation management tools and services.Web 2.0 technologies have transformed how reputation systems are designed and used by the Web (Beal & Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones 2009). Today we can choose between multiple ad hoc search tools and trend data tools. They can be categorized under three main method categories; quantitative, qualitative and sentiment/tone based solutions. Web 2.0 technology has created today‟s ORM solutions as both dynamic and interactive systems.The last four to six exploding social Web years have created a need for monitoring the socialsphere and all the conversations and buzz out there. Some of the ORM tools are doing semiautomatically other more fully automatically text sentiment analyzes. These ORM systemscan track, find and monitor user defined search words and phrases across hundreds and someof them are tracking millions of sources, including corporate web sites, blogs, news sites,blogs and Social platforms such as Facebook open posts and twitter communication. Howmany negative mentions are there out there compared to positive mentions around a specificbrand, product or service? And some ORM tools are tracking it in real time or close to it. Theweb 2.0 technology and the social web ushered in an era of corporate transparency. Beal &Strauss (2008) are talking about taking advantage of Web 2.0 and PR 2.0 to be radicallytransparent. Both corporate communications, PR, marketing and branding have evolved froma one-way monologue to a two-way conversation. These new developments move towards arelatively trustworthy and reliable online reputation systems in the Web 2.0 era to identify and9|P a g e
  10. 10. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.monitor all the stakeholders and their opinions. It‟s crucial for a modern organization tounderstand the strategies and tactics needed to engage and join the conversation, and to beable to build and sustain an excellent reputation. To understand the basics behind ORM will Iin the next few sections investigate the background theory for reputation management and thetheory behind the words, terms and phrases such as; stakeholders and StakeholderManagement, trust, identity versus image, transparency, branding versus reputation and theculture and differences within marketing versus public relations related to ORM (Beal &Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones 2009).3.2 Stakeholders and Stakeholder ManagementStakeholders are a common word in my curriculum and across ORM monitoring vendors.What is the definition of stakeholders? Brønn and Berg (2006 p. 122) have a broad orienteddefinition: “Any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievements of anorganization‟s purpose”. Stakeholder Management is the discipline of identifying,prioritizing, managing, communicating and monitoring stakeholders. The same authors defineStakeholder Management this way: “As a concept refers to the necessity for an organizationto manage its relationship with specific stakeholder groups in an action-oriented way” (ibid).Stakeholder Management is an important discipline within Reputation Management(Hereafter used the acronym: RM) and ORM. So to say it simple: Stakeholders are those whotouch your business and have a stake, direct or indirect, in your success. The task within (RM)ORM is to identify key prioritized stakeholders and monitor their (offline) onlineconversations and buzz related to the organization and its leaders, brands, products andservices (Beal & Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones 2009). We can categorize the stakeholders so itwill be easier to prioritize who should get closest attention from the organization both offlineand online (Brønn & Berg 2006 p. 122-144, Beal & Strauss p. 347-348):  Responsibility: Those to whom the organization has/may have legal, financial or operational responsibilities  Influence: Those with influence or decision-making power and whose actions may make the performance of the organization easier or more difficult.  Proximity: Those stakeholders with whom the organization has more interaction, long-term relationships or dependency in its day-to-day operations.  Dependency: Those directly or indirectly dependent on the organization, in economic or financial terms, in terms of regional or local infrastructure, or basic needs  Representation: Those who represent others  Policy and strategic intent: Those the organization addresses directly or indirectly through its policies and value statements, including those who can give early warning on emerging issues and risks.10 | P a g e
  11. 11. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.There are two major elements to Stakeholder Management: Stakeholder Analysis andStakeholder Planning. Stakeholder Analysis is the technique used to identify the key peoplewho have to be won over. You then use Stakeholder Planning to build the support that helpsyou succeed with your communication/PR, marketing and ORM efforts. The benefits of usinga stakeholder-based approach within RM and ORM are that (ibid):  You can use the opinions of the most powerful stakeholders (influencers and advocates) to shape your branding and reputation at an early stage. Not only does this make it more likely that they will support you, their input can also improve the quality of your branding and reputation.  Gaining support from powerful stakeholders can help you to win more resources – this makes it more likely that your PR, branding and reputation will be successful.  By communicating with stakeholders early and often, you can ensure that they know what you are doing and fully understand the benefits of your organization; this means they can support you actively when necessary.  You can anticipate what peoples reaction to your PR, online PR, communication, e-marketing and marketing may be, and build into your plan the actions that will win peoples support.The people inside your key stakeholders can also be categorized for example in this way:  High power, interested people: these are the people you must fully engage with, and make the greatest efforts to satisfy.  High power, less interested people: put enough work in with these people to keep them satisfied, but not so much that they become bored with your message.  Low power, interested people: keep these people adequately informed, and talk to them to ensure that no major issues are arising.  Low power, less interested people: again, monitor these people, but do not bore them with excessive communication. Simplified stakeholder overview map, with focus on two-way corporate communication.The next step is to define them by the following categories; influencers, advocates, promotersand detractors, and to plot this into your ORM plan or strategy and your monitoring system.11 | P a g e
  12. 12. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Within ORM terms these people are categorized as (Beal & Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones2009):  Influencers: People who recommend (or discourage) usage or purchase within your industry .They are non partial.  Advocates: People who already love your business, brands, products and services. They are partial.  Promoters: The promoter is a loyal user/stakeholder who will frequent and enthusiastically recommend your brands and products to his or her friends. These are the people that grow your business for you!  Detractors: The detractor is the unhappy user/stakeholder who will spread the word of mouth about why he or she is unhappy with your company, brands, products and services. These are the people who damage your reputation and tarnish the value you have established in your market .Detractors can be sorted and described as the; virgin detractor, platinum, determined,undermining and the professional detractor (Beal & Strauss 2008).Understanding your key stakeholders:The final stage is to get an understanding of what motivates your stakeholders and how youneed to win them around today and in the future. Examples of key questions that can help youunderstand your stakeholders are:  What emotional or financial interest do they have in the outcome of your brand, product or service? Is it positive or negative?  What motivates these most of all?  What information do they want from you?  How do they want to receive information from you? What is the best way of communicating your message to them?  What is their current opinion of your work? Is it based on good information?  Who influences their opinions generally, and who influences their opinion of you? Do some of these influencers therefore become important stakeholders in their own right?  If they are not likely to be positive, what will win them around to support your brand and reputation?  If you dont think you will be able to win them around, how will you manage their opposition & critics?  Who else might be influenced by their opinions (their reach)? Do these people become stakeholders in their own right?You can summarize the understanding you have gained with the stakeholder map, so that youcan easily see which stakeholders are expected to be detractors or critics, and whichstakeholders are likely to be influencers and advocates of your organization, brands, productsand services. What actions can you take to get more from your advocates or win over yourdetractors?12 | P a g e
  13. 13. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.3.3 TrustLet‟s look into some definitions of „trust‟: To quote Elise Bauer, partner of Pacifica GroupConsultancy: “Trust is built on reputation and reputation is generally NOT built onadvertising. It is built on what others say about you” (Beal & Strauss 2008 p. 144). We areliving in the recommendation era, and surveys from Forrester Research support this in theirfindings: “90% of consumers Trust recommendations from others (their peers), while fewerthan 10 % trust ads” (Beal & Strauss 2008 p. 68). Trust must follow the two-waysconversation model; organizations must trust their stakeholders, and stakeholders must trustthe organization. “Trust, reliability, sincerity and authenticity all contribute to a goodreputation” (L‟Etang 2008 p. 50). Most important; build trust in an authentic, consistent andtransparent way with your key communities and stakeholders.3.4 Identity versus ImageWhat is the difference between identity and image? It is obvious that different authors andscholars define these areas differently. The reason can be explained from their differenteducation and disciplines such as; communication, PR, marketing, sociology, psychology andso on. Let‟s see what I can find among my curriculum. First out from a PR perspective:“Organizational identity can be understood as the „essence‟ of the organization, comprisingthe multiple aspects and core components which make it distinctively recognizable” (L‟Etang2008 p. 53). L‟Etang (2008) refers to Moingeon and Soenen who usefully distinguished fivetypes of organizational identity (ibid): 1. The professed identity - what a group or organization professes about itself to define collective identity 2. The projected identity - the way the professed identity is communicated via different media (including, but not limited to mass media) 3. The experienced identity - „the lived experience‟ referred to above and the beliefs members hold about the organization‟s character. 4. The manifested identity - the core historical aspects referred to above „essence‟. 5. The attributed identity – attributes ascribed to the organization by the organization‟s audience and stakeholdersAlso referred to Balmer and Greyser they propose that organizations have different types ofidentity similar to Moingeon and Soenen. They propose the following identities; actual,communicated, conceived, ideal and desired (Brønn & Berg 2005 p. 28). The brandperspective to identity and image are very similar; de Chernatony (2006) defines both brand13 | P a g e
  14. 14. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.identity as the internal perspective and brand image as the perceived external one. Then let‟slook at the term „image‟ and the relationship with „identity‟. “The term „image‟ is derivedfrom „imitari‟, meaning imitation or reproduction” (L‟Etang 2008 p. 54). An organizationprojects or transfers its identity and creates an external image being perceived among thestakeholders. These projections are then consumed and interpreted by all the individualsamong the stakeholders, who construct various images in their heads of the organization. Toquote the dictum of advertiser Bernstein: “Image is a reality…It is the result of our actions. Ifthe image (Perception) is false and our performance is good, it‟s our fault for being badcommunicators. If the image (Perception) is true and reflects our bad performance, it‟s ourfault for being bad managers. Unless we know our image we can neither communicate normanage”(L‟Etang 2008 p. 57). This is the very essence of reputation management; to observeand monitor the gap between wanted image and the external attributed image from thestakeholders. How internal staff think external stakeholders see the organization may not beidentical to how external stakeholders actually see the organization. To sum it up withstatements from Bernstein (ibid):  Images is a reality, not reality itself, even though receivers see the images they construct as reality  There will always be multiple images, not just one  There is a distinction to be made between the image that the managers would like others to have and images that are constructed  Images contribute to the development of an overall judgement about an organization‟s reputation3.5 Transparency“Transparency means that we can see through processes, decisions and communications, sothat there is no opaqueness or obscurity, no organizational veil or fig leaf” (L‟Etang 2008 p.52). The link between image and trust are important factors related to corporatecommunication and PR to manage building and nurture reputation. Transparency provides theconditions that allow trust, accountability, cooperation, collaboration and true commitment toprosper (ibid). Regarding the company Edelman‟s recognized annual global trust surveycalled “trust barometer”, they have always interesting findings: “Transparency and honesty(64%) a primary driver of reputation”. Source: Trust barometer 2010, Edelman UK. This iseven more true and important online than offline where it is more difficult to reverse or limitnegative buzz. To manage this, organizations need to be totally transparent in how theyinteract and engage with their stakeholders (Beal & Strauss 2008).14 | P a g e
  15. 15. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.3.6 Branding versus Reputation3.6.1 What is branding?Let‟s look into some branding definitions: “Corporate branding helpsstakeholders/consumers to simplify choice and provide reassurance through emotional,functional even spiritually consistency” (L‟Etang 2008 p. 52). A more detailed businessfocused definition is promoted by de Chernatony (2006 p. 13); “A successfully brand is anidentifiable product, service, person or place, augmented in such a way that the buyer or userperceives relevant, unique, sustainable added values which match their needs most closely”.Closer to see the direct relation to reputation can be found within corporate branding:“Corporate branding can be described as the symmetric influencing of the image formation ofthe organization, in such a manner that the groups upon which the organization is dependentget a positive impression of the „company behind the brand‟” (Brønn & Berg 2005 p. 31).3.6.2 What is reputation?Let‟s look into some reputation definitions: “A reputation is generally something anorganization has with strangers, but relationship is generally something an organization haswith its friends and associates. Brands represent the middle ground between relationship andreputation.” Quote: Hatton (L‟Etang 2008). Brønn and Berg have assembled severaldefinitions but I choose to focus on the following from Fombrun because its simplicity:“Corporate reputation is the sum of various stakeholders‟ images of the organization” (Brønn& Berg 2005). Reputation is in essence no more and no less than a collection of positive andnegative impressions added from all the external stakeholders (ibid). According to Merriam-Webster define reputation like this: “1) An overall quality or character as seen or judged bypeople in general, and 2) a place in public esteem or regard: a good name” (Beal & Strauss2006 p. 13). So reputation is dependent on both trust and transparency, and the relationshipbetween identity and image. Reputation is also pure perception that may or may not be basedon facts, and it changes together with changes in how the brand image perception isrecognized by the stakeholders.3.6.3 Where’s the difference between branding and reputation?Branding is about the organization, the brand, product or service. Reputation management isabout how you deliver on that promise, ORM is about monitoring that brand perception. Oneelement cannot work without the other, so when it comes to the online sphere, this challenge15 | P a g e
  16. 16. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.managers of marketing and communication/PR to coordinate their strategic goals, objectives,KPIs, actions and efforts. “One of the problems with seeking to develop a brand throughminimizing the gap between brand identity and brand image, is that image refers to acustomer perception at a specific point in time, and thus leads to short-term fluctuations. Bycontrast, reputation relates to perceptions about a brand over time, and as it is a customerbased (stakeholder) measure it is more stable” (de Chernatony 2006 p. 47).3.7 Marketing versus Public Relations anno 2010Regarding to James G. Hutton (Heath & Vasquez 2001 p. 205-214) he pinpoint sometraditional (and now historical) ways of organize marketing, communication and PRdepartments and their respective and overlapping responsibilities. He describe five modelswhat he calls; the “separate but equal” model, the “overlapping” model, the “marketing-dominant” model, the “public relations-dominant” model and the “marketing = publicrelations”. What fitted best depends on the very nature of the organization and their productsand services, and depends often on if they are private or public sector. Hutton points out that itis no one correct model or answer. He concludes that the relationship between public relationsand marketing was defined by the marketing side (ibid). Today we can say that it is the socialsphere forces that defines and set the agenda and challenge these departments (Beal & Strauss2009, Ryan & Jones 2009). What should the relationship between PR and marketingdepartments look like in a time when the very lines between the two disciplines areincreasingly blurry related to the online social sphere and ORM? Who among PR,communication and marketing departments are best equipped to listen, monitor, learn, engageand guide influencers, advocates and their direct word of mouth and viral power, andrepresent a brand within all the social media networks and the blogosphere in the mix? Arethere still different; cultures, strategies, goals and objectives between communication/PR andmarketing departments affecting ORM? In the offline world, PR and marketing still have theirrespective areas, culture, skills, disciplines and goals, but the online sphere forces they twointo convergence (Meerman Scott 2009 p. 26).16 | P a g e
  17. 17. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.3.8 What is Reputation Management (RM)?RM is the concept of monitoring (historical offline) reputation outside the organization.Corporate reputation depends on what others (external) think about it. (From Latin: reputare -to think over). The RM task is to monitor the gap between the wanted reputation and theactual reputation perception. Then the action plan should include methods trying to minimizethe gap. The Reputation/Brand Manager no longer controls the brand. They are critical tomanaging perception and carefully weaving it to serve the business needs and decisionmaking, but they do not own it. Stakeholders, on the other hand, today fully control the brand(Beal & Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones 2009). Their interaction with it defines it both forthemselves and for others. So Stakeholder Management is an important part of RM. Brandswhich acknowledge this prosper by providing caring steers on the community. Brands whichfight it risk undermining the brand itself. RM is historical a discipline within corporatecommunication/PR theory and practice (L‟Etang 2008, Brønn & Berg 2006).Reputation Institute has identified 5 principles within RM: 1. The Principle of Distinctiveness Strong reputations result when companies own a distinctive position in the minds of resource-holders. 2. The Principle of Focus Strong reputations result when companies focus their actions and communications around a single core theme. 3. The Principle of Consistency Strong reputations result when companies are consistent in their actions and communications to all resource-holders. 4. The Principle of Identity Strong reputations result when companies act in ways that are consistent with espoused principles of identity. Spin is anathema to reputation-building, and in time all efforts to manipulate external images that rely purely on advertising and public relations fail when they are disconnected from the company’s identity. 5. The Principle of Transparency Strong reputations result when companies are transparent in the way they conduct their affairs. Transparency requires communication - a lot of it.Source: http://www.reputationinstitute.com17 | P a g e
  18. 18. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.3.9.1 What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?There are many definitions of online reputation management as well. I choose to use Beal andStrauss‟s (2008) definition of ORM: “Realizing that the perceived value of your brand isdefined by information found and discussed on the internet; therefore requiring your constantmonitoring and participation in these web conversations”. The definition is easy tounderstand. Thinking of ORM as either communication/PR, marketing or branding activity iswrong. It is all three and much more. Reputation cannot be considered the sole responsibilityof any of these three disciplines. Realistically, anything which one does impacts the other twoand in this online sphere it‟s critical that all three works together to ensure the desired goals,objectives and outcomes are achieved. This does require that the natural friction betweenthese departments needs to be put aside of mutual gain. The upside of this is that ORM can bedistributed; meaning that a small amount of resource is required from each departmentmanaged by a multi disciplinary Brand/Reputation Manager if possible. Brands are dynamicin their nature. They have evolve to reflect the changing demands of stakeholders as they gainmore experience, as well as continually maintaining a position of strength against alwayschanging and evolving markets and competitors (de Chernatony 2006). ORM is a dynamicand a continued learning process, and must be adaptive to technological changes in the onlineweb world and the social sphere. One objective with ORM is to monitor external changes ofreputation based on brand image perception. Depending on whether the ORM tool trend statsresults are favorable or unfavorable, this feedback should provide guidance about futureactions and be a tool for faster and smarter business management decisions, and as planningtool for future (e-) marketing and (online) PR campaigns. RM/Online Reputation Management life cycle.18 | P a g e
  19. 19. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.The prevalence of social media has made ORM not only relevant, but a necessity for manyorganizations. To put it simple; ORM is the consistent and dynamic research, analysis, andengagement toolkit regarding reputation represented online. The key to ORM is engagement,which immediately creates concern for several managers and departments both since ORM ismultidisciplinary, a strategic and tactical tool and demands coordination‟s across theorganization. While engagement can be a daunting aspect for any company, it is important toremember that conversations about an organization may already be occurring and influencingonline; with or without its own involvement. By not engaging, others have the opportunity tocreate brand image and built reputation for you. At the same time is it crucial to understandfrom the start of any ORM project that the company NOT can control the conversation andbuzz out there, but to recognize that ORM is the solution to help out with strategic businessdecision making, engagement and damage limitation control and routines. The conversationcan‟t be controlled by the organization only balanced (Beal & Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones2009).3.9.2 Why ORM?Optimal deployment of ORM will give organization‟s better answers to the followingquestions:  How can an organization a boost its online image, brand and reputation?  How can an organization find out where the right users, influencers, advocates (Key stakeholders) are talking about their related industry topics?  How can an organization faster and smarter take action to manage negative online articles and conversations, to repair and balance negative reputation?  How can an organization empower its actions due to usage of positive reputation?  How can an organization use ORM tools to learn faster than its competitors and use this information in its own strategic and tactical business decision making and planning process? “If competition is the motor of the market economy, reputation is the fuel that makes it run.” Quote: Professor Charles J. Fombrun and Christopher B. Foss. Source: http://www.reputationinstitute.com19 | P a g e
  20. 20. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.3.9.3 What to track?There are four main dimensions we want to track and measure within the defined keystakeholders: 1. Visibility: How many online places is a company visible? At many or a few? 2. Reach: When an article/post mentions a company or brand, how many people does it reach? Is it a popular website/blog or not? 3. Influence: Does this particular publication or journalist/blogger carry more credibility than average so that what he or she writes have higher impact on the reader? Is it a key influencer or advocate writing about your brand or competitors? 4. Sentiment: Is it positive, neutral or negative?3.9.4 Sentiment/Tone text analysis search enginesSentiment and tone analyzes are done by SaaS (Software as a Service) monitor vendors textsearch engines and their respective algorithms. It is difficult to explain so I let Lexalytics , oneof many vendors explain it:“The first step in determining the tone of a document is to break the document into its basic parts of speech(POS tagging). POS tagging is a fairly mature technology that identifies all the structural elements of adocument or sentence, including: • Verbs • Nouns • Adjectives • Proper • NounsTo determine the sentiment of a document, you identify the parts of speech within a document that indicateemotion. In most cases these are adjective-noun combinations like "horrible pitching" and "devastating loss".Once the phrases are identified, the process of scoring the phrases for tone begins.”Source: Lexalytics PDF document: http://www.lexalytics.com/solutions/20 | P a g e
  21. 21. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Different vendors have different text analysis engines, and are their business secret like thealgorithms inside Google‟s search engine. They are different regarding search speed, amountof data and historic data period storage, how close they are to real time analysis or not. Somehave two weeks of historic data stored others have from one to six months stored. See aschematic ORM monitoring process cycle in appendix B (B1).3.9.5 What kind of ORM monitoring tools is out there?There are two main categories: Ad hoc analyzing tools and trend data analyzing tools. Theycan both be quantitative (Only counting mentions), qualitative (Shows the content) andsentiment/tone (Text analysis of the content) based tools. There are many tools in bothcategories out there. Most of them are SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors. Some of themare calling themselves either Brand monitoring, online Reputation monitoring, Social Mediamonitoring, conversation tracker, buzz monitoring, online PR monitoring providers and so on.For example can software called Brand monitoring or Reputation monitoring do the samemain thing. They all scan, track and monitor news sites, blogs, micro blogs and socialnetworks. So the output depends on how you are using the system and how you create andmanage your searches and what you monitor. Some tools are created for marketers; other forcommunication/PR and other tools again does have a crossover strategy and usability. Thesooner you get a hold of what people are saying about your brand and plan how you willrespond and manage those stakeholder relationships, the more successful you will be in thesocial sphere. This area is still relatively new (Many of the SaaS vendors are less than fiveyears old) and no Reputation, Brand or social media monitoring companies has gotten it 100%right yet regarding sentiment/tone analyzes.3.9.6 Quantitative based tool examples (See appendix B for screenshots):To identify your status quo regarding visibility HowSociable (Appendix: B2) is a great tool. Itcan be used to define your visibility KPIs and to monitor changes over time. Source:http://www.howsociable.com/ . Web Trends analysis tools: Internal Website statistics: GoogleAnalytics (Appendix: B6), Omniture‟s SiteCatalyst. External Website statistics: GoogleTrends and Insights, WebTrends Analytics for Facebook (Appendix: B7) Compare.com andAlexa.com. (Appendix: B8).21 | P a g e
  22. 22. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.3.9.7 Qualitative based tool examples (See appendix B3&B4 for screenshots):  Google Blogsearch (Free): http://blogsearch.google.com/  The Nielsen Company (Free): http://www.blogpulse.com/  IceRocket (Free): http://icerocket.com  Twitter search tool: Klout (B3) (Free): http://klout.com/  Twitter search tool: TwitterAnalyzer (B4) (Free): http://twitteranalyzer.com/ms.aspx?userId=ibm3.9.8 Qualitative and Sentiment/Tone based tool examples (See appendix B5 forscreenshots):  SocialMention (Free): http://socialmention.comSubscription & Pay based SaaS vendors:  Alterian SM2 (Medium and Enterprise solution): http://socialmedia.alterian.com/  BrandsEye (Small, medium and enterprise solution): http://www.brandseye.com/  Nielsen Buzzmetrics (Enterprise solution): http://en-us.nielsen.com/tab/product_families/nielsen_buzzmetrics  Radian6 (Enterprise solution): http://www.radian6.com/  Sentiment Metrics (Medium and Enterprise solution): http://www.sentimentmetrics.com/  Sysomos: Map & Heartbeat (Medium and Enterprise solution): http://sysomos.com/products/overview  Visible Technologies (Medium and Enterprise solution): http://www.visibletechnologies.com/  Viralheat (Small, medium and enterprise solution): http://www.viralheat.com/After testing several of the tools above, will I use Alterian SM2 as an example on how to usean enterprise monitoring system. Almost all of these tools offer APIs (ApplicationProgramming Interfaces) for automatically downloading search results into for example SQLdatabases.22 | P a g e
  23. 23. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.4.1 Defining a ORM strategyWhat is the first step implementing ORM in an organization? As with other online mediaefforts, it is smart to start with a strategy. By having both a strategy and action plan in place,you will be able to effectively handle the situation and limit, balance or repair any potentiallynegative feedback. I have created the following eight main areas (A to H) to consider whendeveloping a written ORM strategy or plan document, based on insights from Beal & Strauss(2008) and Ryan & Jones (2009):Strategic content: A: Identify and define your ORM goal(s), objectives and KPIs B: Conduct a reputation (status quo) audit including your brand identity & image C: Identify and define your key stakeholders, influencers, advocates and detractors D: Define how to measure ORM success E: Identify and define what and how to track and monitorTactical content: F: Identify and define how and whom you want to interact and engage G: Damage control planning, including crisis and outreach guidelines H: Identify, evaluate, test and deploy monitoring toolsIt is important to understand that ORM not only includes the strategy on how to manageonline buzz, sentiment and feedback, but the implementation of that strategy through two-ways engagement (ibid). These efforts are really something that should not be outsourced to afull service vendor, but done in-house through people who understand the “identity” of itsown company, brand, products and services not just the brand story or messaging. Objectivesshould always be defined so they can be measured. One way to do this is to define: KPIs (KeyPerformance Indicators). KPIs are quantifiable performance measurements used to definesuccess factors and measure progress toward the achievement of business goals andobjectives. The Web Analytics Association (WAA) defines the term KPI in the context ofweb analytics:”While a KPI can be either a count or a ratio it is frequently a ratio. A KPI isinfused with business strategy - hence the term Key” (Ryan & Jones 2009 p. 119). Whatmetrics are important to your business? KPIs are always clearly aligned to strategic businessgoals and objectives. To be able to measure success defining your business KPI`s is crucial(Haugestad 2009B, p 17). Through monitoring, you will gather the necessary information that23 | P a g e
  24. 24. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.educates you on what is being said about your brand. Through analysis of the data providedduring monitoring, you will be able to properly implement your engagement strategy. In otherwords, monitoring facilitates management. By utilizing the online conversation, you may beable to improve customer satisfaction, gain insights on competitors and other keystakeholders, engage with your current and potential customers more effectively, and ideallyreduce costs while increasing your ROI regarding your ORM costs.4.2 Damage control planningTrying to dig oneself out of an online reputation crisis is never easy. You, as a brand, are onyour back foot and everything which you do will be scrutinized and run the risk of blowing upin your face. This makes for a very stressful and labor intensive way of managing reputation.A better way to approach this situation is to plan ahead with crisis scenario planning (Beal &Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones, 2009). Prevention is always better and cheaper than cure. In anyevent, planning and executing on a pre-emptive reputation move is always cheaper and betterfor the brand. Monitoring and damage control planning (preparation) are part of the proactivepart of ORM, and damage limitation, balancing and repairing/recovery and crisis PRcommunication are the reactive part of ORM (ibid). Create a crisis log document to keep trackof the incidents, tone of critics, the name of the author/blogger and their domains, and howyou engaged. In this way you learn and share knowledge with others in your team, then youcan engage faster and faster when similar incidents occur.4.3 How to Recover from an Online Brand AttackWhile effective ORM may be a relatively new concept to some brands that‟s still no excuse.These suggestions to recovery are based on insights from Beal & Strauss (2008 p. 315-343)and Ryan & Jones (2009 p. 193-201) should provide a practical approach for brands facing anonline reputation threat. Before you can recover from an online brand attack you have to beaware that your brand can be attacked, no matter how big it is or how untouchable it mayseem. Whether the negative buzz is based on fact or fiction, the first thing you need to do,once you‟ve decided to take your brand‟s online reputation seriously, is to swallow somepride. You may think your brand is beyond reproach but clearly the customers don‟t and thelonger you avoid facing that reality the worse the situation will become. Once you have aclear understanding of the scope of the possible effects of an online attack and are committed24 | P a g e
  25. 25. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.to maintaining your reputation online; you‟re half way there. Next you‟ve got to understandhow the process of consumer complaints has evolved.Smart brands are watching consumer generated content, listening to what their customers aresaying and learns from this. The rest of the brands out there haven‟t yet woken up to the factthat listening is vital and can be detrimental to a brands survival. Listen, monitor the Internetfor conversations about your brand, and learn from it, you can‟t react to something you haveno idea about. One of the easiest ways to solve the majority of brand attacks is to respond fast.A brand that shows it is listening and does indeed care will go far when it comes to ensuring asolid online reputation. The very same consumers who are complaining are actively keepingan eye out for your reaction. Conscious reaction and acknowledging what has been said andreacting accordingly is the only way forward. If the mention of your brand is factuallyincorrect, in a friendly tone, send the blogger, journalist or analyst evidence that they arewrong, ask for removal or retraction of the entry, offer to keep them informed of future news,and only if no action is taken by the blog author then add a comment. If the mention isnegative but TRUE then send your side of the story, try as hard as you can to take it offline.I‟ll repeat that for effect, take it offline, it‟s so much harder for people to listen. Will thishelp? You‟d be surprised, if you are civil; in most cases the author will remove the piece oradd information that will help you. Keeping even more people from reading negative thingsabout your brand is imperative – once the negative musings are listed in the search engineresults pages chances are some people (read: a huge crowd) are going to find them.What you can do, however, is knock them off the first page of the search engine results and indoing so stop most of the people seeing them, with use of basic SEO initiatives. Start withfinding out what terms the page is getting good rankings for (these will generally be aroundyour brand name) then make sure that your website is ranking higher, in all fairness thisshould be important to you regardless of an online threat, though. This should take 2 of the 10first page places, now all you need to do is fill the other 8 spots with positive pages. It‟s not asdaunting as it sounds, the other eight spots could be filled by other sites that you don‟t own,but with articles that you author and publish online, social media pages such as Facebook andMySpace, your corporate blog and external blogs you write at, or forum posts to mention afew. To boost your number of tweets will also help so your tweets ranking high at the SERP‟sas well. So, you‟ve sorted out the issue, you can sit back and relax now, right? Wrong! Justbecause you think you‟ve put out the fire, doesn‟t mean it can‟t flare up again. If you aren‟t anactive member of the social sphere or your stakeholder communities it tends to be a little25 | P a g e
  26. 26. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.harder to recover from an online attack. If your company doesn‟t have a corporate blog orFacebook page start one. Participate in industry forums and blogs. Build genuine credibility asa member of these conversations and you‟ll find that firstly, the likelihood of a brand attackwill decrease because people will have more respect from you (generally the more distanced abrand gets from its customers, the more they start to despise it). Secondly if you are attackedagain, you will (hopefully if you‟ve done your job right) have a community of allies andadvocates who will support your brand and its efforts to clear its name. No brand is immunefrom an online brand attack; no matter how much you think your customers love you. Thebest brands in the world do have strategies in place to immediately identify a reputation crisisand respond to it quickly enough to stop the negative word of mouth spreading (ibid). Do notfall for the temptation to use black hat SEO tricks (Ryan & Jones 2009 p. 93-95), if the searchengine companies found out, they will remove all about you in their cached and stored serversand you will be banished…!4.4 ORM and ethicsORM and ethics are important to perform closely together. General reputation managementethical guidelines are essential also for ORM. But the online world is more “anarchistic” thanthe offline world, and with less global or regional rules, laws and guidelines, so ORM needsome new practical ethical guidelines. It is none “de-facto” standards to be adapted yet, butseveral for example PR companies have developed their own online outreach guidelineswhich others have built and based their own versions of. One example is Ogilvy with their“Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics from Ogilvy”. Source: http://blog.ogilvypr.com/2007/10/the-ogilvy-pr-blogger-outreach-code-of-ethics/.Online marketing associations like the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA)has also created branch guidelines called: “10 Principles for Ethical Contact by Marketers”(www.womma.org/ethics/). Forrester Research created their “Sample blogger Code of Ethics”(Source: http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2004/11/blogging_policy.html ) (Beal & Strauss 2008).26 | P a g e
  27. 27. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.4.5 When it`s time to wrap up your written strategyStart small and build it up from there. Very often companies decide to get involved in the“online thing” and throw themselves at it. They apply old-school thinking and then wonderwhy their stakeholders are disillusioned and not responding in the ways they had hoped. Abetter approach is to slowly build up a Web 2.0 online presence. Make sure that each part ofyour Website, index and landing pages, sub domains, SEO, content management, e-marketingand ads and so on, are running smoothly before moving onto the next step. The same applieswith the monitoring of the conversation online. Don‟t begin by trying to monitor, measure andmanage the entire conversation, rather focus on a number of key areas (your definedobjectives and KPIs) within the organization and correct those first. It‟s always easier to takeon more work than to try going back on a promise to your organization. While quantitativedata is certainly very useful for understanding trends and piecing together the full picture,understanding individual‟s sentiments and views of a brand are equally critical. The brandswho are investing in their stakeholders relationships are really reaping the rewards.5.1 ORM & Social Media Monitoring ToolsAlways deploy tools which have the technology, structure and reporting possibilities tomonitor your ORM objectives and KPIs, whether they are subscription based paid or freesolutions or a mix of them. Ensure to use several tools and data trends related to ORM. Bothnews, social media and external and internal web traffic tracking and trends can give multidimensional ORM analysis. Most of the free low end ad hoc search tools don‟t save and storeyour searches. By choosing subscription based tools you will get tools that save all yoursearches, search results and trend data including reports. The tools you decide to use willimpact the rest of the monitoring funnel, so choose carefully (Beal & Straus 2008 and Ryan &Jones 2009). I will in the next sections give some examples on how to use these tools, withscreenshots in appendix B. I will present some entry level free tools and then an example withan enterprise solution from Alterian SM2.5.2 News site monitoring vendorsSome few global vendors: Meltwater News, Apollo, Nielsen Company and CyberWatcher.27 | P a g e
  28. 28. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.5.3 Web trends/analytic tools:Website traffic and SEO are defined subjects within ORM (Beal & Strauss 2008 and Ryan &Jones 2009). The goal is to gain visibility in web search results. Which Website data shouldyou analyze? Theres no point in looking for a tool without a sense of what you want to track,so to define KPIs also for Web trends is smart. How many people visit our Web site everyday? What are visitors doing when they get there? Which features are most popular? Webanalytics tools help you track your sites statistics, allowing you to see how many people arelooking at which page, which keywords are driving traffic to your website, which searchengines who drives referral traffic to your website, what sites your visitors are coming from,who your users are, and more. Google is being called the biggest reputation machine online.This information can in turn help you measure traffic, understand your visitors needs andbehavior, and gauge click-through rates to new content or features. An organizational needcan vary from simple traffic monitoring to complex analyses on the behavior of specific usergroups, support for multivariate testing, and more. What important metrics and figures areimportant when selecting a Web analytics package? Here is a list of the most importantmeasurements: Visits, Unique visitors, Top Entry and Exit Pages, Referral traffic from searchengines , Inbound links (OR Back links), Search Keywords, Visitor Information, Click Paths,Conversion rate. There are many tools out there. Five tools with broad user adaption are;Google Analytics (free), Omniture‟s SiteCatalyst, Webtrends Analytics, Alexa.com (Freeentry level) and Compare.com (Free entry level). These can be use as both day to day toolsand trend tools, and you can use scores and stats from these tools to define your KPIs.5.4 Monitoring tasks and routines inside Alterian SM2 (See appendix B9 forscreenshots):Custom SourcesThe first thing to do when setting up a new tool is to decide which target stakeholders youwant to ensure are included in the searches. A system should give you the opportunity andchoice to add your own custom sources such as key; news sites, customers, partners,competitors, personal names to executives, journalists and analysts, advocates and theirdomain addresses (See appendix B2 for screenshot and details).28 | P a g e
  29. 29. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Exclude words, phrases and domainsThe next thing to do are to narrow your data sources. Examples: Wikis or own sub domains orunwanted brand, product names etc. (See appendix B2 for screenshot and details).Keyword TargetingImplement specific keywords and phrases that allow you to monitor your brand, customers,partners, suppliers and other defined key target stakeholders, and keep tabs on yourcompetitors. Use advanced setup parameters (Boolean parameters such as i.e.: AND, OR,NOT) if possible to get accurate search results. This is also a point of entry in the funnelwhere you should be doing ongoing optimizations to refine your keywords and phrases,exclude words, filters and categories of data set. (See appendix B2 for screenshot and details).Refined MentionsUtilize your refined mention feed - watch the conversation. This is also an entry point of thefunnel where most of the day-to-day monitoring takes place. Read, analyze and engage whennecessary and appropriate.AnalysisApply sentiment analysis manually if your system is not doing it automatically, you need tomeasure the overall health of your brand if there is enough conversation going on. Group yourmentions together in a holistic manner, for example; per category you assemble positive,negative (and neutral if the tools also have the property tag) facilitating easy access datasharing within your organization.Take action – engage!Take action when necessary; make sure the proper people inside your organization are actingand engaging the social sphere where your conversation is happening. If you are not applyingmanual analysis, then this part will be difficult. If you feel like your stream of search results isnot optimal enough, then go back through and tweak your keywords at this point. Once youhave constructed your plan, you will want to rinse and repeat. Read the refined search wordsand phrases, analyze the trend results and act accordingly.29 | P a g e
  30. 30. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Sharing and presenting trend data and statisticsWhen monitoring, crawlers, Web analytics tools and RSS feed systems are up and running, itis important to establish procedures for checking them regularly and to distribute and sharethe assembled statistics and trends across the relevant departments. The manually way to dothis is to create spreadsheets including Balanced ScoreCard functions. A more advanced wayis to download data with APIs from your monitoring tools, and to store all data into a databaseand then use dedicated Balanced ScoreCard software to (Extract, Transform and Load: ETL)present the reputation trends and scores. Both solutions can be set up to present the trend andstatus data at for example; internal Wiki pages, Intranet or CRM systems or inside BI(Business Intelligence) systems with Web standards such as XML. The Balanced Scorecard isa management methodology that uses a range of KPIs to define business goals and monitorperformance drivers to achieve strategic objectives (Source:http://www.bettermanagement.com). The main purpose with Balanced ScoreCard is to easyvisualize status quo compared to the wanted situation. Software tools often use a “Dashboard”with color schemes such as green, yellow and red to visualize status scores.30 | P a g e
  31. 31. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.6. Discussion6.1 Analyzing my surveyYou will find all the original questions from my questionnaire in my survey and answers fromthe respondents in Appendix A as documentation and verification. I will start with analyzingthe strategic questions, number 3 to 8. Then I will analyze the practical side of ORM andquestion 9 to 20. Here is some information about Company X: They are traditional organizedwith communication and PR (Manager A) as one department, and with both B2B (Business tobusiness) marketing and B2C (Business to Consumer) marketing where Manager B isresponsible. Communication/PR has twelve employees, and the B2C marketing departmentshave fifteen employees. So the sizes of the departments are quite similar. Totally Company Xhas approximately 760 employees all together around the globe. Company X have severaltenfold millions users across their different software portfolio products, and have all fourcorners of the world as target markets. Now let‟s look at my respondents and their respectiveanswers to my questionnaire and start to analyze them. Both departments are part of astrategic and tactical ORM document (Question 3). Regarding how they before weremonitoring online conversations, mentions and buzz, they both answers that it was donemanually and not coordinated across departments before (Question 4). Do they coordinate;Market, and/or CRM, and/or Brand, and/or Social Media strategies or plans with ORM?(Question 5, 6 and 7) Manager A, answer that brand strategy and Social Media strategy arecoordinated, but not marketing strategy and ORM. Manager B, answer that this is not clearlydefined or coordinated yet. What are their respective goals with ORM? (Question 8) ManagerA: “Work smarter, support our business decisions and to get faster and deeper insights aboutour stakeholders, to use this to optimize our offline PR and online PR efforts and as asupplement within online damage control. Monitoring and identifying our influence, reachand to create more influencers and advocates for our business”. Manager B: “Understand theeffect of campaigns and track brand perceptions. The goal is to turn knowledge into learningand improve out media outreach, marketing, community communication and brandmanagement”. Let‟s start analyzing the more practical approach to ORM with questions 9 to20. Which free monitoring tools do they use before and today? (Question 9)Communication/PR used before: Google free tools such as Google Reader and Trends, SEOtools, twitter searches, Technorati, Digg and reddit. Now they use in addition: HowSociable,SocialMention, Alexa and Google Insights. Marketing uses similar tools on individual basis.Are they using any additional subscription & pay based monitoring SaaS solutions? (Question31 | P a g e
  32. 32. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.10) Manager A: “We decided to use Alterian SM2 from Meltwater Norway for a limited pilotperiod”. Manager B says his department doesn‟t pay for any monitoring tools. (Relevantsearches are included in Alterian SM2 for both, B2B, B2C marketing andcommunication/PR.) Do they use a mix of tools? (Question 11) Manager A: “Yes, bothquantitative (HowSociable) and qualitative and sentiment based tools such as: SocialMentionfor ad-hoc searches and Alterian SM2 for trend analyzes over time together with externalWeb traffic trends from Alexa and Google compared to converting stats of our downloadingnumbers”. Manager B says they don‟t use it, probably because the ORM administrator toolsare run from communication/PR. Have they identified and defined their wanted ROI & KPIsregarding ORM efforts? (Question 12). Manager A: “Yes, without defining thesemeasurements, we would be lost in huge amount of search results and data”. Manager B saysthat not all measurements are implemented yet. Does Company X have a Brand or ReputationManager? (Question 13) Manager A: “Today tasks for such a position are divided acrossmultiple departments and employees”. Manager B: “No. We are currently evaluating how totake this further. The (ORM) solution will most likely be that an existing team member getsthis as extra task”. What social media networks are they targeting? (Question 14) Manager A:“All the biggest Social Media platforms across the globe are targets, our stakeholders areeverywhere. Our ORM tools are scanning, tracking and monitoring millions of news sites,aggregators, corporate sites, blogs and micro blogs”. Manager B: “First priority is our ownsocial media platform; our corporate community blog. Our goal is to be represented on allmajor local and global communities such as Facebook and Twitter. We also have profiles onbig local social networks”. What dimensions are most important for them to monitor andmeasure? (Question 15) Manager A: ”Both visibility, reach, influence and sentiment aredefined as key areas within our strategic ORM document and search solutions”. Manager B:“We normally look at visibility (number of web sites, blogs etc). It may be more interesting tolook at a combination of reach, influence and sentiment/tone”. Do they have any SocialMedia/blog, and/or Online PR/Sales/marketing outreach guidelines? (Question 16) ManagerA: “Yes, as a corporation with global reach and markets, we must have this distributed withinour departments and regional offices”. Manager B: “We follow a mix of guidelines for mediaoutreach in combination with common sense”. Do they have any internal online damagecontrol guidelines? (Question 17) Manager A: “Yes, we have defined routines and dedicatedpersons who are permitted to work with damage limitation”. Manager B: “PR team handlesdamage control and manages communication when needed. All sensitive questions are32 | P a g e
  33. 33. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.forwarded to PR team”. When do they think is the right time for implementing ORM?(Question 18) Manager A: “We have started and have learned a lot from our ORM project”.Manager B: “We are currently in a process to complete guidelines, tools and implementation.Timing is a question of having available resources, but we are getting closer to readiness”.How important do you think ORM is for your business today? (Question 19) Manager A: “Wedistribute our software only online, so to manage our stakeholders trust and to create moreusers, ORM will be a key tool”. Manager B: “We concentrate most of our marketing throughsocial media, so proper tracking would help us to improve faster”. How important do youthink ORM is for your business in the future? (Question 20) Manager A: “When the socialsphere expands, the need for optimal ORM, online PR, e-marketing, Web content andcommunity increases as well”. Manager B: “It should become a daily tool for any marketingperson, just as Google Analytics and other web tracking tools have become natural part ofany online marketing organization today”.6.2 Patterns & themesRelated to the strategic areas both managers share the view to work out communication/PRand marketing strategies all together and not isolated. But none of their existing marketing,CRM or communication/PR strategies are coordinated with ORM strategies yet. This ispinpointed as essential by Beal & Strauss (2008) and Ryan & Jones (2009). The reason isprobably that ORM as a management tool are a new approach, pilot project still running andthey are still learning. Their answers tell that they understand the link between onlinebranding and ORM on a strategic level quite well. They have recognized ORM as a multidisciplinary area as well (Meerman Scott 2009). ORM will most likely be adapted as part ofother business strategies in the close future. In practice their two departments are closest to an“overlapping” model referred to Hutton (Heath & Vasquez 2001). The ORM project isgrounded in a strategic and tactical document, and there they have identified and defined theirreputation goal, objectives and KPIs. So they have started with the strategic process andbrainstorming, and then identified and tested tools to monitor and report on defined KPIs.This is the recommended order and approach referred to Beal & Strauss (2008) and Ryan &Jones (2009).33 | P a g e
  34. 34. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.6.3 My interpretationI will now try to give some answers to my research objectives and questions: Why is onlinereputation so important in addition to traditional offline reputation for organizations? Themain reason is that all the consumers and stakeholders have been their own publishers. Theiradded social forces are bigger than traditional media (Beal & Strauss 2008, Ryan & Jones2009, Meerman Scott 2009). What kind of challenges will ORM create for an organizationand its communication/PR and marketing departments? “Old” objectives and measurementsare not efficient in and online world (ibid). How important is it to have a written plan orstrategy for ORM? Without thinking through the; what‟s, how‟s, where‟s, when‟s and who‟sit is difficult to adapt ORM. Who should participant developing an ORM plan or strategy?Top level business management in addition to communication/PR and marketing. Who shouldown ORM in an organization? Either communication/PR or marketing depending on the sizeor nature of the organization. More important is that ORM being implemented acrossdepartments than who owns it. Should ORM strategy be a part of CRM/market strategy,corporate communication strategy, digital strategy, social media strategy or stand for itself?ORM is multidisciplinary, and could be implemented both in an existing CRM/marketstrategy or communication PR strategy or anchored on a higher level inside businessstrategies. How can ORM strategies support and be coordinated towards already definedbusiness goals? Starting with analysis of existing business, CRM, marketing andcommunication/PR objectives and KPIs, and then define ORM KPIs which support theseoverall business goals and objectives (ibid). Then find tools that can monitor and reportrelated to your strategic defined objectives and KPIs. Depending on your work schedule,available human resources, business needs, how popular your brand is and how much moneyyou want to invest in reputation management, any of these services may be of greatassistance. And using a fee-based reputation management service, in combination with anumber of free services, is often a wise decision. Both respondents have for a long time useddifferent monitoring tools, web traffic and SEO tools, mostly quantitative tools. With ORMincluding qualitative and sentiment/tone based monitoring in addition they have extendedtheir methods and are now using advanced Web 2.0 tools to gather more relevancy out of theirkey stakeholders. Is ORM important today or is it a future feature? Most likely are all yourstakeholders online today, so ORM will give in depth status quo analysis today, and for futuremarketing campaigns, online PR and damage control planning and actions.34 | P a g e
  35. 35. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.7. Summary & conclusionTo sum it up: just listening is no longer enough. Before, listening to the online conversationwas more than often enough. If you were aware of what was happening, then you could runmarketing, PR and branding campaigns through traditional media and have them drive thesort of impact you desired. People still trust businesses and the traditional media but inside thesocial sphere people trust their peers more. Since the economic downturn, this has changedsignificantly and businesses now need to gain far more from their ORM tools if they are tosurvive. The monitoring and measurement of sentiment/tone content of the conversation arenow critical. Off the back of this, the use of both the real time and trend data to maximize thebusiness itself, so as to better meet the stakeholder‟s needs, is critical. Use ORM as a learningtool inside your organization and be faster, smarter and better at what you do today. Use itboth strategically and tactical to your own advantage. Use ethical guidelines when you engagethe social sphere. Engagement and fast damage limitation are critical but so too is the use ofyour ORM service as a communication, PR and market research tool. Finally, my conclusionto my research question: “How can ORM be a tool to sustain and grow an excellentreputation?” is: If you want your organization to achieve your goals and objectives withinORM, you need to write an ORM strategy and learn how to: LISTEN + MONITOR + LEARN + ENGAGE (with your key stakeholders)Removing only one of these attributes and you will probably not have success with ORM.Building trust, authenticity, credibility, honesty and radically transparency online, are successfactors you‟ll need when your reputation is under threat. And it will, from time to time!Remember: Knowledge is power“Know your purpose, vision, mission and the message you want to send and how you willsend it. Prior analysis brings victory; little or no analysis is foretelling defeat”Quote: Sun-Tzu (The Art of War)35 | P a g e
  36. 36. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.8. ReferencesCurriculumBeal, Andy & Strauss, Judy (2008). Radically Transparent - Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online. US:Wiley Publishing Inc.Brønn, Peggy Simic & Berg, Roberta Wiig (2008). Corporate Communication. A strategic approach to BuildingReputation. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.Chernatony, de Leslie (2006). From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation – The strategic process of growing andstrengthening brands. Second Edition. UK: Elsevier Ltd.Heath, Robert L. & Vasquez, Gabriel (2001). Handbook of Public Relations. US: Sage Publications Inc. Chapter14: Defining the Relationship Between Public Relations and Marketing by Hutton, James G.L‟Etang, Jacquie (2008). Public Relations - Concepts, Practice and Critique. London: Sage Publications Ltd.Ryan, Damien & Jones, Calvin (2009). Understanding DIGITAL Marketing – Marketing strategies for engagingthe digital generation. US: Kogan Page Limited. Chapter 8: Online PR and Reputation management.Additional literatureAnderson, Chris (2008). The Long Tail. New York: Hyperion.Friedman, Thomas L. (2006). The world is flat. London: Penguin literature Ltd.Meerman Scott, David (2009). “The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, NewsReleases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly”. Second Edition. US: John Wiley &Sons, Inc.Safko, Lon & Brake, David K. (2009) The Social Media Bible – Tactics, Tools & Strategies for business success.New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.Shih, Clara (2009). The Facebook Era – Tapping Online Social Networks to build Better Products, Reach NewAudiences, and Sell More Stuff. US: Prentice Hall, Pearson Education.Other sourcesHaugestad, Rune (2009A). e-Marketing strategy. Term paper exam. Oslo: Oslo University College.Haugestad, Rune (2009B). Social Media strategy. Term paper exam. Oslo: Oslo University College.Internet sources:Kaitlyn Wilkins (01.10.07). The Ogilvy PR Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics (Take 2). Located 16.03.10 atWWW: http://blog.ogilvypr.com/2007/10/the-ogilvy-pr-blogger-outreach-code-of-ethics/Lexalytics Whitepaper (2010). Sentiment White Paper. Located 03.04.10 at WWW:http://www.lexalytics.com/solutions/Phillips, Robert (26.01.10). Trust in the UK. Edelman trust barometer. Located 07.04.10 at WWW:http://www.edelman.co.uk/trustbarometer/files/edelman-trust-barometer-2010-uk-highlights.pdf36 | P a g e
  37. 37. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Appendix A: Survey documentation & answersVice President of Corporate Communication - Manager A:Director of Marketing, Consumer Products – Manager B:37 | P a g e
  38. 38. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Survey answers: Manager A: Online Reputation Management (ORM) educational Bachelor thesis survey 6th term Media & Communication student at Oslo University College.Purpose: I am writing my Bachelor thesis within ORM, titled; Monitoring the Buzz.Q1: What is your position/role?Answer: Vice President of Corporate Communications.Q2: How many employees are there in your organization?Answer: There are 12 people in my team, and approximately 760 employees in ourorganization.Q3: Does your organization have an Online Reputation Management (ORM)strategy/plan?Answer: Yes, corporate communication/PR department initiated our ORM project with astrategic and tactical document. We identified and defined our reputation goal, objectives andKPIs.Q4: Does your organization monitor online conversations, mentions, buzz etc. about yourorganization, products, brands and services?Answer: Before we monitored from each business unit/department and related to theirrespective purposes. Now, with ORM we want to coordinate monitoring our key targetstakeholders and share insights across our departments.Q5: Does your organization coordinate Market and/or CRM strategy/plans with ORMstrategy/plan?Answer: No, but we do develop, adjust and coordinate our corporate communication/PRAND marketing strategies all together across departments.Q6: Does your organization coordinate Brand strategy/plan (Marketing dep.) with ORMstrategy/plan (Comm./PR dep.) ?Answer: Yes.Q7: Does your organization coordinate Social Media strategy with ORM strategy/plan?Answer: Yes, since many of our stakeholders are distributed around the world, this isreflected across the global online social sphere.38 | P a g e
  39. 39. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Q8: What are your goals with ORM?Answer: Work smarter, support our business decisions and to get faster and deeper insightsabout our stakeholders, to use this to optimize our offline PR and online PR efforts and as asupplement within online damage control. Monitoring and identifying our influence, reachand to create more influencers and advocates for our business.Q9: Does your organization use free monitoring tools to support ORM? Example of free tools: Google Insights, Google Blog search, HowSociable,IceRocket, Nielsen BlogPulse , Social Mention, Technorati, twitter search, etc.Answer: Before: Google free tools such as Google Reader and Trends, SEO tools, twittersearches, Technorati, Digg, reddit etc.Now: HowSociable, SocialMention, Alexa and Google Insights.Q10: Does your organization use paid Memberships & Subscription tools/SaaSvendors as monitoring tool to support ORM?Example of tools: Alterian SM2, Brandseye, Nielsen buzzmetrics, SentimentMetrics,Sysomos, Trackur, Trendrr, Radian6, Visible etc.Answer: We decided to use Alterian SM2 from Meltwater Norway for a limited pilot period.(Qualitative and sentiment/tone based)Q11: Does your organization use several/a mix of tools to assemble reputation status,statistics, changes etc.?Answer: Yes, both quantitative (HowSociable) and qualitative and sentiment based tools suchas: SocialMention for ad-hoc searches and Alterian SM2 for trend analyzes over time togetherwith external Web traffic trends from Alexa and Google compared to converting stats of ourdownloading numbers.Q12: Have your organization identified and defined their wanted ROI & KPIsregarding ORM efforts?For example: Quantitative, Qualitative, Sentiment/tone based measurements. KPI = KeyPerformance Indicators. ROI= Return On Investment.Answer: Yes, without defining these measurements, we would be lost in huge amount ofsearch results and data.Q13: Does your organization have a Reputation responsible employee? I.e.: BrandManager/Reputation Manager etc.Answer: Today tasks for such a position are divided across multiple departments andemployees.39 | P a g e
  40. 40. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Q14: What social media networks are you targeting? (To find your audience,customers, influencers/advocates, stakeholders etc.)Answer: All the biggest Social Media platforms across the globe are targets, our stakeholdersare everywhere. Our ORM tools are scanning, tracking and monitoring millions of news sites,aggregators, corporate sites, blogs and micro blogs.Q15: What of the following dimensions are most important for you to monitor andmeasure?Answer: Both visibility, reach, influence and sentiment are defined as key areas within ourstrategic ORM document and search solutions.Q16: Does your organization have any Social Media/blog, and/or OnlinePR/Sales/marketing outreach guidelines?Answer: Yes, as a corporation with global reach and markets, we must have this distributedwithin our departments and regional offices.Q17: Does your organization have any internal online damage control guidelines?Answer: Yes, we have defined routines and dedicated persons who are permitted to workwith damage limitation.Q18: If your organization has not started with ORM, when do you think is the righttime?Answer: We have started and have learned a lot from our ORM project.Q19: How important do you think ORM is for your business today?Answer: We distribute our software only online, so to manage our stakeholders trust, and tocreate more users ORM will be a key tool.Q20: How important do you think ORM is for your business in the future?Answer: When the social sphere expands, the need for optimal ORM, online PR, e-marketing, Web content and community increases as well.40 | P a g e
  41. 41. Candidate: 387. Media & Communication Bachelor thesis.Survey answers: Manager B:Q1: What is your position/role?Answer: Director of Marketing, Consumer Products.Q2: How many employees are there in your organization?Answer: 15 people in my team.Q3: Does your organization have an Online Reputation Management (ORM) strategy/plan?Answer: It is about to be completed now.Q4: Does your organization monitor online conversations, mentions, buzz etc. about yourorganization, products, brands and services?Answer: It has been monitored manually by team members with responsibility to follow,participate and report online conversations.Q5: Does your organization coordinate Market and/or CRM strategy/plans with ORMstrategy/plan?Answer: It is part of reporting as a manual task, but it is not clearly defined.Q6: Does your organization coordinate Brand strategy/plan (Marketing dep.) with ORMstrategy/plan (Comm./PR dep.) ?Answer: No.Q7: Does your organization coordinate Social Media strategy with ORM strategy/plan?Answer: It has not been well coordinated, but the plan is to improve this once we haveimplemented new ORM tools into the organization.Q8: What are your goals with ORM?Answer: Understand the effect of campaigns and track brand perceptions. The goal is to turnknowledge into learning and improve out media outreach, marketing, communitycommunication and brand management.Q9: Does your organization use free monitoring tools to support ORM?Example of free tools: Google Insights, Google Blog search, HowSociable, IceRocket,Nielsen BlogPulse , Social Mention, Technorati, twitter search, etc.Answer: Only on individual basis. The goal is to have such tools implemented into theorganization.41 | P a g e

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