Reputation Management In A Social Networking Society
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Reputation Management In A Social Networking Society



In this splintered media universe, consumers have gained full control of what they see, read and hear. These ...

In this splintered media universe, consumers have gained full control of what they see, read and hear. These
technology applications give them power not only to have information delivered to the device of their choice, but to share it instantly, along with their unfiltered opinions. What impact can that have on your business?



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Reputation Management In A Social Networking Society Document Transcript

  • 1. It ain’t slander if it’s true. Reputation management in a social networking society Reputation Management in a Social Networking Society 1 white paper
  • 2. The evolution of communication technologies and the ways in which consumers are using them is forcing corporate leaders to reinvent the standards and methodologies they use to protect, manage and nurture their most important asset – their brand reputation. Technology enables instant access to massive volumes of information and news. Print, radio and television media continue to claim a large information- Consumers have hungry audience share, although their business models are greatly strained. gained full control of Overtaking them are Internet-based news and information sites, which deliver what they see, read information faster and more directly. Consumer-generated media channels and hear. and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and other applications are carrying availability, volume and quality of information to a whole new level. In this splintered media universe, consumers have gained full control of what they see, read and hear. These technology applications give them power not just to have information delivered to the device of their choice, but to share it instantly, along with their unfiltered opinions – crossing channels, devices and other barriers. Such is the setting in which corporations now operate. Every move they make is subject to the scrutiny of a sophisticated, powerful global audience. What to do? There are solutions. Just as consumers use technology applications to empower themselves with knowledge and control, so can corporations in their bid to sustain and grow their brand reputation and value. The purpose of this white paper is twofold: 1. To highlight how consumers are using best in breed communication technologies to shape and control conversations that have the potential to destroy corporate brands. 2. To review the latest in brand reputation management standards and technologies that are helping businesses today increase their bottom line performance, while at the same time mitigating potential risk to their reputation. Those were the days The requirement of brand owners to address challenges imposed on them as a result of developments in mass communication is not entirely new. In the past century in particular, advances in technology and the emergence Reputation Management in a Social Networking Society 1
  • 3. of new channels to reach consumers have compelled corporations to change how they think and act about their relationships with customers and stakeholders. Beginning in 1900, journalist Ida Tarbell wrote a series of articles for McClure’s Magazine about the Standard Oil Company and its owner John D. The impact of these Rockefeller. Initially, Rockefeller consented to interviews for what he believed stories damaged the would be a positive profile. The stories published however, led to federal anti- reputation and brand trust legislation against the company and to its eventual break-up in 1911. of the Standard Oil Company, and The impact of these stories damaged the reputation and brand of the that of its owner Standard Oil Company, and that of its owner John D. Rockefeller, irreparably. John D. Rockefeller, When the articles were published, Standard Oil figured the best response was to ignore them. This was a strategy they would regret however, for no amount irreparably. of philanthropy to mitigate the Tarbell stories could restore the loss of trust in the company or Rockefeller’s personal reputation. New channels, new challenges As the 20th century unfolded in North America, corporations that typically The dazzling volume used newspapers and magazines had to re-think their paradigm to follow of content challenges their customers. even the hardiest To that end, brand owners followed (or led) their customers first to radio, then consumer with to television, and finally to close off the century, the Internet. Each new information overload. medium required corporations to develop a highly specialized advertising model to promote their brand reputation and value, and an equally strategic adjustment in the methodology they had in place to respond to consumer reaction. With the emergence of each new channel, the challenge of corporations to stand out in target markets has become more significant and complex. Companies had to determine and invest in more cost-effective channels, and focus on nurturing these brand relationships based on confidence. The paradigm for the consumer changed too, providing a fresh avenue to new information. At their best, these media deliver as much intelligence as the average consumer could ever want. At their worst, the dazzling volume of content challenges even the hardiest consumer with information overload. Reputation Management in a Social Networking Society 2
  • 4. A one-way street Except for the Internet, traditional mass media channels — print media, radio and television — have one major thing in common: they essentially offer one-way communication. Making headlines has been comparatively uncomplicated and unsophisticated. Corporations had virtually complete control of their brands and invested appropriately to build and sustain loyalty with their customers. If they felt the tone of an entertainment program they were advertising within If no easy mechanism was too risqué for their customers, they threatened to pull their sponsorship. is available, For the average consumer of mid-century North America, the impact of this consumers will still power was deep. Their impressions of everything from politics to what find ways to make products they should own were often shaped through the lens of brand their voices heard. owners. From Chevrolet to Betty Crocker, many of these brands were an integral part of the popular culture. This is not to say that corporations did not suffer setbacks, failures and damage to their reputations and brands. The lessons learned at the expense of Standard Oil were well taken. Brand owners now recognize instinctively they must cultivate and nurture their reputation. Successful companies know that even if consumers don’t have an easy mechanism to voice their objection to a product or service, they will still find ways to make their voices heard. And, worse yet, they will stop buying. The dividing line If the problems experienced in the early ’80s were taking place today, the behavior of consumers and the company’s efforts to restore its ailing reputation would be very different – and the outcome unlikely to be the same. Consumer generated media and social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter represent a distinct dividing line between the one-way flow of traditional mass communication channels and a fully interactive environment. The networks and communication structures that corporations once dominated have been overtaken by a critical mass of vocal consumers who are keen to share their unfiltered opinions, and are empowered to do it instantly. Millions of conversations In this Web 2.0 setting, today’s enterprise has to be nimble and smart to Today’s enterprise keep up. The best ones are figuring it out: they are making necessary has to be nimble and adjustments to their planning, operations, capitalization, and production, and are moving forward. smart to keep up. Reputation Management in a Social Networking Society 3
  • 5. The down-side for corporations in this era of social media is the volume of conversations that can take place — good or bad — about their brand. How can they listen to the millions of conversations that can take place about their brand over so many media channels? The prospect seems impossible. Break and re-make Traditionally, the job of monitoring and protecting a company’s reputation has Technology has been the domain of corporate communications and public relations teams. changed the rules, This has been the accepted paradigm for two or three generations. But so the paradigm for technology has changed the rules, so the paradigm for reputation protection reputation protection must be remade. must be remade. Companies who recognize the challenges of managing their reputation are beginning to pull down the barriers that have traditionally separated their organizations’ vertically-built groups and are assigning them with reputation management responsibilities. Corporate communications, marketing, media relations and customer relations roles are increasingly interrelated and beginning to merge. A crisis management issue for a corporate communications employee may also be an opportunity for the customer relations group. Trends identified by the media relations group could be used to deliver more effective marketing or advertising messages. No opportunity to build brand reputation can be wasted. Take it further Smart enterprises are tapping into Web 2.0 opportunities (and risks). Removing vertical organizational barriers, new teams are emerging (Companies) must organically to subscribe to and feed Facebook and Twitter accounts, post use the same Web videos about their issues, products and services on YouTube, and write and 2.0 tools their contribute to others’ blogs about their ideas. customers are using. The reality is that even when companies do not have a presence on, or participate in, Web 2.0 media channels, conversations that may make or break their reputation can and will take place in their absence. It is understood now that they must use the same Web 2.0 tools their customers are using. They must be conscious of the conversations and prepared to act quickly and strategically. Reputation Management in a Social Networking Society 4
  • 6. New tools for new times Companies are increasingly investing in specialized Web-based applications that bring their internal teams together to effectively monitor, interpret, analyze and report on the traditional and consumer generated conversations taking place about them. Such applications and associated services are helping to support the paradigm shift taking place in the way corporations manage their brand reputation. With some variations, these tools have common characteristics. They must possess: » A safe and secure online environment. Teams would be cost-prohibitive. Technology tools must within corporations have access to sensitive make monitoring and analysis efforts cost- corporate information. When they are sharing effective and practical. and exchanging information online, they must be » Flexible architecture for media content confident that they are doing so in a safe and integration. Given how rapidly new media secure setting. In this setting, roles, rights and channels are opening up (where was Twitter a access can be assigned. year ago?), any technology adopted by a company » A collaborative workspace for all team must be flexible with media monitoring feeds, members. Distributed teams require a databases, and metrics. collaborative space, not just for their internal » Real-time alerts. Technology tools must be teams, but for their external providers like public equipped to deliver alerts in real-time. Early relations firms to enable faster messaging warning systems are essential. approval and strategy adjustment buy-in in times of crisis. » Expert packaging. Applications that support monitoring media must be able to transform it » One platform and one window. Software-as-a- into professional quality summaries. If it can’t be service technology providers now have the ability scanned, read and absorbed quickly and easily, it to deliver information to a single dashboard. The will not be an effective tool. conversations in print, TV, radio, online media, social media, blogs and discussion boards all » Reporting and analysis. Applications must have arrive in one place to be reviewed and analyzed. the capacity to report on and measure earned media and coverage on Web 2.0 media channels. » Search and monitoring functions. Issues don’t always emerge fully formed. Often they take » Easy to deploy. Companies have enough weeks or even months to develop. A good web- headaches. They don’t need the hassle of having based tool allows its users to track past stories to integrate new technologies and applications and conversations as well as emerging ones. with existing ones. They need tools that are fast and easy to deploy online. » A cost-effective price point. With the potential for millions of conversations to take place all at once, traditional ways of cost-per-clip monitoring Reputation Management in a Social Networking Society 5
  • 7. Live and learn The most important lesson we learn about reputation management is that a company’s brand is at the mercy of mass communication unless strategic A company’s brand is investments are made to listen and analyze media coverage. at the mercy of mass communication As media channels grow and become more complex, companies must be unless strategic vigilant to the threat of attacks on their reputation, and they must be investments are constantly reviewing and reinventing their brand protection methodologies. made to listen and Communication technologies and channels will not remain static. Successful analyze media companies of the future will not only understand and have embraced these coverage. technologies and the power of human nature; they will use this understanding to their advantage. They will pay more focused attention to media coverage about them – on both traditional and Web 2.0 channels. They will bring down the barriers within their organizations and use their experts to rally around, protect and build their reputation. And they will do this not just in times of crisis, but every day. About dna13 dna13 is a leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business application for brand and reputation management. As the global leader for on-demand software for real-time reputation management, dna13 provides complete visibility into global reputation. It enables communicators to monitor and listen to what is being said about their company in both traditional and online media sources, securely align team members to plan the synchronized delivery of messages, and engage with key stakeholders to develop and nurture valuable relationships. Visit for more information. Reputation Management in a Social Networking Society 6
  • 8. © 2009 dna13 Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. | | 866.842.1723