Showing posts with label Business Principles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business Principles. Show all posts

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Online Reputation Management: The Basics

All professionals, especially those who conduct business online, can be subject to bad publicity. All it takes is one negative comment on a blog or website with the right (or wrong) mix of traffic to drive a company’s reputation into the ditch. If your company has not heard of or are not doing Online Reputation Management (ORM), here are the basics and why this is something every business needs to start doing now.


What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)

ORM is the process of following online references to a brand, company, person or service while having a plan in place to deal with any negative feedback. It is a three-step process, although they may not always occur in this order:

  • Monitor – Maintain an ongoing system for researching and keeping track of public perception.

  • Evaluate – Consider individual feedback, as well as the source, outlet, reach and timing, to come to a decision about the risk.

  • Act – Comment, rebut, draft a formal response or simply ignore what has been said, based on your company’s evaluation.

ORM is typically considered to be a mix of marketing (including SEO) and public relations. There are numerous firms offering ORM services, although it’s something companies can do on their own for free.

Why Companies must have an Online Reputation Management Program

Let’s say your company has years of experience, a solid client base, and great relationships with your clients and colleagues. Your company recently bid on a huge design project with a well-known company and won. One of the other candidates, who was not awarded the job, is resentful. Not only did he put hours into the process, but a friend within the company essentially guaranteed him the job.

Upon discovering that your company was awarded the work, the other candidate publicly attacks your company’s character, work ethic and values in his very popular design blog with over 5,000 readers. Unbeknownst to your comapny, one of the top Google results for your name is now this scathing post, which at this point has 35 comments from people who don’t even know your company, agreeing with the author. Anyone who Googles your company will now see this negative response -- potentially before they reach the business’s website.

It takes two weeks until the company is aware that there is a drop off in normally steady inquiries, and a call from a long-term client asking for details on the situation further highlights the situation. At this point, your company has no way to know how much business has been lost, but senior members are quickly scrambling to find all references to this post, and trying to do damage control.

If your company had been monitoring its online reputation, senior management would have immediately known about the negatively. Now the business’s executive team would not have been able to avoid this situation, but they could have done a few things immediately to defray some of the damage. The most important part of online reputation management is being aware of what’s being said about your company, to whom and why. It also requires that the proper methods be implemented to be quickly advised of negative comments on the Internet and that that there is a plan in place when action can be taken.

How to Handle Negative Publicity

Ideally, with every project taken on and every relationship formed, companies need to work toward building a professional reputation. Your company can enhance the effectiveness of a positive reputation by:

  • Doing great work

  • Being customer service oriented

  • Making yourself approachable

  • Collaborating with others in your industry

  • Forming personal relationships

But even if your company does everything right, there may come a time when negative publicity raises its ugly head. Harmful feedback can happen for many reasons – a misunderstanding, a wrong-doing on by a company employee, varying points of view, a disgruntled former employee, a competitor, or any number of other reasons.

How your company reacts to negative feedback is dependent on the type of comment, who said it, what forum it was said in, and the potential it has to damage your company’s reputation. However, there are some ways to gauge the risk of negative publicity and determine how best to handle it.

Think It Through

We’re human, so our initial reaction to negative comments is usually anger, belligerence, and/or defensiveness. The worst thing a company can do is react quickly without thinking the situation through because your company may only make the situation worse. Put yourself in the other person’s position, and be honest with yourself. Take a deep breath and ask yourself these questions:

  •  Is the comment true?

  • Can I see how this person could view my company’s actions this way?

  • Did an employee do something that was misunderstood or misconstrued?

  • Is my company in the wrong?

By being rational and at the same time pragmatic about the situation, the senior management can avoid doing further damage. Senior management may want to get a focus group of company employees together to further analyze the situation and get a new perspective.

The saying, “All publicity is good publicity,” may not be entirely accurate, but your company can certainly turn some negative situations into positive events. Negative publicity can give your company the opportunity to right a wrong; it can provide a platform for your company to address an issue; and it can make your company better at what it does.

Respond or Not?

Not every negative comment deserves a response. In fact, your company may decide not to respond because they feel the situation is best simply ignored. If the impact is minimal, don’t fuel the fire by pleading your case when it’s not necessary.

In some cases, your company may want to go to the source and try to work it out offline. A personal conversation may uncover information that would not have been otherwise known. If your company was in the wrong, your company can rectify the situation, and ask the author to publicly retract their comment or provide further information to defray the impact.

Your company can also respond by posting a public comment or publishing an acknowledgment letter on your company’s website or blog addressing the situation and providing your own perspective. However, be sure not to be overly defensive or personally attack the other party as that will only make your company look unprofessional.

Use It to Your Advantage

Keep in mind that whatever method your company chooses to handle the situation, your company cannot change the actions of others. Handle the situation as your company thinks is best, but don’t be pulled off-track by the negativity of others.

The Bureau

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Can Facebook & Social Media Help GM Sell More Vehicles

On May 22, 2012 I wrote a blog asking the public if GM made a wise choice dropping its 10 million dollar advertising spend from Facebook.  (For the entire blog visit: )  My position then as it is now is that GM and many automotive dealerships are not utilizing Social Media Marketing correctly in particular Facebook.

In my youth, I lived in a small country town in Texas for a few years.  Often, I would hear the expression, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig…”Decisions regarding advertising by GM look like they are changing, but marketing strategy looks to be the same when you wipe away the “lipstick”.


Often, I quote Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity which is “doing the same action continuously and expecting different results.”


Companies have two schools of thought as to whether it’s worth the investment for paid advertising on Facebook or bypass it and continue using their business fan page which doesn’t cost anything to use instead.  This blog is not entertaining this debate; it is stating that to take part in this particular debate would be the wrong battle to fight altogether.

Advertising 101 says that the more eyes that view your product will give you the exposure to help you sell your product.  It is a law of numbers.  Marketing 101 tells us that the best message that resonates with your audience will help you sell more of your product.  When GM spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in their next advertising & marketing retreat developing the direction of their message, I can’t help to think about how the answer is right in front of their nose.

Advertising 101

Let’s discuss Advertising 101 first.  The more eyes that view your product will give you the exposure to help you sell your product.  Taking this principle to the core- Facebook has over 900 million active users.  Facebook is the world’s largest URL.  Facebook has captured over 75% of Social Media Users.  Your read this correctly.  FACEBOOK is NOT the ONLY GAME in TOWN!  Business must utilize Social Networking sites to market to their potential consumers.  GM needs to develop a strategy that encompasses all of the market.  Most companies try a shot gun approach without truly diving into the analytics of consumer behavior within the confines of Social Networking Sites.  Web 2.0 will allow companies to create a strategy that will weave throughout the web to reach your desired audience.  The key is to create a net large enough that will reach all of your potential consumers.

Marketing 101

Now for the Marketing 101 discussion, I am not going to pretend to have all of the answers for every company’s needed message that they should deliver to the audience.  However, I will stick to the basics.  If a company has a good product or service, a fair price, and exceptional customer care then their brand and reputation will fly through the air like a Michigan cold front in October. The consumer will be the companies best (or worst if one of the three business principles are not met) marketer.

Business 101

Assuming a company has a good product or service, fair price, and exceptional customer care it is necessary to combined Advertising and Marketing like peanut butter and jelly into a strategy that will create the unique taste the consumer is looking for.  Companies need to look at creating a forum (see advertising 101) for their consumer (see marketing 101) to share the benefits and advantages of their product or service.


Key results for automotive dealerships (but you can replace automotive dealerships with any type of company) include strong CSI scores, increased sales, repeat business, more referrals, additional fixed operation revenue, domination of the web or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value, published positive online reviews or strong Online Reputation Management (ORM), and overall exceptional Customer Loyalty and Retention.  It is about the emotion of the sale isn’t it?  Why not take advantage of what you do the best, and have your customers work to help you sell more vehicles (or product).

About DeliveryMaxx

DeliveryMaxx understands the needs of Automotive Dealerships.  They create real customized solutions that utilize both traditional media and innovative technology that helps dealerships realize tremendous results in turning “one-time customers” into “LIFE-TIME CUSTOMERS”.

For more information, visit