Reputational risk is a problem that many companies are just beginning to understand. Today’s web is both an easy place to create a reputation and to lose one. In some cases, all it takes is one single blogger to give your company a bad review, and you could face lose thousands (or millions) of dollars in potential business. That’s why large companies are starting to hire reputation management firms like ours to help them build a positive reputation online.
In fact, it’s become such a big business as of late, that AIG recently started selling “reputation insurance” so they can cash in on the growing trend. This special insurance will help companies pay the cost of reputation management when a crisis flares up. The problem is that this type of insurance perpetuates the myth that reputation management is only needed in a crisis and can be discarded once everything has blown over. The truth is that a real reputation management policy is an ongoing strategy that prevents crises from ever surfacing.
Why Should Reputation Management Be an Ongoing Strategy?
Many companies want to believe that reputation management is something that can be applied like a band-aid when things get rough. But that is a myth. In fact, here are 3 ways that an ongoing reputation management strategy is more beneficial than an insurance policy.
1. Crises never surface
Many companies wait until a crisis pops up before even thinking about reputation management. But you can avoid the negative press and publicity, as well as the loss of revenue, by creating a strong reputation management strategy now. Creating a strategy before a crisis starts helps prevent future crises from ever happening. Why deal with the aftermath of a reputation attack when you could avoid them altogether?
2. It’s more expensive to deal with an emergency
When you have a reputation crisis, it means damage has already been done to your company, and now you are simply trying to prevent more damage from being done. In such circumstances, reputation management professionals are brought in to “fix” the problem as quickly as possible. This type of emergency management is expensive. Think of it this way: taking the extra 5 seconds to put your seatbelt on before driving, helps protect you against grave bodily harm if you are ever in an accident. Wearing a seatbelt can save your life and prevent serious injury, and it only take a few seconds. Whereas, if you don’t wear a seatbelt, and your are involved in an accident, you could face death or a lifetime of disability, mounting doctor’s bills, and chronic pain—all of which could have been prevented if you’d taken 5 seconds to fasten your seatbelt. In this case, an ongoing reputation management strategy is your seatbelt. It’s painless and easy to implement now. But waiting until a crisis hits makes it much more expensive and can leave lasting harm to your company.
3. It’s comprehensive
Crisis management is very one-sided. After a reputation crisis, reputation management strategies focus only on solving the single crisis at hand but leave all other sides open for attack. If you start a reputation management strategy now, you’ll have time to shore up all avenues and venues for reputational attacks, and you won’t be putting fires out one by one. You’ll have already placed a protective rampart around your business.
Avoid the myth propagated by reputation insurance and start an online reputation management strategy now that will help you prevent future attacks and minimize their fallout.