Top 12 things CEOs can do to boost corporate reputation

As the face of the company, CEOs embody and express the company’s reputation, so it’s important they play an active role in defining and maintaining it. Following are the top 12 things CEOs can do to boost corporate reputation.

1. Be very visible and vocal.

As the topmost representative of the business, a CEO’s name often becomes synonymous with the company’s. Being visible and vocal reinforces the connection and builds leadership.

2. Use social media.

There are several positive results from CEOs’ using social media use, including improved corporate reputation and increased employee engagement. It also helps with online reputation management and builds relationships with employees, partners, prospects, media, and others.

3. Become an industry leader.

“Publish or perish” applies to executive and corporate reputations as much as academic ones. Regularly publishing high-quality content about your industry, like innovations, research, and predictions, builds both the CEO’s and the company’s thought leadership and authority.

4. Be friendly and approachable.

CEOs are the human side of the business. The more open and friendly you are, the more approachable the company as a whole seems. It also helps you attract better talent and publicity.

5. Maintain a strong executive reputation.

Because the CEO’s reputation is tied so closely to the company’s, keeping a strong executive reputation is a must. Your good name and the business’s good name build and reinforce each other.

6. Encourage transparency and integrity.

Openness and honesty are two critical factors influencing how your company is perceived. They especially affect your reputation as a trustworthy, credible business.

7. Champion the company values and vision.

As the highest executive officer of the company, a big part of the CEO’s job is promoting and communicating the company values and vision. Embracing them is the most effective way to show what the business stands for.

8. Foster improved communication.

Better communication all around contributes to many benefits. Increased customer exposure to your messaging is important, while improving internal communications is how you build a strong, loyal team.

9. Ask for feedback.

The company’s direction should be constantly evaluated and adjusted to make sure it delivers the most benefit. Asking for and acting on feedback helps you maintain a good corporate image and executive reputation.

10. Turn employees into brand ambassadors.

The CEO can only do so much to communicate the company’s values and boost the corporate reputation. Helping employees embrace the vision can substantially improve the business’s reputation and its bottom line.

11. Promote good governance and leadership.

Actions speak louder than words, especially when they come from the highest level. Avoid unethical behaviors and strive to be the kind of leader you want your executive team, directors, and managers to be. Your example and the resulting trickle-down effect will work wonders for everyone’s reputation and satisfaction.

12. Always be innovating and generating ideas.

CEOs who get too comfortable and who don’t keep up with changing times tend to have the shortest tenures. By always thinking ahead and being willing to adapt, you keep your job and build a robust company reputation.

Rebuilding Wall Street’s Reputation: 7 Key Factors to Focus On

With the national economy taking its time to recover and plenty of recent financial scandals, Wall Street’s reputation has tanked. If Wall Street, banks, and other financial institutions want to rebuild a solid reputation, they’ll need to focus on the 7 distinct perceptions consumers have about them. By addressing each of these areas, Wall Street bankers and stockbrokers can tackle the problem of a poor reputation from several angles.

The 7 key factors Wall Street must address to rebuild reputation are:

  • citizenship

  • financial performance

  • governance

  • innovation

  • leadership

  • products and services

  • workplace environment

Citizenship

Consumers expect companies they do business with and those who hold a lot of power to show good corporate citizenship and social responsibility. Citizenship in this sense is the idea that businesses like those on Wall Street must be actively compliant with the law, monitor and be accountable for their own actions, and have a positive impact on the environment, employees, customers, stakeholders, and the public at large.

Financial Performance

No one wants to buy from, work for, or invest in a company that isn’t financially stable and making a steady profit. Scandals, embezzlement, debt, gambling, poor investments, sour mergers or acquisitions, and other cash-flow problems all reflect a negative financial performance.

Governance

How a company is run can have a big impact on the company’s reputation. Consumers expect a company to be run efficiently, fairly, and responsibly, with strong values and appropriate policies.

Implementing a better system to punish employees involved in scandals and reward those who live up to the company’s values and mission would go a long way to rebuilding Wall Street’s reputation. So would making processes more efficient, policies more fair, and values and mission statements more in line with the other 6 factors.

Innovation

The most successful companies–which, coincidentally, usually have good reputations–evolve and adapt. They are not afraid to update old products and policies, create new ones to match the times, and otherwise innovate in any way they can to perform better and please stakeholders.

Wall Street has stagnated by doing the same things the same way for years. It’s time for them to get creative and change how they play the game to regain trust and rebuild a strong reputation.

Leadership

Thanks to the internet, consumers expect companies to have visible leaders who are experts in their industries and take a stand on important issues of the day. Wall Street executives should strive to be an influence for good and become thought leaders in smart investing, ethical banking and financial policies, and other relevant topics.

Products & Services

Businesses live or die by the strength and value of their offerings. Wall Street institutions must make sure their products and services actually help customers, solve problems, and are appropriately priced.

Workplace Environment

Although this factor mainly affects employees, it makes a difference in a business’s reputation. Consumers expect businesses they frequent to treat their employees well, and an employee’s assessment of the company is more powerful than a random customer.

Rebuilding Wall Street’s reputation will take a lot of work, but these 7 key factors provide the much-needed guidance to get them on the right track.

 

How to Use YouTube to Combat a Negative Online Reputation

Not only do videos get a lot of attention in the search engines ranks compared to just regular old links, they also work really well for reputation management. Sure, they can take up a spot in the SERPs and push more negative link down, but they can also be great tools for getting your positive message across to users.

First of all, if you’re not using YouTube as part of your marketing strategy, you should be. Second, if you haven’t thought about it as a way to create a more positive online reputation, now is the time to start. And it’s not that hard.

Video Isn’t That Hard

There is a perception that in order to do effective YouTube content you have to have a big budget, actors, expensive equipment, and more. And that’s simply not true. A lot of the videos that rank well in a general Google search are just people sitting at a desk with a camera. So don’t be afraid to go out and try something.

All you have to have is a camera (your smartphone is probably just fine) and some good information. Maybe you just want to talk about your company or your services, maybe you want to give advice or create a “how to” video (on a side note, “how to” videos tend to rank better than most types of videos). The point it, if you have some great content about your company—which you probably do—getting a video together shouldn’t be that hard.

Ranking Your Video

Once you have a video made, you need to start thinking about how to get it to rank in the general search. There are only a few factors to take into account:

1) YouTube Rank

One of the factors that Google looks at when deciding to rank a video in the general search results is that video’s rank within the platform it is hosted on. In this case, if a video ranks well on YouTube it is more likely to show up on the first page of a Google search. So, first you need to focus on ranking well within the platform then think about ranking in the general search results.

2) Title, Description, and Keywords

YouTube is not nearly as complicated a search engine as the Google general search. YouTube relies much more heavily on user-generated factors to rank videos: the title, description, and keywords that users create when they upload a video. So, simply make sure that these areas include the words and phrases you want to rank well for.

In general, informational or “how to” videos tend to rank well, and videos with words that are related to products or brands tend not to rank as well. So, although you want to include the name of your brand in the video description and title, make sure it is paired with information-focused keywords as well. For example, “how to install a door knob” would be a great information title. Just make sure your brand name is included in the description (and a link to your official website is good too). Also include a handful of keywords that are relevant to the content of the video (as well as your brand name).

3) Links

Lastly, ranking well on YouTube is a lot like ranking well on Google, if you have a number of links and social shares that point to your video, it is more likely to rank well within YouTube and in the Google general search. So, do some good old-fashioned link-building to create some authority for the video. Chances are, if you are simply trying to rank for branded searches, a couple of links will be all you need. (Your brand name is not usually a high-competition keywords set.)

Lastly, keep in mind that a video can serve a dual purpose. Not only can it appear in the general search results (pushing negative links off the page), but it can be a tool for building a positive reputation. Although your video doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production to be good, if you create a video with compelling, informational content—you’ll be building trust in the eyes of anyone who sees it. And building actual trust with real people will lead to real sales and conversions, which should be your ultimate goal in the first place.

Putting the “Strategy” Back in Reputation Management Strategy

Most times, when you tell your friends or family that you do online reputation management, they either think that what you do is so complicated that they’ll never understand it, or they just think you have the most boring job in the world. Fortunately, neither of those is true. Reputation management can be fun and challenging and the basic principles behind it are not that hard to understand. Executing on them, however, can be a different story.

Although at the heart of reputation management there are a number of easy principles to follow, sometimes we can get so involved with all the little things that we forget about the big picture. So maybe it’s time to take a step back, look at your current strategies, and evaluate what they are doing for you.

Coordinate Your Efforts

Sometimes getting down in the weeds on a daily basis can blind us to the fact they we should have a diverse set of strategies that we are employing for any given client and that they should be working in concert. This may be especially true if you have a large staff or use a number of independent contractors. No reputation management effort should be working alone. Social should boost web properties, web properties should boost content and links, high ranks should encourage more social interaction, etc. Don’t get so involved in one method of reputation management that you forget about other efforts working in concert to provide the best results for yourself or your client.

Understand Your Audience

This is, perhaps, not a focus we normally have, but we need to keep in mind who we are building this reputation for. It’s not for ourselves or our clients—it’s for the people who are performing branded searches. You can create a beautiful SERP with a ton of great content, but if that SERP does not instill confidence in your particular audience, you’ll be failing. Find out who is searching for you or your clients online, understand what they think is positive or what will give them a positive sense of the brand. Then you’ll be creating not just a great SERP but an effective tool for building trust with your audience.

Solve Problems, Don’t Just Offer Solutions

When we’re in the thick of a campaign, sometimes it’s easy to simply implement the first strategy that comes to mind. But the easiest solution is not always the best solution for the long term. Before trying to offer solutions, try to understand the problem first. Back up, look at the cause of the bad reputation or negative press. Oftentimes, getting to the root of the problem will offer a clearer, easier solution than starting a whole new campaign or adding more work to your already large load.

Follow Your Plan and Evaluate It

At the creation of a strategy, you should define what you want the outcome to be and set a goal to reach it. Then stick to your plan. Remember what the Cheshire Cat said to Alice: If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. Remind yourself of what your goals are on a regular basis and when you’ve reached the end, look back and measure how that success came about, so you can repeat that success again. On the other hand, if you’re not reaching your goal, it could be because of unclear expectations or becoming derailed by not staying focused.

Overall, remember that reputation management will be much easier and more effective if you know where you’re going, can coordinate your efforts, understand your audience, and work to solve problems, not just offer solutions.

Nobody Wants Your Reputation Management

In a 2009 article on his blog, Steven Pressfield (writer, creative extraordinaire) writes about his first job creating copy at an ad agency. And the #1 lesson he learned from that job is, to quote Pressfield, “Nobody wants to read your s**t.” Although you may think that you’ve just written the most amazing Trident commercial ever—no one cares. At the end of the day it’s just gum, or detergent, or floor wax. And most people are too busy with their everyday lives to even bother watching your genius commercial, let alone pay any attention to it.

But, he continues, the idea that your work doesn’t matter to anyone else is one of the most important things to learn about being a writer—that the only way people are going to stop and listen to what you have to say is if you can think like them, offer them something they’ve never seen before, and do it in a way that speaks to their experience.

Although Pressfield is talking about writing, his words could be applied to just about any profession, including reputation management. Think about it: in reality, no one cares how many links you’ve built, how many social profiles you’ve created, or what kind of infographic you were able to get to rank for a branded term. If the link to your client’s Facebook page moves up one slot in the SERP, the world does not stop.

So what do people care about? And why does that even matter to reputation management professionals?

Doing reputation management, you have to think about two audiences, your clients and the people who will be searching for your clients’ names online. Clients just want results. They don’t really want to know how you did it, they just want to be able to search their name online and see that no bad press comes up in the SERP. And users who are searching for your client’s name online don’t care about how search engines work, they simply want to see a fair and balanced result when they search. They just want access to actionable information about the brands or companies they looking for.

In essence, both clients and users want to feel a sense of relief. Clients want to be relieved that they don’t have to worry about their online reputation, and users want to be relieved that they don’t have to go to the second page of results to find the information they’re looking for.

As such, the job of an online reputation manager is not so much about numbers and ranks and algorithms as it is about creating a positive feeling in those that you work for and those that will see your work. This is perhaps the goal that we lose sight of as we go about our daily activities.

Keeping our eye on the fact that no one cares about what we do—as long as it is helpful and useful—can help us focus our daily efforts and prioritize our strategies. The next time you’re in the middle of a campaign, ask yourself, “Is someone go to care about the result of what I’m doing right now? Is this going to make my client and their users feel relieved?”

No one may care about what we do. But if we care about what they want, we’ll be able to build better reputation strategies, execute better campaigns, and ultimately, be more successful at what we do.

 

How to Be a Corporate Reputation Management Wizard

Reputation management might sound like a job that doesn’t require much time or effort. Besides, doesn’t the marketing department deal with the reputation of the company? Far from it. Reputation management is about more than the messaging that the marketing department puts together. It’s about controlling the way your company name is used online, in what context, and—especially—how a search engine results page (SERP) looks when a customer Googles your company or brand name.

It’s about being aware of everything going on around your company, battling online trolls, and the dragons of so-called “scam alert” sites. In some ways it’s kind of like being a wizard. So when it comes to corporate reputation management, do you want to be Frodo or Gandalf? (Who doesn’t want to be Gandalf?) Here are a few ways you can be a corporate reputation management wizard.

1) Learn

Gandalf didn’t become Gandalf by sitting around waiting for magic to happen. He had to learn his art, and learn it well. As a reputation management specialist, you should learn basic and advanced SEO principles. Follow some of the top SEO blogs and influencers and emulate what they do to achieve great search results.

But also don’t forget about dabbling in marketing as well. Reputation management isn’t all about technical SEO, it’s also about nuance, dealing with people, and crafting the right messaging to your audience—whether that means a search audience or another blogger. If you can master both, you’ll be a wizard to be reckoned with.

2) Monitor

Part of the reason Gandlaf was effective was that he kept his ear to the ground. He listened to people and he saw trends in the culture around him. You need to do the same thing to defend your company against the figurative reputation onslaught from Mordor. Use tools that will monitor the web, like Google Alerts, for mentions of your company online as well as links to your main websites. When you see negative mentions or links, seek to understand them before jumping in to execute a plan.

3) Put out small fires

Gandalf knew well ahead of time that war was coming, and he started to gather his forces and put plans into action before the Orcs assembled a full-scale attack. When you find negative mentions of your company online, focus on them right away. It doesn’t matter if the site is small or if the mention “isn’t that bad.” Small things today can turn into big problems tomorrow. So, if you can keep on top of the small tings, putting out little fires as they arise, you’ll have fewer problems down the road.

4) Start with the small stuff

Why did Gandalf start his plan with Hobbits—small and simple creatures that knew no violence or war? Because he knew they were loyal, hardworking, and would follow the plan through to the end. He knew that the battle wasn’t about how big his army was or who had the most armor. He knew to came down to the details. As an SEO wizard, start with the small stuff. Create social profiles, buy domain variations of your company name, and more. Reputation management is not a war about the biggest swords. It is a battle of the most tenacious player. So start with the little things that will help provide a solid base for the rest of your strategy.

5) Be resourceful

Why use a sword, when a staff will do? Why send a knight, when a Hobbit can sneak through the cracks in the wall easier? To truly be a corporate reputation management wizard, you have to think strategically and look at ALL the angles. For example, if you can control your branded SERPs, why not try and control a branded “scam” SERP as well? Look for angles that haven’t been explored and new ways to attack the same problem.

With a little creative thinking and knowledge on your side, you can stand up to negative links in your branded search and yell, “You shall not pass!”

Looking to the Future: Reputation Management for the Corporate Professional

Today, most professionals will not only switch jobs and companies up to 10 times in their working career, but they’ll most likely switch professions a number of times before they retire. The days when you could get a job at a company and stay there for 20 years are pretty much over. Today’s workforce is more mobile and more open to changing job titles, duties, and companies to fit their lifestyle and life goals.

Because you’ll most likely be changing jobs a number of times over the next 20 years, the reputation you build at a single company won’t be worth much as you look for other opportunities—or if other opportunities come looking for you. That’s why it’s important to start cultivating a great online reputation now, so you can be ready for the future. Solid reputation management starts with you, and here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you boost your reputation and look toward the future.

1) Claim your profiles and domains now

Don’t wait until you build up a reputation to claim your social profiles and personalized domain names. A great place to do this is KnowEm. Do it now. By the time you have a name that’s worth something, someone else may have already snagged your usernames and URLs. For example, create a Facebook profile (and maybe even a “fan” page) for yourself, as well as Twitter profiles, LinkedIn profiles, and more. Not only will you own those personalized accounts so no one else can grab them, but they tend to do very well in the SERPs, letting people who are searching for you online find you easily.

2) Watch what you say

Before the digital age, you were allowed a certain leeway in your public discourse. Even if you said or wrote something stupid, chances are that those statements would be hard to find by potential employers and no one would really go looking for them anyway. However, today everything you write or publish on the web stays there. Forever. And not only your statements, but the statement of people who might write about you. Keep things clean and professional, and you won’t have to deal with damaging comments later on.

3) Give stuff away

Part of building a good reputation online now is creating a network of positive online references to you and your work. In this vein, find blogs that pertain to your profession and interests and write posts for them. Offer to give them interviews, data, graphics, and more. When people search for you online and see that you’ve given content to others and have been mentioned in a number of places on the web, they’ll get the impression that you are someone worth doing business with.

4) Contribute

Not only should you get yourself mentioned on blogs and other websites, but you should contribute to the discussion. Find places online where other professionals like you hang out and hang out with them. LinkedIn groups are an excellent location to find other professionals. Join forums, groups, and social networks that pertain to your personal goals and ask questions, give answers, point group members to great resources. When you can build a positive reputation within these circles, you’ll build a positive reputation online in general.

5) Get listed

There are plenty of directories and lists out there that you can contribute to. Find directories that list movers and shakers within your field and ask to be included. (Of course it helps if you’ve already done many of the things listed above.)

6) Be vigilant

Lastly, be vigilant of your online reputation. There are a few free tools that you can use, like Google Alerts, that will notify you when your name is mentioned online. When you see these alerts, check out the reference and thank the person or organization for mentioning you. If the mention was not positive, work with the individual to resolve any problems that may have occurred. If you can fix these little problems now, you won’t have to face them in the future when someone important is searching for you online.

Tips for Using Non-Branded Content in Your Reputation Management Strategy

As today’s consumer becomes more web savvy, they are increasingly searching for non-branded, or neutral, information when they want to find out more about your company online. That is, if a potential customer searches for your company name online, and all they see are a number of links that clearly point to content that you control, the potential customer may feel like they are not getting a holistic view of your company.

As a result, they may either move to the second page of the results, or they’ll try a new search for something like “ACME reviews” or “information about ACME.” But that’s not what you want them to do.

When managing online reputation for a company, you want to control what potential customers see and keep them from looking elsewhere for more information. But the only way you can keep them on the 1st page of results for your company name is to make them feel that the information they are seeing is natural and unbiased. And the best way to do that is to promote non-branded content as part of the reputation strategy.

Positive and Neutral

Potential customers will only believe they are seeing non-biased information when they see a mix of positive and neutral content on the 1st page of the results. So search for information about your company that already exists online. Here are some places to look:

1) News Articles

News articles are some of the best content to optimize and promote to the 1st page of the search results. They’re written by a 3rd party and they generally carry a good amount of authority with them. In other words, people find it very easy to believe news stories. And when looking for a story about your company, you don’t even have to find one that focuses on your company—one that simply mentions your company name is fine (as long as the mention is in either a positive or neutral light). In fact, it may even be worth it to pitch a story about your company to a local news agency. If they write about you—instant content!

2) Wikipedia

Wikipedia has pretty high domain authority on the web, which is one of the reasons it comes up so often in search results. If you company is of any decent size, it may be worth asking someone to write a short Wikipedia article about it. Although Wikipedia articles are taken with a grain of salt by most people, having a Wikipedia article show up in your search results give the impression that your company is important enough to have an article written about them. Which is never a bad thing.

3) Reviews

One of the great things about the modern internet is that absolute deluge of user-generated content, in the form of reviews, videos, pictures and more. There are dozens of review sites on the web, and it is definitely worth it to search these websites for reviews of your company. If you find a handful of positive or neutral reviews, build links to those pages and get them to rank for your branded search term. What appears most un-biased to a potential customer than 3rd party reviews of your products and services?

4) Video

Video is a little trickier. Unless you already have a very large customer base, there probably aren’t a lot of videos made by third parties about your company. However, they may exist. If you can find one that mentions your company, build links to it to get it to rank better in the results. Videos have an incredibly high click-through rate and carry a good amount of authority with them. If you find a video that mentions your company by name, it’s probably worth it to contact the person who made it, ask them to put your company name in the description and meta tags of the video and tell them you want to promote it. Chances are they’d like increased views of their video (especially if they’re part of the YouTube advertising partner program), giving them an incentive to help you out.

There are other types of 3rd party, neutral content on the web as well, like business listings, BBB pages, blog posts, and more. But these four types of content above may give your reputation management strategy a stronger boost, so it is definitely worth it to give them a try so you can build a more natural looking results page for your company.