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Once there was a company that decided it was cheaper to hire cannibals as workers, so a manager brought in a group of cannibals, showed them how to do their jobs, told them that they would be treated just like anyone else in the company but asked that they avoid eating anyone.
A couple of weeks went by when the manager came to the cannibals and said, “You guys are doing a great job, we’ve really enjoyed having you here, but a secretary has gone missing—do you have any idea where she went?” The cannibals shook their heads, and the manager left.
Then the chief cannibal turned to the group and asked, “Alright, who ate the secretary?” One of the men fearfully raised his hand. The chief said, “Now they’re onto us! I’ve been eating managers for weeks, and then you had to go and eat someone important.”
All kidding aside, management is one of those words that smacks of bureaucracy and bean counting—not of accomplishment. But reputation management is about more than checking out the SERPs every once in awhile to see if your reputation is improving. Reputation management takes hard work, dedication, and leadership to accomplish its goals.
In fact, the word “manage” actually has four different meanings that can give us insight into exactly what we should be doing as reputation managers.
To Be In Charge Of
Firstly, “to manage” means to be in charge of something. And being in charge means taking responsibility for one’s actions. As managers of reputation strategies, we need to take responsibility for the reputations of the companies or brand names that we work on. That means going beyond simply making sure the SERPs look good. It means taking an interest and a leadership role when it comes to your company’s reputation and giving a direction and purpose to your efforts. Setting goals, following up, and focusing on the success of your reputation strategy are all part of managing reputation.
If I manage to pull off a victory in the last seconds of the game with a half-court shot, I’ve accomplished a win for my team. Management isn’t just about making sure the strategy is moving according to plan, it’s about pulling off a victory for your company or brand. In order to accomplish your goals, you have to follow through with your promises and stick with the strategy until you can achieve SERPs that reflect positively on your company or brand.
When a reputation crisis occurs, will you manage to turn the crisis around? To manage also means to deal with the situation that is presented to you in a way that does not betray defeat or weakness. Emergencies will arise; crises will occur; but if you have the tenacity and confidence to manage your reputation strategy with strength, you’ll come through the other side with an improved strategy and a better understanding of what it means to manage a reputation.
Lastly, to manage also means to control something. In reputation management, you need to be in control of your company or brand’s online reputation at all times. If you are vigilant, and constantly monitoring the web, you should be ready or any crisis that may arise. That’s what being in control is—having a knowledge of all possible dangers and planning for them in advance so you’re never caught off guard.
Manage Your Reputation
Although “management” can be a dirty word, it doesn’t have to be. If you can take charge of your strategy, follow it through to the end, and be prepared in advance for any threat, you’ll create a solid reputation management strategy that will protect your company or brand from attack. As for protecting yourself from the cannibals, that’s a different story.