If there’s one thing on which businesses of all shapes and all sizes can agree, it’s that reputation is everything. In an age where consumers are more aware and better informed than ever, they know that they can afford to be fickle. If consumer’s interest in a brand is quashed by online content that besmirches that brand’s reputation, they know that there are legions of other brands to which they can turn. This is just one of the reasons why digital reputation management should be considered a priority for businesses who want to stay ahead of the competition.

However, while you may think that you’re “doing” reputation management, it’s worth noting that digital reputation management is an entirely different beast to traditional reputation management. Some people (and businesses) use digital reputation management and traditional PR interchangeably and this can lead to confusion and inevitable blind spots. Let’s take a moment to get to know the difference and why it behoves all businesses to consider their digital reputation management.

 

What is traditional PR?

Public relations (PR) is the means by which brands traditionally control their own narrative. It encompasses any means by which you may want to make an impression on prospective customers and rival brands alike. It’s a broad church encompassing;

 

  • On-brand statements like press releases
  • Communications with the news media
  • Public events and functions
  • Promotions and competitions
  • Outreach to media and social influencers

 

While PR affords one considerable latitude when it comes to the narrative surrounding your brand, there’s a fundamental chink in its armour…

Most consumers won’t engage with your brand through your PR materials.

Instead, their opinion will be informed by whatever online content they’ll engage with after typing your name into their preferred search engine. This is where digital reputation management comes in.

 

What is digital reputation management?

Digital or online reputation management controls public perception of your brand through quieter and more technical means. Through a combination of Search Engine Optimisation, content management and even legal wrangling, brands can control the way in which they are perceived by customers online.

 

So, what’s the difference?

As you can see there’s some bleed where traditional PR meets digital reputation management. However, while PR is something of a glitzy sledgehammer, digital reputation management is a technical and sophisticated scalpel. One which not all brands have learnt to wield. Because of the increasing likelihood that consumers will experience your brand through whatever comes up on a search engine’s first results page, digital reputation management is more important in establishing and protecting your brand’s reputation than ever.

You can throw all the time effort and money you want into your PR efforts, but their efficacy is seriously hampered if the first thing a potential customer sees on a SERP page is a scathing review from an angry customer.

Customers trust information they discover for themselves online much more than they trust narratives hand fed to them by brands through traditional PR channels. What’s more, while over 50% of executives believe that online reputation management should be addressed, but only 15% actually take the steps necessary to address it. Thus, putting the effort into your digital reputation management today can put you one step ahead of the competition tomorrow.

 

How we can help

Morris Mclane offer a bespoke suite of digital reputation management solutions to businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you’re ready to take control of your online reputation, click here to get to know us a little better.