Corporate Reputation Management
Corporate Reputation Management
Corporate reputation management involves taking all reasonable actions to manage or mitigate any form of risk associated with an organization. It incorporates security and safety procedures, maintenance requirements, diagnostics and monitoring, quality control, standard regulations, and other methodologies that aim at maintaining the regard and value of a company. In most cases, it is associated with the public relations where the image of the organization is at stake. The feedback provided by the stakeholders, who are mainly the customers, suppliers, and partners determine the placement of an organization’s operations, existence, mission, vision, and achievements (Romenti & Illia, 2013). It connects all factors to the management and decision-making process. It can be taken as a preventative measure that seeks to limit any negative reaction or occurrence from external sources, which can create a crisis within the organization. The reputation management of an organization depends on traditional or digital communication procedures.
Technology has played an integral part in transforming the way reputation management is handled as well as the decisions made towards it by an organizational decision. In essence, the public relations domain has moved from the traditional setting of one-on-one basis to mass actualization with the aim of maintaining a brand image to the audience. In the traditional forms, the tactics were placed under an umbrella representation that could include crisis communications, event coordination, trade shows, distribution of press release, and sponsorship opportunities through communication (Hazlett, 2012). The form of reaching out to the target audience involved traditional media such as radio, television, and newspapers. It also targeted magazines that were relevant to the interested parties, either on periodical terms or on regular basis. Professionals who worked at the traditional reputation firms were regarded as the main assets in engaging with the clients as well as forming contact correspondence through media and familiarity.
With the advent of technology, changes have been realized in corporate reputation management since relationships and placement methods of securing them are of utmost importance. It is necessary to attribute the benefits that technological implementation have added to digital public relations. The tactics involved in the case of digital communication have similar relativity to the traditional ones. However, the impact is broad and centered on mass attributes. The main differentiator in this course is the building of connections through key players within a digital space that have the ability to influence large numbers (Wu, 2013). The influencers within the digital platforms are characterized by having an authority and exercising greater reach than the traditional public relations persons. They are represented through the loyal following they have especially on social media networks. They are taken as publicists who determine the content of communication when representing a brand or an organization to the masses.
Another form of change that technological modification has brought to reputation management is based on the content. Digital communication requires real-time augmentation since it relies on an online platform. Both parties involved in the process of reputation correspondence have to effect an immediate reception and feedback basis for understanding the organizational concepts and values that are being transmitted. There is also the need for transparency and accountability. Transparency is generated through logical communication where both parties have access to the content being relayed and provide an influence to either positive or negative generation of outcomes on the same. Accountability is then mandated to the organization in effort where it can have a report based outcome for the management (Hazlett, 2012). Effective leadership discussed is felt where decision-making is involved. On the other hand, the recipient can confirm, criticize, or challenge the same content having played a part in the process of the communication.
Another change in the management of corporate reputation is the requirement of consistency and professionalism throughout the course. Having all correspondence on an online platform, there is need to maintain the standards set and achieved by an organization to have a positive impact on the second and third parties involved. Reputation is about mitigating and managing any form of risk that can have a negative impact on the organization. Therefore, the audience is fully aware of all strategic approaches and feedbacks realized within a given timeframe (Wu, 2013). Therefore, professionalism and consistency prove the true value, impact, and reputation in the same regard. There also has to be control, culture, and operations of the organization related in the digital age. The influences realized from reputation can have an impact on the behavior and response, especially by consumers. Organizations strive to create culture and set of operations that depict the firm’s stance and control measures.
Corporate Business Strategies
Changing technologies in corporate reputation management have transformed the different business strategies for companies either willing or consequential. The public relations field in the last decade has led to growth and increased popularity of social media. It has taken the impetus of changing communication procedures throughout regardless of the recipient on either ends. The same has been realized on a corporate level especially where strategies have a direct influence on the business. The main modification that has been of greater value is encouragement on customer focus. Through the digital communication, business strategies have been centered on customers and building of relationships that are positive. The ability of consumers in giving feedback forces companies to take immediate action and resolve any pending issues to avoid occurrence of crisis (Romenti & Illia, 2013). The same interactions on social media generate preferential production and productivity of the organizational objectives towards targeting returns from the customers’ input.
Corporate business strategies have been challenged to take up around-the-clock news cycle. The current basis of news delivery through a cycle has its advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, brands can take the opportunity and deliver good news any moment knowing that all customers or affiliated parties will respond on an equal positive measure. Social media has given the prominence of delivering systematic updates on the same issues. Corporate take up the chances and enable a management plan in case there is any arising issue that threatens to create a crisis (Hazlett, 2012). On the other hand, using the around-the-clock system disadvantages is realized if negative news or reputation travel through the same platform and network. The social media content can create a relations crisis that the organization cannot recover from or even managed to contain depending on the extent it has reached the masses. Therefore, the strategies of the business have to take into consideration the outcomes of communication through the digital space.
Corporate business strategies have also changed the approach to public relations as they are being left to integrate them on a larger platform. Marketing experts have changed from the traditional methods into social media trend at the earliest opportunity. Public relations experts on the other hand caught up with the change of strategies at a later period and are championed for the incorporation of good relations’ measures. Consequently, by working with marketing through social media, the public relations professionals have to integrate the concepts and standardized practices for them to achieve any meaningful results (Romenti & Illia, 2013). It is a necessary step, that requires effective leadership and decision making from the management since conflict of interest can arise if there is no distinction and separation of the two. The integration is only functional if there is hierarchical communication.
Another distinct change realized on corporate business strategies is greater engagement by the organizations and affordability of public relations. In the past, communication at the organizational level and business concerns was one-way. Companies generated the content that they deemed necessary from the strategic point of business view and delivered it to the customers. In return, there was no avenue for easier interaction or response to the content distributed. With effective changes, customers are able to engage with the brands and businesses by having real-time communication and feedback on any content that has been relayed (Wu, 2013). It transforms the strategies since companies have to derive content that is friendly and preferential to the customers’ behavior and attributes other than internal-based. It also boosts visibility in an ever-changing circumstance where the public relations are now more affordable to smaller businesses than before. It adds to the positive changes that have been managed.
Companies’ Adaptation to the Issues
Due to changes in the corporate business strategies affected by changing technologies, other positions have had to be actualized with immediate effect. Since companies do not want to lose on negative reputation, the management has witnessed swift and careful planning, including embracing the social media platform for easier communication. In most cases, handling of the crisis has been made possible by proactive and reactive positions without a disregard of the incident at any stage (Romenti & Illia, 2013). In the proactive management, organizations have instituted active monitoring and participation of all social media accounts to avert any possible crisis before it happens. It also includes reviewing of the company websites, checking news articles, and probable brand mentions across online platforms to ensure that they are within the standard requirements of their reputation. Any negative review response or feedback to the organization is met with an immediate response that symbolizes a means of de-escalating the crisis created or situation generated.
The second adaptation by organizations towards any reputation management is through reactive process. When the proactive management has taken due course before any crisis occurs, the imminent incidence of one requires a swift, planned, and strategic measure. It is the time when organizations put all preparations into much-needed action and involve teamwork from members especially on appropriate responses. The techniques used have to be deliberated to ensure that there is efficiency and fast feedback to minimize any chances of negative publicity towards the organization’s brand image (Hazlett, 2012). The aim is to guide the story on the negative reputation and influence the customers or stakeholders at any given time. The companies have to be a step ahead in the reactive management since reputation can be destroyed within a matter of minutes, and the seriousness required has to be effected on the social media platforms. It has to be according to strategic fits as well as plans for handling digital crisis.
In March of 2017, McDonalds’ twitter handle delivered controversial tweet concerning the United States President, Donald Trump. The content on it questioned his character stating that he was an excuse of a president. They used derogatory terms, which made a stinging remark. The company later responded to the issue stating that the account had been hacked after it had failed to contain the uproar from millions of customers who were giving negative feedback on the company (Estepa, 2017). With the technological changes involved in reputation management, the company was forced to take down the tweet and take control the crisis to avoid potential losses, especially on the local market that provides a larger share of its revenue.
As part of adaptation, McDonalds failed to handle the crisis. Following the two-step process of proactive and reactive management, the company realized the full effect of bad reputation. In the proactive management, the company was supposed to monitor any activity of its twitter handle. (Estepa, 2017). The step would reduce all the negative publicity that followed the controversial remark made to the president. Reactive management would require a swift response on the tweet by pulling it down and addressing the issue to its millions of followers. The content would direct universality towards the presidency and indicated that a formal investigation and police action would be taken. It would also follow up on the values that the organization stands for attributing impartiality to the millions of customers.
Estepa, J. (2017, March 16). McDonald’s on anti-Trump tweet: Account was hacked. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/03/16/mcdonalds-tweet-donald-trump/99246946/
Hazlett, K. (2012). Reputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communication (2nd Ed). Journal of Product & Brand Management, 21(5), 380-381. https://doi.org/10.1108/10610421211253669
Romenti, S., & Illia, L. (2013). Communicatively Constituted Reputation and Reputation Management. The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Reputation, 183-196. doi:10.1002/9781118335529.ch17
Wu, J. (2013). The Antecedents of Corporate Social and Environmental Irresponsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 21(5), 286-300. doi:10.1002/csr.1335
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