In the digital age, reputation management serves to protect or restore the reputation of a person, a company, an organization, an institution or a brand.
How do you appear on the first page of Google results? How can you use Onpage SEO and/or Offpage SEO to push back negative results on page 1 to page 2 or further?
Everybody knows it all too well: today, a company’s respectability can go up in smoke before you can even say “shitstorm”. It takes very little for a rumour to spread–more often than not without anyone checking if the information is reliable in the first place. False information can cause great damage to a reputation. This is when reputation management –an crucial element of modern crisis communication– becomes vital.
The CEO of one of our customers had been wrongfully accused abroad of corruption. Prominent German media outlets reported on the case basing themselves on a press release from a renowned press agency. But the information turned out to be partly false. Our first step was to contact the news agency to warn them the information was biased; not once had our customer been directly consulted. This was made up for and the content was edited. Unfortunately, by that time the false information had already made its way online to leading media outlets. We contacted those outlets right after dealing with the news agency, and notified them that the agency had not done its research correctly, leading to further corrections.
Throughout the communication campaign, we made sure to inform international releases as well, which in turn helped push back negative reports on Google and other search engines further from the first results.
The campaign went on for two years, with 4 intensive first weeks followed by ongoing broadcasting of positive reports on our customer and his CEO. The strategy needed constant tailoring since the trial against the CEO still took place eventually. During that time, we made sure the German embassy (since the trial was taking place abroad) was kept informed of the developments and also attended the trial several times. This signalled the country’s justice system and government that the German Bundesrupblik took fair application of the law seriously.
Every case is different, of course. However, having a straight talk with the customer beforehand to determine whether the bad press is justified or if the news are fake is always crucial. Treating hard facts as though they were lies just makes no sense. In such a case, a better way of navigating the “shitstorm” would be to express apologies and undertake compensation measures. Reputation management helps do that as well, and can adapt to all kinds of cases.