Reputation management can improve nearly every aspect of your business. Especially since every customer interaction with your company is a chance for your reputation to change.
But defining one’s reputation goes beyond relying on gut feeling and a couple of reviews. Your reputation is a collection of other people’s opinions about what you say, do, represent, and sell.
So, to plan out your PR and marketing reputation management strategy, it’s essential to know how to check a company’s reputation.
The Importance of Maintaining a Positive Company Reputation
Reputation itself is a complex concept and hard to define. A positive reputation is crucial for a business to thrive as it can show reliability and honesty. This can attract more potential customers as well as skilled employees.
There are many benefits of online reputation management, but the primary reasons most companies focus on company reputation are to:
- Build trust in their brand
- Attract customers
- Increase profitability and
- Attract and retain talented employees
However, the consequences of a negative reputation will make itself abundantly clear in the bottom line. The effects can be various, such as:
- Loss of customers
- Customers will default to a competitor
- Higher employee turnover and hiring difficulties
- Possible higher liquidation risk
- Controversies render you vulnerable to lawsuits
If a company’s reputation is damaged enough, it can even go out of business. That might sound dramatic, but consider this: 94% of consumers avoid businesses with a bad or negative reputation.
Recent reputation stats highlight why having a good online reputation is crucial:
- Trust in Searches: 65% of people trust online searches for information about individuals and businesses.
- Reviews Matter: 85% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, but they usually read about seven reviews before trusting a business.
- Positive Reviews Influence Buying: 90% say positive reviews affect their buying choices.
- Trust in Positive Reviews: Almost 75% trust companies with positive reviews.
- Avoiding Negativity: 60% don’t want to deal with businesses that have negative reviews.
- Rating Importance: 49% will only use a business with at least a four-star rating.
- Bad News Spreads Fast: Negative experiences are shared more widely than positive ones—more people tell others about bad experiences with a brand.
The Impact of Company Reputation on PR and Marketing Efforts
A positive reputation acts as a catalyst, propelling PR and marketing efforts forward by fostering credibility, trust, and positive consumer sentiment. Conversely, a damaged reputation can present substantial challenges, necessitating strategic efforts to rebuild trust and restore brand perception.
In the realm of PR, a solid reputation fosters trust and credibility. Media outlets are more likely to feature and positively portray a brand with a sterling reputation, amplifying the reach of PR campaigns. Conversely, a tarnished reputation can lead to skepticism and reluctance among both media and the public, posing challenges for PR endeavors. Brands that prioritize reputation PR are constantly monitoring the media to respond to any negativity almost as soon as it happens. Some companies even hire brand reputation managers to identify opportunities and prepare appropriate responses as they occur.
In marketing, reputation plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer perceptions. A positive reputation can act as a magnet, attracting consumers and driving brand loyalty. Marketing efforts become more potent when built upon trust and goodwill. On the contrary, a negative reputation can impede marketing success, as consumers may hesitate to engage with or endorse a brand they perceive negatively.
What Factors Affect Your Company’s Reputation
The primary factors influencing corporate reputation include:
- Quality of products or services
- Quality of employees
- Quality of customer service
- Safety of products or services
- Respect for customer or employee privacy
But there are several other factors, such as:
- Product or service innovation
- Industry leadership
- Financial performance
- Value for the cost or price of products and services
- Ethics and values
- Technological advancement
- Corporate culture
- Corporate purpose
- Quality of CEO or chair
- Training and support for employees
- Marketing and communications
- Quality of senior leadership other than CEO or chair
- Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
How to check a company’s reputation
Online reviews and ratings
The importance of online reviews and a positive online reputation cannot be overstated in today’s cutthroat digital landscape. Roughly 90% of today’s consumers report that positive reviews play a role in their buying decisions. On the other hand, companies with a bad online reputation spend an average of 10% more per hire.
A 2016 Harvard Business study examining the effect of online reviews on a business’s revenue found that every one-star increase in Yelp ratings translates to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Even if you are a small business just starting, a 5-9% revenue bump can be significant and increase your chances of keeping your doors open for the long term.
A specialized review site, commonly called a niche review site, focuses on assessing goods and services within a specific and limited area of interest. The internet hosts many such sites, potentially numbering in the tens of thousands. Identifying the ones most relevant to your research can be a daunting task, but Google offers a helpful solution. By searching for your brand name and “reviews,” you can uncover sites featuring reviews of the particular product or service you are interested in, with the most recent reviews appearing prominently.
Noteworthy niche review sites
- An online platform where users share millions of opinions on various tourism-related establishments such as bars, nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, and cruises.
- A healthcare review website allows users to search for and evaluate doctors based on gender, city, and specialty. With over 2 million ratings and reviews, RateMDs is a valuable resource for individuals seeking healthcare insights.
- Enables users to report on pricing details for facilities and provides reviews of senior living communities and home health care providers across North America.
- A real estate marketplace committed to delivering reliable information on the real estate market, catering to buyers, sellers, and other stakeholders.
- An online platform where users can find and review restaurants and check for available tables at their preferred times.
- Geared towards helping users discover new software tools and evaluate existing products based on their requirements. To contribute reviews, users must sign up, and the evaluations often provide in-depth insights into the products, addressing various queries.
- Renowned as one of the most popular business reputation websites, Yelp employs a simple one to five star rating system that offers customers a straightforward and efficient way to evaluate their experiences. Accompanying the star ratings are text reviews subjective statements that provide valuable insights into aspects such as the company’s customer service, website and physical store usability, and overall customer satisfaction. While Yelp serves as a valuable resource, it is important to note that its accuracy is not foolproof.
Social media presence
Checking on your company’s social media reputation should be part of your daily routine. This is the moment when you proactively pay attention to discussions about your business across various social media platforms.
Whether a customer tags you in a post or story or your business is referenced in a community group or chat, every instance of your company being mentioned on social media provides a valuable opportunity to gain insights into how your community and customers perceive your business. These mentions serve as a valuable window into the components shaping your business’s reputation.
That’s why it’s recommended to use a social listening tool, such as Determ, and set up tracking of anything that might influence your reputation.
You should use social listening to track mentions about:
- Your brand name
- Your products or services
- Your CEO or other opinion leaders within the company
- Brand name alongside customer support
- Brand name alongside crisis/negative indicating words
- Marketing campaigns
Determ is a great social listening tool that helps you be aware of your social media presence. It tracks most social media sources, such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Reddit and YouTube.
AI social listening tools are extremely useful because they combine all the conversations where your brand is mentioned and provide you with a single report that analyzes everything. This way, you get a set of metrics that can clearly show you your company’s reputation.
So, to check a company’s reputation, you’d observe the following charts/metrics:
- Positive-negative sentiment ratio
- Sentiment over time
- Sentiment across sources
- Word cloud (words often mentioned alongside your company)
- Share of voice (compared to your competitors)
Media coverage and press mentions
Media coverage and press mentions are invaluable sources for companies to assess and manage their reputation effectively.
A company gains insight into the prevailing public perception through diligent monitoring of sentiment in news articles, features, and press releases.
Positive coverage reinforces a favorable image and provides an avenue for showcasing achievements. By using media platforms to spotlight successes, companies can actively shape the narrative surrounding their brand, influencing how stakeholders perceive them.
Furthermore, consistent and positive media coverage contributes significantly to building credibility. When reputable sources consistently portray a company positively, it establishes it as a trustworthy and authoritative presence in its industry. This, in turn, fosters trust among stakeholders, from customers to investors. Surely, having an article in a reputable media outlet, such as BBC, CNN, or ABC, and it being positive serves as a massive credibility booster.
In crisis management, media coverage becomes a critical component of brand reputation management. Effectively navigating challenging situations through strategic communication in press mentions allows a company to address issues head-on, correct misinformation, and demonstrate resilience. Proactive crisis management mitigates potential damage and presents an opportunity to rebuild trust and showcase the company’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
Media monitoring tools like Determ are a big ally in making a PR’s job easier. It collects mentions from all news and media outlets and analyzes them in a single dashboard, just like for social media.
Industry awards and recognitions
Winning industry awards or receiving notable recognition explicitly acknowledges a company’s excellence within its field. By actively seeking and participating in reputable award programs, a company can gauge its standing compared to industry benchmarks, providing a tangible measure of its reputation for quality, innovation, or other relevant criteria.
Industry awards often involve competition among peers. By monitoring which awards competitors receive, a company can benchmark its performance against industry rivals. This provides insights into areas where the company excels and helps identify areas for improvement to stay competitive.
Industry recognition is a testament to the company’s achievements but also a source of pride for employees. It boosts morale and fosters a positive internal culture. Additionally, being known as an award-winning company can attract top talent during recruitment, contributing to a positive employer brand and further strengthening the company’s reputation.
Each customer interaction holds the potential to shape your reputation. That’s why actively managing and enhancing it is paramount. Going beyond gut feelings and a few reviews, comprehending your company’s reputation involves a multifaceted approach that integrates various strategies.
The key lies in strategic awareness, whether it’s monitoring sentiment on social media, showcasing achievements, building credibility through industry recognition, or navigating media coverage effectively. Regularly checking your company’s reputation isn’t just a routine; it’s a proactive endeavor essential for informed decision-making.
A positive reputation emerges as a linchpin for success, attracting customers, fostering loyalty, and positioning your company as a trustworthy industry leader. Conversely, the repercussions of a negative reputation are substantial, impacting customer trust, employee retention, and even the bottom line. As you navigate the complex web of factors influencing reputation, remember that understanding how to check a company’s reputation is not just a business necessity—it’s a strategic imperative for sustained growth and resilience in today’s competitive landscape.