Before the advent of the internet, a business developed its reputation very slowly and through a variety of different mechanisms. While the past methods of reputation management still exist and can have a real influence on the reputation of an organization, it is dwarfed by the role that the internet plays in managing your business reputation. This article will discuss the transition of the process of reputation management from where it was to the state of it today and how the internet plays an outsized role in the process of fostering a positive, and in controlling a negative, reputation today.
One of the ways that a company has always built up their reputation is by offering superior products and services to their customers. This still holds weight today, and perhaps more than ever, even on the internet. For whatever ways of reputation development that are currently popular, one must never forget that better and more competitive products and services will relay into a more successful business and more positive reputation.
Beyond that, traditionally speaking, businesses developed their reputations by either hiring public relations firms to help to improve their perception with potential and existing customers, through advertising campaigns in print and in television, or through in positive news stories. While these methods all have the potential of positively influencing customers in the marketplace, there are new methods of doing so through the internet that appear to be more effective than the methods that were commonly used in the past.
To understand this fully you should consider how most people go about their shopping nowadays. There are two basic options for most people; shopping in physical retail stores and shopping online but there are other influencers on how people shop. When you shop online you will likely explore the various sellers online and select one that provides you with the best value for your money. Part of this value includes the quality of the seller including how trustworthy that seller is, the real and perceived quality of their products, and their reputation among others in the market. An strong online brand reputation will clearly help a business to dominate online as buyers will flock to those businesses with a better overall reputation. Nowadays, when people shop in retail stores, they often consult the internet beforehand and therefore it has the same impact. Consulting the internet will help to identify the validity of a brand, the common prices for their products, and how well they are rated in comparison to their peers. The internet also will commonly track how responsive the brand is to its customers, whether they accept and how easy it is to make returns or exchanges, and the typical and overall impression of the brand.
There are several different ways that this business reputation is easily tracked online. The most common are various review sites that identify and rank the sellers and their services. Some of these sites have simple numerical reviews while others have the ability to leave extensive reviews and analysis of their experience with the seller. The key is that these comments and commentary will significantly impact your overall reputation, whether for the positive or the negative, and this overall reputational impact can result in higher or lower sales for your business.
Beyond reviews many potential and existing customers will use message boards or web forums to get the advice of other users to see who they should buy a product or a service from. This peer online network will often steer customers into buying from one seller or another and can be a big influencer on your overall brand reputation. How high up on the search results your business shows up will also impact the brand reputation and how seriously companies and customers will see your business. Better and more known results will positively impact your overall reputation in the business world.
More so than ever, even if a customer is ultimately deciding to buy a product in a retail brick and mortar store, they will first check the internet to learn more about the business, industry, and the products or services that they are buying. This leads to more knowledgeable customers who know what they want as well as the price that the products will typically sell for. This knowledge can work in a businesses favor, or against it, depending on how they are able to position themselves. Having a solid reputation online will greatly impact your overall business and drive your success in the marketplace in a compelling and detailed way. Above other factors, look to develop your reputation online and see the overall impact that doing so can have on your business both on the internet and in physical stores. The traditional reputation building methods are not dead, but are no longer as effective as simply building your online reputation first, and seeing it spill over into other forms of reputation development.