Reputation Management Online Through Right Response!

Researches prove that the right response to positive comments or negative complaints from customers can bring one’s lost good reputation back, online.

This new finding communicates a message to all those who strive hard to maintain a good reputation online. Brands/companies/celebrities, while having a good exposure to major social media channels always need to make use of this utility to communicate with their potential customers/clients/fans, which in reality they fail. It is surprising to find that most of the customers/fans/clients want the brands/companies/celebrities to have their attention. Customers/fans/clients make a positive feedback or pass a negative comment through major social media channels like twitter or Facebook, they expect a reply. Feedback is rated as something they would love you to do. Continue reading “Reputation Management Online Through Right Response!”

Social Media if not handled properly can wreck your reputation

In this era when everything is decided online and just a click away, social media is one such thing that comes as handy. One negative review if failed to deal with can give you nightmares. A recent survey conducted in the UK reveals how major companies believe that Social networking is a ‘big issue and a potential risk to their brand and reputation.

Reputation Management has noted an interesting factor, that most companies do not have a social media button or twitter streams on their websites. Companies fail to realize that social media is more than marketing since this medium determines key business judgments today.

Something that comes quickly to the mind is the Vodafone twitter gaffe, and how a customer service staff by mistake posted an obscene message on the company’s twitter account. This caused the company to issue an apology to thousands of its followers. Though Vodafone acted quickly and deleted the tweet, but users were quicker and saved a copy and circulated it on the internet. The point is one wrong move and it spreads like wild-fire on social media. So this is one example to say how companies need to ascertain to counter and monitor social media. Continue reading “Social Media if not handled properly can wreck your reputation”

McDonald recalls cadmium-laced Shrek glasses

Shrek has indeed landed a nasty blow on the brand image of McDonald’s! The famous  fast food chain of McDonald’s is recalling 12 million drinking glasses from the US markets which were launched to promote the cartoon movie “Shrek”  because the painted designs on the glasses contain the toxic metal cadmium.  The cadmium paint might enter the children’s body through their hands and this would put them to risk as it is a  known carcinogen that can cause cancer on prolonged use. Cadmium is generally added to paints to make bright colors, but it is unusual for cadmium containing paints to be used in consumer products like glassware.

In an unusual damage control exercise, McDonald’s has asked customers’ to stop using the 16-ounce glasses with immediate effect. Originally sold at $2 each McDonald’s has started paying customers $3 for every Shrek glass returned. The customers can return the glasses in any of the McDonald’s restaurants and receive the cash on the spot.

To me the whole thing about the McDonald’s glasses is very much a mystery, and why they would be putting cadmium pigments in there,” said Hugh Morrow, a consultant for the International Cadmium Association and a former president of the trade group in North America. “Our position is that cadmium pigments should not be painted on consumer glasses.”

Meanwhile, sales in McDonald’s outlets recorded a sharp rise of 3.4 percent in May, which is attributed to the overwhelming popularity of Shrek themed promotional campaigns  for its Chicken McNuggets and Happy Meals. By acting fast and paying a premium to its customers, McDonald’s is back on its saddle ( well… almost) and has done its best in brand protection . The fact that McDonald’s announced the recall soon after the Consumer Product Safety Commission said that tests showed low levels of Cadmium, even though glasses were not considered toxic as the risk was really low. This act indeed  helped it get back into the good books of the customers. In a way, it is nothing but Reputation Management at its best.

Goldman Sachs, time to defend their brand and reputation

The civil fraud charges has dented the reputation of the already bruised Goldman Sach Group, putting it into yet another PR loop, and this time it going to get worse. The group’s announcement about it’s revenue crossing way beyond $3.5 billion was a bit flamboyant

Though Goldman Sach has refuted the charges made by the SEC’s about selling off risky mortgage investments without intimating the buyers.  It has already been said that this looking to be one of the most controversial of financial irregularities in the recent times. Law may take its own course, but it has to be seen how they are going to win back the lost confidence in public.

The company doesn’t have much time to seriously think about the difficult situation it is in now. The online news doing the rounds 24/7 and in the cyber age where information reaches faster, you cannot take that luxury to sit back and let it cool by itself. As of now unless proven guilty against the SEC’s fraud charges, company will maintain silence, but this will not be a good move. The silence might be mistaken to be hiding something. Goldman Sach needs to chalk out a strategic crisis management to be in place to shield it’s brand reputation, which it has taken years to build.

At Reputation Management, we feel it is the right time for the right action – Goldman Sach should utilize this opportunity and sharpen it’s PR skills, and send out the message loud and clear about how sincere they are with investors.

Goldman Sachs Reputation Management Report

Employee Reputation critical for organizations

Just how good it is when an Organization says that ‘Employees are their assets’, well let’s keep this debate aside for now. But here we are going to highlight how employees’ reputation creates a huge impact on those who look at you from the other side and just how critical it is for the reputation of your company..

Your employees’ carries the attitude and brand of your company. Have you ever noticed when visiting any office and waiting at the front office. I think this is the best place to analyze how true the employees carry the brand. You can feel the elements of the company culture and values coming through in the way people speak to each other and how they greet you. After all, employees are the caretakers of a company’s brand.

Employees and corporate reputation goes hand in hand. Though company reputation is vital, but employees are also the key factor that link to manage it. This generates positive performance and ultimately cements a place for you in this competitive era. So how to keep a positive reputation of your organization is about recognizing the significant role employees’ play in the overall positioning of corporate reputation.

However, to encourage employees to ‘live the brand’ are not much practiced. It is further suggested that to highlight your brand through your employees there has to be solid strategies in place. So when employees are trained to do their part perfectly the battle is half won. Let the employees know what actions are effective in return that successfully portray your strong brand.

In my opinion a brief training exercise and the know-how of the company and its regulation will go a long way in shaping employee reputation. Apprise them of the various vulnerability that could sabotage their reputation; for example ‘A tech savvy employee when comes across some website that has negative thing about the organization, what he should be doing? Persuade them to take advantage of the situation and come up with better solution to counter that after all it’s reputation at stake.

Get rid off negative comments

Most businesses want their websites to show up on the first page of search engines. How good is it if your website  appears on the first page of Google or Yahoo? You search for your company/product name and to your surprise you find one or more listings on top. You have been waiting for this, but then the sudden change in weather on search engines is astonishing. Have a closer look, do you see anything unusual? Well it could be those negative comments about your products doing the rounds and inviting so many visitors and obviously putting your website on top. If it is so, you are in big trouble.

One negative comment is enough to frighten away many likely customers. How genuine these reviews or complaints are is not the question, but it is about the impact. Your company’s reputation is at stake besides loss of revenue in millions.

Reputation management has become a crucial tool, but then very few companies go for this service to counter negative propaganda waged against their firms. Airlines, banks, hotels are the most vulnerable and are always at the receiving end, by disgruntled customers or envying competitors. By being ignorant of reputation management these firms end up sorting issues through litigation, which is twice as expensive and time consuming as compared to hiring reputation managers.

In such situations, our suggestion is to ‘nip it in the bud’- suppress the negative comments and bring up the positive ones. It is all about customizing a strategy to corner negative comments and design a campaign to keep positive reviews of your company above others.

Safeguarding your business from on-line damages and ensuring its smooth run is tantamount to running a business itself. New and small companies need to understand how vulnerable they are and how important reputation management services are for their business.

CAT out of the bag- uncertainty remains at IIM !

India’s premier business school, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and the glitches that happened on its first online CAT (Common Admission Test) has put a lot of aspirants in a state of limbo. While rumours are rife that there is going to be a written re-test in January nothing is clear yet. All seven IIMs had signed a 5-year contract with Prometric to conduct online CAT tests all over the country.

The first three days of the test had problems ranging from server crashing to hours lost in finger-printing and photographing, to a few getting more time for their test while others having PCs crashing mid-way. The fourth day had lesser problems but had its share of problems as well.

A recent update on the CAT website says, “The decision to conduct computerised CAT was taken unanimously by all IIMs. The contract for delivery of computerised CAT was awarded to Prometric, a world leader in computerised test delivery. IIMs were responsible for generating questions for the tests and Prometric was responsible for conducting the test…”

IIM Lucknow director Devi Singh said: “There is a certain level of output that is expected and everything will have to be reviewed. We will evaluate the entire experience of CAT 2009 after all this is over, and if problems pile up, everything concerning the 5-year contract with Prometric will need to come back to the table afresh. We will be professionals,” he said.

The IIMs are India’s pride and the focal point for multi-nationals looking to recruit the crème of the country. So there is a global reputation at stake now for the CAT but to be fair they have never had to deal with any  dent in reputation in the written tests that have been conducted all these years. So mighty is the IIM brand reputation and the national reputation it gives to India that this is an issue that need quick solving.

As for Prometric, after bagging this prestigious order itis now having to do some serious company crisis management of its own. This was the make or break deal, damage limitation should be the way ahead for them. Watch this space for updates on whether they will scrap the online tests all together or plough on with the decisions made.

Maclaren buggies bugged with ‘finger amputation’ issue

British pushchair maker Maclaren is now bugged with the sort of issue that is a reputation disaster as parents threaten to sue the pram maker after alleging that the push chair hinges can slice children’s fingers. In summary: reputable pram maker makes dangerous buggies.

The issue concerns the Maclaren baby buggies, which have been “voluntarily” recalled from the US market following 12 cases of ‘finger amputation’. The Consumer Product Safety Commission in the US has confirmed 15 cases of injury, including 12 finger amputations, caused by the hinges of the Maclaren Buggies.

Maclaren Notice on Global website
Maclaren Notice on Global website

At the same time, Maclaren, after discussions with trading standards officials, has decided not to recall the buggies from the UK market. The company, defending its product, has said that the buggies are safe when used in the proper manner. Dylan Johnson, the General Manager of Maclaren UK, has stated, “The safety of children and parents has always been our top priority and I completely appreciate the concerns this issue has raised amongst our customers.” He has also said, “I would like to assure you that Maclaren Buggies are completely safe, not only meeting but often exceeding EU and US product safety and quality standards”.

Maclaren, the Northampton based firm which has been engaged in the buggy making business for more than four decades now, has its business spread all across the world and hence this issue is of course a serious threat to the company’s reputation. The company has recalled in the US models like the Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller and have also offered to provide free of charge hinge covers to customers, to be used to cover the folding mechanism.

Product safety failures are a company’s biggest nightmare especially when you are market leader in your segment of light foldaway buggies. That buggies are difficult to fold and open is well known – just watch any dad trying. The challenge for Maclaren is how to respond.

  1. Denial. You can start by denying but once there are documented problems denial is not an option
  2. Play Down – suggest the problem is small and the odds miniscule – but then you appear in denial as a company
  3. Concerned – state that this problem has only appeared 15 times out of X million uses and state we are urgently investigating the circumstances and in the interim we have developed a safety solution.

Mums are increasingly avid users of social media like bulletin boards and forums and in a market where most product segments are well stocked with options, there is a strong chance that Mums will simply choose another option. There is no hiding the news, especially now that it has been widely covered in the media and television.

Maclaren, the company has all along been selling “ what a mother wants, what a baby needs”, is itself in need of a bit of reputation management at this stage. Yes, brand reputation, corporate reputation…overall reputation management needed. Any takers?