Survey underlines management uncertainty over reputation

A recent Ipsos Mori survey has indicated that senior management in some major firms are still not consistent in their attitudes to Reputation Management. According to those in charge of enterprise communication, contradiction among their bosses were common. The senior management are often in favour of reputation protection in theory, but are sometimes reluctant to invest in putting adequate plans into practice. The survey also highlighted uncertainty with regard to the importance of criticism aired using the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

At SEO Consult we know that ambivalence about online reputation can lead to severe problems down the track. Serious damage can be caused to firms who do not have preventative measures established on their behalf.

The Ipsos Mori survey showed that all those who practise online reputation management have a duty to spread the word about how serious a subject it is. It worryingly found that 29 per cent of company communication experts did not believe that senior management had an accurate grasp of how reputation has economic consequences. In addition, it showed that half of the communication specialists surveyed found it hard to get senior managers to understand things better.

Equally worrying were the findings with regard to the social networking sites. A surprising 40 per cent of communication specialists stated that criticism on the various networks was typically given too much thought. Although this was not a majority of the respondents, it does show that old attitudes can be hard to shift.

It is worth mentioning that a single survey may be misleading or misrepresentative in relation to the nature of the opinions out there. The survey in question was an international one so a UK only version may have yielded different outcomes. However, there is nothing to suggest that the way the survey was carried out was flawed in some fashion.

Criticism on social media networking sites should be regarded as a serious thing. With the exception of the odd flippant remark, it can tell a company a lot about how it is perceived. Using a consultancy which specialises in enhancing and protecting online reputations is a shrewd decision. Sometimes criticism should be responded to directly. A courteous reply by an independent consultant can make a company look good in the eyes of its potential customers.

It is also the case that some simple precautionary measures can limit the chances of problems arising in the first instance. A consultancy and its client can agree policies on employee use of Twitter, for example. Individuals should be clear about their responsibility to behave themselves, as the best laid plans will not usually stop the occasional issue from cropping up.

If senior management believe that they can maximise profits by skimping on reputation solutions then they are at risk of making a false economy. It would seem that those managers with the most outdated attitudes towards the need to defend corporate reputation may sadly have to learn the hard way.

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