Protecting the Brand – Online Reputation Management

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Search engine marketing is known for increasing a company’s profile, establishing an online presence, increasing traffic, and ultimately growing the bottom line. However, the full scope of internet marketing goes well beyond that. A well planned and properly executed strategy can become a valuable resource for branding efforts and corporate reputation management in the online space.

The internet has become a primary source of information and one of the first places people turn to when looking for anything from weather updates to humorous T-shirts, to information about your company. With so many people turning to the internet as a primary source of information, it has also become the place they turn to express their opinions, both positive and negative alike. The evolving world of blogs and message boards has created an opportunity for virtually anyone to share their satisfaction, and vent their frustrations, with your brand. Effectively operating in the online space, and managing the corporate reputation, is proving to be a challenge for many companies according to the recent E-Commerce Times article: Internet Branding: The Corporate Image Challenge of 2006.

As the internet continues to evolve into an ever competitive space, it is increasingly important to offer the user more than a flashy website, or an online version of your brochure. Your site is your online storefront and should relate your branding messages. Even more difficult than managing your brand on your website however, is the task of managing your brand off your site. Suppose for a moment that there are negative blogs and message board posts about your company that show up in the search engine results pages (or SERPs) when people are researching your company name. If they are presented with negative statements and attacks on your reputation when they are seeking information, could this affect your business? You bet it can. The degree to which this type of activity can damage your reputation and your business can be significant; especially when these are among the first exposures a potential customer has to your brand.

Internet marketing strategies can play a significant role in managing your online reputation by addressing these negative messages and positioning your company site above the negativity. For instance, offering an official company response to negative press that appears in a blog will not only show that you take ownership of your problems, but that you take steps to correct them. Addressing an issue and detailing the ways you have corrected it, can be a great chance to turn negative press into a public relations opportunity. Going beyond simply gaining positions for targeted keywords, a combination of smart search engine optimization techniques and traditional public relations activities, such as our PReach press release optimization service, can prove to be beneficial in the branding efforts that can be so important to a company’s long term success in the online marketplace. In the face of negative messages, a company and its brand can benefit a great deal from strategic Internet marketing efforts that include corporate reputation management.

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