The reputation of a brand, business, or individual in the public eye has never been more important. In 2021, the consumer is paying far more attention to the values and ethics of companies that they engage with and buy from, irrespective of industry. It’s easy to think of reputation management and public relations as being interchangeable. It’s true that they complement and work hand in hand with each other, but both come with very different objectives and public perceptions. A crisis may or may not happen – your reputation, however, precedes you and is a constant, the management of which is not a ‘nice to have’ or something you might work on ‘one day.
PR is forward-facing and built on relationships – reputation management is often seen as ‘crisis communications’ and whilst that definitely is something a PR agency such as TishTash is well equipped to handle on behalf of clients, reputation management itself is a lot more strategic, consistent and more ‘behind the curtain’ – a strategy to build brands and businesses in the public eye.
PR is essentially promotional, and sure, managing a brand, individual, or business’s reputation is absolutely part and parcel of any strategy – solid reputation management is longer-term, consistent, and should be built into the ‘back end’ of any agency relationship between themselves and the clients.
In Dubai, UAE laws prevent any notion of ‘naming and shaming’ publicly, which can make reputation management easier than in other territories as public slander or a consumer review that could damage public perception is less likely to happen. However, as mentioned above, reputation management is not just reactive crisis communications but shapes the public identity of an entity or brand very differently from ongoing promotional campaigning and having to ‘rescue’ a business from the wrong end of the publicity machine.
A solid reputation management strategy should encompass SEO, research, competitor analysis, Human Resources (personal branding), social media, and content, all of which control the online and offline image of a brand or business.
An element of legal and risk analysis would be the starting point for research before considering things such as content removal, search engine optimization, and auditing any controllable web properties such as blogs, social media accounts, and websites. Pushing positive content further up the search engine results pages (SERP) is possible and recommended with ongoing promotion, monitoring, and editing as an example. It is also possible of course to work with search engines to remove negative and unlawful content concerning a brand, individual, or business and this would of course form part of an online reputation management strategy.
Preparation, prevention, and mitigation are three vital aspects of a reputation management strategy, and more akin to crisis communications – the keyword being preparation. Nobody wants to be ‘caught out’ in the media and left floundering for a response. Those that are left surprised by a downturn in public perception, for whatever reason, are the brands and businesses that were not prepared and always take much longer to ‘bounce back’ if at all.
This is where reputation management campaigns can help alongside traditional PR and marketing, the longer-term objectives of managing reputation, as a thread woven through all communications, content, and CSR. Good reputation management means well-informed comms teams both in-house and agency partners with honest and continuous flows of information between themselves and stakeholders, ensuring all teams are well informed, and developing a suite of listening and monitoring tools that will measure brand and consumer sentiment.
Working with an agency such as TishTash on your reputation management means that you have professional allies who will stay on top of your industry developments and things that might affect it, directly or indirectly. As well as managing reputation, this information can also feed positively into PR and marketing campaigns, as well as more basic tasks like responding effectively and timely to online customer reviews or complaints, and acting accordingly.
TishTash Digital Marketing and Public Relations agency has been managing reputations across the UAE and GCC for clients for 10 years. In an increasingly consumer-led media landscape, looking after your online footprint is more important than ever, but can also feel time-consuming and overwhelming. We’d love to help you build a better business and engage with your consumers with a solid strategy that helps your bottom line – get in touch with our Dubai-based team if you’d like to know more.