And how to maintain a reputation.
There are many examples where one wrong word or careless post on social media can cause a wave of negative comments from haters. At the same time, extinguishing such a fire is sometimes more difficult than drawing attention to the positive measures that the company can take. How not to get into the information crisis and how to preserve the reputation of the business, told Mind the founder of Perfect PR, a lecturer at the Lviv Business School and the UCU School of Journalism and Communications Natalia Ulynets .
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How businesses can develop immunity to the information crisis
In the agency, we like to compare the reputation with the medical field. An information attack on a company is like a disease. Only the disease is a crisis for the organism, and for the company an information attack is a crisis for the current (and sometimes strategic) activity.
If the task of a specialist is to analyze the disease through a prism not a single organ, but a whole organism, the task of the communicator to assess the crisis is not in the context of one reason – because it is provoked by the whole system.
If a person cares and works all year its immunity, it is more likely to carry any virus easily, produce antibodies and quickly overcome the disease with minimal or no complications. The same applies to building a reputation for business: if you take care of, shape, work with reputation systematically, then any information crisis will have an easier course.
Business reputation is always about business money
Reputation is what you are thought of and perceived. And this impression or opinion can be both positive and negative. It is clear that a positive impression has more meaning and results for the company and works directly to achieve business goals. Building a positive reputation is a long and troublesome path, because it always requires facts, evidence, confirmation by experts and so on. Instead, the negative, the manipulation affects emotions and spreads rapidly in the infospace. The negative is always perceived more easily, it becomes viral faster and holds attention longer.
To manage reputation or not to manage, to create PR-departments or not is the choice of the company itself. But reputation is such a delicate thing that it will still be formed – whether you will have PR people or not, whether you will be involved in managing your reputation or not.
Any public or business activity of the company concerns the reputation sphere. But not all businessmen know about it. Some simply hide behind one-day marketing campaigns and say, “How come they don’t know about us if we make discounts on our products and bet millions on giveaways?” But neither the first nor the second – not about reputation and not about strategic communications.
Reputation is not something that lives separately from the company, its founders, leaders. A company’s reputation, regardless of its level, is the same tool as financial or legal processes.
90% of results depend on the word
PR can not form a reputation that does not resonate with the CEO, sales department, service, trademarks, production processes. It is very dangerous to build a reputation only on the level of words. The main thing should always be the actions of the business, which are then packaged in a media product and communicated to the target audience. If there is no action, the PR department will not help.
Not to react to negative information is to show pride and pathos. If a business has a centuries-old history and a reputation built over the years, public love and trust, it needs to speak publicly about the negative, if that happens. Sincerity and communication are not only about achievements, but also about difficulties, it brings the company even closer to the audience.
Silencing the negative is giving others the opportunity to speak for you. This rule does not disappear, especially in the information age, when 90% of the results depend on the word spoken. Lack of a position from the company on a complex topic is more likely to provoke gossip, unnecessary versions, and this is an information crisis, as a disease for the body.
Caring about reputation – caring about health Companies that understand the power of reputation and use it 100% as a strategic tool for success, understand the trends in society. And stress is one of them. This trend in communications must be taken into account. People seek peace, protection from those they trust. They expect more from companies than just getting a product or service – they expect a social mission, protection, truthfulness.
Today is the time to form “human communications” that are built on human values and needs, communication around protecting and reassuring their customers.
Here are some universal principles that will help companies maintain their reputation:
Adhere to the principle of openness and transparency. This means communicating quickly and in a timely manner with your audience, your customers about both the positive aspects and negative situations in the company.
Be where your audience is. Work with integrated communications, targeting. It is important for a company to form different messages and use different channels in its communication, which are used by its audience (social networks, media, offline platforms, etc.). Then the company will be heard, not “shoot the sparrows”, will not act at random.
Communicate in person. It is desirable for company leaders to be public, be carriers of company values and corporate culture. The audience perceives information better and trusts the living person than the abstract enterprise.
Be an example. The issue of corporate social responsibility is not a praise of the company, but example and example to follow. Of course, public coverage of charity and corporate social responsibility has its own rules and ethical laws. But such campaigns are very good to measure: what benefit they bring to society as a whole and what – for the company, for its employees in terms of internal PR.
Implement the following projects that shape or change social behavior .
Reputation is always a cumulative effect and daily work. Reputation does not turn off and “does not go on vacation.” Just as a person takes care of his body to avoid getting sick, so a company needs to take care of its reputation to avoid information crises.