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Among major U.S. corporations, who’s winning and losing in the creation and protection of their reputations online? A new infographic from MDG Advertising in Southern Florida provides some surprising results.
First, the trends: Currently, 94% of Google search results are organic–not paid ads. Yes, your online reputation is that important. Forty-two percent of adults have scoped someone out on the Internet before doing business with them (I would count myself among those numbers). Of those, 45% have changed their minds about doing business with someone based on something they found.
Most surprising, to me: while 70% of consumers trust recommendations from their friends and family, a whopping 92% trust the opinions posted by other consumers online. Yet fewer than half (40%) of corporate communications professionals feel ready to represent and protect their companies effectively in the event a reputational crisis occurs.
Among major brands, some do’s and don’ts:
American Airlines – when a nationwide flight grounding occurred in 2013, the airline’s failure to communicate a consistent message created a reputational flurry online. Worse still, updates on social media reached consumers faster than they reached AA staff, creating more confusion and misinformation still. The poor orchestration of messages led to even greater levels of consumer complaints.The moral: Before engaging social media, ensure that communications to the company’s own staff and employees is consistent and under control.
When a woman perished in an auto accident,Progressive Insurance took a public stand that favored the driver responsible for her death. A blog post from the woman’s brother expressing the family’s outrage went viral. Progressive’s response: automated tweets to express sympathy. The impersonal response and lack of empathy created more animosity still, leading thousands of consumers to publicly declare they would drop or avoid Progressive Insurance from then on. The moral: the company’s public stand on such a virulent issue lacked empathy, and would have been better handled in private or with greater sensitivity. This was strike one. Followed by the auto tweets: unforgivable.
Target , who has developed a reputation for fun and engaging social media interactions with customers, beyond the simple sharing of coupons. Better still: The Give With Target campaign allowed users to vote for schools to receive gift card awards. Score!
KitchenAid, who faced a reputational hazard when the company’s Twitter account insensitively tweeted during the 2012 presidential debates “Obama’s gma knew it was going 2 be bad: She died 3 days before he became president.” Understandably, outrage ensued. The tweet was erased immediately, followed by an apology from KitchenAid’s head of marketing herself, who took responsibility for her team, posted several personal apologies, and invited any concerned individuals to communicate with her about the situation via DM. Nicely done.
In all, reputation management requires that organizations take proactive control of their online reputations well before a disaster can strike. But if the worst has happened, what should you do?
Thanks to MDG Advertising for the following research.