Reputation management tips for controversial industries

Reputation management tips for controversial industries

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Managing your reputation

With the giant leaps and bounds technology has made for our accessibility, convenience and communication, we have to protect our digital presence. Even more so than in person, an online reputation can be destroyed in a matter of seconds. All it takes is one negative comment.

So, how do we go about protecting our industry and maintaining a good reputation with all the pressures and scrutiny we are under? Let’s face it, we are constantly viewed and judged under a microscope no matter our goals, products or services. It can be very overwhelming to maintain a good facade. However, there is hope.

Establishing and maintaining a good reputation is not easy. Yet, engaging in ethical practices and showing all of your positive attributes can help your industry appear less controversial to viewers. This way, your potential clients can respect your business from the get-go and further develop a healthy rapport and a loyal customer base. Below are six tips to keep your reputation in check.

1. Give Your Website a Clean and Professional Design

clean design

A case study performed by Missouri University of Science and Technology discovered that “it takes about 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on that area of a website that most influences their first impression.” So, it’s crucial to have a memorable, eye-catching design.

This oil and gas investment website showcases excellent, stream-lined design. Their logo is clear and simple just like their message. This will read to viewers that they mean what they say without hiding anything with frill and flashy design. Additionally, their colors are focused and on point. Overall, the website reads consistently and fluid.

Even though this may be highlighting controversial topics, this site’s design is simple and effective, which reflects their points and topics. They focus their ideas on facts and information, so they appear informed and reliable, which in turn, demonstrates ethical practice.

Make sure your business reflects a simple, yet effective image that will make your mark and leave a lasting impression. Enlist a designer to fuse your industries’ values with a sleek, memorable design. Remember, a first impression is everything.

2. Demonstrate Consistency

As social media progresses, you need to stay ahead of the curve. The newest trend is making your digital presence known across all platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to name a few. So, how can you align your initiatives to build loyalty and reap the benefits of a good reputation and lasting impression?

Stay consistent with your posts and activity. All branding should be streamlined and reflect what message you wish to communicate. That means the nitty-gritty like fonts, colors, logo, design and tone. Be careful though, you don’t have to write all the same content, as that can become too mundane and your viewers will lose interest.

Check out Mercedes-Benz. They are in sync completely throughout their design and branding. Their Facebook logo and cover photo display the high-class jet black and blue colors, while Twitter emulates the same font and design colors.

In the heat of controversy with the Super Bowl commercial featuring Kate Upton and the suggestive “hot-girl-washing-car” bit, their brand has been well established for a long time that customers value their uniform appearance and tone that emits luxury, class and an element of sexy.

3. Be Present and Proactive

social cupcakes

Build and develop a rapport by being constantly present and active on your social media platforms. Invite and encourage your customers and viewers to become involved in your business. Continuously tag pictures, post about community involvement, ask questions and connect with readers.

Develop a team of copy writers and SEO’s to update and inform you on what your readers want to know and learn about. Take Target for instance. One of their goals is to “focus on healthy, sustainable communities.” From this, they partner designers and companies to sell “greener” products to better our environments and communities.

Target connects with their partners and shares their successes and progress with the world by keeping customers informed through Facebook and Twitter. Know what your readers want to hear and invite them to be a part of your overarching goals and values.

4. Let Your Viewers Know You Are Human

Provide stability and leadership for your customers by letting them know your business is run by humans and not androids. Do not develop a website with generic values and goals without elaborating on them. Essentially, don’t write what you think they want to hear. By being honest and true to the values of your industry, you can maintain a solid reputation and engage your customers.

Discuss how your business started. Generally, we work hard to get something off the ground and believe it or not, others want to hear about it. Take Coca-Cola for instance. Since 1886, this company has kept a devoted customer base, instilling loyalty with every step and change in history they may face. What keeps them steady? Despite the recent controversy surrounding the ingredient called Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO), they have stayed strong. How?

They haven’t changed their image. They have core values that people can relate to like inspiring happiness in every day. Coca-Cola connects daily with society to show they care and are about our needs outweigh their own.

5. Showcase Positive Initiatives

going green

People want to read about how a business is helping a community and showing how they can give back to their customers. Basically, it shows them that you care. But, you can’t just go out into the world and choose just any charity, green initiative or volunteer to sponsor and enact. You need your initiatives to have a purpose.

Choose to help and give back by relating it to your core values and products or services.

For example, this forestry equipment website continually demonstrates that it is a company that prides themselves on recycling and processing.

Build a good reputation by showing your company runs on good intentions and values.

Focus on community responsibility and make your industry develop a glowing reputation. Showing how your brand contributes to the community will demonstrate to customers that you care and you are a company that is not just fixated on monetary gain.

6. Highlight Your Attributes without Being too Proud

You could be a multi-million dollar corporation and lose respect in an instant. How is this possible? Well, like any person, gloating too much about your successes and achievements can obviously make you a braggart. So, how do you show customers you have excellent awards and successes without coming across as too arrogant?

Twist your approach. Instead of fixating on the names of awards and achievements, describe how these attributes can actually help and foster your customers. Show your customers what you can do for them. For instance, Weight Watchers Online has been a success in the media for years. However, when you look at their site, their services and plans all are directed to motivating and showing women and men they too, can succeed.

Shift your focus from “we to you” and call your customers and invite them to see their potential purpose and success with your industry. Just do it respectfully and appropriately.

Remember, it takes about 2.6 seconds to make a first impression online. That doesn’t even account for maintaining your site over time. Remain a good, respectable industry by highlighting and incorporating some of these tips. That way, you can appear less controversial to customers and prove your worth to the social media interweb.

Images by Caroline Gutman,  Serge Kij, Cakehead Loves, and Ben Moore

Kayla Matthews is a Technorati contributor with a passion for business solutions and workplace productivity. To learn more about her, follow her on your social sites and check out her productivity blog at ProductivityTheory.com.
  • Sally Benchwood

    One of the best approaches a company can have today is to focus on the green-organic aspect of their business. If it’s a company that makes clothes they should say what they do with the items they don’t sell or with the scraps. Being transparent and open will most surely help them win more customers, especially today when we’re all trying to live better, eat healthier and recycle more.