Enterprise-level organizations present unique challenges in the area of brand reputation management.
While strategy may be centralized, and KPIs as well as budgets associated with marketing and other departmental needs are shared across all units, the diversity of geographic locales, broad product offering, and multi segmentation place unique demands upon those tasked with managing the online and offline reputation of the business as a whole.
Conflicting goals across departments due to lack of full visibility and sheer size often result in disjointed efforts that may impact the way external customers perceive the organization, and result in negative customer feedback conveyed via user-generated reviews on online review sites, and other online avenues such as social media. Additionally, enterprise-level organizations are held to a higher standard, with customers expecting consistency across the board, as well as fast and seamless resolutions to their concerns and escalations.
Key Practices: Brand Reputation and Online Review Management
If you are tasked with the management of the online and offline brand reputation of an enterprise-level business organization, you may feel like the task ahead is colossal and some of the barriers before you insurmountable.
Fortunately, due to advances in technology and a better grasp of the needs and wants of customers resulting from the effective use of data-driven business intelligence, the reality is quite different.
Reputation managers at enterprise level simply have to adhere to key business principles and pair them with the best review management tools in order to gain control of the brand reputation of the organization they represent, and begin generating incremental business as a result of increased online visibility and enhanced brand perception. Let’s review some of the key business practices that can catapult each individual business unit, and the enterprise as a whole, to a position of online domination.
Select Scalable Reputation and Review Management Tools
Creating a functional reputation management strategy at enterprise level is all about having the ability to see the big picture and take laser-focused action when needed.
Select tools that allow for unit-specific management, while providing you access to brand-wide data that can be combined to better understand trends. Additionally, make certain all your reputation and review management tools can be consolidated and quickly expanded to address growth, should the business be faced with the need to make operational cuts.
Centralize Data and Analytics
Consumer-generated data in the form of online reviews and social media signals provides your business organization with a variety of insights that can potentially equip you to make smarter business decisions by remaining customer-centric, and making data-driven decisions instead of gambling with the direction of your organization.
Centralization of data and analytics will help you identify issues in areas such as personnel, pricing, product development, promo effectiveness, and regional variances.
The data collected is useful in making brand-wide strategic moves as well as isolating exceptions by locale. Enterprise-level organizations cannot afford to have isolated reputation management efforts, with practices that are obscure to those at headquarters. Holistic access to data is essential for the sustainability of your reputation-management strategy.
Empower Individual Units to Resolve Unit-Specific Escalations
While visibility and centralization are essential to the success of an enterprise-level reputation management strategy, empowerment at unit level is a must.
Your business unit needs to be equipped and empowered to quickly identify and resolve customer escalations communicated via reviews and social sites.
Quick resolution at unit level can reduce the impact of a negative experience, and minimize the potential of a negative narrative going viral. You need to invest in creating a culture of empowerment that is focused on taking care of customers, with a sense of ownership and immediacy.
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Create and Maintain Communication and Brand Standards for Cohesiveness
Unit-specific empowerment to tackle customer concerns quickly is essential, but not at the expense of inconsistencies that may diminish the brand strength.
Enterprise-level reputation management must be subject to brand standards related to communication style, response time, remedies, compensation, and other aspects of the customer-facing experience. Brand standards can empower local leaders to make quick and accurate decisions that adhere to the values and mission of the corporation.
Practice Agile Downstream and Upstream Communications
Expedient communication, both downstream and upstream, is an essential element of enterprise-level reputation management strategy.
For example, if a local branch has a customer service challenge that has resulted in a highly negative review, then informing all other branches will equip them to avoid repeat instances and to better manage issue-specific customer concerns.
Effective downstream and upstream communication is useful to convey concerns, but it is also very powerful when communicating positive trends. Communicating positive trends as conveyed in customer opinion is healthy for brand-wide morale and can equip everyone to duplicate the behavior, helping shape a culture of excellence across all business units.
Track Regional Competitors and Revise Reputation Strategy Based on Local Needs
There is no question that enterprise-level organizations must have brand-wide standards when dealing with reputation-related issues; however, when it comes to strategy, there must be some space for localization.
Tracking individual unit performance and conducting geographically-based, competitive analysis will equip your enterprise to make unit or region-specific revisions to strategy that will help optimize performance at a local level, without having to change processes or strategies at locales that may not necessarily benefit from the change.
Enterprise-level reputation management is all about balancing brand-wide needs at a national or global level, while allowing space for individual units to make autonomous business decisions in response to local needs. When discipline and flexibility work side by side to deliver seamless customer-centric experiences, enterprise-level organizations can rest in the knowledge of having achieved a sustainable brand reputation management strategy.