Concept and Importance of Online Reputation Management

Concept and Importance of Online Reputation Management

Vinod Kumar Singh (GurukulKangri University, India) and Naman Sharma (Amity University, India)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0332-3.ch004
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Abstract

Gone are the days when Consumers had fewer product choices and companies had fewer sources of finding the right candidates for their work. Thanks to technology and globalization, things have changed. In this age of technology and speed, it becomes tough to overcome competition and make a successful career or business. One thing that may certainly help in achieving the above is a good reputation. Building a good reputation may take a long time but for maintaining it intact or destroying it entirely just takes few minutes. Online reputation is a newer term which basically deals with the rapport of a person or brand that has been build online. There are several online reputation management firms which earns millions of dollars every year from individuals and organizations just to maintain their good reputation on online platforms. This chapter discusses these concepts and techniques of online reputation management.
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Introduction

In this age of paramount competition and dynamic business environment, it becomes necessary for organizations to maintain a healthy Public Relations (PR). PR is defined as that management function that identifies, establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and various publics on whom its success or failure depends (Cutlip, Center & Broom, 2000). Brand, Image and Reputation are the three terms that are often used interchangeably (Riel & Berens, 2001). Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), UK relates public relations with reputation of a person/organization:

Public relations are about reputation. It is the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Public relations practice is the discipline, which looks after reputation with the aim of earning understanding, support and influencing opinion and behavior. (www.cipr.co.uk)

There are few empirical proof in support of above definition stating how public relations can help in building reputation (Plowman, Briggs &Huang, 2001; Walker, 2010) and changing opinion and behaviors of people (Cutlip, Center & Broom, 2000). Researchers concerning corporate reputation took its inspiration from the concept of corporate image. Corporate image is generally considered as the company’s brand equity (Caruana & Chircop, 2000). Corporate image is considered to be made up of two components: tangible characteristics that can be measured and evaluated easily and emotional characteristics such as feelings, attitudes and beliefs of the people towards organizations (Kandampully & Hu, 2007).

Losing reputation is a far greater sin for an organization than losing money. (Warren Buffet)

Every individual, product or organization is considered only as good as its general perception amongst the masses. This general perception is formally known by the term ‘Reputation’. People strive for good reputation and avoid receiving any negative reputation. A good reputation in general signifies the approval or acceptance of an individual or organization by their potential customers or stakeholders. In times of difficulty, a good reputation may also help a particular organization or individual to stand on his feet again while a bad reputation will only lead to its final collapse. Hence, organizations and individuals generally take the matter of reputation very seriously. Talking more in Indian terms, people in India are always known for their trait of treasuring their reputation more than other materialistic things in life. It is due to this very reason, Indian organizations have absorbed the same quality and hence there is always a fight of reputation going on between them. Talking more about reputation a more refined and accepted dictionary definition of ‘Reputation’ is

Overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general; a place in public esteems or regard: good name. (Merriam – Webster dictionary)

How crucial is this ‘Reputation’ can be understood by some examples such as Xiaomi who is known for its technologically advanced and popular cellphone handsets like RedMi witnessed a sharp decline in its sales when Indian Air Force raised some security concerns over its data storage policies. Similar incident can be cited for Blackberry which again is very big name in Cellphone industry. Another example that can be taken is of Cadbury and Nestle; they have to change their entire packaging for chocolates in India few years back when they were alleged for distributing contaminated chocolates in the market. Quite clearly, reputation of an organization or individual can be considered as make or destroy factor in its endeavors. There are a number of reasons why reputation shall be considered crucial for an individual or a business. Some of these are:

  • Starting a new venture.

  • Applying for a loan.

  • Asking for promotion at workplace.

  • Attracting new customers.

  • Searching for a new job.

  • Leading a new team.

  • Launching new product/services.

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