10 ORM To-Dos For Brands

As the value of ORM in an overall marketing strategy becomes clearer, the author advises a set of ‘to-dos’ that when followed, will hold marketer and brand heads in good stead towards managing their online reputation

Even as managing online reputation may sound simpler than the challenges faced in actual situations, there are certain hygiene factors that brands can make part of their overall toolkit to be prepared for unforeseen problems.

Identify the right tool for you: In today’s market, there is a plethora of tools available, with (sometimes) very less differentiation in the features available on each of them. It is important to identify the business requirement and then identify the tool which closely aligns with the job requirements. Having a tool with all the bells and whistles might be unnecessary when you only want to do basic customer query response and sentiment analysis.

Identify the most relevant platforms where you need to be present: Not every platform is relevant for a brand, especially in today’s day and age where social encompasses to mean any interactive platform (such as WhatsApp or Quora). In this scenario, it is important to identify the most relevant platforms for the brand and be present meaningfully across the same.

Place ORM as a proper business communication channel: Online presence is no longer optional. It has become a vital part of the brand psyche and communication and it is important to take it seriously. ORM should be treated the same way we would treat any communication outreach platform such as print, TV or digital. The same thought and depth need to go into handling the brand on digital communication.

Aligning all business activities together with ORM: ORM is not a separate activity you do; it is part of your communication outreach and omnichannel efforts.

Improve response time through process driven tasks: Most users who leave a comment on a social page of a brand expect the response to be as immediate as possible, while also personally addressing their query. It becomes vital that a brand takes as little time as possible in responding to users’ concerns – a proper system set in place to handle consumer queries will go a long way towards a quick and efficient response system.

Classify responses and maintain a consistent tone of voice basis the response: Identify the kind of response and comment a customer has left regarding the brand and have a process to address the query and a tone of communication for each one (positive, negative, grievance etc). While a brand may adopt a casual and fun persona for its communication, for a grievance posted by the consumer, it needs to adapt a slightly more empathetic tone to resolve the issues faced.

Ensure no query goes unanswered: Even a single unanswered query could lead to a major grievance for the brand, from which it could gain a long-standing negative reputation. Prompt and adequate responses are essential to convert an unhappy customer into a happy one. The classic case of ‘United breaks Guitars’ might not have become such a major issue had United just properly managed how it responded and reacted to its consumers in the first place.

Have a strategy in place to handle crises: No matter how much a brand tries, there are certain situations that balloon and develop into a full-blown crisis for the brand – these could be basis the communication carried out by the brand, or any major grievance faced. In the days of social media, this could mean that the brand is trending, and at a rapid pace, for the wrong reasons. It is vital in such scenarios to have a proper crisis management system in place to monitor the growth of conversations, have a plan in place to address queries and to ensure that each response feels unique and well-thought.

Properly listen to your customers: Customers love having an input towards what they feel their brand should be communicating and they love feeling acknowledged by their brands. Always look at what people are talking about related to your brand and try and incorporate the same into the kind of content that can be put out. A great example of this would be Spotify India, when the audio streaming app modified its profile image to that of an image resembling a Goodday biscuit when one of its users pointed out the similarity.

Be proactive rather than reactive: It is important to always be on the lookout for popular things being discussed on the social space and finding relevant ways to become a part of the conversation. It becomes vital to monitor trends and find a hook to get onto the conversation. A great example of this would a recent ad featuring Rahul Dravid, which prompted many brands to be relevant to the content using their own content plugs.

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