ORM Essential For Consumer-Facing Digital Brands: Ankur Agarwal, TTK Prestige

ORM is key for the brand to engage with its consumers and also to understand competition and to develop its overall market strategy

TTK Prestige has been upping its digital focus in the past few years. As digital adoption accelerated, this shift further intensified at the company, making the likes of online reputation management (ORM) even important for the brand. In the last year, the role of ORM at the company evolved from just staying on a few social channels to becoming a critical part of the consumer feedback mechanism itself, through multiple platforms.

“Today, ORM gives us crucial data about what the consumer perception is, monitor our reputation across platform and in comparison, to nearest competitors. Interactions today are aimed at addressing consumer feedbacks and building a positive perception around the brand,” reflects Ankur Agarwal, the DGM – Marketing at TTK Prestige.

Agarwal reminds that online is a powerful platform today for people to share and express their opinions. “That is where we have seen the need to be proactive and reactive to manage our online presence. The most essential part is analytics, which now plays a crucial role. It helps us in taking informed decisions on product offerings, after-sales service or brand communication,” he explains.

The Essential ORM

ORM has become an essential component of social media management in India for all leading consumer facing brands. The presence of several technology tools has made adaptation of the concept easier as well. “If a brand is present in the digital space, and is consumer facing, ORM becomes an essential part of the journey. Most consumer searches for brands and products today happen online,” says Agarwal.

The evidence to Agarwal’s argument is seen in the fact that adoption of the likes of ORM was higher in urban India until recently. In the last couple of years however, data indicates that Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities have begun contributing at a much faster pace. A flat India is at play, where consumers across markets are becoming potential customers for brands, across sectors.

Agarwal adds, “There is still scope on various other aspects that ORM touches. The vulnerability of online presence and the need to handle the same is becoming essential by the day.”

As ORM breaks bounds of social media and search or other direct media channels such as PR, it has made place for more digital trends to interplay. The emergence of ecommerce for example, or other web entities that have branched out in some way or the other to collect consumer feedback, have all come together to create a response mechanism that ultimately dials back to a brand’s ORM strategy.

“ORM will not only impact how consumers think and perceive you as a brand, but also what is your competitive landscape, and how and where can you combat,” stresses Agarwal.

The Right Partnerships

While ORM is technology driven, it depends on a skillful human touch. For Agarwal, collaborations and partnerships form the very foundation of ORM in terms of affiliating with the right people and businesses. These focus on the problem, and fight back at the right time, in the right manner.

“If not handled on time, content on digital platforms can take unintended directions,” Agarwal explains, adding, “ORM has different aspects such as monitoring, listening, engaging, and strategising. Partners and affiliates need to be able to work with all these at once. Having a partner that can cater to all these needs, helps in transparent and effective combat mechanisms.”

The internet is a powerful platform. Negative feedbacks and reviews spread faster with viral effect. “Many new webmasters do not realise how fast negative word can spread and ruin efforts built over decades. There is merit in seeking professional guidance with an experienced company to take care of your reputation management issues,” Agarwal continues.

The Enabler

While the ORM space is continually evolving, some areas that are becoming more important include the kind of roles that influencers play. For TTK Prestige too, influencers have become more prominent and powerful.

In addition, as online touchpoints increase, the access to the brand has become easier. “It is important to ensure clarity and positive engagement with buyers. Consumers now search online if they want to communicate with the brand. Give them the ease of doing so by being a constant enabler,” states Agarwal.

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