I found it shocking that most companies still are not prepared for a social media-based customer service threat. Many people now turn to Twitter to express their frustrations with a brand and it’s important for a brand to address those frustrations to avoid the potential bad PR. One example of potential PR problems with an out of touch brand is what Bank of America experienced. I also found it interesting how those of all ages email their colleagues or use third-party sites to complain at a similar rate, but the big difference is that young people like to use social media to vent while older people prefer the telephone. With social media being so uncontrollable while it’s easy for information to go viral, it’s interesting that corporate communications departments are still behind the times.
PRNewswire discusses the “social echo” and how to amplify it. They are actually one of the competitors to my company Vocus, so I was very familiar with the social media metrics tools that they discussed. By listening on social media, marketing departments can drive new inbound leads and public relations departments can monitor sentiment to ensure that their brand is not associated in a negative manner. By listening instead of only trying to start conversations, companies can generate greater engagement and interest from their stakeholders.
Reputation systems are so important as they create legitimacy behind a company. I think out of all the items the article mentioned, credibility is one area that was not highlighted enough. Reputation systems, particularly Amazon’s, create credibility behind a large swath of items that are not typically sold in stores. This helps Amazon stand out since they sell many items that could be sold through “As Seen on TV” means. eBay has this problem as they have many shady sellers who do not provide what they say they will or they mislead buyers in other ways.
Drowned out? Rethinking Corporate Reputation Management for the Internet
As Bunting and Lipski explain, the internet is just a new median. It does not destroy all the theories behind corporate reputation management, just tweaks them slightly. The authors argued that there are more uncontrollable resources where people receive their information, but this is the same Marketing vs. PR theory that has raged on for years. PR has always been somewhat uncontrollable. The difference between old and new though is the amount of engagement and how communications has become much more social. The “meet them where they are” theory though had been used before and now with the advent of the internet, it’s been adapted. Overall, I don’t believe that the entire system has been changed, but the general communications theories have been tweaked over time.
What reputation management systems have you been impressed with and why? Aside from Amazon and eBay, are there any well known ones that you frequent pretty consistently and why?
Do you think any communications theories have been debunked due to the internet?
Do you think the internet has been good or bad for companies corporate communications departments?