Marketing Strategy Column

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2016-09-29 How to manage brand reputation online effectively

In the previous article, we discussed the importance of Social Media Monitoring. Let's continue with this topic and discuss further about how to manage a brand's reputation on the Internet.

To manage one brand’s online reputation well, there are three steps to begin with. The first step is 『monitoring』 which can help find out the online discussions about the brands and what makes the netizens so unsatisfied. The second step is to 『repair』 which trivialize and optimize the negative comments and scandals on the Internet from the past to the present. The third step is to 『reveal』 which can further achieve the brand's optimal image such as how trustworthy it is, why it should be strongly recommended, etc.

Speaking of 『monitoring』, which I have an in-depth discussion regarding the social media monitoring in the previous article. The key is to search for the main point, the range, the strengths and weaknesses of the brand via the social media online discussion and find inspiration.

In the second step 『repair』, the marketing manager needs to consider what content needs to be trivialized. For example, to penetrate some positive opinions in some editorials and point out what recovery work has been done by the company. During the repairing process, our top priority for trivialization is the recent bad news or scandals, and then gradually trivialize the negative discussions in the social media platform including forums and Facebook.

For example, Hoi Tin Tong (herbal products chain) was reported by the Apple Daily three years ago that they resell the suspected moldy Herbal Jelly after reprocessing. It lead to extensive discussion online. If Hoi Tin Tong wants to address the issue, they should trivialize the negative news from the Apple Daily first, making them more difficult to search, and then deal with other online comments. Due to the time sensitivity of the search level in the latter case, even there is no search result now, it doesn't mean there won't be any search result in the future. Therefore it can't be ignored.

After trivializing, the ideal situation is that when we search for the brand name on the Internet, the top search result is the company’s advertisement, the official website, the Wikipedia information page, the brand's Facebook page and related video clips, followed by some positive news and discussions.

When it comes to the third step 『reveal』, the brand needs to indirectly display the positive brand image to the web consumers through a third party. There are usually two methods, including establishing the word of mouth and with the help of the KOL (Key Opinion Leader) propaganda - using the positive comments of industry leaders to rebuild the brand image.

As known, Hoi Tin Tong launched a new TV commercial after the scandal. Their CEO Ng Yiu-Ming and celebrity Lou Hoi-Pang responded to the accusation in a form of dialogue, trying to repair the brand image. Unfortunately, the netizens did not accept it and the Internet is even flooded with more negative comments. If Hoi Tin Tong was to use the KOL to regain the confidence of the consumers, the result would be much better.

Although the comments online are complicated and out of control, we still have to actively and continuously manage the brand’s image. Otherwise, when there is an outbreak of problem and crisis, it will be difficult to turn the tide, or require double the effort for less achievements.

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