Understanding Reputation

It was the worst of days and also the best of days – I was 14, average of average students and Mr. Nadik, our English teacher just announced in class, that of all the essays, mine was chosen for the school newspaper. Thrilled to bits, grinning from ear to ear, I looked around. I understood a lot of things that day. Especially the phrase, ‘if looks could kill’.

Years later, I understood the meaning of ‘irony’ too! For the essay, I had woven a story around a quote from my favorite book Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. In the book, the handsome Rhett Butler tells the feisty Scarlett O’Hara, ’Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realise what a burden it was or what freedom really means.’ Made perfect sense then. The irony of it is, here I am today, managing perception and reputation for corporations as part of my Corporate Communication responsibilities 🙂

Reputation has a whole new meaning for me now than it had, when I was 14.

Reputation management itself is now Offline and Online, the traditional and the digital – two words that we often use in communications these days. Online Reputation Management, sometimes referred to by its acronym ORM is about managing the perception of your brand online.

Reputation management essentials in the digital world

Reputation management go hand-in-hand to build a successful brand. A good communication strategy should have ways to build, protect and maintain a reputation of an organisation or brand – especially in this digital world.

To our traditional list, I would add the following digital essentials:

  • Go where the conversations are happening – Today, this is mostly online. Keeping our ears on the ground is something we have always done. In the digital world, it is more about keeping abreast with new channels, tools and equipping ourselves with the nuances as and when they appear. With umpteen channels out all the time, it can get a bit confusing. Identify the right medium for your brand – a LinkedIn could work for some and a Tik Tok for others. Explore, understand and use it well to tell your brand story through it.
  • Learning a new skill? How about Social Listening? – Social listening is an art of monitoring and keeping an eye on conversations around your brand, to know the overall sentiment about your product, brand or service. It is an important skill to have in the digital era, where almost everyone is online. The online conversations can be overwhelming, therefore it is good to have a goal before you make your social listening plan. Single out an objective and a few important channels so that you get the general consensus of the brand where it matters most.
  • Don’t go at it alone – With the variegated channels that we have today, we also need to welcome different perspectives. As communications professionals we own the narrative, however, an internal committee of brand evangelists, employee advocates, millennials using the latest media and the leadership can make up a great team to make a digital plan. As mentioned earlier, almost everyone is online therefore everyone on that committee will be digital-savvy customers to share inputs or even engage with your online audience with compelling, multi-media content.

Margaret Mitchell’s quote is a classic and can be used for personal purposes. For Corporates, I am more inspired by  Warren Buffet’s ‘It takes years to build a reputation, and just minutes to ruin it. Think about it and you will do things differently.’

This is the first article for my column #MissChief. I will be writing on all things communications based on my personal experiences as a mountain girl, how reading got me here, rituals for work-life balance, diversity, networking, leadership and if I run short of topics, I am enthusiastic about grooming for work and fitness in this crazy world. Else, there are always surveys on Twitter 🙂

Ira Pradhan on LinkedinIra Pradhan on Twitter
Ira Pradhan
Ira is a Corporate Communications Leader with experience in Healthcare, Consumer Electronics, IT, Retail and the Automotive industry. She hails from the small and beautiful state of Sikkim and considers herself a complete Mountain Girl.

In a career spanning over a decade as a communications expert, she has championed and led programs on several sustainable business practices, diversity and inclusion programs.

She loves to read literature, and books on management and development in technology and economics. She mentors young women students & entrepreneurs in her home state, Sikkim.

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