Reputation Management and Web 2.0

Before Web 2.0, upholding an organization’s reputation meant creating hype and buzzwords using strategically crafted messages or celebrity spokespersons to create trust, loyalty and positivity.  In the era of Web 2.0, maintaining the specific goals of an organization will no longer be conducted in this manner. Corporations and other organizations must change the way they manage their reputation in the era of Web 2.0

A key to manage reputation in Web 2.0 is to monitor and have a voice in the blogosphere.  In the article Managing Corporate Reputation in the Blogosphere Dell Computers faced a seemingly small voice in the blogosphere that would have an extremely powerful impact in the company’s reputation.  Jeff Jarvis, the founder of technology blog Buzz Machine, wrote a post called “Dell Hell.” It recalled a negative experience with a service plan Jarvis was promised that was not upheld by the Dell Support team.

The term “Dell Hell” had taken over search engines and the blogosphere resulting in a negative image of the company.  His post generated activity and conversations in the blogosphere that eventually made it to mainstream media.  When Dell was confronted about the issue, a representative indicated that the company “had a ‘look don’t touch’ policy about blogs.”  It was not until 2007 that Dell had initiated an external blog Direct2Dell.  This blog allows them to be engaged in the conversation and encourage reputation management back to the company.

Primark Stores Limited, a subsidiary food company in Europe, also utilized social media to change its already negative perceptions about the company in the article Corporate Reputation in the era of Web 2.0: the case of Primark.  What helped Primark manage their reputation in Web 2.0 was to understand reputation aggregators. Reputation aggregators are the systems of how someone searches information online such as Google, Yahoo and other popular search engines.  Corporations and other organizations need to understand how they work so they can have access to what their audiences are looking for online, and what is being talked about.

The velocity in which Web 2.0 has taken off is nothing short of astounding.  Web 2.0 has taken a large portion of the control in reputation management away from the public relations person and into the hands of the audience online.  The access to free-flow information has made Web 2.0 a medium for a constant audience that will not be ignored.

–posted by Kendall Berton

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