More and more professionals and executives are starting to hear the term “Executive Reputation Management” or “Online Reputation Management” but most are still wondering why online reputation management for executives and professionals is necessary or, as we put it, critical in today’s digital economy.
Here’s the really simple and short answer: 87% of people surveyed reported that the next thing they do after being referred to a business or a professional is…. you probably guessed it, they Google search the person’s name, the business name or both. What do they find about you is the next question? Can they find you on page one of search results? If they do, what do they find? Is everything they find strategically in search or are you relying on Google exclusively to show your prospects and customers what it thinks is best? Is it positive, negative or neutral? You get the point.
Want another equally critical statistic to know if you are a professional? —90% of executive recruiters Google candidates before making a hire and 75% of all HR departments are required to search online about a candidate before a hiring decision can be made.
Online reputation expert, Lane Houk, teaches the CSuite and executives on why they can no longer ignore this area of online personal brand management. “Buying decisions are made on trust. Namely, trust that the desired outcome will be achieved. In today’s digital economy, people search, scan and quickly arrive at trust-based conclusions simply using reviews and online reputation ratings as the basis for their conclusions,” says Houk, CEO and Managing Partner of Brand Equation, a brand consulting and digital marketing firm based in Tampa, Florida
With 90% of the US population owning smartphone, that’s approximately 270 million daily users with instant access to the internet and information on anyone and anything. Google’s search algorithm is very “brand-centric” and the algorithm looks to identify brand names, and yes that means personal brand names as much as company name.
Establishing Your Personal Brand Online
Managing your reputation online as an executive or professional certainly means doing business with honesty and within all ethical standards for your industry but to truly build a 5-star reputation online, your customer experience needs to be designed for a 5-star experience. This means strategy needs to be applied. Once you have a customer journey mapped out and married to proper delivery system(s) for your business, you can then shift to the effort of translating 5-star customer experiences to your online reputation.
Every executive and professional should have their own name, company name and variants setup in a free Google search alert. This would be absolute minimum for monitoring your online reputation. Companies like Brand Equation offer reputation management software which automates much of the reputation management process. Great reputation software will also help the user proactively build a 5-star reputation online with reputation marketing automation and social media integrations.
Company executives should have all C-level executives in a robust reputation management campaign. Quite frankly, companies can no longer afford to think of this as optional. The stakes are too high and the costs too insignificant comparatively to justify inaction.
How to Get Started with Executive Reputation Management
Getting started is fairly straightforward and simple at a high level. Develop a pro-active strategy to monitor, manage and market a 5-star reputation for your personal brand. Monitoring can be as simple as free Google alerts to more robust solutions. Managing means delivering a 5-star customer experience consistently and predictably as much as is possible. This does not happen by accident and many companies would be well-served in retaining the consulting services of a company like Brand Equation to identify gaps, weaknesses and opportunities in the customer experience (cX) journey and delivery/fulfillment systems.
Reputation management tools and software are largely ineffective unless they are married to a well-documented strategy. Each personal brand is unique and carries with it it’s own set of unique characteristics that should be accounted for in the executive reputation management strategy and mindmap.
If you are looking for a reputation management consultant or a customer experience consultant, contact recognized expert, Lane Houk with Brand Equation to setup a complimentary initial consult.