Negative Search Listing Results Cause Grief, Damage Your Personal Brand Image and Impact Your Sales
Now days, it is common activity among people to check information related to any business and individual on search engines. They trust information they find on search engines, whether it is validated or not. With that being said, it becomes painfully obvious that it is now very important for businesses – as well as individuals – to have a good online reputation. Negative search results associated with your business and/or your individual name may lead to a bad reputation online. (Have you ever “google’d” your name?)
A negative online reputation may affect you in following ways:
- Harm new business sales
- Loss of trust among current customers
- Loss in brand equity
- Increase in insurance premiums
- Loss of insurance coverage
Hi, my name is Anthony L Semadeni. People call me “Tony” (or if I’m lucky, “Mr. Tony Semadeni” instead of “Hey Buddy!”) I’ve been working with local business owners over that past 10 years, helping them navigate the new ways of marketing their businesses in the Internet Age. The topic of online reputation is “hot” these days, and I wanted to share some insights with you that may just save “your name” and your business!
Way back in 2013 (Internet time flies faster than normal time), Forbes.com published an article entitled, How An Online Reputation Can Hurt Your Job Hunt, which discussed some of the facts of this growing issue for concern:
If you are looking for a job, you need to be aware of your digital footprint – the information connected with your name online. Companies and recruiters routinely check search engine results to learn more about potential employees.
In fact, 90% of executive recruiters say they conduct online research of potential candidates, according to ExecuNet. Up to 70% of employers who have used LinkedIn say they’ve chosen not to hire a person based on what they’ve found out about them online. However, only 27% of employers give job seekers the opportunity to discuss the online content that is associated with their name, such as social media profiles, blog posts and photos.
Reputation Risk: Why Is It So Important?
Deloitte recently published its latest Reputation@Risk report, a global survey of hundreds of top executives. The main takeaway from this 2014 report: the importance of reputation risk keeps growing, with 87% of respondents rating it higher than any other strategic risk facing their businesses. The top drivers of reputation risk listed by these executives were ethics or integrity issues, product or service concerns, security (both physical and cyber), and financial issues related to accounting or credit ratings.
Why has reputation become such a strong focus? Because these days it can change almost instantly. Decades ago, a company’s reputation was more or less the sum of what appeared in the mainstream media. That made it easier to control. Today, reputation is influenced to an equal or greater extent by decentralized processes on the Internet: search engine results, online customer reviews, social media activity, Wikipedia pages, and more.
Consumers and other stakeholders look to online sources for information on a company, yet there is no way to ensure that online information is accurate. That means a company’s reputation can be completely side-railed by misinformed blog posts or negative online reviews. That matters because more than 25 percent of a company’s market value is directly attributable to its reputation, according to the World Economic Forum.
Top causes of reputation risk
The Deloitte report makes it clear why top executives pay such close attention to reputation risk: of the respondents who had experienced a previous issue, 41 percent cited loss of revenue and loss of brand value as the biggest impact areas. In addition, as might be expected, the impacts of reputation threats were felt differently across industries:
|Consumer and industrial products||Revenue and earnings|
|Life sciences and healthcare||Loss of brand value|
|Technology, media, and telecom||Stock price change|
|Energy and resources||Revenue and earnings|
|Financial services||Regulatory investigation|
Protecting You and Your Company
Its no wonder that the majority of Deloitte respondents said they were making reputation risks a priority in the coming year. Of those surveyed, a full 57 percent planned to increase the resources spent on reputation management, by investing in people, data, technology, and the development of reputation risk and crisis management processes. These kinds of preparations are crucial, because reputation threats often appear without warning. News stories and scandals go viral within hours via Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, and other online outlets, so the most successful companies are the ones that are ready before a crisis strikes.
Two Hints to Protect Your Online Identity
- If you have specific content online right now that you need to BURY.
Perhaps you have something unflattering out there about you, or you’re also being mistaken for an ex-con. Unfortunately, you can’t simply remove a result from search engines.
The only way to get rid of a negative result is to bury that result with positive links.
Site owners aren’t required to remove it – in fact the law is on their side to keep it up. (And even if they remove it, it’s still archived by Google and it may continue to show up).
=> Need Help? Business Checkup’s Damage Control service is your solution! Give us a call.
- Leave no room for confusion.
If you have a common name, you risk being mistaken for someone else online. Rather than taking the blame for others’ mistakes, look for ways to differentiate yourself.
For example, someone with the name “Tony Semadeni” who is a Chief Problem Solver, could use “Tony Semadeni, CPS” in online profiles or consider including a middle name or initial or full legal name like “Anthony L Semadeni”. Registering a unique URL with your name – like www.tonysemadeni.com – or for your social media accounts – like www.facebook.com/tony.semadeni – improves the chances that employers will find your profiles, rather than those of someone else with the same name.
About the Author: Anthony L Semadeni has been consulting with business owners over the past decade, helping them understand the complexities of business marketing and brand awareness in the Internet age. Through his company, Business Checkup, he helps protect owner and business brand reputations. For more information, please visit www.onlinereputationmanagement.info or call 719-309-4499. Tony can be found at: www.tonysemadeni.com