Regardless of your industry, in this digital age you need to how to manage your company's reputation. Take it from Alexander Kernishniuk CEO of MacKeeper, an all-in-one software solution that provides cleaning, security and optimization for Mac computers. According to Kernishniuk and Jeremiah Fowler, head of MacKeeper communications, last year a MacKeeper affiliate promoted MacKeeper on a fake website-MalwareBytesMac.org-as an equivalent for MalwareBytes. After an investigation MacKeeper learned that the affiliate started an illegal advertising campaign, resulting in consumer distrust and media skepticism. Although MacKeeper took legal action and settled the lawsuit in court, the company had to be intentional about managing the fallout on its reputation. Here's Kernishniuk's advice should your company find itself with a public relations problem.
1. Be as open and transparent as possible.
The internet is a convenient platform for complainers and competitors to voice negativity targeted toward your brand. Make sure you have a Google Alert set to notify you when your company is mentioned online, paying particular attention to sponsored posts which may be blogs written by competitors, something consumers may not recognize for what they are. Also make sure to monitor forums and social media and respond to every legitimate complaint. "The easiest way to deflate falsehoods is to combat them with the hard truth to the best of your knowledge," Fowler says. "The least successful approach would be not answering at all or whitewashing."
2. Get face time with your customers.
MacKeeper attends trade events such as the Consumer Electronics Show to have up-close, one-on-one conversations with customers and potential customers. The idea is to run ideas past them, gauge their satisfaction and better understand their needs and desires. "It's also important to keep a channel of communication open with your critics... so they can share information freely and you can use it to better your business, your products and the way that you present yourself as a company," Fowler says.
3. Seek legal assistance.
When you're the victim of a reputation attack, it's vital that you seek assistance from a law firm that specializes in intellectual property law. It can contact the offender, domain registrar and hosting provider and request that the content be taken down, or file a lawsuit if needed. Do this as quickly as possible before your brand suffers long-lasting damage.
4. Proactively communicate your brand message or others will do it for you.
"It should be something simple that people can catch," Kernishniuk says.