Online reputation management is not to be taken lightly. Scores of businesses, entrepreneurs, and “regular” persons have learned this the hard way. So have more than a few celebrities and politicians. No one is safe from damage to Reputation.com online. And things never begin and end with online commentary. Anything that is published online can change the public’s consciousness. In other words, horrible news or sentiments that launch online can affect the “real world” in a dramatic fashion.
The clothing company H&M discovered the negative effects of online reputation tarnishing the hard way. In 2010, the company dumped a ton of old garments into a dumpster. The clothes could have been donated to charity, but H&M choose to throw the garments out. The bad publicity surrounding the discovery of the “trashing” turned into a nightmare for H&M. The nightmare never seemed to end because the tale went viral.
And how hard is it for good or bad news to go viral in the social media realm? Negative reports and brutal criticism about H&M flooded social media. Untold numbers of people — some who may never have heard of the company before — were “treated” to H&M bashing in a big way.
The tale of H&M is a cautionary one. Making mistakes can truly be disastrous even when the reasoning behind the mistake may be logical. Bad publicity can arise from any incident and, in the world of the internet, mistakes are not forgiven so easily. The minute a news report gains a presence online on social media, a blog, a website, a forum, or more, the bad news doesn’t go away.
Imagine if someone chooses to produce a lengthy online video reporting bad news about a business. This has been done many times, and the effect on a business can be outright disastrous.
Means of correcting the bad publicity can be performed. Working with a reputation management firm to fix bad publicity could be the best path to follow. Yes, it is best to avoid a reputation crisis in the first place but this does not always happen. Turning to reputation pros may be the only option for those dealing with a mess.