How NOT To Tarnish Your Business Reputation

In 2013, the documentary Blackfish debuted at Sundance Film Festival. This ground-breaking movie exposed SeaWorld’s mistreatment of its animals.

The fallout happened quickly. Politicians from California and New York quickly proposed legislation to ban orca whales from entertainment venues. Southwest Airlines ended its 26-year partnership with SeaWorld. The company’s social media feeds were filled with dissenters who voiced their opinions on every single post.

The company suffered financially from it too. SeaWorld announced it suffered a $15.9 million loss, which the CEO attributed to bad weather and higher ticket prices. The stock dropped by 33%, and the company’s revenue dipped after many years of growth.

SeaWorld spent at least $10 million on PR initiatives and an additional $100 million on expanding their orca’s facilities. Things are looking better for the company, but it still has its fair share of online dissenters.

In the business world, reputation is everything. It determines who will want to work with you and buy from your company. Even small companies must do everything they can to maintain a high-quality reputation.

How can you ensure you have a high-quality reputation online? Start by following these steps:

Manage Your Reviews

Have you ever wanted to see a movie because it got rave reviews? In recent years, many people have flocked to independent and foreign movies like Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Boyhood, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and The Florida Project, all because critics raved about them. While they might not have the same budget or advertising as a Disney blockbuster movie, they thrived on word-of-mouth.

Online reviews can do the same for your company. According to BrightLocal, 93% of customers will read a company’s online reviews before deciding to purchase something.

review marketing graph

But that’s not all. Consider some of these statistics:

  •   Every one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
  •   A product’s chance of being purchased increases by 270% if it has at least five reviews.
  •   Having at least nine reviews increases a company’s revenue by 52%. Having at least 25 reviews increases it by 108%.
  •   Customers spend 31% more money on businesses with positive reviews.
  •   50% of customers need to see a four-star rating before they consider buying something from the business.

It’s clearly worth investing in review management software to keep track of your reviews. Many companies get bombarded with one-star reviews due to one negative headline. Luckily, places like Yelp often monitor companies for false reviews, but review management software can help do the same. Also, through the process of proactively soliciting customer feedback, this software can provide a business the opportunity to identify and problem-solve a negative experience before the consumer ever publishes a public review.

It’s also worth noting that responding to negative reviews can help improve your brand image. Simple messages like “We’re so sorry this happened to you” or “We’ll fix it right away” are great ways to get the customer back on your side.

Are you struggling with getting positive online reviews? Schedule a complimentary review with a BBM marketing consultant to help you determine the best reputation management strategy for your business.

Provide Great Customer Service

Customer service can make or break your business. After all, it’s about five times more expensive to obtain a new customer than to retain a current one. Plus, existing customers have a 60-70% chance of buying your products, compared to the 5-20% chance of new customers.

Still not convinced? Consider these statistics:

  •   Over half of Americans scrapped a purchase or transaction due to poor customer service.
  •   About one-third of consumers consider switching a business after a single incident of bad customer service.
  •   Two-thirds of consumers will consider switching a business after two or more incidents of bad customer service.
  •   American companies lose over $62 billion a year from poor customer service.
  •   American consumers will tell an average of 15 people about a bad customer service experience. On the contrary, they’ll only tell about 11 about a positive experience.
  •   A little over half of the consumers say they won’t do business with a company again after a single bad customer service incident.

Claim Local Listings

Did you know that 97% of online users search for local businesses? Among those, 90% of those users will call or visit the company within the next 24 hours.

You want to make sure your potential customers are getting the right information. By claiming your business on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor, you can ensure that they see the correct information. This will allow you to edit your business hours, location, phone number, and more.

Imagine what it would be like to find out a company has no listing. It would look shady. Make sure your company looks as legitimate to your customers as possible. If you’re not sure if your local listings are up to par, try our local listings health checker.

Give Back

Don’t think of your business as simply a way to earn more money. Instead, think of it as your way of helping out the world.

Consider the shoe company TOMS. The company’s “buy one, give one” motto means that they’ll donate one pair of shoes to a child in need for each one you buy. That way, you’re helping out someone else while still helping yourself.

Likewise, Warby Parker donates glasses for each pair that someone else buys. So far, they’ve given over one million pairs of glasses to those who need them.

Corporate citizenship does more than make people feel good about themselves. It also attracts customers.

Most consumers under 40 say that corporate citizenship is their favorite way to give back to the community. Likewise, 81% of millennials say that they prefer to shop at places that work towards the greater good.

Manage Your Social Media

In 2020, there were almost 4 billion people actively using social media. In comparison, only around 2 billion people were using it in 2015. That’s quite the increase.

Nowadays, every brand has a social media account to raise awareness. After all, what is marketing but keeping a positive association in the minds of your consumers? The more they hear about you, the more they’ll be likely to buy from your company.

Screenshot of an organic social media post by Explore Victoria Texas

Some brands are killing it in the social media marketing department. Just look at Denny’s, for example. The diner quickly established a quirky and offbeat sense of humor unlike any seen before. Their bizarre jokes might sound odd from a corporation but it fits in nicely with internet meme culture.

Unfortunately, many of these social media campaigns can backfire. For example, there was a hashtag discussing domestic violence called #WhyIStayed. It started in 2014 after footage of Ray Rice punching his girlfriend surfaced and went viral online. Many survivors shared their harrowing stories of abuse and neglect.

In one blunder, DiGiorno’s Pizza decided to jump in on the hashtag without understanding what it was about. “#WhyIStayed You had pizza,” the tweet read.

Soon, they were bombarded with angry criticism, and the account replied to every single response.

The lesson is this: be careful with what you post on social media. DiGiorno’s Pizza wasn’t the first company to make such a mistake, and they certainly won’t be the last. But a good social media campaign is one of the easiest ways to get your eyes in front of customers.

Want suggestions on your social media pages? Book a complimentary strategy consultation with a BBM marketing consultant for tips on how to take your accounts to the next level.

Work With Influencers

Influencer marketing is a big deal on social media. Brands will pay up to $1 million to work with names like Kylie Jenner or Ariana Grande.

This form of marketing helps leave a positive impression on viewers. They’ll associate your brand with their favorite influencer.

That being said, you don’t necessarily need the biggest name in the industry to give your product a shout-out. Plenty of smaller figures still get brand deals that pay good money. If you’ve ever been on YouTube, you know that there’s no shortage of creators selling Honey, NordVPN, Raid: Shadow Legends, or Dollar Shave Club.

Influencer Marketing


Plus, influencers give you a reach you might not initially have. They often have a diverse audience full of people worldwide who probably haven’t heard of your brand. You can leverage their popularity to increase your sales.


Your reputation can take years to build but seconds to tarnish. Just look at any celebrity who got in trouble on social media. One small blunder can cancel out years of hard work and good deeds in the public’s eye.

Many large corporations can survive such scrutiny in the long run. Just look at Wells Fargo, BP, or CrossFit. Smaller companies, unfortunately, don’t have the same amount of popularity to keep afloat. One bad story can tarnish your brand’s reputation – and your income – for good.

If you’re struggling with your business’ reputation, schedule a complimentary strategy consultation with our expert marketing staff at Building Brands Marketing. Whether you’re looking to build customer awareness or need help managing your online reputation, our team has the experience and capabilities to help your business take the next step.

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