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SMU 101 - Session 09: Reputation Management

Purpose/Aim of this session

In this session we are going to introduce you to managing your brand reputation online. This session is designed to enhance your understanding of corporate reputation and its growing role in the modern global economy. This session will also help you identify the tools and processes you will need to contribute to your brand's reputation management strategy.

Learning Aims for this session:

  • Developing  an understanding of what brand reputation management is
  • Developing an understand on how reputation impacts o, and influences, brands and brand perception
  • Understanding the value of reputation management as part of your overall brand management

Learning Outcomes for this session:

At the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Understand how to take charge of your brand's persona
  • Understand how to define communication strategy and online reputation strategy
  • Understanding which tools are available for brand monitoring and Online Reputation Management
  • Understanding how reputation management aligns with the overall brand management process

How this Session Works:

  1. Read through the Overview that accompanies this session. This provides an overall context for the session.
  2. Work your way through the items on the Preparatory section that accompanies this session.
  3. Listen to the Lecture that accompanies this session.
  4. Work your way the branding scenario in the "Scenario" tab. The scenario is a practical exercise activity to develop your initial understanding of the branding concepts covered in this session.
  5. Work your way the template in the "Template" tab. The template will support you as you take the first steps in developing your understanding of your brand.
  6. You can browse through some carefully selected material in the "Reading Room" tab. These materials will build upon your initial Brand concepts.
  7. In the "Monitoring Tools" tab, we have provided links to some excellent, free online listening, communication and reputation management tools. These tools can provide 'real time' provide information about what's being said about your brand.

SMU 101 Session 9 Study Activities

  • Overview
  • Preparatory Activities
  • Lecture
  • Scenarios
  • Template
  • Reading Room
  • Monitoring Tools

The subject of reputation of management can -and does - form a course of its own. While this session is intensive in nature, it remains an introductory overview int o the subject.

In Session 7, we introduced you to the importance of listening to conversations that are happening about your brand. You also started to think about ways to sustain positive comments about your brand – and ways you can develop strategies to deal with negative comments or perceptions.

This session is designed to support you in developing strategies to ensure your brand’s reputation is spotless. Previously, this meant selling a good product or service and avoiding bad publicity. That was then. Since the explosion of the Internet, online brand reputation management demands much more consideration and attention. Actually, it's become a career choice and an industry unto itself.

Maintaining an online presence that is sharp and true to your brand means tracking your brand’s reputation. This includes understanding how things like your website and social media spaces are not performing or trending well. You need to know why – and fix them. While we’ll be going over this last point in far greater detail within SMU 103: Social Media Marketing, SMU104: Content Marketing, SMU105: Blogging and SMU106: Building an Effective Website – you need to begin thinking about how you will approach this fundamental aspect of reputation management.

To give you a road map as to how this session links to the other courses available on SMU:

SMU103: Social Media Marketing will specifically address:

  • Learn How to build and protect your brand on Social Networks
  • Making a good name more discoverable
  • How to engage with your online communities on social network
  • Being personal, asking questions, and engaging people in your  online communities
  • Know how to engage with customers and make the best use of brand evangelists
  • How to engage industry thought leasers
  • How to establish yourself as a thought leader
  • How to deal with crisis, online attacks and bad buzz

SMU104: Content Marketing will specifically address:

  • Leveraging the power of content making to engage
  • Making your stories fun
  • Viral content as a reputation management success story
  • Intellectual property and copyright law

SMU105: Blogging will specifically address:

  • Best practice in online community building
  • How publishing laws apply to your online content
  • How to address flaming, phishing, online bullying and other internet nasties
  • Libel laws

SMU106: Building an effective Website will specifically cover:

  • If your Web pages aren’t among the first listed search engine results…your brand reputation might not be as glowing as it could be.
  • Search engine optimization
  • Writing effective, keyword rich text

The outline above places this session in to an overall context relating to the other courses available on SMU.  Understanding the key points within this session will ease your progression through the other SMU courses. For now, the main aim of this session is for you to build an overall understanding and approach to keeping your brand looking good and moving forward.

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  1. The video below introduces you to the concept of reputation management and its fundamental components. This video was prepared as a short introduction to a Chartered Institute of Marketing course. Watch the video up to the 04.20 mark (the point at which the speaker addresses tutors). The remainder of the video doesn't pertain to this unit.

  2. The following article gives a concise overview regarding the role of reputation management - and clears up some misconceptions along the way:

    The Definitive Guide to Online Reputation Management, Kiss Metrics.
  3. To place the key thinking points from the video and article above in to an immediate context, watch the video below. Throughout this course, we've avoided using videos promoting specific paid services. So please be aware that this a promotional commercial video. The information provided in the first one and half minutes sums up the key take-away and thinking points we'd like you to have at this stage. While the service being promoted is a good one, we'll give you free services that are comparable.

  4. In the video below, Chris Abraham, Team Lead, Special Projects at discusses how Google works, how your brand is reflected on search engines and what that means to your brand, your company, your service, your store, and yourself. He discusses how reputation management works, providing some case studies - and provides insights into how maintain a good brand reputation.

  5. In the video below, Kasper Ulf Nielsen, Executive Partner at the Reputation Institute, discusses the importance of integrating reputation management into your brand management decision making processes and strategies.

  6. This last preparatory article has been provided for you to consider what course of action should you take for your brand's reputation management.

    Walkden, L. 2013. Brand Reputation Management: Your Seven-Point Game Plan, Marketing Profs, 19 June 2013.
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The lecture for this session is in the form of a panel discussion video. The subject of the discussion is how brands are struggling to build back trust among all of their stakeholders in the midst of the economically challenging times. How should companies retool their brand communication strategies and address the right stakeholders with the right issues and strike the right tone? This panel of thought leaders speaks out on the most current trends and strategies for managing corporate reputation and sharpening stakeholder engagement.

The panel of speakers include: Paul Bergevin (VP, Sales and Marketing Group & General Manager, Global Communications Group, Intel Corporation), Peter Diamandis (President, Chairman & CEO, X PRIZE Foundation), Richard Edelman (President & CEO, Edelman Public Relations), and Frank Shaw (Corporate VP of Corporate Communications, Microsoft).


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Watch the video below which provides excellent scenarios about brand reputation management and the importance of audience perceptions online. As you watch it, ask yourself how would you plan to address the issues raised in the video. Stick with the video, the annoying background music ends around 2.20. 

While we will be addressing communications in-depth in the other SMU courses, communication forms the basis of an effective brand reputation strategy. At this stage, we would like you to reflect and think about the audience communication that you either currently engage in - or forms of communication you need to develop.

Towards that end, the WWF has an excellent communication planning template that we would like you to download and review as the final scenario task for this session:

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The two templates below have been provided for you to reflect on your own brand, or a brand you manage for a client. These are more advanced templates which build on the knowledge you've gained through the course. They are provided as reflective tools to aid you in assessing your approach to these various aspects of brand management - with a particular focus on reputation management.

As you read through the planning aspects raised in each template, think about positive and negative reputation management implications.

SMU101 Session 9 Branding Toolkit Template

The template below has been provided for you to reflect on your own brand, or a brand you manage for a client.

Working through it will help you initially identify:

If we can't be honest and transparent with ourselves about our own brands - how can we get our audiences to believe our stories? Honesty and transparency are important factors in brand building and brand communication.

SMU101 Session 9 Branding Project Planning Template

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The Reading Room for this session provides carefully selected resources for you to further develop your knowledge about brand reputation management.

Doorley, J. and Garcia, H.F. Reputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communications, Chapter 1, Routledge.

Fournier, S. 1998. Consumers and Their Brands: Developing Relationship Theory in Consumer Research, Journal of
Consumer Research, 24, no. 4 (March 1998): 343–37.

Johar, G.V., Birk, M.M. and Einwiller, S.A. How to Save Your Brand In the Face of Crisis, MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol 51 No 4 Summer 2010, pp .57 - 67.

Kapferer, J.N. 2008. The New Strategic Brand Management: Creating and Sustaining Brand Equity Long Term 4th Edition, Kogan Page.

Knowles, E.S. and Linn, J.A. 2004. Resistance and Persuasion, Laurence Erlbaum Associates.

Mahon, J. F. 2002. Corporate Reputation: A Research Agenda Using Strategy and Stakeholder Literature, Business & Society, Vol. 41 (4): 415- 445

Online Reputation Management: How to Balance the Risks and RewardsWSI Corporate.

Online Reputation Management: Protect Your Brand. Influence Consumer Perception, Elixir Systems.

Schreiber, E.S. Essential Knowledge Reputation.

Smaiziene, I. and Jucevicius, R. 2009. Corporate Reputation: Multidisciplinary Richness and Search for a Relevant Definition, Inzinerine Ekonomika-Engineering Economics, (2).

Tuominen, P. 1999. Managing Brand Equity, LTA.

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Free Tools for Monitoring Your Brand's Reputation

Depending on how popular and well-known your brand is, there may be few or many people talking about it.

As we've discussed previously, if you're looking to start a blog, position yourself as an expert or start networking actively in your industry or subject area, then listening is an important research routine.

As you become more well-known, you'll gain a larger audience and more conversations will be held around your brand name - so you'll spend more time listening and responding to blog posts, tweets, etc.  The 'tools below are SMU tried and tested and come highly recommended - most are also available in App format for smartphones and tables:

Google Alerts

Google alerts

Google Alerts are the simplest way to monitor who’s talking about your brand. Setup an alert to email you whenever a new mention of your brand name gets discovered by Google:


Delicious logo

We would also suggest registering for a Delicious account, which can help you sort and organize blogs that mention your brand. Think of Delicious as your own research and development department:

Once you've set up your Google Arts and Delicious accounts, the following tools will help you locate articles that mention your brand, feed them right into either of these accounts.



Disqus is a tool for monitoring blog comments. If people commented on various blog posts, citing your name, you never used to have a way of tracking it, until now. It's is a service that lets you find, follow, and share comments from across the web. Whenever you write a comment with a link to your Web site, Disqus attributes it to you:



Along with blogs and traditional news stories, discussion boards are another channel where people can gather in a community and talk about you. Most people disregard discussion boards until they see other sites commenting on information viewed on them. Use Boardtracker to get instant alerts from threads citing your brand.


We'll be going over Twitter in through detail in SMU103. Twitter messages (tweets) move at the speed of light, and can go viral in a second. Using Twitter search, you can locate any instances of your brand and decide whether you want to tweet back or ignore them. It really depends on the context and meaning of the tweet.

Conduct a search for your name, your company's name, or various topics you're interested in and then subscribe via RSS. Twilert and TweetBeep are additional tools you can use to receive email alerts.

Social Mention

Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services. It allows you to track mentions of your brand across all of these areas.

The results are aggregated from the top social media sources, such as Flickr, YouTube, Digg, Delicious, Twitter and more. Like the other services, you can subscribe to your results by RSS or email.



Hootsuite enables you to manage your social profiles from a single dashboard (limited to 3 social media accounts in the Free version). Post, tweet, share, and comment without leaving Hootsuite.  Get real-time data on everything you share. Hootsuite's simple, easy-to-read reports delivers realtime results of your reach across the social web. When you schedule messages to post ahead of time, you can share your great content throughout the day or week, even while you're relaxing. You will also receive messages to your postings/comments - and comments about your brand - in real time.

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