We have very limited control over our reputation, especially in the age of online customer reviews and comments. 41% of companies that experienced a negative reputation have reported a loss of brand value and revenue, while 83% of buyers no longer trust traditional advertising, but turn to online reviews and recommendations. If your business has bad press online, users will see. That's where reputation management comes in — the right firm can help you analyze, establish, restore, and protect your image. We have listed some of the leading reputation management companies out there to help make your search a lot easier. Scroll down to find out how we went about curating our list of top firms in the field along with some helpful tips on finding your own reputation partner.
When finding the industry’s best outfits, we took a comprehensive look at what we consider critical features for these agencies. Our research included visiting leading industry review websites as well as the agencies’ own websites and looking up case studies, customer/client reviews and testimonials, among others.
We started by selecting some of the top reputation management companies based on their websites, online profiles, and rankings. Once we had our core selection, these were whittled down further by eliminating companies that did not offer the full scope of relevant services. If a company was not transparent about its services or didn't provide enough information on its website, that was considered a red flag and the outfit was eliminated as well.
Once our list was narrowed down to only the industry’s top online reputation management companies, we began more in-depth research into each of these businesses. We researched the companies’ past projects, case studies, and specializations.
Not all outfits cater to the same industries. We looked at the industry focus of our top companies to determine whether they serve a niche market or a wider audience. While this doesn’t necessarily affect our rankings, it helps us classify the different reputation companies.
We also looked at the type of services the business offered and some of the strategies they employ. We were on the lookout for suspected black hat tactics, and we also compared the cost per hour for all these services.
We further looked into customer and online reviews, demos, and complaints in our search for the best online reputation management services for individuals and businesses. If this information was available, we looked at how/when any claims were handled and resolved.
Evaluating the key members as well as the broader team is a top priority during our research. Some companies feature a full in-house team, while others may procure contract workers or freelancers to take over creative or strategic tasks.
Another important aspect we consider when choosing the best reputation companies is the flexibility of the team. Do they listen to the client's feedback and make changes respectfully and efficiently? An experienced, professional agency should have a team willing to adapt to an ever-changing and demanding industry and remain on top of the latest trends. They must also be prepared to cater to the needs and demands of the client and the audience.
Finally, we check the happiness of the employees and the company culture at the reputation management agencies. Happiness equals productivity and that’s why we value companies that allow their employees to learn, grow, contribute, and disrupt the industry for continued success.
Those are comprehensive and cover more than just harmful online content and crisis management.
The best reputation management services can establish, restore, and protect the image or reputation of a business or individual, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, from celebrities and professionals to politicians, world leaders and more.
That said, not all outfits offer the same services. Some may only specialize in a niche market, while others may cater to a broader audience. Some companies are boutique-sized, and others are full-service agencies. Others, still, will offer additional services not necessarily typical or required of a reputation management company.
What follows are the must-have services that we expect from all the top firms in the industry.
Before an agency even agrees to take on a new client, it must conduct extensive research and determine their reputation score. With this information, the company can decide exactly what needs to be done to improve and/or protect a client's reputation. We eliminated reputation management companies that skip due diligence.
We looked for firms that offer personalized services instead of those with a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to reputation management. In terms of reputation repair, the companies should offer the following:
The best reputation management companies can build and manage strategies that are in line with the greater goals of the brand. We checked to make sure that the branding experts can create campaigns, social media content, websites, etc. that are on-brand and align with the overall tone, look and feel and messaging of the client. We want to see that the online presence aligns with the overall image and reputation of the brand.
ORM companies must understand the importance of reputation management and how marketing plays an integral role in building a brand's reputation. By combining reputation management tactics with PR, online marketing, and earned reviews, you can build a robust, all-encompassing campaign that can reach a wider audience and protect the brand against harmful content.
SEO is the process of getting your online content to rank higher in search engines like Google. Not an easy feat, SEO encompasses many technical tactics and methods to improve client rankings, increase website traffic, and ultimately improve conversions.
Many of the best reputation management firms will provide SEO services as most people will look up a brand online before making any major decisions. If there are negative results in the SERPS, the team can use their SEO expertise to formulate strategies around this and find ways to remove or suppress any adverse results on the internet.
Additionally, SEO companies should offer the following services:
We've all heard the saying 'Content is King'. But, to build a good reputation and rank well in search engines, it's not just content but high-quality content that rules. Reputation management agencies understand how vital good, valuable content is to build a brand, improve an online reputation, and be seen as an authority in your field.
Companies offering content development and managing services will analyze and improve any existing content, develop new material that is on-brand, and craft the right messaging to use across your online channels. This content should not only be valuable to your customers but sell your business in the right way. High-quality content means more credibility to your brand and reputation and more visibility online.
The best online reputation management companies understand that having a social media presence has become a requirement for brands in recent years. Whether you are a corporate business, a funky start-up, or an individual wanting to sell yourself, having an online presence is essential. This not only helps customers get to know you, but it gives them direct access to your business and allows for increased engagement and open communication.
Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram can help grow your business or personal brand, but, if not done the right way, can also hinder your reputation. One inappropriate image, tone-deaf comment, or nasty remark online can wreak havoc on your brand’s image. We, therefore, looked at social media marketing outfits that offered management and reputation monitoring services. In this way, your social media accounts can be cleaned up, while monitoring your profiles allows your reputation manager to take appropriate and immediate action should anything come up that could harm your brand's reputation.
The company should help businesses acquire and manage online reviews. This is a process whereby people are encouraged to leave positive reviews on a particular business or brand. Once a good review is posted, it will be promoted on sites like Google and Facebook for added exposure. If, however, someone posts a negative review, the ORM company will be notified and damage control can take place immediately.
Review sites like Yelp and Glassdoor are dominating the customer experience, and just one negative review could be damaging to a business and its reputation. It is easy for a disgruntled or displeased customer or an ex-employee to post a harmful comment online for anyone to see. A good reputation management service should include monitoring the internet for any kind of negative or questionable content on third-party sites.
We recommended companies that provide continuous monitoring of the entire web. These companies must be able to identify and analyze all potential and actual threats against your brand's reputation. They must also provide the right protection and crisis management services in these instances. Also, online reputation management companies must be able to handle other threats that can damage a reputation, including data breaches, IP infringement, and more.
In addition to reputation management, SEO, social media, and content development, some companies may include additional digital marketing services in their repertoire. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider an outfit that offers a full suite of digital marketing services. We were on the lookout for reputation management companies that provide an all-encompassing experience. Brands may request the following services as well:
Pay-per-click (PPC) — An online advertising model whereby advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their online ads.
Lead generation — Identifying and attracting customers for a business's products or services. This can be done for the purpose of sales leads, list building, acquisition, mailer lists or more.
Local marketing — A marketing strategy targeting customers in a specified location, for example, a neighborhood or city. This is typically used by local businesses to attract customers closest to them.
Public relations — Building and selling a company's brand based on positive press. The aim of PR is to expertly manage the communication channels between a company and its stakeholders and influence the brand's image in the eyes of the public.
We're not just concerned about the image of reputation management companies' clients. We're worried about their own reputation as well. In some cases, firms that claim to handle the reputations of others are scams or use unethical methods and black-hat practices that could actually put your brand at even more risk. We make sure that all of our recommended firms are credible, reliable, and reputable and do not resort to underhanded tactics or 'quick-fix' solutions. Some of the black-hat techniques we look out for when we evaluate online review management companies include:
What's more, we're wary of companies that promise unachievable guarantees or fast results. We want firms that follow an honest and ethical approach to business while building long-term relationships with their clients. We look for companies that understand the power of credible, white-hat strategies when dealing with a brand's reputation.
How an online reputation management firm deals with communication and collaboration is important. The client should have insights and updates on the process every step of the way. Also, the agency must work with the client to set realistic goals and deadlines, evaluate the outcomes, report the results, and offer long-term monitoring and optimization. We look at how these companies communicate with their clients, their reporting system, and frequency of reporting as well as its customer support. Companies with a high level of experience and expertise will know how to effectively communicate and collaborate with their clients.
Before choosing an agency to repair your image, you need to have information about reputation management services pricing. That will depend on various factors, including your size, the scope of work, and the services provided, etc. That said, hiring an agency to take care of your brand's needs is not cheap.
It is not recommended that you choose the cheapest or most expensive company to handle your reputation management. Any extremes are considered a red flag. We, therefore, are skeptical of companies that offer the lowest or highest rates. We rather out for outfits that fall within industry standards.
Even with a list of the top reputation managers on the market, you still need to figure out which will be the best option for you. To that end, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide that will take you to your perfect reputation partner.
First things first. It is crucial to have clear goals in mind before searching for an online reputation firm. Since these services can take a variety of forms, it’s up to you to decide what services will best suit your needs and overall goals and objectives.
Are you looking to improve your general online presence or is your social media reputation your biggest concern? Are you interested in acquiring online reviews? If you, for example, are only after improving your SEO ranking, a specialized SEO agency might be a better fit for you. Alternatively, if you only care about public relations, you can also consider one of the top PR firms or choose a reputation management company with a strong in-house PR team.
In any case, you need to determine your needs and primary objectives before setting up your first consultation. In this way, everyone is on the same page, and the company can start strategizing and coming up with a clear plan going forward.
Once you have established your needs and goals, it's time to start your research. Check to make sure the ORM company has a good reputation. If they don't, they probably won't be much help to you and your business. Google is a powerful tool – use it to look up industry and customer reviews. If you want to dig deeper, look up a list of past and current clients (this should be available on the company website), get in touch and find out how they found working with the company.
Websites are also relevant. Does it look professional? Does it have plenty of information about its services, experience level, team members, and top executives? Also, check out the company's social media channels to see how they have positioned themselves online.
As with any company you hire, a reputation management firm must deliver excellent customer service and support. When you first contact the company, consider how it treats you. If your first contact is via email, note the content, tone, and speed of the response.
A company that is interested in new clients will respond in a professional, friendly, and prompt manner. If you are meeting face-to-face, consider how you feel about the interaction. Did you get a good feeling from the reputation management consultant, or were there any red flags? Were they asking questions and listening to your questions or simply trying to sell their services and gain a contract?
The company should also always be transparent at all times and inform and update you on your campaign's progress. Find a company whose ethos and values align with yours and provide honest, respectful feedback, updates on your campaign and demonstrates that you are a valued client.
As mentioned before, reputation management is not one size fits all. You should go through the company's portfolio and case study, which should be available online but can also be requested, and find companies who have helped brands similar to yours. Also, make sure your reputation partner understands your audience and the culture of the country your brand services. It helps if the reputation company is locally based, especially if you want to meet in person. It will also help to narrow down your list of companies to consider.
Before you can set a realistic budget, you must understand the industry standards in terms of costs. Make some comparisons online or interview companies, present your project, and get quotes. In this way, you can compare the prices and adjust your budget accordingly. Eliminate the companies that fall outside of what you are willing to spend. This will narrow down your options even more and make the job of choosing a reputation management company easier.
When it comes to contracts, the devil is in the details. The company should provide you with a contract, which should stipulate that the firm will adhere to the guidelines set by search engines and social media organizations as well as industry best practices. It should also indicate the projected time-frame, the total cost, and a non-disclosure clause. The contract should also state that you will have full access and ownership to any website and social media profiles that will be created by the firm.
Reputation management, or online reputation management, is the process of creating the best possible image for your brand, both online and through traditional media channels. These services work together to ensure that your brand is viewed in the most positive way. A reputation management agency will ensure that positive news, reviews, and information are the first things customers will see when they search for your brand or business online.
In the case of negative press and information online, the company will deploy various techniques and strategies to remove this information or push it off the first few pages of search results. For businesses wanting to retain their positive online presence, reputation management consultants will monitor the web to ensure that your image remains in a positive light. If anything negative pops up, your business can react in the fastest and most appropriate way possible. Additionally, online reputation management can also include crisis control and review management services, search engine optimization, and social media management, to name a few.
The cost can vary depending on your needs, the size of the agency, and the scope of work. That said, some companies have set service plans that require a monthly cost, while most agencies will offer customized quotes based on the individual reputation needs of a business. Initially, the company will analyze your business to see the strategies your business needs the most and start building a campaign package around this.
Reputation management services are not cheap and can range from between a few hundred to several thousand dollars a month. Again, it depends on what services you require, as well as on your specific case. In some cases, companies will require a three, six, or 12-month fixed contract, while others are happy to work on a month-to-month basis.
Those can vary depending on your needs and campaign package. An ORM provider might evaluate and analyze a brand's online reputation, remove or suppress any negative or harmful content, and monitor and protect reputations going forward. More full-service agencies will offer additional services as part of their strategies, including search engine optimization, content development, review and social media management, and third-party website monitoring, to name a few.
Times are changing, and we are well and truly in the information age. Thanks to the internet, information and communicating are more accessible than ever before. But, this also breeds more opportunities for false information, harmful content, and malicious slander, all of which can severely damage the reputation of a business, brand, or individual. Online reputation management has, therefore, seen tremendous growth over the last few years.
The industry is emerging very fast as more and more companies take their businesses online. From reviews on platforms like Yelp or TripAdvisor to comments on social media platforms, all it takes is one negative piece of content to damage a reputation. More and more companies are turning to reputation management companies to clean up their image, improve their online presence, and remove or suppress any negative results that can easily be found with a quick Google search.
There is no set time for how long it can take to see results from your online reputation management efforts. It depends on various factors like the initial state of your brand's image and the strategies used. Some businesses can see results in the first few months, while others will not see the full effects of the campaign for six months to a year. What you do need to remember, however, is that there is no quick-fix solution to the efforts of reputation management companies. Even the best strategies take time to yield results.