Since large businesses are more visible to the public, they are more susceptible to bad publicity than small businesses, hence the need to discuss the ways to secure your business from bad publicity. Large firms have the financial capacity to mend damaged reputation, but unfortunately, small companies might not be able to pull through any negative publicity especially in these days of social media.
Therefore, it is important to critically examine the potential reputational risks before they damage your business.
What Is Reputational Risk?
This is the possibility that bad publicity could hamper the public image of a business and seriously hurt its revenue. The reputation of a company is based on public perception, thereby, being subjective. The public may (or may not) have the right opinion about your company, but whichever way it goes; it can affect the behavior of employees, consumers, regulators, and even the investors.
Therefore, a negative opinion would adversely affect customer’s interaction with the company while a good reputation would help to promote the image of the company and bring new customers which in turn secures the revenue and attracts the right employees. This boosts connections with the suppliers, vendors, community, and others.
A good reputation takes a short time to be destroyed whereas; it takes a long time to cultivate and requires hard work to maintain. Social media has made small businesses and large businesses vulnerable because they are connected to customers, stakeholders, suppliers, and others through the internet. So, the reputations of these businesses can be destroyed through a few taps on a computer.
Consequences of Reputational Risk
Reputational risk, if not well-managed can lead to several negative consequences which include;
- Revenue loss
- Loss of image/embarrassment
- Loss of good hands in terms of employees
- Loss of potential and present customers
- Stiff scrutiny coming from the regulatory and government agencies
- The company is perceived wrongly in the eye of the public
Events That Can Damage Your Business From Bad Publicity
The following are some of the events that can harm the reputation of your firm;
Accidents At Workplace – This can be damaging if it is a case of Occupational Safety and Health Administration citations or other safety challenges. For example, an employee can become injured during a collapse that could have been averted with proper reinforcement.
Harmful Posts On Social Media – A customer can choose to write an inaccurate or bad review on social media sites like Yelp. Also, an employee may post something damaging and embarrassing about your company.
Defective Products And Process Of Recall – Every producer wants their products and services to rank among the best. However, having to recall a defective product or receiving bad publicity for a bad product could be demoralizing. The company must strive to get the problem fixed, manage all potential legal cases, and also repair the damages that have been created.
Data Breaches – Sensitive data like social security and birth dates may cause havoc to your company’s reputation if hacked by data thieves and sold at the black market. One major cause of data breaches is phishing emails to employees because they are often direct access into the company’s computer systems.
Issues With Employees – It is often a serious issue when you discover that employees of the organization have erred in certain matters. Therefore, once the public gets a wind of this, it could adversely tarnish the reputation of the company.
Proven Ways To Secure Your Business From Bad Publicity
Several entrepreneurs do not put into consideration the reputation of their company not until it is being damaged as a result of bad publicity. However, this is not the ideal thing to do because the best time to safeguard the reputation of your company is before it is damaged.
Here are some tips on how to secure your business from bad publicity;
Institute A Clear Social Media Policy
There should be specifics on who can have access to the company’s social media account, and the type of messages that can be posted expressing the image of the organization. Also, this social media policy must guide how the company’s employees behave online.
Resolve Small Problems Rapidly
Seemingly small Issues have the potential of escalating to big problems if they are not properly addressed. A small number of cockroaches discovered in the kitchen of a restaurant can lead to an infestation. Also, a report about a defective product could mean a manufacturing problem that could trigger a massive recall if left uncorrected.
Identify Events That Are Potential Threat
You do not need to beam your searchlight on every threat, just on the ones that are likely to happen. The list of the events that can damage your business from bad publicity outlined above can be used.
What Is Your Customer Issue Responses
Many things can be done whenever customers give negative reviews. These include; ignoring customer’s posts and using happy customers to post positive reviews by correcting any wrong. For example, if an unhappy customer makes a wrong statement, you should counteract by providing the necessary facts.
Design A Cybersecurity Program
The Federal Communication Commission has provided an online material known as the Small Biz Cyber Planner to help businesses design a cybersecurity program. Also, an expert can be hired to audit the risks the business is exposed to. The program must include the process for getting sensitive data on your network, website, and your systems of payment. Besides, this program must also address fraud, scam, and the security of employees with a detailed process for responding to incidents.
Get Assistance From Online Companies With Reputation
These companies help to track reputation damage, work on bad reviews, social media posts, news items, and the general online profile of the organization.
In conclusion, a good reputation is one of the most valued assets of any company. It can be protected by keeping a tab on the potential threat, being abreast of customer’s behavior, creating a working social media program, and prompt resolution whenever an issue arises.