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Factors Affecting Your Online Reputation
Monday, July 30, 2007
As with any reputation issues, there are numerous factors that can affect your online reputation. External factors on your business as a result of rumors or gossip can have a negative impact on your online visibility. Here is a look at some of the most common factors that can affect your online reputation.

Factors Affecting Your Online Reputation

Questionable Business Operations - This is where corporate activity adversely impacts on stakeholder groups. Examples include the Enron dilemma and more recently the World Wrestling Entertainment having to defend themselves against allegations that the use of steroids is rampant with their performers in the wake of the Chris Benoit murder suicide. From a PR disaster viewpoint, in Enron's case they were unable to recover resulting in the downfall of the company.

Corporate Moves - With things such as acquisitions, mergers or takeovers, there's plenty of room for dissatisfaction and even scandal, such as when a jury found Martha Stewart guilty on all four counts of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a well-timed stock sale. Other examples of corporate downfalls include the Bre-X scandal when in 1997, Bre-X collapsed and its shares became worthless in one of the biggest stock scandals in Canadian history, and the biggest mining scandal of all time.

Legalities / Court Proceedings - When issues are debated in court, then reported in the media - such as the much publicized McDonald's 'McLibel' case, the potential for PR disasters can be enormous. Many labeled the McDonald's libel case as 'the world's biggest corporate PR disaster'.

Rumours - Gossip can be highly damaging for brand reputation. For years Procter & Gamble were linked to rumours of Satanism. The rumours started in part by a competitor plagued the company for decades forcing an international logo redesign and extensive reputation management and damage control efforts.

Staff - the story of two former Walmart executives—Julie Roehm and Sean Womack—accused of engaging in an affair while hunting for new ad agencies for the retail giant. Another well publicized PR blunder involving staff took place in 2001 when New York's Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11, staff at one of the city's Starbucks charged rescue workers for bottled water they needed to treat victims of the attack. When word got out 'virally' about this incident, the PR fallout was highly damaging.

Scandal - Financial, sexual or personal exploits generally capture the media's attention, such as when Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was recently found to be involved with a dog fighting ring. After the media caught wind of the story, Vick's lucrative sponsorship deals (Nike) and image of rags-to-riches became jeopardized.

Reputation disasters can emerge from almost any area including your business dealings or from the private lives of employees. These reputation mishaps can be difficult to predict, prevent or recover from. Offline PR blunders can affect your online visibility. The factors listed above are but a few factors that can affect your online reputation.

More Examples of Corporate Scandal



posted by Jody @ Monday, July 30, 2007  
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