The next topic on the agenda is Online Reputation and PR, moderated by Andy Atkins-Krüger. The first speaker is Kristján Már Hauksson from Nordic eMarketing.
How does Online Reputation Management work? You need to start by monitoring your online presence and finding put what others are saying about you.
Next you need to create a strategy on what to do about it.
AS an example, Kristjan points to the collapse of the Icelandic banking system. The company monitored carefull the online media’s pickup and dealing with the crisis.
Glitnir Bank’s geothermal energy arm got attention from the BBC due to their web presence under the search term geothermal energy in California. Nothing to do with Glitnir and nothing to do with Iceland – but ePR got them the attention.
Hekla used cars from Iceland is another example of a simple ePR campaign with snowballed and garnered an unexpectedly huge amount of outside media interest.
On the other side, there is a growing trend of brand attacks, both intentional and accidental, and ot doing anything about them menas they will linger for years.
A simple strategy for beginners is to send out PR about new products, build up some sort of online presence for it and stay alert. Don’t be an ostrich!
Next on the stage is Gilles André from Augure.
Reputation is about confidence. In fact, a bad reputation will totally destroy your product’s success no matter how great it is. And rep takes years to buid but minutes to destroy. So don’t allow it to get trashed.
The internet has complicated this task simply by linking everyone together. Customers, management, stakeholders, government….you name it.
The first stage is advertising: mass message dissemination. The second stage is PR – but now the pyramid has reversed. These days everybody is qualified to talk about things – in fact CEOs and government ministers are less trusted than peers. So simple communication is no longer enough: success depends on interaction.
Engage with people, monitor what’s going on and monitor the efficiency of the strategy.
Appointments, events PR and product comms are important offline activities to compliment the online strategy.
Linguistics need to be addressed from a local level – English is useful, but not the be-all-and-end-all by any means.
The difference between online and offline is that online stuff needs to be glossy and appealing to robots – not to humans.
The internet is just another media tool. Don’t get carried away with the internet – radio, TV and newspapers are still just as important. Use the internet to help protect your reputation in the traditional media too.
Hjördís Árnadóttir from Actavis is next onstage. She is talking a bit about how Actavis mnaged to survive the banking storm. Although not a bank, they are Icelandic and they are big, so things have been tough.
The first assumption they had to deal with was that because they have been rapidly expanding like the banks, that they must somehow be the same thing.
Following on from Gilles, she sees onlne monitoring as a key early warning system of what migt follow in the traditional press.
To start with, they didn’t see the collapse of Glitnir as a direct threat – but Landsbanki a week later put the company on crisis management setting. The first negative news arrived not long after, with FT and Reuters publishing negative news about the company.
They reacted by releasing a financial health statement and a letter from the CEO. They then opened up the door to ePR and interviews in the traditional media.
After the preparation and the crisis management, the third step is to switch to offence. By forging ahead with expansion plans, actions speak louder than words. They collected this news together after a period of silence and then started sending it out from the end of October. This improves the company’s search engine reputation: not all doom and gloom from Iceland.
So, what next? From monologue to dialogue. Social media, such as releasing their press releases on Twitter and having a Facebook page. But pharma is generally progressing slowly in that area – partly due to legal restrictions.
If there aren’t negative Google results, then people won’t believe the positive stuff. Any publicity is good publicity after all.