5 essentials for your online brand reputation toolkit

by Peter Young on December 4, 2008 · 4 comments

Brand Reputation is becoming a big word in marketing circles. Warfare is taken place on the search engine results pages for many brands, and is becoming an important part of the Search Marketing professionals armoury. However what should you have in your brand reputation toolkit.

1) Know where you stand

It is very difficult to understand how and where to react to an issue if you do not know what is being said about you, and there is really no reason why you shouldn’t be able to setup even the simplest of monitoring tools without spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on brand reputation software.

Simply implementing a Google Alert on your brand will give you some sort of idea of who, what and where your brand is being talked about. I would add however there are some fantastic brand reputation monitoring tools out there that do pick up a wide variety of content, across a range of different channels, and if you are considering some of these tools some of the better ones are:

2) Dominate your brand search.

Thomas Cook - Dominating brand

Thomas Cook - Dominating brand

There are various ways of doing this, however it is imperative you make it as difficult for a potential brand detractor to influence any searcher, by reducing visibility below the fold. The example above shows an organisation that does this very well by utilising a mixture of subdomains and domains to dominate the top 10 of searches for ‘Thomas Cook’.

3) Use your paid search tactically

Often a lot of brand reputation issues will arise in public forums such as blogs and forums. A large proportion of these sites will carry various forms of online advertising such as Google Adsense advertising, or other forms of online advertising as a way of monetising their sites.

Use of sponsored search for brand reputation

Use of sponsored search for brand reputation

Where particular issues may arise on a suitable site, it is possible to tailor adverts to particular sites – such as Google Adwords – site placement. These ads may carry creative developed particularly for a particular issue advising browsers of where they may be able to find more applicable factual data.

4) Use your offline channels online

Modern day search pages allow search marketeers to influence a far greater proportion of the search engine results page than ever before including

  • Video
  • PR
  • Product Feeds
  • Local Listings
  • and Images
Blended search allows greater brand infiltration than ever before

Blended search allows greater brand infiltration than ever before

Using the example above, for the iPhone, advertisers are able to use a variety of channels to attract potential custom, including

  • the traditional organic listings – where Apple (as you would expect dominate)
  • the Paid Listings – allowing advertisers such as Carphone Warehouse and Vodaphone to advertise on these terms

but also

  • PR – Taken from Google trusted news sources
  • Products – taken from advertisers who have submitted Google Base Feeds.

All these channels allow a far wider variety of usage outside of pure search results, for example the video used above is obviously pulled from Youtube – and has already received nearly 6 million views since it went live.

They also tend to dominate key areas of the page, for example

  • Google Products – often visible between positions 1-4 (above the fold of the screen)
  • Local – Generally the first result – and highly prominent in terms of eye catchment
  • PR – Often within positions 1-5
  • Video – Depends but normally anywhere between 1-10

They are in many cases ‘eyeline breakers’, often breaking the natural browse of a results page, and meaning users spend more time on search pages – something Enquiro looked into recently.

5) Use Your affiliates

This is obviously going to be more pertinant to some advertisers more than others, however it is worth noting how much real estate can be taken up by affiliates. Whilst this may be a more expensive way of taking up search page real estate, it can result in some significant coverage, all of which is likely (as long as you treat them right) to result in good brand (and sales focussed) coverage.

The role of affiliates on brand searches

The role of affiliates on brand searches

And more:

  • Use social media (Will cover this in a later post)
  • Is Wikipedia relevant – WHilst you aren’t likely to get any link juice – this does take up valuable real estate
  • Create a Squidoo lens

One thing is for sure – don’t just ignore the problem. There are a number of high profile examples out there in, that highlight what happens if things are simply left to fester. Certainly people like Dell have developed a brand reputation response learned from the ‘Dell Hell’ days.

Google+ Comments

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

SirBigWig December 5, 2008 at 8:08 am

Great article. It is staggering the amount of companies that appear to be completely clueless over reputation management online such as Home Delivery Network and until recently Carcraft.

I noticed the Customer Service Manager at Carcraft has now posted her contact details on a moneysupermarket forum…


Site Tool September 5, 2009 at 6:18 am

That’s great, I never thought about online brand reputation toolkit like that before.

Brett Pringle October 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Hey Pete,

Noticed the list of brand rep tools, ever played around with BrandsEye before? Was fairly impressed with the app myself, especially in how you are able to filter sources, influence, tracking etc across a wide range of sources, not simply just search engine results.

By the way, you ever find that G alerts are just not up to scratch? especially from a monitoring side?

P.S Don’t forget about image optimisation for the SERPS :)

Peter Young October 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Hey Brett, thanks for the response

Not playe round with Brandseye yet, we did a fairly comprehensive analysis of most of the market tools last year at Mediavest but which included many of the market leading tools such as Radian 6 etc, as well as some more niche smaller tools – which varied in reporting in scope (in particular scope – which differed significantly in terms of quality from tool to tool)

As regards Google Alerts, its good for a starting point but if you are looking for meaningful analysis its a bit comparing Google Analytics with Omniture.

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