Reputation Management versus Reputation Marketing

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Guest Blog By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing Communications

Is there a difference between reputation marketing and reputation management? Absolutely.

What is reputation marketing?  

Simply explained, reputation marketing is the ability to prevent negative or digital crisis situations arising through a sustained strategy of positive: content, images, video, comments, reviews, likes, share, mentions and testimonials.

Focusing on the positive at all times is, by far, the most efficient way to spend your time and marketing efforts – and prevents the need for reputation management.

How is reputation management different?

Reputation management is digital or online crisis management.

Bad reviews, negative comments, dislikes, and critical posts can have a major impact on your brand perception, future client contact or lead generation opportunities.

And reputation management matters regardless of your business size, industry sector, location, product or service.

Would you book accommodations with 1-star negative reviews or the 5-star glowing testimonial?

Would you buy online where other purchasers have placed negative feedback?

Reputation management is no longer a nice-to-have-option. It is a pre-requisite of every business. Your brand matters. Your brand reputation matters more.

When you have a crisis or frequent negative feedback, reputation management, as a process, can work to improve your status, increase your positive visibility and counter any negativity.

For example, positive input can push negative posts, comments and content down to page two. Not removed, but less visible and less front and centre on initial searches.

We live in a digital world, which, sadly, includes trolls and cyber-bullying. It is all too easy to be negative behind an invisible persona. Such reviews, posts and comments can often mean the difference between success and failure for many businesses – regardless of size.

There are numerous processes and options to implement a crisis campaign – reputation management is all about accentuating the positive. And the need to act quickly, with a positive brand content response, is paramount.

Negative will not simply go away or disappear. You have to replace with positive.

And that is where a reputation management strategy comes to the fore.


Where do you start?

Consider an audit. Where are you now?

Do you need immediate crisis management and, if so, have you enough positive content and planning to respond?

Do you have a reputation marketing plan?

Here’s how to start:

Establish where you are now

  • Find and review all business and/or brand comments, negative, neutral or positive;
  • Set a timescale such as the last six/12 months and review seasonal trends;
  • Use Google; and
  • Look at your brand and key product or service search terms and review the first two pages of Google results.


  • Are there common themes, comments, sites or persons and so on.

Your brand visibility

  • Do you promote a consistent and accurate online presence?

Brand/key terms ranking

  • If you are not ranking – ask a specialist to find out why;
  • Include existing content, social media platforms and PR within the assessment;
  • Review your website and content SEO;
  • Is your brand a search authority;
  • Are you visible where you want to be on Google; and
  • Is your website and/or content up to the task.

Don’t forget the competition

  • If your competitors are winning the authority and visibility race – find out why; and
  • Develop a strategy to compete.

Social monitoring

  • You may love your company, products and services but what is the customer saying;
  • Do you gain positive sentiment; and
  • Do you consistently listen to your target audience.

Remember, reputation marketing companies are not PR agencies.

PR is often about relationships, emotion and brand awareness. Reputation marketing involves more complex tools, strategies and technical solutions. Often working in the background, these techniques quietly promote and share positive content and enhance brand authority and trust without drawing attention to any negativity that PR is often produced to counter.

A good reputation marketing plan should include and embrace PR in addition to positive actions and digital marketing activity.

Your reputation management objectives

Develop trust and authority

People buy from people they know, like and trust. Trust in the digital world is hard won and easily lost. Developing Google authority will increase your trust status.

Open, honest and transparent

Your customers want to see the real you.

Listen to the conversation

You cannot react to negativity if you do not know where, when and why it is being posted. You cannot develop a reputation marketing strategy without knowing your target market and the sentiment values they require.

Don’t ignore – react but in the right way

Don’t argue, respect the feedback and, in a polite and professional way, offer a response.

All statistics show that no response enhances negative sentiment.

A quick response – even one that suggests we do not agree with you – highlights the business/brand perception.

If someone is critical, take on board their point of view and consider a response that leads to a positive position.


If you have made a mistake – take it on board, learn, act and advise your audience. Provide frequently asked questions to answer key customer service issues.

How to find our your online reputation

One way of finding out what your market is saying about you is through social listening.

RCI’s TravelVUE for the vacation ownership industry monitors brand sentiment, gathers real-time brand conversations and provides insight for marketing teams.

Working in conjunction with CustomerCount’s customer feedback platform, marketers have a solution that can be used to glean important insights that can help dramatically reshape customer strategy.

What next?

If your research has identified an online reputation issue or if you want assistance in developing a reputation marketing plan, then contact EVC Marketing or call us on +1 239 444 8176 or +44 (0) 208 123 9273.

With over 25 years’ timeshare marketing experience and our connection with CustomerCount, we have a range of tools, techniques and strategies that will repair and increase your brand authority and trust – and maintain and grow your brand’s positive online reputation.

11 ways to encourage customer feedback

EmilyEVC, Avatar

Guest Blog By Emily Collins, EVC Marketing Communications

Encouraging customer feedback is like being faced with the question (or one like it): “Does my butt look big in this?” The questioner wants to know the truth, but they’re dreading the reply.

The same goes with asking your customers for their opinions. You know it’s important. You know it’s going to give your business direction and knowledge. It highlights issues you might not be aware of. It can even give you the opportunity to improve your practices and develop better products and services.

But no one ever wants to hear negative things about themselves or their business.

Well, just as you have to accept, that yes, that outfit is doing nothing for your figure; you need to know what your customers are saying about you.

But how do you encourage customer feedback? How do you overcome apathy and perceived inconvenience? Most importantly, what are you afraid of?

The key, of course, is making it easy for them to share their experiences with you.

The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to hear the voice of your customer. There are a range of professional survey options, that keep you out of the feedback business and in the guest satisfaction business. These services encourage customers to respond with both the good and the not so good.

They are easy to set up, scalable and simple to analyze. And you’ll get results fast. You can add them to emails, your website, SMS text messages, chatbots and even your printed communications.

Remember our top tips for surveys:

  • Keep them short
  • Know what you want to find out
  • Use simple language and short questions
Ways to encourage customer feedback CustomerCount

Top 11 ways to encourage customer feedback

1 Website Feedback Forms

This is a great option for those with minor grievances who don’t want to contact customer services or support teams.  These are the complaints that you might otherwise miss, but are still important. Make sure the form is easy to find, easy to fill in and include all the necessary data protection and legal compliance information.

2 Email

The most popular method for customer feedback today offers a number of benefits:

  • You can follow up after any client interaction;
  • Clients are more willing to give honest reviews privately;
  • Automated systems give great consistency;
  • Easy to manage and reply to responses;
  • Reviews can be distributed to include portals such as TripAdvisor; and
  • The review is authenticated to the user

3 Offer Live Chat

Being available in real time to answer questions, comments and grievances through instant chat is a great way to improve your customer service. Not only can you respond immediately to issues, improving your response times, it provides a personalized experience your customers will be appreciate.

Not available 24/7? It is perfectly acceptable to limit live chat to your resort’s office hours – as long as there’s an alternative system for out of hours.

4 SMS surveys

This is becoming one of the most powerful and increasingly popular channels for feedback with high open rates. A “click” on the link and the survey invitation is there for the convenience of the guest.

5 Telephone them

If your audience is more baby boomer than millennial, picking up the phone and asking for their thoughts is often overlooked. Yes, it is resource-heavy, but it builds relationships, provides great insight and increases customer advocacy. Be aware though, this method requires significant training.

6 Ask them on site at the resort

OK, an obvious one, but giving your customers the opportunity to give feedback at the point of use is invaluable. They know you are taking them seriously. How about a comment and feedback area in reception? Or a business card with feedback options left in their unit or an onsite online option.

Ways to encourage customer feedback CustomerCount

7 FAQ feedback

We all know that Google likes a website to have an FAQ section. That’s why so many sites now have them. But how good are your answers? Find out by getting your customers to rate them. If your answers aren’t hitting the spot, you’ll soon know and you can amend your content.

8 Monitor your social media

Don’t just post and forget about. Read the comments and you’ll find valuable feedback in the form of questions, complaints and praise. And let your fans see you responding to the good and the bad. They’ll appreciate the engagement.

9 Add a feedback request to your Wi-Fi network

If you offer free Wi-Fi to your owners and guests, ask about their experiences while they’re online using the service.

10 Interview them

Want to find out what a particular segment of your customer base is thinking? A more formalized interview, where they are made to feel special and their views truly appreciated, will give you valuable feedback.

11 Offer an incentive

The hospitality industry enjoys significant affinity with their guests, so incentives are generally not required.

Under special circumstances, many of your customers will be apathetic or skeptical about your request for feedback. Some just won’t have the time. So why not offer an incentive in the form of money, discounts or just access to service or product they wouldn’t normally have?

The more ways that you ask for feedback, the more you are going to receive. But make sure that you do something with the data you receive. Look for trends and then dig deeper.

At CustomerCount our WRAP partners can offer a range of services to give you greater insight and help develop reputation-marketing strategies if there are issues.

To find out more about CustomerCount’s survey solutions, give Bob Kobek a call on 317-816-6000 or email him. Alternatively, why not follow CustomerCount on LinkedIn for all our latest news.