Reputation management strategies for the property management industry was the main point in a session that was presented for the Institute of Real Estate Management. I had the esteemed privilege of co-presenting with Stacey Smith from First Communities. Below are some highlights of our session.
Reputation Management In A Transparent World
Reputation management is as important and in many cases more important then any other marketing and public relations ventures you may pursue. You can spend all the money you wish on advertising, SEO, social media channels and other items but if you do not have some sort of handle on how and where people are talking about you it is to no avail. We live in an amazingly transparent world where with the flick of a play button your company snafu is instantly available for the world to see. As this post is being published, United Airlines, Pepsi and Uber are going through some significant challenges when it comes to reputation management.
Simply put. Your reputation can make or break your company. You have to always be in the people and customer service business first. If that is your focus then the financial benefits will come. If you operate business simply on the amount of transactions you accumulate your model will fail. Your business will not be sustainable. So let’s cover some key aspects that were covered in our session.
Never Sit On Your Hands
Your brand is based on your reputation. Or your reputation is your brand. There are a lot of ways to debate this but Stacey highlighted this quite eloquently with some visuals and questions regarding how consumers interact in a purchasing environment. A well known brand may not be a consumers first choice based on the amount of reviews and the content of the reviews. The lesson: a brand can no longer stand and succeed solely on its name recognition. A business should also never become complacent with the review sites they are on or how many they have. It is paramount that you have in place digital listening tools to manage your name across the web and you must have current reviews in place. Old reviews hold little value in the consumers eye.
Stacey and her company operate as a living testimony and a case study. We highlighted the following key touchpoints that optimize the value in corporate reputation.
- Leadership Buy In and Trust
- Reputation Marketing Team
- Online Management Tools
- Strategy and Best Practices
- Policy and Procedures
Reputation Management Strategies – Corporate Culture
In summary your reputation management strategies should not solely fall on a single employee or even just a single department. It must be part of your overall corporate culture. Start with goals and make sure everyone has bought into the program. There are numerous metrics that a company should be reviewing to see the overall ROI. Here are a few.
- Decreased cost in customer attribution
- Decreased cost in overall advertising
- Increase in customer retention and repeat sales
- Lower employee turnover
- Higher quality talent recruitment
- Higher ratio of work accomplishments to work hour hour numbers
Embrace Online Reviews
The future of reviews is now. We cannot escape the fact that there is an average of 4-6 touchpoints prior to a consumer or future employee making a decision. The best way to harness the power of reviews is to embrace and showcase them. There is no such thing as a bad review. All online reviews provide a learning experience and a whole lot less hot air being spewed at a staff meeting. Less opinions and more facts. Reputation management strategies are the business of today.
Static testimonials on a website no longer do the trick. Online reviews need to be current and dynamic. There are numerous software options available to you to maintain an organized presence. Please don’t randomize the strategy. There is way too much room for human error. The combination of technology and a great team will certainly help you maintain your company brand and maintain your future.
Huge hat tip to Stacey and her team at First Communities for setting the bar for the property management industry. This was an amazingly fun presentation to deliver. Be sure to check out our slides below.