If your brand – personal or business – has been (or is being) attacked online, you need to work at building your online reputation.

Perhaps some false information or negative comment has been said about you, your company, your brand, your products or your business. It might be your competitor launching an attack or a customer complaint that has generated a lot of controversy.

In order to cope with an online brand attack, you have to understand that your brand can been attacked. Even President Obama’s campaign was attacked and they had to set up a site to Fight The Smears and build their online reputation.

Here are 10 rules to recover from an online brand attack.

1. Humility

Before you can recover from an online brand attack, you have to be aware that your brand can be attacked – no matter how big it is or how untouchable it may seem.

2. Listen

Once you have a clear understanding of the scope of the possible effects of an online attack and are committed to maintaining a good reputation online, you’re half way there. Next you’ve got to understand how the process of consumer complaints has evolved. Then, use this understanding to guide your actions.

3. Respond

One of the easiest ways to solve the majority of brand attacks is to respond quickly. A brand that shows it is listening and does indeed care will go far when it comes to ensuring a solid online reputation. A conscious reaction is the only way forward – acknowledging what has been said and reacting accordingly.

4. Confirm

If the mention of your brand is factually incorrect, you’ve got to provide evidence that the information is wrong. Ask for removal or retraction of the entry, and offer to keep them informed of future news. If what they are saying about your brand is true, learn from the “Dell Hell” phenomenon. If the mention is negative but true, then send your own side of the story and try as hard as you can to take it offline.

5. Keep

Keeping more people from reading negative things about your brand is imperative. What you can do is knock them off the first page of the results with basic SEO topped with some social media page setups such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace or forum posts. Keep adding pages and links until you’ve forced the offending pages out of sight.

6. Participate

If you aren’t an active member of the online community, it tends to be a little harder to recover from an online attack. If your company doesn’t have a blog, start one. Participate in industry forums and communities. Build genuine credibility as a member of these communities and you’ll find that people will have more respect for you and your brand.

7. Engage

Keep your brand in the face of consumers by engaging in the conversation. This could be done by making use of blogs, communicating with customers and being as open and honest as possible. Engaging in, and leading, the conversation allows you to build an authentic voice. If a crisis hits, you will be well placed to respond in a way that is authentic.

8. Care

If you truly care what your customers think then most of this will come naturally. That’s all people want. They give you their money; they just want some good service and respect in return.

9. Prepare

No brand is immune to an online brand attack. The best brands have strategies in place to immediately identify a reputation crisis and respond to it quickly enough to stop the negative word of mouth spreading. That was something the Obama campaign was very good at.

10. Apologise

If everything else you’ve tried fails, apologise and move on. However, focus on rebuilding an online reputation for your brand or company.

Note: These rules have been sourced via: Quirk eMarketing, but have been modified.

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5 Responses to How to Cope With an Online Brand Attack

  1. Brand Attack is really a common thing on the Internet nowadays and the alarming things is that most of the perpetrators of this act are devising dynamic and advance ways commit this evil every other day.

    But, like Loy rightly put it's; it helps to be Prepared and to Respond. Also it'll help to be Proactive, although this might not always work but if you are really Participating and Engaging, you'll mostly like spot it before it degenerated into something that'll cost you or your company more than you can handle.

    Highly insightful tips, Loy

  2. Hi Loy…a very interesting topic.

    My thoughts and experience with this, is that brand/personality attack has even taken a different dimension, espcially with identity theft, site-jacking if there's any word like that and other means of impersonating. this is especially so with the proliferation of social media; facebook, twitter, etc.

    It is not impossible, for a person's/company's page on facebook for instance to be hacked and used to send improper/suggestive messages, and this can send the wrong signal to followers/consumers of such brand products due to the confusion, thereby damaging such a brands reputation if not check immediately.

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