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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Doing business in the mobile channel

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

News

Industry Update

Security standards lifecycle extended

Congress approves interchange regulation amendment

New ACH rules in step with Check 21

ETA unveils new logo

Trade Association News

Features

GS Advisory Board:
Merchant retention, taking the initiative - Part 1

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

FinCEN seeks comprehensive AML framework

Prepaid largely spared in final Durbin Amendment

Views

Strong relationship skills obliterate obstacles

Jeffrey Shavitz
Charge Card Systems Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Should an industry attorney review your contracts?

Ken Musante
Eureka Payments LLC

Managing your most important asset

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

De-commoditize continuously to conquer a crowded market

Daniel Burrus
Burrus Research Associates Inc.

Building a PCI program that works

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Digital reputation management

Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

Company Profile

ROAM Data Inc.

New Products

Loyalty program, in spades

GoMo Wallet
Gold Mobile, Telcordia Technologies Inc.

Cordless retrofit for dial-up

Nebo Wireless
Nebo Wireless LLC

Inspiration

Turn negative thoughts into positive action

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 12, 2010  •  Issue 10:07:01

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Digital reputation management

By Peggy Bekavac Olson

In today's world of instant information and communication, having a strong and positive digital reputation is vital. You are defined by what appears in search engine listings, social media sites, blogs, wikis and more.

Regardless of whether the information comes from a competitor, an unhappy customer, a disgruntled employee, a media news site or an anonymous posting on a message board, false or misleading information can devastate your company's reputation.

Your company's digital reputation is the aggregate of all the information and viewpoints on the Internet made by multiple stakeholders, both inside and outside your firm. Each piece of content can be seen and heard worldwide and has the potential to damage your brand in an instant.

Potential customers, employees, investors and many others use the Internet to find out as much as possible about your company. Typically, the first information they see and impressions they form result from a search-engine query. Potentially damaging listings can hurt your credibility and result in lost business. You must monitor and manage the flow of information about you and your company to protect and enhance your corporate image.

It's not just about finding out what others are saying. You need to have some type of digital presence; otherwise, it's hard to counter any negative press your company may receive.

If you're not actively involved in communicating, your company's reputation will be left to what others say about you. So what will people see when they use the Internet to investigate your company, including you and your executives?

A case in point

When I was launching my new company, Strategic Marketing, last fall, I decided I should find out what information was on the Internet about me. I knew that my name would surface in search engine listings since I previously was responsible for marketing and communications activities for TSYS Acquiring Solutions.

With some curiosity, I sat down at my computer, launched my browser and googled "Peggy Olson." Immediately, the following appeared:

I thought that there's another Peggy Olson out there and we're in the same line of business. She works in New York on Madison Avenue and is really active with social media - how cool! I've got to find out more about her. I quickly scanned the next search engine listings, which took my breath away:

I looked again and the rest of the page was filled with even more information about the Peggy Olson who works for Sterling Cooper. There was a lot of unflattering information out there about Peggy Olson, but none of it was even about me.

And then I realized that Sterling Cooper's Peggy Olson is a fictional character in the AMC television series "Mad Men." Realizing this, I had a good laugh.

I continued viewing the "Peggy Olson" listings on the second page, where I finally found information about me, and it was accurate. It primarily consisted of my name and contact information mentioned in various TSYS press releases.

How many people researching me and Strategic Marketing would confuse me with Sterling Cooper's Peggy Olson? How could I compete with the Hollywood PR machine behind "Mad Men" in managing and elevating my digital reputation?

Reputation monitoring tools

Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, Wikipedia and more - it can be overwhelming. How do you go about digital reputation management? A reasonable approach is a proactive, tactical communications plan that can be easily executed and repeated for reactive digital content monitoring using some of these Internet tools:

Counteracting misleading information

Finding damaging information is only one step. Getting rid of it is the next one. Following are some ways to resolve and repair issues related to your digital reputation:

Ultimately, it's best to nip negative or extraneous content in the bud using one or more of these methods, before it takes on a life of its own.

I have made some progress in elevating my digital reputation and presence by doing the following:

All in all, I've come to realize digital presence and reputation management require ongoing attention and nurturing because search engine rankings can change quickly, even as frequently as daily or overnight.

So what steps are you taking to manage and enhance your company's digital reputation, or are you just hoping that what's out there on the Internet is accurate and portrays your company in a positive light?

Recognize that protecting and enhancing your company's digital reputation is more important than ever before and vital to your business success.

Peggy Bekavac Olson is the founder of Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payments companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS Acquiring Solutions for more than five years. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or peggyolson@smktg.com. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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