An international study of attitudes towards online reputation management has revealed nearly three-quarters (71%) of marketers recognise online brand perception is a significant business driver, but only half have a strategy in place.
The survey of almost 900 marketers across North America and Western Europe (UK, Germany, France, Spain) was conducted by digital performance marketing agency DAC Group.
Brand reputation management
It found that respondents aspire to use reputation management to deliver growth, yet two-thirds are challenged by the execution – and notably in finding the talent to deliver it.
Of all of the markets surveyed, UK businesses are the most concerned (96%) with managing their brand’s reputation online, but also the most challenged (90%).
Moreover, the survey found that 94% of UK businesses struggle to identify and acquire talent with reputation management experience, a figure that is significantly higher than the cross-market average of 67%.
The gaps between capability and execution are most apparent when it comes to having the skills in-house to use specialist reputation management technology platforms.
For example, while 64% of total respondents say that it would be very useful for them to monitor and manage reviews, only 59% are able to do so and just 57% can pull insights from that data.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that there is currently little consensus between businesses over which department should be in charge of reputation management.
A third (36%) gave responsibility to their marketing department, 15% to digital experience teams, 14% to customer service/support.
Mike Fantis, VP, managing partner of DAC Group UK, said: “Many marketers recognise the value inherent in reputation management – and what they are missing out on.
“However, they are held back by a lack of cross-departmental collaboration around data and/or a single point of responsibility to manage a programme.
“Until UK businesses find a way to address this and also solve the expertise gap, they will remain behind the curve.”
He added: “More than ever, consumers pay attention to brands’ online reputations, and this has become even more important than factors like pricing and free shipping.
“In putting efforts into reputation management, clients have seen significant gains both in brand perception and search engine visibility.”