Are negative search result hurting your reputation?
The first page of Google is your business card, and what it says is often the most critical factor in how an individual or brand is perceived. To have a negative result show up is one of the worst things that can happen.
If you have a poor online reputation you must face it head-on. The longer you bury your head in the sand, the more it will cost you and your business.
To be in control you must develop a strategy to improve how your brand is perceived, particularly in search results, media, reviews and social media. You must also be conscious of any stakeholders, events or other factors that may continue to impact your reputation.
We have a heritage in the tough end of public relations and corporate affairs, and can guide you through crises, or sustained and potentially crippling issues.
The online reputation management industry is without rules or ethical guidelines
In our experience, many think tactically (instead of strategically), and have an understanding that is far too narrow - focused solely on the various digital components: search engine optimisation (SEO), reviews, content removal policies of major publishers, and various digital tricks for boosting or hiding content on various sites or search engines. For restaurants that want reviews removed from Google, this may be enough. For high profile individuals or brands with negative online content that’s symptomatic of a larger crisis or issue, it’s an untenable risk to jump immediately into action without a cohesive strategy.
Taking shortcuts often lands you in hot water, such as being flagged for violating Google's Terms of Service - where your ranking can be penalised, and all your hard work undone. Some dodgy operators have even been exposed directly by journalists. This doesn't affect the consultant or agency you work with - this affects you.
You cannot intend to influence reputational change and arrive at a safe and successful outcome without first taking time to consider all potential stakeholders and scenarios. This is a process that requires care and thoughtfulness - you must be thorough. We caution anyone considering how they repair their reputation to not easily fall prey to practitioners that say "it's easy" and promise impossible results.
Peter Wilkinson is a crisis management & recovery expert with over 17 years of experience in this field. Previously, Peter was one of Australia’s most respected TV journalists with over 30 years working on programs including the ABC’s This Day Tonight and Four Corners, and then Channel Nine’s ACA and 60 Minutes.
Peter is the Chair of the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, advocating for media freedom in Australia and Asia.
He is past Chair of the Global Communications Alliance, an organisation of corporate and public affairs agencies that specialise in crisis.
He is also past regional president (Asia/Pacific) of IPREX, one of the world’s global largest PR corporations.
He has been a member of four industry task forces, strengthening relationships between industry and government.
Since leaving journalism in 2002, he has managed successful crisis outcomes in many sectors including countering cyber-security attacks, freeing journalists’ imprisoned overseas, sexual abuse/harassment, media and social media attacks, industry restructures, product recalls, a food poisoning, mergers and acquisitions, court cases, judicial inquiries and royal commissions, countering or creating activist campaigns, pollution spills, extortion and blackmail threats, and fires/explosions.
A lot of these crises are exacerbated by social media; others, as companies’ struggle to cope with the rapid changes brought about by structural, cultural or digital transformation. The ‘recovery’ part of a crisis often involves significant change management – transformation; always with a focus on protecting and improving reputation.
When it comes to helping people or brands improve their reputation, Peter’s experience allows him to quickly identify the known and potentially unknown aspects of a situation, and propose non-inflammatory solutions through the eyes of an investigative journalist turned experienced PR and crisis management expert. He strategically oversees all elements of execution, has a careful eye, and is always a phone call away.
Sam is a leading expert in reputation management, and the best point of contact for those seeking to 'move the needle' digitally - whether that be helping individuals or brands improve how they appear online, branding and marketing, campaigning and advocacy, corporate governance, social responsibility and creating shared value, sustainability initiatives, thought-leadership, or developing social license around key issues.
Sam spends most of his time leading a talented team of digital specialists who are adept at reaching both broad and highly targeted audiences online with compelling and engaging content.
He and his team, in collaboration with WB's wider team, develop communication and reputation-centric strategies, often for progressive initiatives, complex issues, or crisis response – leveraging digital, traditional media, and stakeholder relationships to influence reputational change for clients. Much of their work has a strong focus on supporting the broader pillars of a communications strategy, supporting media engagement, industry and government relations, stakeholder communications, awareness initiatives and other similar activities. Sam and the team often collaborate closely with top law firms and media lawyers in Australia.
A significant focus of his team is building the profile and trust of companies, brands, and business leaders.
His team members have deep experience across all key areas of digital. Some focus on content, social media, SEO, and other aspects of digital marketing, while others focus on creative production, videography, design, and building beautiful web destinations.
Additionally, Sam works pro-bono for the Alliance for Journalists' Freedom, advocating for media freedom and the safety of journalists.
Supporting your team
While Peter and Sam are the primary points of contact for online reputation management, the strategy and execution are underpinned by a team of heavyweights. Wilkinson Butler's experts have a wealth of highly valuable experience, and their networks span a wide variety of sectors.