This was already true before the health crisis, but the recent context has reinforced the importance of the concept: during the Covid-19, the reputation of several companies was damaged. Insurance companies singled out for not taking their part in the crisis, or Amazon, decried the risks that the group posed to its employees ... Philippe Lentschener, publicist, specialist in the subject and author of "Reputation" (the Éditions du Net, 16 euros), decrypts the issues.
How to define this notion of reputation?
PHILIPPE LENTSCHENER. Reputation is what public opinion thinks of you. With the development of the Internet and social media, anyone can talk about you and spark an opinion movement. On June 5, for example, Virginie, a surfer, launched a petition on the site change.org. She denounces what she calls the "double game" of the Danone group. The latter positions itself as a player in sustainable development and, at the same time, sells a drop-shaped plastic bottle of Evian, containing only 20 cl of water. The petition quickly collected more than 155,000 signatures. Aware that it was contrary to the values of its brand, the group announced the cessation of production of these mini-bottles.
How to calm a controversy on social networks?
You must already have prepared for it beforehand by having cared for and consolidated your reputation. A business must appear legitimate and inspire confidence. Before buying a product, today's consumers learn about the brand's values, its history, its actions, its know-how, such as Hermès' saddlery, and its vision. The company must therefore present itself on Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., be consistent and choose the terms used carefully because they define it. Let's take the example of Danone: with its slogan "One Planet. One Health ”, the company positions itself as a player in health and sustainable development.
What if it's not enough?
Once the controversy arrives, you have to recognize the excitement. People have been injured, the worst thing to do is to deny their emotions. Then, it is necessary to rely on the history of the brand, to recall past actions, to show that it is an error and not a structural problem. Then, you must announce the corrective measures taken and make an appointment with consumers to share with them the advances and results obtained through these measures.