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Hillary’s Online Reputation Scandal

hillary-clinton-reputation

Reputation management has transformed the political landscape. Any politician Fifteen years ago had a tough time living with any scandal that surfaced to the public; today, that is not the case. Residents of the United States tend to keep track of the most popular candidates for any election; whether it’s George W. Bush or Barrack Obama. The best way to keep track or to gain info on the candidates are through search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Search engines make it simple to find previous political debates or advertisements; as well as any scandals the candidates have gone through. Just like the scandal Hillary Clinton has faced when she was secretary of state, there was a term coined after the scandal which was “Crooked Hillary.” This term emerged from social media and spread throughout the online community like wildfire. In search engines, if you type a word or phrase into any search engine, there are usually some suggestions and when people typed “crooked,” there was no suggestion of Hillary anywhere. It seems that Google has modified their algorithm to hide all the negative results pertaining to Hillary Clinton.

The email scandal that took place in the past have resurfaced but not to the full extent. At the time, only some of the emails have been released to the press and public  which most people were aware. However, a majority didn’t know that most of those emails were sent through AOL and Gmail servers. A spokesman for Google and Gmail refused to comment on this issue. Additionally to affecting the Google suggestions, it seems as though some Google searches about Hillary Clinton have not gained any results. All the results associated with Hillary Clinton were completely positive which favoured her. If one were to search “Hillary Clinton crime,” it would yield no real material concerning with the scandal. Reputation management has become a hidden service for politicians such as Hillary but she isn’t the only one.

Anyone can notice that Google search results for Hillary have been adjusted; however, Donald Trump is also in the same boat as Hillary. After all the racist comments and the backing of the violent supporters, none of the negative results were found for Trump. Questions have risen, asking if Google can be paid off to change the results or are they terrible at their job? Most if not all google users would agree that Google is an exceptional company that puts out amazing products and services so the likelihood of them performing poorly is rather low. The evidence is clear that search engines have been tampered in order to help political candidates and the residents of the nation will have a hard time finding any articles or news relating to any negative news. The best way for people to find dirt on political candidates is by using many different types of search engines with various other keywords. Also, many people post videos or articles on social media; especially the pages where they post news about politics and the economy. It may not have the validity as the New York Times but it is better than nothing for locating dirt on public figures.

HBO’s Silicon Valley Demonstrate Reputation Management

Reputation Management has gained quite of bit of traction over the past decade. In the early twenty-first century, public relation agents were the ones to mainly handle a company’s or an individual’s name. Today, people in front of a computer handle multiple firm’s or individuals reputation through many facets such as social media outlets or search engine results. A company’s character is extremely sensitive because it takes several years to build a solid name but it takes one bad day to tarnish its image forever. For example, Toyota used to be considered the most reliable car maker within North America but after the recalls on over ten million new models sold; they had to start from scratch in order to build their reputation back to where it was. This issue is what HBO’s show, Silicon Valley, was portraying on their latest episode.

 

The episode was portraying the pitfalls of how outsiders glimpse into any startup firms. In the eighth episode, an early investor of Pied Piper, Erlich Bachman, was hesitant on telling the CEO, Richard Hendricks, that he sold his shares of the company in order to settle his personal debts. It took Bachman about ten days after the sale was made to even have the guts to tell Hendricks. Since Pied Piper created an app that can squeeze gigantic files into a small file, the news was travelling fast. The Pied Piper had made a huge breakthrough in the tech world and any news, positive or negative, would be casted into the limelight. In the show, a PR agent tells them that this paints an extremely negative image of the company. Shareholders and other tech moguls would naturally start to think that insider trading has occurred. Within the world of business, when any shareholder dumps that amount of stock in a short period, it is presumed that they know something is wrong. In the real Silicon Valley, investors tend to help startups since they most likely have a product or service that has great potential. That is the reason why when someone sells off stock early on in the startup, it sends a terrible image to the public. Hendricks confronts Bachman and states that he needs to hold a press conference to explain the real reason for selling his stocks of the Pied Piper. Bachman retorts on how it is embarrassing because in the show, the name Bachman was compared to the word success. If Bachman were to admit to the world that he was bankrupt and sold his shares to help him get out of the gutter, he would tear apart his reputation which took years to build compared to a startup that still has great potential.

UC Davis Employs Reputation Management Firms and Backfires

Many institutions employ reputation management firms to help promote or hide events. Whether it’s a fortune 500 company or an university, when these services are needed, they do not hesitate to contact the best. Just as University of California Davis employed a company from Maryland called Nevins and Associates back in January 2013. They signed a six-month contract for $15,000 a month. It was a measure to counteract the bad publicity after the pepper spraying fiasco.

The incident occurred during a protest in November 2011 where students were against tuition fee increases. When things were getting out of “control,” a former UC Davis police officer pepper sprayed students who were simply sitting down and refusing to move out of the way. There was a video that went viral and it picked up a lot of traction nationwide where the country had its eyes on UC Davis for the pepper spray incident. The office known as Lt. John Pike was awarded $38,000 in workers compensation for experiencing such a backlash and was moved around for protection since the police union claimed he received threatening emails and text messages. He officially left the onsite campus police force in July 2012. However, UC Davis had another problem to face, which was the negative image that was scarred onto the University’s name due to the incident. This is why they sought out reputation management firms.

The first reputation management firm they employed was Nevins and Associates. However, they later employed IDMLOCO for a contract of $82,500 back in June 2014 to “design and execute a comprehensive search engine results management strategy.” There was an email that was hacked and leaked, which came from IDMLOCO to Chancellor Katehi of UC Davis. The email consisted of IDMLOCO thanking UC Davis for this opportunity. They stated that they are following a plan based on previous discussions with the school to achieve a naturally positive search results on key words relating to UC Davis and Chancellor Katehi. They further explain the phase one of the plan which will consist of a thorough analysis of search results to properly evaluate the best options to take when countering the negative results. They also stated they will perform a social media audit. In layman’s terms, they will review all existing social media accounts and seek out popular content or messages that can benefit them to reaching out to the community. When this email was released into the public, UC Davis’s reputation became stained even more than before. On top of reminding the nation how they dealt with student protestors, the university using their funds in trying to hide the events of the incident online became a deadlier negative image for the school. Many students and citizens of the nation were demanding the Chancellor to step down and own up to her mistakes instead of hiding the truth. Some were completely shocked at the idea of hiding such an incident and then comparing it to the Tiananmen Square protest that took place in 1989 in Beijing. In that particular incident, student protesters were killed my military squads yet China never tried to hide that part of history and used it to learn from their mistakes when dealing with similar circumstances in the future.  

How Reputation Management can Help Millennial Engagement

Brand Reputation Management

 

Engaging with Millennials is one of the most talked about marketing problems & targeting priorities that every brand must deal with. If you are a corporate brand or a high-profile/high net worth individual personal brand, how you market yourself to Millennials is of key importance now and in the coming years.

By 2020, almost half of the US workforce will be Millennials. They are socialized to be lifelong learners, are the most savvy consumers in history and are known to be advertising resistant, many of whom are completely Add immune. This is psychological, and not due to add blockers.

The online reputation management of your brand will therefore have to optimize your best content to appeal to these collaborative leaders of the next generation.

The reputation management industry is maturing with the evolution of SEO, content, social media and digital technologies. How reputation management intersects with the most educated and digitally addicted generation in history, is highly relevant to the digital influence of your brand upon customer acquisition, customer retention and sales.

Demonstrating that you are customer centric in today’s digital ecosystem and sales funnel, more and more, actually means being Millennial-centric in your branding, marketing and PR strategy.

ORM is Critical for Engaging Millennials

In an age of mobile natives (Millennial generation), how search, public relations (PR) and marketing campaigns are done is changing very quickly. Millennials are driving these trends forwards as a faster pace than many businesses can manage.

As such, Millennials are the most peer & influencer-marketing influenced generation in history and the most adept at searching for reviews online. So to summarize Millennials are:

Mobile and digital natives
Peer Influenced
Influencer influenced
Adept at Search and Review Sites

Online reputation management (ORM), is therefore an important strategy to consider when implementing a marketing plan and social media campaigns targeted at Millennials.

Since Millennials require brands to be personable, authentic, helpful, educational and in tune with their reality, negative reviews and incriminating feedback from customers can easily dissuade them from buying.

ORM can be a key factor in how brands elevate their marketing strategy to adapt to Millennials searching about products or services via mobile search.

In a recent report on social media today, 94% of women interact with brands online on an active basis. As Millennials drive many of the online, content and search engine reputation management (SERM) trends, brands are required to know the most optimal and highest ROI ways of getting the best possible results on Google and monitoring their ORM on an on-going basis.

Reputation management, is therefore at the forefront of how PR and SEO (search engine optimization) can boost engagement with Millennials for your brand and in particular, identify and remedy crisis management, and identity branding & search emergencies as they occur in the normal lifecycle of any brand online.

Millennials with their insistence on transparency, social advocacy, and their fondness for corporate social responsibility indicates that corporate and personal brands have to adapt themselves to the values of this audience. ORM is implicated in how content marketing is optimized for search and brand discovery, arguably, the most important digital influence on sales.

Negative reviews can in today’s social media world, be quickly amplified by Millennial brand advocates and Millennial (peer) influencers themselves leading to unintentional negative press, detrimental PR and even litigation issues for brands without an ORM strategy and solution.

ORM can thus lead to better branding strategy that is conducive to an optimized Millennial following, that will play a significant role in how your corporate or personal brand scales in the coming years as Millennials are set to be the most important demographic online.

An ORM solution can implement the following workflow for your brand’s SEO issues:

Monitor, audit and carefully report on the reputation management issues of your individual or commercial brand.

Identify content which is potentially damaging to your brand and gaps in your SEO that lowers your credibility, social authority and trust among Millennial audiences.

Communicate relevant SEO changes and possible PR issues with your marketing team.

Take necessary reverse SEO and ORM actions to suppress the negative information that may be damaging search results and therefore customer engagement and even sales.

Since Millennials are highly engaged and interactive users of review sites, comments, user generated content, social media channels experts, and so forth; optimizing your brand’s reputation management issues relating to them makes a lot of sense.

ORM for Millennial engagement facilitates the optimal ROI of search results on Google for your brand and business.

Millennials make up the most active demographic on such sites and social apps that often have a high impact on the brand impressions of your products and services, such as:
Yelp
Foursquare
Facebook Ratings
TripAdvisor
Pinterest
Instagram, etc…

Stats on Millennials

Millennials are considered a very important demographic in marketing as they lead mobile and digital trends forward. In addition the following statistics shed some light on their tendencies.

Millennials make up 27% of the US population.
They review blogs (33%) and peer reviews as important indicators before making a purchase.
Millennials value “authenticity” (43%) over content authority when consumer News.
According to Deloitte, Millennials have tenacious personal values that do not tend to change even as they move up the corporate ladder or gain an inheritance.

Millennials are a Significant Consumer Demographic

Millennials will spend $200 billion annually by 2017 and up to $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers in the US.
Millennials are social consumers who sleep near their smartphone and who has a group experience social validation online. For example, 70% are more excited about a decision they have made when their friends agree with them, compared to only 48% for non-Millennials.
As of February 2016, 25% of Millennials in the US are parents and by 2026, this will be near 80%.
Over 80% use YouTube (and Netflix) more than they watch TV and text more than they talk on their smartphones.

A number of Millennials cite their parents as important purchasing touch points and this makes their parents as highly implicated in their purchasing decisions indicating Millennials may be the most important demographic for purchasing decision engagement in an inter-generational family.

Reputation management techniques are uniquely positioned to scale with how Millennials interact with your brand today and tomorrow, in its ability to strengthen the SEO of your best content, while fixing PR and content discrepancies that could lower your brand impressions and brand engagement.

In today’s ever changing mobile and digital search ecosystems, online reputation management is poised to help you engage with Millennials.

Michael Spencer is a branding strategist and copywriter based out of Montreal. He is one of the most featured authors on LinkedIn’s Millennials channel.

Reputation Management

Reputation management has become an important industry worldwide, with the use of Google search engine, maintaining or enhancing ones reputation can either be easy or difficult to manage. If a company is caught with a fine for environmental damages it can take quite a toll on their reputation; on the other hand, if the company has done a great job raising money for multiple charity organizations, this will further increase the companies name. The interesting thing about reputation is that it can take a long time to build it where you want it to be but it can also crumble in a matter of seconds. Many executives and companies realize the importance of reputation and they take this very seriously. The severity of reputation leads them to employ reputation management companies to properly watch over their position over the net. The number one place to look for any individual or company is through google.

Today, Google has become a huge part of our lives. You depend on Google as a child looking for explanations about dinosaurs to adults looking for intricate recipes or directions to a store. That is where you go for any form of information, whether it’s good news or bad news. Many companies are aware of this and with the employment of reputation management companies, search engine results can be altered to enhance ones own status. This is called SEO, search engine optimization. Twenty years ago, reputation management companies consisted of publicists. They knew how to present oneself within the media to build character but with the internet and the advancement in technology, reputation services extended to a new breed of “publicists.” These publicists were the kind who knew how to change the search engine results with just their keyboards and their minds.  This sparked a new industry called SEO services.

SEO service industry has flourished in the last decade. Many companies and individuals seek out services from these companies to further increase their reputation or awareness on Google. For instance, if an individual were to open a restaurant that serves blood pudding and a cow tongue sandwich with tarragon, not many people would walk into the restaurant; but, if there was an online presence where they reached out to people who loved to eat food of this caliber or people who liked to try new and weird items, reputation management services knew how to create such a presence online. SEO is electronic marketing and most marketers are leaning towards such services since it does not produce much overhead costs and easy to employ in the hands of an expert. The interesting thing about SEO is that it works. It is about being aware of the keywords people would use to search for something specific and by knowing the keywords, these firms can do wonders to the search results.