National brands selling through distributed channel partners continue to ramp-up online marketing support to local affiliates. As continued research shows efficient use of local marketing spend is driving local transactions, brands realize local channel partners need support for success.
Yet with the success, a new challenge is emerging. How can Brands manage their reputation, and indeed encourage positive results, throughout its channel partners presence in the digital world?
Brands need to focus on Reputation Management to ensure channel partners active online don't detract from the reputation the brand deserves. Bad reviews, and conflicting directory and social profile configuration, can compete with the National Brand's strategy and tank a company's standing because of bad reviews - ultimately impacting financials.
Here are a few steps a Brand can take to direct an ethical, transparent and proper reputation management strategy with its channel partners - making it a win-win for both parties.
Offer Turnkey Management of social profiles and directories
Whether through the use of a technology or a service, brands need to employ a strategy that provides consistency throughout the channel on social pages like Google+ Local and directories like Yelp. Training doesn't work - as many of our clients have found out. A good strategy provides brand access to administer compliance, as well as smart optimization strategies to drive local search results, while still giving local partners specific responsibilities that make sense -- and will get executed.
Monitor negative reviews, set protocols and train
The bigger the channel program, the more difficult it is to respond to every negative review. Channel partners need to be trained on how to respond to a negative review, and why its important. Brands can facilitate this program by pushing reviews to partners daily. In addition, the brand should roll-up this reporting to easily identify the channel partners that are not in compliance so that they can take action.
Facilitate reviews from happy customers
Make it easy for brand advocates to review local affiliates selling the brand's products or services. With the proper marketing automation logic, brand detractors can be suppressed while advocates are encouraged to offer their positive view.
About the Author
Jared is the Founder and Managing Partner of SproutLoud. Since 2005, he has been primarily responsible for strategic direction of the Company, as well as the oversight of SproutLoud's Partner ecosystem. Prior to SproutLoud, Jared worked in Thomas Weisel Partner’s internet and online advertising investment banking practice in San Francisco. He served as the lead analyst on a number of Corporate Finance and M&A deals including Newscorps’ buyout of Intermix Media (Myspace.com). Jared graduated with a B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Jared has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a member of the Young President's Organization (YPO). Jared has been honored as one of the Top 40 under 40 entrepreneurs by South Florida Business Journal and a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. Jared lives in South Florida with his wife and two sons.More Content by Jared Shusterman