For most of us, our most important business asset is not proprietary technology, sophisticated equipment or real estate. It’s not even our customers. It’s our brand reputation. It’s funny though, that we find that companies that are fanatical about gathering objective data on every other part of the business often make no effort to quantitatively measure the reputation of the brand.
Why is that?
When we pose this question, we most often find that brands struggle to know what to measure and how to measure it when it comes to reputation. We might be able to help.
It’s easy to measure what people do, but much more difficult to measure what they think. That’s part of the reason that reputation management is so tricky. Reputation, after all, is about the public’s perception of your company’s value and trustworthiness. Fortunately, with the right technology, you can get a baseline for your brand’s reputation and measure how it is trending over time.
The first step is sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis, which is sometimes called “opinion mining,” is the practice of assigning a feeling to each brand mention. Most often the designations of, positive, negative, and neutral are used. PR software uses natural language processing, computational linguistics and text analysis to uncover the subjective attitude of the writer or topic.
Next, you can create a proxy for the popular brand measurement approach called NPS (Net Promoter Score). Companies using NPS simply ask their customers, “On a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to recommend our company.” Any person who gives a score below a six is considered a detractor. Sevens and eights are neutral. Nines and tens are considered promoters. The percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors reveals the NPS score.
If you use PR software with accurate sentiment analysis, you can come up with a similar metric without interviewing anyone. In fact, this approach is arguably more accurate than the survey approach because there is not a bias based on who is willing to take the survey.
Simply apply the same logic:
% of Positive Sentiment - % of Negative Sentiment = Reputation Score
The best media monitoring solutions can perform sentiment analysis across every channel, so that online reviews, social mentions and earned media are all considered. Now you have a specific number that can be tracked and managed.
A data-driven approach to reputation management will help PR teams and agencies bring credibility to the practice of PR and help set aside executive concerns that the return on investment for PR is too difficult to measure. It is one more way that our vocation is evolving to keep pace with the increasingly common belief that, “In God we trust. All others bring data.”