Online Reputation Management in the Netherlands

February 21, 2011

Online Reputation Management in the Netherlands

I am always eager to learn how other countries are managing their company or brand online reputations. Here in the U.S., it is always a topic of conversation at work or at home. Therefore I was pleased when a colleague in our office in the Hague sent me some research they did among executives in Dutch organizations on the subject. I was particularly pleased that they cited our global research that we did on online reputation management in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit. Here are some of the facts that jumped out at me and here is the link if you are interested in learning more.

  • Most Dutch companies actively monitor social media but do not react proactively when something appears online that impacts their reputation.
  • Dutch companies are slow to react to detractors online or what we call badvocates (I would say that companies here in the U.S. do not necessarily react that quickly either). Dutch companies are quicker to respond to advocates or those who support them than their critics. I think that this reflects the difficulty in getting executives to agree on what to say to detractors. There are so many opinions and people to consult unless you are extremely well-rehearsed or  fairly advanced on the social media continuum.
  • A large 62% said that they had encountered badvocates online and one-quarter felt that they had difficulty controling their impact.  I would have expected the latter number to be higher since it is hard to control one’s badvocates. It is hard to know what to do unless you are in the social media conversation often and have built credibility.
  • Suprising to me, these executives believe that positive comments online have a greater impact on reputation than negative comments. I would have thought the other way around since detractors’ negativity travels so quickly here in the U.S.  But this does make sense.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) say that Dutch companies do not have a plan for managing reputation online.  That seems to compare with the U.S. in terms of preparation. I think that most companies think about online reputation management but their planning is less than perfect.

 As my colleagues concluded, “organizations hear what they want to hear.”  I have to totally agree with this conclusion. When I wrote my book on reputation recovery, one of the salient points I learned is how hard it is for companies to stop believing their own propaganda. It is more difficult than ever to think out of the silo or box.  Perhaps that is because every misstep today can be magnified and amplified. Someone once said to me that it is easy to listen but harder to hear. That is the truth.

If you can read in Dutch, you might want to go here.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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