By Ronn Torossian, CEO & Founder, 5W PR
If you consider yourself an upcoming mover and shaker in the world of real estate, you very likely define yourself not only by the profitability of your projects, but also by their sheer size and scope. For example, it’s all well and good to put up a block of flats in a minor city as an entry level project to get your name on the ledger, but the Holy Grail is a major real estate development in a major metropolitan location, such as New York City.
However, in a major market, it’s not quite enough to have a solid reputation as a developer. Even having the backers and the cash on hand won’t necessarily guarantee you the permits and permissions you need in order to undertake the project. This is precisely the point where your reputation – professional and private – comes into play as a major factor. In short, you not only need the backers and the funds to realize a real estate deal in a major urban center, but you also need an excellent reputation.
What Is Reputation Management?
To give the briefest possible explanation, reputation management is the practice of shaping and influencing public opinion concerning an individual or company by controlling the content of the information that is available concerning them. This information includes not only the information regarding that person or company that reaches newspapers and TV news channels in the form of press releases and the like, but also the information that reaches the public via being posted on the Internet.
While the practice of reputation management has existed for many years, the explosion of the Internet has made information easier than ever to come by, and thus harder than ever to properly control. All sorts of damaging information, dating back to the earliest school days, can be accessed and shared at any time, and this makes regulating and shaping the available information in a positive fashion a very difficult task. However, with a bit of persistence and know how, it can certainly be achieved
When Does A Reputation Management Campaign Come In Handy?
As an example, suppose that you are a real estate developer who has hatched a plan to build a luxury high rise in New York City. Although you do possess the funds and the backing to do so, you don’t yet have the permits to do so. You also don’t possess backing from the public, as a consequence of not having much of a national reputation to speak of. In a way, this is a blessing. No media savvy watchdog can shoot your proposal down merely by announcing to the public, “Oh, here they comes again”
However, in today’s political and cultural climate, being unknown is largely a handicap, especially when it comes to announcing development plans in a major urban area. On top of your relative anonymity is the fact that your high rise development will unfortunately come at the cost of displacing some residents who have lived in the area for a long time. You now have the challenge of forcing through a major redevelopment project minus the benefit of a reliable brand name, plus the additional difficulty of getting approval to displace residents from their homes. This is exactly the situation in which a reputation management campaign comes in handy.
How Does A Reputation Management Campaign Work?
Since you do not have a national reputation in your industry, you can basically be assumed to possess a clean slate. In some ways, this is worse than having a bad reputation, as in that case there is at least a wealth of material to work off of. However, you can quickly build a reputation online that will showcase you as a solid citizen with an excellent track record of success and a solid vision for the future of the industry.
It’s important to get to work right away in order to establish, build, and craft a solidly positive reputation so that, when it comes time to announce your development plans to the city council, they will be able to check your previous history and discover only good things about you. Meanwhile, the public will also quickly receive news of your plans, and will likewise be accessing Google to find out who you are and what you’ve done. It’s essential that the first few pages of results on all major search engines be front loaded with only positive information concerning you.
Laying The Groundwork For A Major Success
Hiring a reputation management company is an excellent way to lay the groundwork for a major success. In this case, your high rise project will have a better chance of going through if you first use the media to create a buzz of positive information concerning you and your company. A reputation management company will use all of the resources at its disposal to create websites, blog articles, freelance content postings, videos, and comments to accomplish this goal. Think of this process as your “coming out” party – an online debutante ball.
Conducting A Goal Oriented Media Campaign
After the groundwork has been established over the course of a few months, the next step in the process is to conduct a goal oriented media campaign. By this point, you have established your name and reputation in the media, so now it’s time to capitalize on that by moving forward to the development stage of your high rise project. With the reputation that you have accrued, you can now leverage this public recognition into getting the permission you need to begin building your project.
It’s important to note that reputation management is an ongoing and ever evolving process. You are bound to receive negative publicity as the result of any major career move or project, so it’s vitally important to stay on top of incoming flack by always being ready to counter it with a new wave of positive articles, videos, and press releases. By conducting a successful reputation management campaign, you secure your good name, as well as your continuing viability in the business world.