Reputation Communications offers media resources on all aspects of online reputation management. This page provides a Q & A with company CEO Shannon Wilkinson and articles that have utilized our thought leadership.
To arrange an interview or quick commentary, please contact us here.
We specialize in working with executives, professionals and their organizations. Our average clients have leadership roles in their companies or industries, or are mid-level professionals active in building their careers. We are also experienced in assisting VIPs and high-net-worth individuals. We do not conduct high-volume, cookie-cutter campaigns, but provide highly personalized programs: our CEO creates each client’s strategy and is often in direct contact with them throughout an engagement. To protect our clients’ privacy, our agreements include nondisclosure clauses. We work internationally.
We believe online reputation management (ORM) clients are best served by specialists within their areas, because the issues they have vary depending on their age range, industry and level of current exposure online.
Executives, professionals and public figures are the source of considerable online content. They also have carefully-developed brands to protect. So “throwing a lot of content online” and “creating new digital assets” that may cheapen their brand is not an appropriate strategy. Providing them with effective ORM solutions requires a skillset that includes an intelligent, dignified and value-added strategy. We specialize in that.
Reputation management is a component of corporate operations, as well as a public relations practice.
Online reputation management is the management of the publicly available information about an individual, an organization or a brand on the Internet.
One challenge for many professionals and their organizations is the amount of third-party content online about them. It may be on blogs, consumer or employee review sites, legal reporting sites and high-ranking media outlets. Counter-balancing and replacing that type of content with new, positive and authentic material is an essential but challenging online reputation management (ORM) strategy.
Dumping reams of poorly-written, generic content online (common ORM techniques) in the hopes of “suppressing it” can damage the value of a professional’s brand. Google prizes well-written content that is not duplicated elsewhere on the Internet. That is one reason this niche requires an approach using only ethical ORM and high-quality content that is completely customized for clients.
Check the provider’s online information to see if they address your specific goals and are experienced in servicing your sector. Review the design and content of their website. Is it an appropriate fit? Would you trust them to create content about you or your organization and publish it online? Do you like the way their company uses social media – for example, what they post on Twitter?
Do they promise or guarantee specific results? If so, are they transparent about how they will attain those results? Is their language vague or so “tech-y” you don’t understand what they will be doing on your behalf? Then, ensure that you have the right to review and approve everything they publish online about you during their campaign before it goes live. Their contract should also protect your privacy and give you ownership over all of the material they create on your behalf, including a transfer of access to all platforms that have been established for you during or at the end of an engagement. Be wary of agencies with contract clauses that threaten to remove all of the content they have created about you online if you are late with a payment. If their services include publishing a profile or website about you that is linked to their brand, consider whether having a public association with an online reputation management company will contribute to your image.
The online reputation management (ORM) industry is unregulated. There are no consumer protection agencies vetting ORM providers. Credible firms provide informative professional biographies and client case studies, publish articles about this practice and may have been interviewed in respected media outlets.
Educate yourself about this industry. Our You(Online) resources were created to contribute to the public body of knowledge that educates consumers, including our own client niche. Join readers worldwide who benefit from our articles, blog and expert commentary. It is the most comprehensive in the industry.
We define it as “looking your best online”.
A more formal definition is, “establishing, maintaining, repairing and monitoring the online information about an individual or organization.” Online reputation management’s task is simple: to expand or revise the publicly available information that appears about a topic online. The “what” and “how” can mean anything from optimizing where that information appears in a Google search to the creation of large amounts of new content.
Reputation Communications in the News
- Why everything and everyone in Harvey Weinstein’s orbit is at risk of being burned in the sex harassment fallout
October 15, 2017View article
Our founder and CEO, Shannon Wilkinson, was interviewed about this issue in the news. "It is far too early to predict what outcomes will transpire from this crisis," she said. "It touches on many issues and has sparked a multifaceted conversation within and beyond the industry…one that has just begun."Coptics: The optics of policing in the digital age
September 25, 2017View article
Police One, the leading information resource for law enforcement online, published this article by our CEO, Shannon Wilkinson and her colleagues at The Hetty Group. In it, we discuss how law enforcement professionals can be more effective in connecting with a digital media savvy public.Hollywood “Fixers” Tell Us Exactly How Stars Who Break Up (And Want To Pretend They Didn’t) Pull It Off
September 21, 2017View article
Bravo TV, the popular American cable network operated by NBCUniversal, interviewed our founder and CEO, Shannon Wilkinson, on how celebrities are successfully managing their once-public divorces. An excerpt:
“What’s with the trend of waiting so long to tell the public you’re over? How can they really move on while still pretending? In private, they’re way ahead of us, explains Shannon Wilkinson, founder of Reputation Communications, a New York City based firm that is described as a “reputation architect,” which, for a hefty fee, takes control of a celebrity’s narrative and helps them through a crisis like a divorce.
“The firm creates a storyline or a “strategy,” tailored specifically to the situation at hand and even helps a celeb control their online image if their divorce has become the top Google search online. In other words, they are hired to control the “story” of their star client’s split.”Equifax Hit With Massive Reputation Breach
The Wall Street Journal
September 19, 2017View article
The hack of personal information of around 143 million people has put credit-monitoring service Equifax Inc. in the crisis bullseye. For this Wall Street Journal "Crisis of the Week" column, Reputation Communications CEO Shannon Wilkinson assesses Equifax’s response to this disaster.
“Few firms possess as much detailed information about the financial and personal data of Americans as Equifax. That is why Equifax’s response to this crisis has been so disappointing. In tone, timing and execution, Equifax has failed to convey the gravity of its responsibility to consumers. Waiting one month to inform the public of the breach increased peoples’ risk of identity theft. Had they known sooner, their credit freezes could have been quickly put in place; now Equifax is overwhelmed with requests for freezes and its systems can’t handle them.
“The CEO’s short apology failed to resonate with consumers who now face the potential cost of protecting their data more securely. It lacked empathy and a sufficiently apologetic tone appropriate for the impact of this crisis. Equifax did the right thing in quickly creating a website to provide consumers with one year’s worth of free credit monitoring and protection and a $1 million identity-theft service. Only after consumers complained did Equifax remove the fine print requiring consumers who registered for the free service to waive their legal right to sue.
After that, two executives, including the security director, left the company–an important symbol of Equifax’s steps toward rebuilding its security system, albeit after the fire has destroyed the firehouse. What Equifax will do after its free credit protection services run out in one year is unclear. Millions of consumers will need protection for decades as a result of this breach and accommodating that need is a process the company needs to prepare for.”Uber Faces Tipping Point After CEO Resigns
The Wall Street Journal
June 26, 2017View article
Uber Technologies Inc. finds itself back in the crisis crosshairs after Chief Executive Travis Kalanick announced a leave of absence—then later his resignation after being confronted by investors and urged to step down. Reputation Communications CEO Shannon Wilkinson assesses Uber’s response to this crisis.
“Chief Executive Travis Kalanick’s resignation was the perfect crisis resolution response for Uber. As a board member he will be able to contribute his visionary influence on the company while no longer serving as Uber’s public face. Because he created and embodied the culture out of which Uber’s many crises arose, he lacked the credibility to act as Uber’s chief spokesperson. Placing a senior executive in Uber’s chief messaging role would have sent a more reassuring signal to shareholders that Uber had turned a fresh leadership page.
“Instead, prior to resigning, Mr. Kalanick in his first email to Uber staff vowed to rebuild the leadership team. Yet he was on a leave of absence. That sent a confusing message regarding Uber’s promised culture and management reboot. Mr. Kalanick’s comment about needing to ‘work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve’ was vague and unconvincing. It paled in comparison to former Uber board member David Bonderman’s statement. When he resigned, he exited swiftly and with an on-target message: ‘I directed a comment…that was careless, inappropriate, and inexcusable,’ he said.
“Now, Mr. Kalanick has ensured Uber can succeed in moving past its crises. He listened to his board, followed the advice of trusted colleagues and made a compellingly clean break from his leadership role at the company.”Online, Your Reputation is Everything
APRIL 18, 2017View article
The Huffington Post interviews our CEO, Shannon Wilkinson, about managing your personal brand on the Internet. The nuances and importance of modern reputation care, the lack of “right to be forgotten” laws in the U.S. and privacy issues that can result in personal security threats are among topics explored.CEO’s Writings Put APA Group in Hot Seat
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
JANUARY 30, 2017View article
A Japan-based hotel operator experienced a crisis after the company’s chief executive included wording in a book provided in the company’s hotel rooms that calls “fake” Japan’s killing of Chinese civilians in 1937. Our CEO Shannon Wilkinson provides commentary regarding ‘Japan’s freedom of speech” and the company’s choice to lose customers and revenues while exercising it.Business Offers Blueprint to Improve Law Enforcement Optics
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
AUGUST 19, 2016View article
A group of reputation-management experts has banded together to create “Coptics.” The program helps law enforcement agencies better manage their social media engagement and improve their perceptions with people and within communities. Shannon Wilkinson of Reputation Communications is one of the three participants featured.Purdue Pharma Confronts OxyContin Allegations
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
JULY 26, 2016View article
OxyContin’s response to an L.A. Times investigation — claiming the company had evidence its pills were being sold illegally but did nothing to stop it — is the focus of this article. In it, we review Purdue Pharma’s response to this crisis.Does LendingClub Have Collateral to Save its Reputation?
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
May 17, 2016View article
LendingClub fired its Chief Executive after the board found problems with his lending practices and the lack of disclosure about a personal investment. As the company’s stock plunged, its crisis response was assessed. Our CEO Shannon Wilkinson contributes her viewpoint.Financial, reputation hits to Volkswagen hinge on top execs’ culpability
The Philadelphia Inquirer
September 25, 2015View article
The Philadelphia Inquirer examines Volkswagen’s troubles and interviews customers, auto industry experts and reputation advisors—including our CEO, who predicts VW will rebound.CEOs Face Reputation Pitfalls If They Avoid Social Media
Wall Street Journal
April 02, 2015View article
The Wall Street Journal’s Ben DiPietro interviewed our CEO about the risks and rewards that social media poses to executives. By adhering to several best practices, executives can make social media an important addition to their brand and media management strategies. But without care and preparation, it can turn into a reputation headache.Crisis of the Week: Williams, NBC Between Iraq and a Hard Place
Wall Street Journal
February 17, 2015View article
In this week’s column, our CEO and other experts from the media and public relations industry assess how well NBC and Brian Williams have handled the controversies surrounding the inaccurate statements he has made on-air about his personal involvement in events he reported on. For one of the world’s most famous news anchors, whose career is based in good part on his trustworthiness, this was a high-stakes game of reputation crisis management.The New Reputation Risks: What You Need to Know for 2015
January 14, 2015View article
The Internet, and social media in particular, has had a dramatic impact on the world of reputation management. It has introduced a new level of transparency to business operations and culture, and a new level of empowerment to consumers. This article by Reputation Communications CEO Shannon Wilkinson reviews the changes to the ORM landscape in 2014 and presents our predictions for 2015’s biggest potential reputation-related crises.Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut
The Wall Street Journal
December 15, 2015View article
In her continuing role as a featured expert with Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” column, Shannon Wilkinson discusses Korea Air’s “Nutgate” crisis—an excellent example of how quickly a gaffe from leadership can turn into a public relations catastrophe.Is Whisper’s Defense Being Heard?
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 10, 2014View article
The Whisper app found itself at the center of reputational crisis with allegations that it was secretly tracking its users. In this commentary, we examine the effectiveness of Whisper’s response to the crisis—a crisis that hit on growing concerns regarding the security of online communications.Sanofi’s Handling of Bribery Allegations
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 13, 2014View article
For our commentary on this edition of the Crisis of the Week column we examined how Sanofi handled allegations that it made improper payments while doing business in foreign markets. In this case, the company offers several good examples of effective crisis management.The New Demands of Online Reputation Management
NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY INSTITUTE AT EXCELSIOR COLLEGE
September 2, 2014View article
This paper by Reputation Communications CEO Shannon Wilkinson gives an overview of the current state of online reputation management. It also discusses the leading online reputational threats faced by companies in the United States, as well as explaining how such events unfold, the motivations behind them, and how they can be protected against and resolved.Crisis Communication 2.0: Mary Barra Strong In Adversity
June 10, 2014View article
Following GM‘s CEO Mary Barra inclusion on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women, this article looks at the deft strategies Ms. Barra has brought to crisis management. She has been a pioneer in integrating multiple digital media platforms into her communications initiatives.Image Rx: Online Reputation Management For Rising Executives
April 10, 2014View article
Many new executives neglect an important part of their online image: their portraits published online. In this article, Reputation Communications' CEO Shannon Wilkinson outlines a strategy for making photographs an effective part of your online image.From Mocking To Hacking: How To Protect Your Digital Reputation
March 14, 2014View article
VIPs – celebrities, industry leaders and such public figures as politicians and philanthropists – face special challenges in managing their digital footprints. This article by Reputation Communications CEO Shannon Wilkinson discusses some of those challenges, and offers several easy-to-implement solutions.Protect your good name online
August 2013View article
This article proposes the six most important actions you can take to protect your reputation online. Our CEO is quoted as an expert on the topic of using Twitter to create positive content.Protect Your Online Rep
March 5, 2013View article
Daily Worth describes the basics of establishing a stronger online identity, quoting our CEO at length about the best strategies to use.Social Media Crucial to Corporate Risk Management: RMS Panelists
March 6, 2013View article
Business Insurance covered 2013’s Risk Management Summit in New York, in which Shannon Wilkinson served as a panelist. This article expands upon several comments about the nature and benefits of social media that Ms. Wilkinson made at the summit.Can’t Buy Trust
Banking New York
July 6, 2012View article
This article examines the effectiveness of different ad campaigns from financial companies, in terms of the crisis of trust that has troubled the industry. As an expert on reputation management, Shannon Wilkinson is featured, discussing the nature of the crisis and the steps banks are taking to avert it.