“The Internet gave us access to everything; but it also gave everything access to us.”
Through this quotation , James Veitch introduces us towards today’s topic: Web Reputation, passing through the peculiar development of the Right to be Forgotten, and more generally, exploring the Brand Development we want us to explore these dynamics, more and more relevant to the development of the Digital era.
As Aleph Finance Group, Financial Holding recently listed in the French Stock Market Euronext, we aspire at being always a step ahead of the competition, also thanks to important partners and successful collaborations, as for example the one between Pairstech and Ealixir, leader company operating in the context of Web Reputation.
The massive usage of the Internet has opened the doors to private and business towards infinite opportunities, not least the one to have access to a considerable dimension of information. How to manage to extricate in this labyrinth of news, “fake” or “real” they are? How to behave in order to not create negative implications for the owned business?
The following survey, published on Statista, which has been conducted by Integral Ad Service shows the quotas of content considered dangerous for brand’s security, shown by typology of device in Italy in 2018.
What emerges, in particular, is the danger of actions of individuals attitudes, whether they represent an entity or a firm, as a matter of fact, these types of content concern individual behaviour and not institutional ones. The difficulty to distinguish between the binomial individual entities is in fact usually the cause of mediatic scandals that compromise the institution’s reputation.
At the media level, the spread of video has recently found broad space: these are all around contents for a direct and effective communication, that involves much more given its dynamicity. Again, critical issues that may emerge from the usage of inappropriate content are multiple, the all around of videos turns into a double edge weapon: the great usability means that inappropriate content may be seen and shared exponentially if it is not stopped.
Riding the positive growth trend of the sector, e-commerce are becoming the new giants of the market, and being located in the web context, their brand reputation is highly involved in the concept of web reputation. In the following survey, present on Statista and whose data have been gathered by Casaleggio Associati, shows the perception of e-commerce about the impact of a reputation crisis in Italy in 2019, expressed by percentage of respondents.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” is a notorious statement by Warren Buffet which provides insight about the importance of corporate reputation. In the ever-changing globalised digital world that we live, the importance of web reputation has increased more and more over the years. Negative reviews, fake news or incomplete data can seriously damage a firm’s image, and therefore, their development in the market. It is for this reason that companies which specialise in handling corporate online images have emerged, in order to make sure that the entrepreneur’s can not only oversee his company’s digital identity, but also control the narrative about it.
According to a recent research of Forrester, the decision makers are now, more than ever, aware of the advantages deriving from the safeguard of their own reputation. It appears in fact that:
- the 43% of executives believe that the editing of the unfavourable research result would increase sales and conversion rates;
- the 42% of brands believe that the reduction in unfavourable research result would lead to lead generation;
- the 38% of brands believe that minimizing the unfavourable research result would improve the lead conversion.
A positive reputation influences directly on costs and efficiency of recruitment. In fact, Harvard Business Review has detected that a firm with 10.000 employees spends up to 7,6 million dollars on additional salaries to compensate for bad reputation.
A report conducted by Glassdoor on how recruiting is influenced by reputation management highlights some important numbers:
- 33% of employees has refused a job offer due to negative reputation of the firm;
- 84% of people looking for work affirm that the firm’s reputation has influenced their choice of work.
- 38% of brands believe that the reduction of undesirable research results would increase the capacity of recruiters to hire the most talented candidates.
Developing strong marketing strategies to better communicate the advantages and the culture of firms seems to be of the utmost importance, as well as having a strong online presence. The ability to create and publish quality content in a standardized and planned continuum makes it possible to obscure potentially negative or external publications in the first places of an online search.
Secondly, it is within the firm’s right to review and verify that the unfavourable content present in the Internet falls within individual freedom of expression, or if it can be removed for alleging false information.
Lastly, a good relationship with the press might also be an advantage in so far they can provide an external and therefore unbiased view of the business.
Clearly handling these three pillars is not an easy task, which is why the best course of action would be to trust a specialised company like Ealixir to make a personalised strategy in order to emphasise the qualities of a firm and to obscure the false claims or unfavourable opinions.
3.Right to be forgotten
The right to be forgotten was born because any content that ends up on the web automatically becomes public domain and is no longer removed. This creates web reputation problems, even if many years have passed since the facts in question.
It was introduced with EU regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) in art. 17.
The law provides that the data subject, the person to whom the personal data refer, can ask the data controller to delete them and that the latter must proceed to this without undue delay in all cases in which the personal data are not more necessary than the purposes for which they were originally processed, or have been unlawfully processed, or the data subject withdraws consent or opposes their processing, or the cancellation constitutes a legal obligation imposed by EU or Member State law. The right to delete data is strictly connected to the right of rectification, pursuant to art. 16 of EU Regulation 679/2016 (GDPR), according to which the interested has the right to obtain from the data controller the correction of inaccurate personal data concerning him without undue delay, as well as to obtain the integration of incomplete personal data, also by providing a supplementary declaration. Both protections are linked to the individual right to the correct representation of the “digital personality”, or to the protection of the so-called web reputation, which today is increasingly invoked in civil and criminal matters. The aforementioned provisions (articles 16 and 17) have been included in the GDPR in consideration of the famous ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union relating to the Google Spain 2014 case, which qualified search engines as data controllers according to the then current Directive 95/46 / EC, as their activity allows any Internet user to obtain, starting from the name of a certain person, a list of results that refer to it, thus being able to reconstruct the profile also in relationship to multiple aspects of private life. Following the Google Spain ruling, search engines were literally inundated with de-indexing requests that make content not directly accessible through search engines outside the archive in which they are located: according to the Transparency Report, periodically updated by Google, from May 2014 to date, the search engine has evaluated de-indexing requests for over two million URLs, accepted in about 44% of cases, while about half a million URLs are still under examination.
Therefore, the right to delete data or to rectify it arises as a protective function of the individual, whose data stored in search engines require a refinement and adjustment of the guarantees, such as to ensure their protection and with the possibility of obtaining their removal. In the meantime, the conditions and requirements for the lawfulness of the processing have no longer existed.
In the corporate landscape, the subjects that clearly establish themselves on the market are those who are able to best enhance their brand.
This process takes the name of brand development and it aims at developing the brand that represents the firm’s personality. Placing under the magnifying glass the correlation between consumer’s research and business’s results, it emerges that more powerful brands provide a clearly perceived and important benefit for their customers.
The first step of brand development consists in enhancing the winning strategy for pursuing the business objectives. It follows the implementation of instruments finalized at promoting the brand, like the logo, the slogan and the website.
At the end, there is the reinforcement phase.
In this process the right balance must be assessed to both the reputation and the visibility. Increasing only the visibility without reinforcing the reputation, leads rarely to success. An accurate development of the brand helps defining and optimizing the brand positioning.
Beyond a logo and a slogan, the brand comprehends tangible and intangible elements (how it is communicated, what the representer or partener say, how much is close the emotional connection of the customers), that form a coherent set.
For these reasons, an important part of the process must be imputed at the care of the online reputation. Investing in this means investing in the long term financial health of the activity. Negative articles, negative reviews, unfavorable relations, social media attack and other activities risk to cause damage to the activity, sinking profit.
When the firm’s online presence is not reinforced actively, some gaps are left unattended in the digital scenery. Consequently, competitors, unsatisfied customers and third parties can divert the narrative, here is the reason why managers of the most important firms are actively working to influence their online narrative.