29 December 2013,

ORM Process

Often times, clients ask me what the process for an Online Reputation Management (ORM) campaign involves. I decided therefore to put the whole process together in a post so that if you ever do need some ORM, you’ll know what to expect.

I’ve been able to categorize each process into one of the  4 steps. We like to refer to this as the ARMM methodology.

  1. Analyze
  2. Recover
  3. Monitor
  4. Manage

Each step is critical to the success of the campaign.

So what does each step involve? Let’s dive deeper into them.

1. Analyze

This is where we analyze the landscape – the environment. Our goal here is to figure out what is being said about our brand or individual. In this step, we usually like to ask the following questions:

  • On which channels are we finding negative comments about our brand? (Twitter, Google SERPs, Google autosuggest etc.)
  • What are people unhappy about? Our customer service? Our product features?
  • How severe is the problem? Do we have 1 negative review or multiple from several reputable sites?

2. Recover

In step 1 we figured out what the problem was. In step 2, we now turn to the Recovery in hopes to clean up our image. This obviously depends on what the problem is.

For example, if we have a negative review on Yelp that is showing up on Page 1 of the SERPs, we may consider pushing the Yelp review down to page 2 to prevent it from being seen.

Perhaps the issue was an image that was posted of you without your consent. We may try contacting the webmasters to have them removed. In some cases, we may even turn to legal action to force the removal of these images.

In short, there is no simple solution as each case is different, however all solutions here will lead to an improved online image.

3. Monitoring

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

– Benjamin Franklin

This steps involves both monitoring and prevention. We want to prevent as many negative reviews as possible, but if they do happen, we want to be the first to know. This way, we can respond to them quickly before any damage is done.

Side note: One of the most difficult reputation attacks to deal with are those that occur through mainstream media. Once people go to the press, it’s often sensationalized and had many eyeballs on them before the brand is even aware of it. At that point, the damage is already done.

In this step, we set up alerts and utilize social monitoring tools to detect any negative brand mentions. This way, we’ll be the first to be notified whenever a damaging image or article is released.

4. Manage

This is where you manage your customers queries and complaints. In my experience, especially with service-oriented businesses, the consumer almost ALWAYS contacts the business first before resorting to a negative online review.


…because people get nothing out of leaving a negative review. It’s a lose-lose situation, and they often feel as though they’ve past the point of resolution.

That’s why it’s important to catch your customer before they get to that point. Look for signs indicating dissatisfaction from your customer, and deal with it right away.

Note: You’ll need to really pay attention to the words people use. Most people won’t flat out tell you that they disliked your service, instead they’ll use phrases such as “I expected”, or “I was hoping for…”. Here are some more examples:

  • I expected more beef in my soup
  • I was hoping for a more thorough treatment
  • I was told the price was $500 and not $800
  • I was never told about the additional fees

You get the point. Anything where they expected something else can lead to a dissatisfaction in service.

The good news is that even a simple explanation or apology can go a long way.

I hope that provides you with a better understanding of the ORM process.

Did this article help you at all? Please leave us a comment below!

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