One of the companies that I am involved in, (disclosure: as a non-executive director & shareholder) is Quirk, which is an eMarketing agency. Quirk has just launched an exciting new product called BrandsEye today, which plays in the realm of Online Reputation Management (ORM). BrandEye has been in development for a long time now and it competes with other services such as Trackur, which is headed up by Andy Beal of Marketing Pilgrim.
ORM deals with managing the huge flux of information, opinion and reviews about your company and your brand online, and both these services make it very easy to track what’s being said about your brand – good and bad. As a business owner, it’s extremely important to understand what’s in the public domain, as a poor online image can really impact your business negatively. The skills and resources to monitor what happens online are not usually available to the average business owner, and therefore it really makes sense to outsource it to a service that can really monitor what’s happening on the web.
The fact that both Andy & Rob (CEO of Quirk) – both of whom I highly respect – have launched similar services within a few weeks of each other, speaks for itself on the opportunity in this space to assist businesses in understanding how to control and manage their brand online. Companies such as Dell & Telkom have had some online PR nightmares with Dell Hell & Helkom – and perhaps these are extreme cases.
In the world of Web 2.0, where sharing is caring, you can expect users to offer more opinions about more companies online and sites like Yelp can make or break a local business if they do no know what people are saying about them. This part of social networking really allows the cream to rise to the top and businesses need to look inward to improve their products and services in order to remain competitive. I see a major marketing exploding in ORM, so I wish both Andy & Rob all the best!