The first place that consumers look for information about your product / brand is online. It’s important for you to understand their online conduct, to attain top of the mind recall among your current and potential customers.

Before the advent of the internet reputation was easy to control. The company gave out information about its activities to contemporary media like trade and other magazines, newspapers, outdoor media, radio and television, which in turn spread it to their audience. But today’s online world is more decentralized, more democratic and hence more participative – making it easier for consumers to voice their opinion. This open platform therefore makes it difficult for corporates to shape and control their perceptions in the consumer’s minds.
So if there is nothing you can do to prevent people from voicing their opinion, even negative and adverse views – then why should you as a company care about online reputation management? It’s not in your control in the first place. 

Online, your reputation, be it individual or as a company has a large audience. Namely anyone who has internet access can bring up a list of results about you. As the number of online communication channels is going up and with devices having the power to interact with these channels more and more people are talking about every aspect of their lives online. As individuals they may appear insignificantly small but when taken together with their circle of friends, family and even customers – the numbers add up to make you sit up and take notice.

Look upon this new age internet spurned online media and communication channels like Facebook and Twitter as an untapped opportunity to listen to customer feedback and what they need online. Design your products or services keeping in mind this feedback and enjoy the positive returns from such an endeavor. 
Interaction with an online audience is the reality of this new age business environment. The sooner you realize its potential and the threat of ignoring it, the better you will survive and thrive in the market place. After all no one can deny the first move advantage in the market place – be it the real world market or the virtual one.