Companies have been advised to make sure they protect their online brand reputation from negative exposure.

Dr Omar Merlo, a university lecturer in marketing and strategy at Cambridge Judge Business School, said online reputation management chiefly deals with protecting brands against attacks via new media tools and dealing with a crisis as and when it happens.

He explained that when negative brand exposure occurs, companies need to decide how they will respond. It is not often necessary to respond, but companies need to have an understanding of what the evidence suggests they should do.

“My advice to any company [that] is dealing [with] these potential threats is to have someone who has the responsibility for dealing with these things,” Dr Merlo commented.

“We need to appoint someone who is [knowledgeable] about online reputation management,” he added.

Writing in Marketing Profs, Brian Carroll, chief executive of InTouch, recently advised firms to use business networking sites such as LinkedIn to improve their online presence and contact with prospects.