Online Reputation Management vs. Public Relations: Understanding the 7 Major Differences - Konnect Insights - A unified customer experience management platform ...
Online Reputation Management vs. Public Relations: Understanding the 7 Major Differences

Online Reputation Management vs. Public Relations: Understanding the 7 Major Differences

What is online reputation management, or ORM?

In today’s digital age, businesses and individuals face unprecedented challenges in managing their online reputations. Negative reviews, damaging news stories, and social media scandals can quickly go viral and cause long-lasting damage to a company’s reputation.

Many turn to online reputation management (ORM) and public relations (PR) strategies to combat these issues. While both are important tools for managing reputation, they have different focuses, channels, and tactics

Reputation management is important because it is the way that you control what people think about your brand. Your online PR and reputation management can make or break a brand’s success. You can use reputation management to make sure people have a good opinion of your business.

PR is what you do to tell people about your business. ORM is what you do to make sure people have a good opinion of your business.

While ORM and PR are two terms often used interchangeably, they have significant differences. There are multiple types of ORM also. 

In this blog, we will investigate comparing ORM and PR, how they overlap, and help you determine which strategy is right for your needs.

ORM is when you do things to make sure people know good things about your brand. But if there are bad things about your brand, you also want to make sure people know those things. 

It’s like saying, “I want to make sure people know the good things about my brand, and they also know the bad things.”

A brand’s online reputation management involves actively monitoring, influencing, and controlling its reputation on the internet. ORM aims to enhance online visibility, protect against negative publicity, and manage online perception.

ORM in digital marketing involves key activities like search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, social media management, and review management to influence how the brand is perceived online.

Don’t miss out on the 7 Essential Elements of Online Reputation Management.

What are public relations?

PR reputation management is when you have a company that has a bad reputation and you try to fix it. You do this by working with the media, your customers, your employees, and your stakeholders. 

PR reputation management looks at striking a balanced dialogue between the brand and the target audience.

Your goal is to make the company look good in the eyes of these people. You do this by talking to the media and telling them what’s good about your company. 

You do this by talking to your customers and making sure they are happy. You do this by talking to your employees and making sure they are happy.

You do this by talking to your stakeholders and making sure they are happy. This is done by a dedicated PR agent working with media relations, crisis management, event planning, and brand management to enhance the reputation of the organization.

7 Key Differences between ORM and PR

1. Focus Objective

ORM focuses on how a brand is perceived online. The return on investment of digital strategies for online ORM is determined by how the brand’s online visibility is enhanced in a positive light.

PR, on the other hand, focuses on managing a brand’s overall reputation. PR reputation management encompasses a number of strategies to help build public trust and improve the brand’s standing with its various stakeholders and consumers

2. Brand Visibility

ORM takes a more digital approach to building and managing a brand’s reputation. Efforts by the ORM team are to look at what people see when they search for the brand online and what kind of perception they build. 

PR takes a more traditional and holistic approach, ensuring the brand receives enough visibility through consistent media coverage, sponsorships, and events.

3. Channel Differences

The stark difference between online PR and reputation management is how they approach the audience to influence brand perception. 

While ORM taps into online channels such as search engines, social media platforms, review sites, and blogs, PR is concerned with managing traditional media.

These involve staying on top of the audience’s mind via newspapers, TV, radio, magazines, etc.

4. Media Positioning

Since the reputation management channels differ, so will the media positioning. ORM manages brand visibility with digital content like blog posts, social media updates, videos, and images. 

PR management services have more traditional collaterals like press releases, news articles, interviews, and features

5. Target Audience

With ORM, the main target audience for the associated efforts is all potential and existing online audiences. PR reaches a broader audience, including customers, investors, media outlets, and other stakeholders.

6. Tactical Approach

When it comes to online reputation, there is constant monitoring of online content, responding to online reviews, and developing positive content to improve search engine results. This also provides clarity on the ROI of digital strategies.

PR tactics include media relations, crisis management, event planning, and social media marketing.

7. Reputation Management

ORM is the process of monitoring, identifying, and influencing the online conversation about a brand. It’s about managing your digital footprint and the way you’re perceived by the world.

It’s important to have a positive online reputation, as it can influence everything from the way people perceive you to whether or not you get hired for a job. PR, on the other hand, is about managing the overall reputation of the organization, both online and offline.

This includes things like crisis management, media relations, and protecting the brand from negative press.

Difference between PR and ORM: An Example

Let’s consider a scenario that could affect brand reputation and how PR and ORM will be used to maintain brand reliability.

Assume that you are a beauty brand that released a new line of foundation in the ‘pocket-friendly’ segment. A few customers who purchased the makeup product had allergic reactions and low makeup coverage. This resulted in negative publicity online, along with negative reviews on marketplace pages.

How will you still keep your brand reputation intact and let customers know that their opinions and brand loyalty are valued?

Your PR firm will promptly work on crafting a response that addresses the customer’s concerns and showcases your brand’s dedication to customer satisfaction. This could also include organizing a press conference and issuing a public apology.

Simultaneously, the ORM team will be focused on responding to customer complaints and negative reviews and having positive customer reviews and other online content shared via social platforms. This will overshadow the bad publicity while working on changing how the brand is perceived because of the new faulty product.

What do I choose: ORM or PR?

Whether you need to invest in an ORM agency or a public relations firm largely depends on your brand’s goals and priorities. If you want to manage your online reputation and make sure your business looks good on search engines and social media, ORM is the way to go.

ORM strategies and tactics are specifically designed to monitor, manage, and influence your online reputation, including online reviews, social media mentions, search engine results, and other online platforms.

On the other hand, if you are concerned about managing your reputation both online and offline, then PR would be a better choice. 

PR involves managing your reputation through a variety of communication channels, including traditional media, events, community relations, and online platforms.

PR can help you build and maintain a positive reputation, establish credibility and trust with your stakeholders, and manage crises that could potentially harm your reputation.

In many cases, it may be beneficial to combine both ORM and PR strategies to achieve the best results. ORM can help you manage your online reputation, while PR can help you build a positive reputation both online and offline.

Ultimately, the choice between ORM and PR depends on your specific needs and goals, and a professional PR or ORM agency can help you determine the best approach for your situation.

Here are the Top 16 online reputation management strategies to improve your brand’s digital presence.

Are PR and ORM two sides of the same coin?

PR (PR) and ORM (ORM) are related ideas but aren’t quite the same. Both aim to improve a business’s reputation and image, but they do so in different ways.

PR focuses on shaping the public’s perception of a brand through media coverage and relationships, while ORM focuses on managing what people see when they search for a brand online.

PR is the use of a variety of online and offline communication tactics and channels to manage and maintain a favorable image and reputation for a person, business, or brand. 

A larger definition of PR would encompass managing events, managing crises, managing community relations, and managing media relations.

On the other hand, ORM focuses particularly on controlling and upholding a positive online reputation for a person, business, or brand. 

Monitoring and influencing online discussions and evaluations about the entity, responding to criticism, and developing favorable content and profiles are all ORM (ORM).

While PR and ORM both aim to manage and uphold a favorable image and reputation, the former is more focused on online platforms and uses certain techniques and tactics to manage and improve an online reputation. 

In conclusion, ORM is a specialized subset of PR that explicitly deals with ORM.

Check out the latest Customer experience trends in 2023 and improve your brand’s communication with your customers.


In conclusion, ORM and PR are crucial for any business wanting to maintain a positive image and reputation. While there is some overlap between the two, they are distinct practices that require different skill sets and approaches.

By understanding the differences between ORM and PR and choosing the best approach to your goals, you can improve your business’s online and offline reputation and ultimately drive success and growth.

Ultimately, it’s important to work with a professional agency to help you determine the best approach for your situation and develop a customized strategy that meets your specific needs and goals.

Related Post