In this insightful interview, we delve into the realm of Online Reputation Management (ORM) with Premkumar Iyer, President, HAWK, a GOZOOP Group Company, shedding light on its evolution and significance in the digital landscape. As the face of GOZOOP HAWK, Premkumar walks us through the agency's pivotal role in shaping ORM practices over the years, emphasizing its proactive, strategic, and data-driven approach. GOZOOP Group bets big on the Middle East, having established a strong foothold in the region. "This long-term involvement has enabled us to understand the market's cultural nuances and engage local expertise, particularly in mastering Arabic language nuances," he says. Excerpts:Can you provide an overview of the evolution of Online Reputation Management (ORM) and how GOZOOP HAWK has contributed to its development over the years?Online Reputation Management (ORM) has always been a crucial element in the digital landscape, though it often didn't receive the recognition it deserved. Around 2010-11, ORM was primarily associated with search engine optimization. However, as customer behaviours and platforms evolved, brands had to adapt, prompting agencies to reassess the significance they placed on ORM.This shift occurred in tandem with the increasing internet and social media penetration in our daily lives. Additionally, the changing customer demographics, with Millennials and Generation Z becoming primary target groups for brands, played a significant role. These generations are inherently inclined to share their experiences online, paving the way for the expansion of ORM. It's expected that ORM will continue to grow in importance.GOZOOP HAWK has been a leader in acknowledging the importance and value of ORM. Always challenged the template-based reactive approach towards a more proactive, strategic and data-driven approach. Our capabilities have been a step ahead of everyone and we don’t restrict ourselves to traditional metrics thus making us the most impactful setups that the industry has to offer.ORM has become increasingly important in the global landscape. What are the key differences and challenges in managing online reputation in various regions and how does GOZOOP HAWK address them? Can you share any global perspectives on this?ORM has gained critical importance globally, though its recognition and terminology vary by region. Internationally, many brands don’t specifically identify their activities as ORM. Instead, these practices often fall under the broader category of customer service. Typically, these responsibilities for them are managed by their contact centres or customer service partners.We have clients from India and the Middle East. Leveraging the GOZOOP Group’s decade-long presence in the Middle East, we have established a strong foothold in the region. This long-term involvement has enabled us to understand the market's cultural nuances and engage local expertise, particularly in mastering Arabic language nuances.Addressing cultural and linguistic barriers requires a local presence. Currently, we are actively seeking and exploring partnerships worldwide to overcome these challenges. Our goal is to adapt our ORM strategies effectively to diverse global markets, aligning with local customs and communication styles.Reputation repair and building trust are essential for leading brands. How does GOZOOP HAWK approach crisis management and reputation repair to help these brands regain credibility in the digital age?GOZOOP HAWK is arguably one of the best when it comes to crisis management. Our suite for managing crises is built upon years of experience in Online Reputation Management (ORM) and monitoring for high-octane brands and public enterprises.Our approach involves developing a tailored safety net around brands, incorporating an early warning system. This system is key in timely crisis identification, allowing us to conduct a pre-crisis analysis and then using our proprietary framework we determine the best course of action.We are one of those few ORM-first setups that have its PR team and the largest stringers’ network in the country. This, coupled with our deep Influencer network, position us as exceptionally effective partners in crisis management. We are named GOZOOP HAWK for a reason after all.HAWK has built a strong reputation in the field of Customer Experience (CX). Could you share some of the most noteworthy success stories and case studies where HAWK made a significant impact in improving online customer experiences and loyalty for businesses?For a leading gaming brand in our portfolio, we've been intensely focused on developing the latest technology to streamline operations and enhance customer experience (CX). Over the last six months, our efforts have led to a reduction in actionable volumes. This achievement has not only freed up operational bandwidth which allows us to handle unexpected spikes, but has also realized a 40% cost efficiency for the brand.A key component of our strategy has been the use of AI in process automation and consumer data analysis, which has been instrumental in conserving valuable resources and bandwidth, thus allowing our team more time for customer service operations.A leading OTT app that we manage ORM for launched international content, specifically Korean dramas, dubbed in Hindi. To build excitement for this new offering, we adopted a unique strategy: transforming all conversations on the platform into Korean, including interactions with users. This approach piqued immense curiosity, engaging over 252,000 users who were intrigued by what kind of responses they would receive. The excitement pleasantly increased as users began responding in Korean, creating a lively and interactive atmosphere.This strategy not only sparked anticipation but also fostered a sense of surprise and engagement among the users. It added a dynamic and thrilling aspect to their experience on our social media pages, generating significant buzz and enhancing user interaction with the brand.As a leader in the CX industry, what is GOZOOP HAWK's vision for the future? Could you outline the company's roadmap for solidifying its leadership and staying ahead in this competitive market?GOZOOP HAWK's vision is to become a dominant force in all facets of customer service. To achieve this, we have significantly bolstered our listening and analytics capabilities, anticipating that these areas will drive the next wave of growth within Online Reputation Management (ORM). Coupled with a robust Crisis Management Public Relations team, we are well-positioned to make significant advancements in the industry.Our growth is not limited to domestic markets, but we're gaining traction internationally and are actively expanding our services beyond the subcontinent.To support our ambitious goals, we are actively recruiting at various levels. Plans are underway to establish new operational centers across India.Industry insights are invaluable for businesses looking to enhance their ORM strategies. What trends and emerging practices in ORM and CX do you see shaping the industry, and how is GOZOOP HAWK positioning itself to leverage these trends?The evolution of the ORM and CX industry is poised to be significantly influenced by several emerging trends and practices and GOZOOP HAWK is strategically positioning itself to capitalize on these developments:Integration of ORM with digital strategy and the overall digital marketing strategy, ensuring that all digital efforts are aligned and contribute positively to the brand’s online reputation.Artificial Intelligence is set to revolutionise the customer service sector. While it won't replace human customer service professionals, AI will introduce remarkable efficiencies. Its most significant impact will likely be in data analysis, offering deeper insights and improving decision-making processes. The challenge lies in a brand and an agency daring to experiment with AI's full potential.Integrating Customer Service is a growing need to synchronise traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and ORM data. Currently, discrepancies between these datasets can lead to inefficiencies and a disjointed understanding of customer interactions. Bridging this gap is crucial for providing a more cohesive and effective customer service experience.With the recent rise in deep fake videos and images going viral. I feel the industry will need listening tools to take image and video recognition more seriously than what they are right now.It’s also necessary to actively build and manage online communities around the brand, fostering a loyal customer base that can act as brand advocates.HAWK specializes in empowering businesses with actionable insights. Could you elaborate on some of the innovative approaches or tools HAWK uses to gather and analyse data to provide these actionable insights for clients?As a setup we are tool-agnostic in our approach; this also gives us the edge, and when it comes to generating insights we use our own framework called DIVE which blends the digital and social worlds well. We also use the ACAF (Ask, Categorize, Act and Follow-Up) model extensively while processing all the customer service queries.How does GOZOOP HAWK ensure that the solutions it provides are adaptable to the constantly changing digital landscape, given the ever-evolving online platforms and customer behaviour?There is no formula to this honestly. Adapting to the ever-changing digital landscape is a complex challenge, with no one-size-fits-all solution. At GOZOOP HAWK, our adaptability stems from a culture of constant curiosity and innovation that permeates the organisation from the top down. We have successfully cultivated an environment where staying ahead of the curve is a collective pursuit.In essence, our adaptability is a product of our organisational ethos, driven by leadership and embraced by every member of the team. This mindset is what allows GOZOOP HAWK to consistently offer solutions that are attuned to the dynamic nature of the digital world.GOZOOP HAWK's commitment to fostering unwavering customer loyalty is impressive. Can you share some strategies and best practices that HAWK employs to help clients not only acquire new customers but also retain and build long-term relationships with existing ones?Here's my attempt to provide a response with a degree of ambiguity. Brands have to stop looking at ORM as a cost centre, ORM can be a profit centre too. ORM when handled by a skilled and focused team can generate a lot of business avenues for a brand coupled with great retention.Our brands experience a higher generation of organic business through ORM compared to the impact of organic search.