The Relationship between Reputation and Brand
Owing to the spate of wicked corporate scandals and worst executive misdeeds, varying from anonymous blogging and ghostwriting to pretexting and dubious accounting practices, most business leaders are turning their attention to “brand reputation management.”
While the catchphrase has successfully generated buzz in the media world, the concept is misleading. And while often used interchangeably, it’s essential to understand that “brand” and “reputation” are not identical. Your brand and reputation are two different terms that require varying tactics to handle risks and applications.
In this article, we’ll discuss in-depth the differences and relationship between brand and reputation management to help you craft a stunning brand reputation management strategy:
Brand and Reputation: Difference and Relevancy
Although closely linked, brand and reputation share multiple fundamental differences. For starters, you can manage a brand; however, you can only influence your reputation.
Before we dive deeper into their differences, let’s take a step back and discuss the basics:
A Quick Glance at Brand
A brand is a commodity; it’s how you showcase yourself to prospects worldwide. A brand determines how you position yourself on the global or local market for customers to view and perceive.
You own and build your brand, meaning you can control it and position yourself through the brand. The quality you offer consumers daily depends on your brand.
A Quick Glance at Reputation Management
Reputation, on the contrary, is how consumers see you and your offering. While you can control your brand, your viewers determine your reputation.
In today’s tech-savvy world, clients and customers who want to work with you or purchase from you can search for your name and portfolio on Google. People will form an opinion based on the answers provided by the search engine.
Therefore, while brands are sustainable, reputations are susceptible to change and fluctuate with time.
You Cannot Purchase a Reputation
You have complete control of your brand; you can pay money to build and shape it and hire advertising and marketing teams to sway public opinion. In addition, you can impact the viewers and tell the story you want using attention-grabbing images and strategies.
On the contrary, you cannot purchase your reputation. Instead, it lies in the hand of multiple stakeholders, meaning you have to earn it. You can only indirectly influence your reputation with corporate actions and real-time results.
A Strong Brand Does Not Mean a Strong Reputation
A powerful brand and a powerful reputation are not mutually exclusive. Multi-national companies with gigafactories like Amazon, Tesla, and Nike have a clear position among buyers.
People worldwide know their motto, mission, and commitment to the community and recognize the well-known brand ambassadors they sponsor to promote and enhance their image.
But regarding reputation, the same world-famous companies have suffered damages due to revelations that they violate labour and employment rights, produce expensive apparel in sweatshops, and create appalling working conditions.
While this news has hit the headlines multiple times, the brands still earn millions. Thus, while a brand is about relevancy and differentiation, your reputation is legitimate and credible. You can rebrand; however, you cannot reverse or redo your reputation.
You Can Control Your Brand but Not Your Reputation
As we discussed, you can build and tweak your brand to meet your needs. That means you have complete influence over it, allowing you to change however you see fit.
On the contrary, your reputation reflects your product or services’ positive and negative impacts and your commitment to social activities and global issues. The only influence you have regarding reputation is your business’s stakeholders’ and buyers’ experience.
Ways to Align Brand and Reputation: The Four Key Segments
Now that we’ve discussed the differences and relationship between a brand and reputation, let’s discuss how you can align them:
Step # 1: Understand “Who” Your Brand Is
Start by gaining a clear understanding of your brand. For instance, does your brand sell makeup and beauty products? Or do you offer clothing?
Step # 2: Define Your Brand
Once you’ve decided what your company does, it’s time to dive deeper into brand building. Ask yourself:
- What does my business represent?
- Who and what do I stand for?
- How can I showcase my brand and its offering to the world?
- What are my mission and values? And do my actions reflect these?
- What does the ideal brand represent? Do I stand near this?
Step # 3: Determine What People Are Saying
After listing your fundamental vision and values, seek the public’s view of your brand. The best way to start is by using a search engine.
Here are several ideas to learn more about your reputation:
- Search your brand’s name and see what pops up on the first page
- Identify whether it’s positive or negative coverage
- How many search results align with your brand and meet your product definition?
- What do your friends, family members, and loyal customers think about your brand?
Step # 4: Align Your Brand to Your Reputation
You must build a robust brand reputation management plan if you discover dominantly negative coverage. Craft a stunning strategy by following these steps:
- Promote positive content and customer testimonials to encourage a better reputation
- Post valuable content to showcase your product’s benefits and features
- Respond to negative reviews and complaints in a timely and appropriate fashion
- Implement solutions and take organizational actions to prevent negative ratings and improve customer experience
How Does a Brand Protect Its Reputation and Relationship?
The communication environments where brands interact with buyers have transformed from national to international- and even global. Tactics to attract and retain consumers are changing from mass-market campaigns to laser-focused targeting strategies.
Information exchange and data storage are crucial to crafting highly-personalized messages that promote effective relationship building. Due to this extreme reliance on online-exchanged data to determine efficient communication techniques, PR experts must consider information privacy the leading legal risk.
For the same reason that socially-aware customers purchase from brands with a strong reputation, customers will only trade personal information with the same brands. Therefore, companies must address privacy concerns and ensure communication strategies align with their mission and values to protect their reputation and improve customer relationships.
The Bottom Line
While brand and reputation are easy to confuse, you must learn the differences to enhance your brand’s positioning. While rebranding is straightforward, reputation management requires a subtle and far-sighted strategy.
If your business lacks a dedicated reputation management team, it’s high time you introduce one. Partner with our leading corporate reputation management experts to align your brand and reputation and drive positive perceptions.