Your brand name is only as good as your reputation.
Richard Branson – Founder, Virgin
Brand and reputation, while inextricably linked, are not the same. Ideally, however, they should be synonymous. Let me explain.
Brand relates to a specific organisation, product, service or person. It’s the projection of an image with a distinctive style, voice, tonality and attitude; it encompasses the narrative, value propositions and positioning messages of an entity; and the visual elements of identity, such as logo, colours, symbols and shapes. Brand is a decision by a business or organisation to distinguish itself or its product or service from others in the marketplace and it is created for the purpose of attracting and retaining customers.
Reputation, on the other hand, is what people think about a brand, that is, their perception of a brand. This perception is shaped by a myriad of influences, including how the company is performing on all levels, such as product/service delivery to the customer as well as governance, ethics, leadership, workplace culture, customer service, congruency between message and action, corporate citizenship and so on.
While it is important for businesses and organisations to understand the distinctions between brand and reputation, these differences are of little consequence to customers and members of the wider public who likely view brand and reputation as the same thing.
And while reputation is not in the direct control of an organisation because perceptions reside in the minds of others, it can ensure that every message it conveys and every customer experience it delivers in the name of its brand, is done with the aim of positively influencing its reputation.
©Ros Weadman 2021 Ros Weadman is an award-winning brand and strategic communications specialist who helps businesses and organisations enhance their reputation. She is the author of “Brandcode®” and “The Reputation Equation”.
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