Understanding Brand and Reputation

Brand versus Reputation – is there a difference?

Well, a simple way to think about this may be that you create your brand. By contrast, you earn your reputation.

Brands are inspired by a promise which is carefully crafted to connect with an audience. It’s largely expressed by logos and marketing campaigns. A brand is designed to be a simple premise of differentiation and is the accumulation of knowledge of a product, service or company.

A corporate brand helps a company shape its reputation. It is part of its reputation and the two concepts should be aligned.

A good reputation is made up of a good brand, a good collection of products or services that a company sells, strong employee relations and a commitment to citizenship. A reputation has capital and is subject to risk. But there are also advantages to a good reputation such as workforce stability, price advantages and, ultimately, competitive advantage.

Measurement and Responsibility

There is the concept that is gaining some traction, primarily in Europe, that a CEO’s compensation should be tied to the company’s reputation. In my mind a CEO is really the company’s Chief Reputation Officer.

If a company is behaving ethically, is transparent, is innovative and tied to its communities and has sustained markets for its products, it is well positioned to achieve the benefits from a strong reputation. These can include gains in share price, understanding in times of crisis and the ability to command a higher price for the company’s products or services. Importantly, customer and stakeholder trust can turn into market share gains and improved purchase intentions.

Measuring reputation is worth doing and worth knowing. It is also worth making someone accountable for the company’s reputation.