Brand and reputation are closely linked, but not identical. The two are often mentioned as interchangeable terms, but they are not. Your brand and your reputation are totally different and have a different levels of applications and risks.
According to a Deloitte report, 87% of executives have rated managing reputation risk as more important than other strategic risks.
This blog will unpack the difference between brand and reputation management, which will help you to come up with a comprehensive strategy for managing both.
Both concepts influence the way your company is perceived, but your brand is only one part of your entire reputation.
- What is branding?
- What is reputation management?
- Differences between brand and reputation management
- Steps to align a brand and its reputation
Your brand is the way you show yourself to the world. A brand shows how you are positioning yourself on the market and how you want the world to see you.
The quality that you can regularly give to those you serve should be your brand. You own your brand and determine how you stand for yourself through your brand. It is something you can control.
Reputation management defined
On the other hand, your reputation is how other people collectively see you.
Although you can have control over your brand, it is the people around you that dictate your reputation.
In today's world, anybody who plans to work with you or to recruit you can quickly Google search your name and form an opinion based on what they see. Your brand should be sustainable and long-lasting while your reputation can fluctuate over time.
Now let’s talk about how these two terms differ from each other.
Differences between Brand and Reputation Management
Although your brand and your reputation will likely overlap over time, there are still some key differences between the two terms. Here are a few of the main differences:
Brand qualities vs. public opinion
A brand is an indicator of the recognizability and the strong links between the business and the qualities that customers love. Anything from ruggedness or versatility, to comfort or elegance, and more can be part of a company’s brand. While reputation is the whole public opinion on the actions of a corporation. In short, if a brand is a picture plus identity, reputation is the entire essence of a company.
Tangible vs. intangible perceptions
Your brand image sums up all the perceptions of its current, past, and potential customers about the company. However, reputation is an intangible sensation that is made to anyone communicating with an organization's worker, so it's a failure to think of it just as a management issue.
You can't buy a reputation
You can pay money to build your brand by hiring an advertising agency, but you cannot buy a reputation. You have to earn it, and it takes time.
Your reputation and your brand affect each other
Your reputation can affect your brand negatively or positively. The good news is that you can influence how others observe you and your brand by working to improve your reputation. Branding can make you relevant, whereas reputation makes you credible. Reliable, sensitive, and customer-friendly brands often have a favorable reputation, but it is not guaranteed.
You can control your brand, but not your reputation
You have valuable influence over your brand because you can decide what to do and how to do it. The adverse and positive impact on your product is reflected in your reputation. But the good news is that you can influence how others experience your company.
Steps to align a brand and its reputation
The following steps can be used as a guide to make sure that your brand and reputation are both in good standing.
Step 1: Clearly define your brand
Be crystal clear about your brand (this is important for customers and companies). For example, if your brand is related to clothing, is it mainly for jeans, swimsuits, jackets, or something else?
Step 2: Define your brand
Ask yourself the following questions to gain a clear understanding of the type of brand you want to build.
- What do I represent?
- What does my brand stand for?
- How can I show myself to the world?
- What are my fundamental values?
- Do my actions reflect these core values?
- What does my ideal brand look like?
- How close do I currently stand to that ideal?
- What can I do to get closer to this ideal?
Step 3: Research your reputation
Once you are sure about your vision for your brand, do some research on how the general public views your brand. The first place to find out more is through customers and friends, and, of course, Google.
- Google your name or the name of your company.
- Are you happy with what you find on the first page of results?
- Are the search results in line with your product definition?
- What do your friends and family think about your brand?
Step 4: Link your brand to your reputation
If your Google results are negative, it’s time to build a strategic plan to improve them. Here are a few ways to improve your search engine results:
- Generate and promote positive content to encourage your ideal brand.
- Post meaningful digital content to illustrate how your product is portrayed.
- Respond to negative reviews and offer actionable solutions.
- Enact actual change, either your personal or organizational actions, to prevent future criticism or negative reviews.
People often confuse brand and reputation as the same thing. There is no doubt that similarities exist, but they are not the same. In fact, they have some fundamental differences. We hope that this article has cleared your concepts regarding the differences between brand and reputation management.