Always be careful how you use different business terms, especially if you doubt the interchangeability. Many business experts built excellent careers but never figured out that business reputation and brand, despite being correlated, are two terms with distinct meanings.
Terms like “brand reputation management” imply managing the reputation your brand holds. It’s an effective practice that leads to an attractive business image in markets to gain consumer attention. In fact, consumers turn to a company’s brand reputation to see how it’s doing in the current markets.
Overall, the term is a bit misleading for professionals. After reading this post, you’ll understand why it’s a misleading term and how you can differentiate between two distinct concepts: reputation and brand.
What is Reputation?
Reputation is how others see you and the type of image your personality, business, brand, or products/services hold in others’ eyes. It’s the collective opinion of the general public, including customers, about your company and its professionals in the open market.
Brand reputation refers to how your brand appeals to your target audience. What do they think about your company? Simply put, reputation relates to brand, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can control it, unlike your brand. So, the next time a marketing agency claims brand reputation management at the top of its services, ensure you fully understand the concept.
No marketing agency can help you succeed by simply changing your perspective about the company and brand. The reputation of a brand isn’t controllable. However, a few effective practices can lead to a positive market reputation for your brand. In turn, that can help you sway customers’ opinions and encourage them to prefer you over your competitors.
Moreover, reputation establishes trustworthiness between you and the general public or your customers, apart from your brand. It convinces the right people that you’re a better place to fulfill their needs.
What is Brand?
A brand isn’t just a logo! Although brands like Nike, Netflix, and Amazon are popular worldwide, and nearly anyone could name by their logo, it still doesn’t imply any connection with the reputation of the actual company.
It’s a way of presenting your company and its offerings to the public. How do you demonstrate business and products, and services to the people? You’ll inform them about your brand! Experts have different definitions of “brand” and what it means for firms across all sectors.
The most common idea is that your brand shows the value you aim to deliver to your target audience. For instance, what do you think about when you see the Nike logo? Suppose you’ve interacted with the brand in any way. In that case, you’ll quickly realize that it’s aimed at delivering value through high-quality sports apparel and accessories for professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Unlike reputation, you can control and change your brand. For instance, have you ever seen the very first Apple logo? You can also perform corporate actions like changing the logo and name or merging with other companies and launching new products for your brand.
In other words, you can change how you represent yourself in the markets. With reputation, that’s not possible because it refers to others’ opinions of you. In addition, brands also tell us where a company positions itself in the market.
Reputation Vs. Brand: The Big Differences
Managing reputation and brand are equally crucial for a business. Still, both require distinct mixes of techniques and improvement processes. For example, you could manage your brand by introducing a new range of clothing items. Conversely, you could manage your reputation by posting high-quality digital content and reaching PR agencies for media coverage.
Brand management puts more weight on marketing and communication techniques that help in-house experts develop creative and innovative solutions. It’s an active endeavor that describes a company’s attributes.
Reputation management means building and managing relations with the general public, which includes potential and current customers. It refers to techniques and processes combined to propel a business through different media agencies for higher public exposure and market coverage.
You Can Only Buy One
How often have you heard about different company brands merging and finding a new name for the company itself? Think of Sony and Ericsson. Despite being a short merger and the brand name remaining almost the same, they went from “Sony” and “Ericsson” to “Sony Ericsson”. It means that the brand is a tradable commodity in the business world.
You can build a commodity, shape it, and transfer its ownership. For example, back in 2009, Disney bought Marvel Entertainments and resumed the rights following the merger. Hence, you can use brands to tell your company’s stories and the value you will bring. When Disney acquired Marvel, people instantly knew that the perks of being with Disney and Disney+ would also apply to Marvel Entertainment.
Reputation? It’s never up for sale! You might find arguments on the internet about “selling the reputation,” but such debates hardly ever come to a solid conclusion. You can sway public opinion slightly and tune your marketing campaigns to reach desired financial goals. However, it will ultimately come down to your reputation and whether you’re credible in the eyes of your customers.
You can’t buy reputation because it’s a collective thought or “perception” of others. You can’t outright control what others think. Needless to say, you can influence others’ perception of your brand through your actions and positive attitude.’ By engaging in CRM and campaigns, you can create a positive attitude among your target audience for your brand/business. It will help improving your image.
The brand is your company’s relevance among the general public, including potential customers. On the other hand, your reputation refers to your company’s credibility in the eyes of customers and other stakeholders against your competitors for the same products/services and value.
Always remember that brand is controllable, while reputation isn’t. There’s a big difference between the two when you take an in-depth practical look at concepts. You can rebrand your company, change the name, represent it using a different logo, and create a different mission statement. However, there’s no re-reputation process.