Brand vs. Reputation: What’s The Difference?

Brand vs. Reputation: What is the Difference

Although sometimes the words “brand” and “reputation” are used interchangeably, there is a distinct and meaningful difference between the two.

What Is A Brand?

A brand is “the way you present yourself to the world.” Whether you are representing yourself or your company, your brand demonstrates how you position yourself in the market, and how you want the world to see you. As Forbes contributor, Glenn Llopis writes, “Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.” You control your brand image, and you decide how you represent yourself via your brand.

A strong brand enables a personal or corporate entity to establish itself to the public in a consistent and truthful way, that allows the public to “trust” that things like products and services will be “on brand” regularly. People like consistency and a strong brand is a great way to establish that lasting connection with your desired audience. 

What Is Reputation?

Your reputation, on the other hand, is “how others collectively perceive you.” While you control your brand, your reputation is ultimately decided by the public’s opinion. Your reputation has nothing to do with how you perceive yourself, it only considers how others view you. 

Your online business reputation has the ability to sway the opinions of potential customers, or other company’s corporate actions towards a business. The quality, value, and variety of your search results create either a positive or negative online reputation. A good reputation, whether in person or online, establishes a level of trustworthiness outside of a brand. 

In today’s world, a quick Google search will tell anyone who is considering working with you, hiring you, or dating you, all about your reputation. Anyone can use the Internet to write a review or article about you to affect your reputation in a positive or negative way.

Brand Vs Reputation: What’s The Difference? 

While your reputation may fluctuate over time, your brand should be stable and lasting. As Deborah Maue, Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications at Columbia College Chicago, writes in her article Brand vs. Reputation, “A brand is enduring. Reputation is more temporary, yet it can bolster or diminish the brand over time.”

Your reputation can have a negative or positive effect on your brand. But the good news is that you can take steps to influence how others perceive you and your brand. Take these key steps to make sure your brand and reputation are in alignment.

Defining Your Brand

Clearly define your brand. Get clear about your brand (this applies to both individuals and companies). To clarify your brand, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I represent?
  • What does my brand stand for?
  • How do I present myself to the world?
  • What are my core values?
  • Do my actions reflect those core values?
  • What does my ideal brand look like?
  • How close am I to that ideal, currently?
  • What steps can I take to move closer to that ideal?

Reputation Management 

Research your reputation. Once you are clear about your brand, do some investigating. The first place that your potential clients, friends, or dates will look to learn more about you is on Google.

  • Search for your name or your company name on Google.
  • Are you happy with the first page of Google results?
  • Do the Google results you see align with the way you defined your brand?

Align your brand with your reputation. If you are unhappy with your Google results, create a strategic plan to align your brand with your reputation.

  • Generate and promote positive content that promotes your ideal brand and your ideal self.
  • Share positive content online to demonstrate how you are representing your brand.
  • If you see reviews from unhappy customers, reach out to resolve the issue.
  • Study any negative information you see online, and create a plan to improve personal or company actions to prevent complaints or negative reviews in the future.

Reputation911 is a reputation management agency that provide professional services for both individuals and businesses.

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