Founder's Friday: Five Differences Between Brand and Reputation

Most experts will agree that there is a difference between brand and reputation. Though you frequently hear these terms used interchangeably, something that is due, in large part, to their intangible nature, they are distinctly different.

Brand, after all, is customer-centric, while reputation is company-centric.

As the former CEO of a television company, I viewed brand as a "what's in it for me" proposition for the customer. We lovingly shortened this idea  to the acronym, "WIFM." WIFM was about things like quality, value, variety, availability, the experience, etc.

It was always about the potential customer's perspective.

Reputation, on the other hand, was viewed as the total sum of the public's opinion of our company. This included such ideas as corporate actions, community involvement, culture and citizenship.

Below are five differences to consider when discussing brand versus reputation:

1) Brand Can Replace Reputation...Sometimes

A strong brand can occasionally substitute for a weak reputation; however, brand is often a fragile position from which to operate.

2) Reputation Can NOT Replace Brand

The opposite, is more concerning for business...a strong reputation cannot make up for a weak brand.

3) Strong Reputation Attracts the Right People

A favorable reputation is important to attracting the best suppliers, employees and even investors.

4) Focus Must Be Balanced, Distinct

Focusing on one versus the other can hurt business; focusing on both without confusing the two delivers an optimal combination.

5) The Link Between the Two is Undeniable

Despite the differences between brand and reputation, they are tightly interrelated, and damage to one can weaken the other.

Distinction Between Brand and Reputation Is Essential

Recognizing the difference between brand and reputation helps you better define your strategy as a company, as well as to ensure success with both prospective customers and the public at-large. Visit our About page to learn more about the distinction between brand and reputation.

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