A business’ reputation is everything. It is an asset that is not always easy to define, but once it is gone, it can be very difficult to get back. Reputation matters regardless of the size of your business.
People recognise businesses through their brands, but are brand and reputation interchangeable, or should businesses treat them differently when it comes to their strategy?
“The overlap between brand and reputation can be complex and there’s a clear co-dependency that has been strengthened by the spread of social media. However, your brand should be essentially proactive, while watching your reputation is typically defensive.”
“A brand may be judged as much by what goes on behind the scenes as front of house. For example, issues like wages, working hours and unethical supply chains can all make for negative headlines.”
The damage may become more acute through the spread of stories on social media.
“Stories resulting from negative brand associations can spread like wildfire and cause lasting reputational damage”
In the public perception, business operations and outward-facing brand can become indistinguishable, which ends up weakening both.
How should businesses approach brand tactics, regardless of their size?
“When a reputation is under attack, the risk is that the business responds in the wrong way by switching the focus away from their brand.”
This is similar to the mistake some companies made when faced with recession where the first thing they cut was their marketing budget. Without maintaining the right means of channelling communications and attracting interest, the danger is that a business starts to fold in on itself as its world shrinks.
“Your brand is how you market yourself positively, so if you end up under-powering it you can find you’re left with the worst of both worlds: being neither liked nor trusted”
It is critical that businesses understand how branding should work for them.
“Your brand is not separate to your business structure, but an integral part of it. Reputation tends to have an inward focus, while brand is about expressing your embedded values outwardly.”
In practical terms, this means marketing the brand, not the reputation.
“Your brand should have meaning and it requires day to day management. It needs constant forward-motion, because it’s helping to drive your business.”
Brand building and brand values are a specialisation. Consequently, it may make sense for businesses to outsource their branding to help gain the right perspective and understanding of the weight a brand carries.
“Your brand is a responsibility you must manage for the health of your business and a big part of this is having clarity about the correlation between brand and reputation,” Mark concludes. “A brand can enhance your reputation. And your reputation can impact your brand.”
To discover how you could strengthen your brand and enhance your reputation, please call Glorious Creative on 0161 237 3575 or visit gloriouscreative.co.uk, to see how they have improved other businesses.