By Meera Venkat
President at RAISE GLOBAL, Global Reputation Creater, Business Evangelist, Speaker, Researcher,CEO, Management, ORM
There is always confusion in some people’s minds as to what the difference between a brand and reputation is. Some people mistake one for the other. Let me try to make them a little wiser.

A brand is akin to an image that one projects about an entity, be it an organization or a personality, to boost its marketability or reputation. It follows that, depending on the success of the campaign and effort, a brand can project an image that may not be completely true in reality. On the other hand, a reputation is something that is earned or gained by virtue of the achievements of the entity. Two conclusions can be drawn from this analysis:

A brand can understate or overstate the reputation
A strong and lasting brand can be built only with a reputation that can back it up.

Let me illustrate this with an example: A leading company is known to be a top brand with a coveted public image and one that can do nothing wrong. When some outraged consumer writes of his experience with this organization on Twitter or Facebook, its social media crew work overtime to see that the damage is contained and the person receives offers of freebies to compensate for his ordeal. He is also assured that a root cause analysis of the problem will be carried out and that he will be informed of the action the management would take. The matter ends there and it is back to business as usual. The fact that human memory is short saves organizations that default.

Another situation that is rare, but definitely exists, is one in which a brand, positive or negative, is created or destroyed without any effort purely because of the efforts or lapses of the individual or the organization.

Positive reputation so created is durable, since it does not depend on media coverage, but because the work and results of the entity are proven. The one thing that the organization or individual should be careful about is to keep it, because it is hard earned.

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