Brand and reputation are two words that are often used interchangeably, even though each has its own separate and distinct meaning. Sometimes, to make matters even more confusing, they are used together, as in “brand reputation,” which introduces yet a third meaning into an already overly-complex mix.
In this post, learn how each term stands separate and apart from the other and why both are critical to managing your company’s online reputation.
How Important is Reputation Management?
As Forbes reports, the days when only mega-corporations had to worry about reputation management are long since past. Thanks to the growth of user-driven content sites such as Yelp, Foursquare, Amazon, and others, even solopreneurships can quickly develop an online reputation.
Whether that reputation is good, bad or indifferent is the stuff that can make or break any company’s chances of success, and is the primary reason reputation management has become a major player in many companies’ marketing strategies. It is also why companies need to be able to identify the key difference between managing brand and managing reputation.
Imagine for a moment you are in high school. In your own mind, you are a straight-A student with a squeaky-clean reputation. You don’t swear, drink, date or dabble in anything stronger than the occasional diet soda.
You are straight-up about your do’s and don’ts in the true spirit of “what you see is what you get.” You say yes to study groups and no to parties. You spend your weekends volunteering to hold babies at the local hospital and indulging your biggest passion: baking cookies.
This is your brand. This is what you put out there, consistently and daily, to the world about yourself, who you are and what you are all about.
Now imagine you show up for school one day and things feel a bit…off. Everyone is kind of, well, giggling when they look at you. There are a lot of whispered conversations that stop when you move closer. You can’t put your finger on it, but something has changed.
Then your best friend confides in you that someone has started a rumor that you cheated to get that “A+” on the last calculus exam. Before you know it, you are called into the principal’s office, where your disappointed parents and teacher are waiting to hear your explanation. All you have to offer is this: I didn’t do it. It is a rumor.
This is reputation. This is what others are saying about you.
Where Brand and Reputation Intersect
In the example here, your brand and your reputation are clearly in conflict. What you consistently put out there about who you are has been challenged by something someone else has said about you. Whether it is true or not is not the main issue since you can’t always control what others decide to say or do.
The only thing that matters from here forward is reputation management. The essential question now becomes: how well can you mobilize to squash the rumor, minimize any damage it inflicts upon you and move past the incident to restore your formerly impeccable brand? Depending on the source(s) of the rumor and the manner in which the information was spread (word of mouth, notes passed in class, a class-wide email, a post on social media, et al), you will need to develop a strategy to clear your name, clean up your reputation and protect your brand from further slander.
BrightPast Reputation Management Services
This example also highlights the reason why so many companies count reputation management services as one of their most valuable assets. It is a full-time job just to monitor online conversations and do damage control as needed.
BrightPast is an online reputation management company under the umbrella of SEO expert Managed Admin. BrightPast supports clients to improve their online reputation by removing negative URLs and strategically replacing them with positive URLs.
Using their own in-house proprietary software, BrightPast offers a variety of services tailored to the unique needs of clients in different industries and stages of growth. For more information, visit BrightPast at www.brightpast.com.