By Steven Silvers -- Brand and reputation. It’s a critical distinction that drives a company’s ability to minimize the impact of its next public relations crisis.
Brand is how your company talks to the world.
Reputation is how the world hears your company.
Some people say reputation and brand mean the same thing. That's like saying the pitch and the swing are the same because they’re part of one baseball game.
Closely related, but very different.
Reputation risk management is a paradox. On one hand a company's reputation is its most important asset. On the other hand it's the asset most vulnerable to damage by conditions that may be out of a company’s control.
A brand is a promise, but more than just deliverables. It’s what the brand’s owner needs people and institutions that matter to believe to be true.
Reputation, on the other hand, is what those stakeholders and influencers actually believe. It's a mix of personal experiences and influences, all weighed against motivations that drive every decision to trust a brand, buy a product or support an idea:
The wider the gap between a company's brand and reputation, the more potentially damaging a controversy or crisis.
However, the more a corporate and brand reputation jive with what stakeholders want to believe, the stronger the company’s ability to navigate and even prosper through bad markets, complex public issues and crisis events.
It’s no wonder that companies with solidly good reputations have market caps of 30 to 70 percent more than their book value.
Illustration courtesy Huffington Post.
>PR's Place in Modern Warfare