Welcome to the next post on Branding. Today I want to discuss the concept that your brand = your reputation.
As I touched on last week branding is about the people involved, their interaction and purpose. Let's take this a step further and look at how those interaction and stated purposes can be supported or undermined by the reputation that is developed by the people and the organization / company they represent.
If your prospects and clients call in and are greeted by a pleasant and helpful receptionist. They start their interaction with you organization on a positive footing. If the next person they interact with is helpful and courteous then this positive feeling continues. Although they may have heard some buzz (good or bad) about the organization - they people they interact with have started to shift or reinforced their positive impression. This scenario creates a stronger and more positive brand for your organization. The next time they hear about or interact with the organization they will reflect back on this experience and promote it in a positive light.
However, if your prospective client calls in and the receptionist has had a really bad day and is short tempered and rude, this can immediately create a hostile response in the caller. Now, even if the next person they talk with is helpful, it may still not be enough to overcome the negative impression.
Obviously, the more positive exposures a person has with the organization — be it with person-to-person interactions, products, marketing materials (that are sincere and ring true to the persons experience ans perception) — the more easily it will be able to overcome the occasional "bad day".
Ultimately it is the cumulative collection of these experiences that will make up the reputation of a person, a company, an organization, even a movement. The more people talk and share their experiences, the quicker a reputation grows. If it's positive, everyone is happy, but it can just as quickly been torn down if you / your organization are not living up to the promises that you give your clients, or the public. This is especially true in the world of social media that we now exist in. Unhappy clients, disgruntled employees, even the competition all have a readily available platform from which to strike and an ever growing audience to hear their complains. This is why if you want a strong brand you need to also be managing your reputation.