Knocking down imaginary walls

Brand and reputation in the new communications environment

 

The distinction between brand and reputation is increasingly a distinction without a difference. This article highlights this change and what it means to help organisations benefit from the opportunities this new reality provides. 

We are living in a time when our understanding of how the world works is being re-evaluated. The rise of populism, the end of globalisation, what is fact and what is fiction – suddenly, we are trying to make sense of changes that have been developing for years, but are only now making themselves clear. 

The same tectonic shifts have been occurring in the worlds of brand and reputation. What was once seen as separate is now blurred together. Recent survey data suggest that most senior in-house communications professionals across Europe do not see the change itself – 73 per cent continue to see brand and reputation as very distinct concepts.1 However, a majority of these same professionals (57 per cent) say their organisation is acting on this change by managing brand and reputation together, primarily to avoid reputational risk. The distinction between brand and reputation is increasingly a distinction without a difference. 

Most communications professionals have yet to recognise that this new relationship is an opportunity for companies and other organisations to build and manage brand and reputation to not only avoid risk but to also create value. It is time to highlight this change so that communications professionals can help their organisations benefit from the opportunities this new reality provides. Examples of best practice are cited in this article to highlight how, today, delivering a successful business strategy requires recognising, understanding and taking advantage of the changed nature of this relationship between brand and reputation.