What is the Difference between Brand and Reputation?

By September 12, 2011Uncategorized

The definition of brand I’ve offered readers of this blog is this:

Your Brand is the Promise you Make and Keep When Interacting with Your Community

So how is this different from your company’s reputation? It’s difficult to discern because in some cases, reputation is an acceptable, and sometimes recommended substitution for the word brand. In fact, it’s often easier for employees to grasp and come together around supporting and protecting the reputation of a company (rather than supporting a brand.)

People understand the concept of reputation, and striving to have a good reputation.

This is how I think of it: a brand depends on consistency to create a shared perception among the constituency. A reputation can be swayed by a single experience or incident. Managing a reputation often depends on managing expectations.

Think of it this way — if you’re planning to have dinner at McDonald’s, you have low expectations. The reputation of that meal is confirmed through experience. The brand perception is reached when dinner at ANY McDonald’s provides the same experience. It’s tricky; they’re closely related, but there is a difference.

Do you agree?


  • KenMueller says:

    This isn’t something I’ve thought about all that much, but an interesting distinction. I guess the ultimate goal of any business SHOULD be for the two to meet and be the same. If you’re doing your job well, the brand that you are putting out there should meet both your expectations, and those of the customers, and hopefully that defines your reputation. Definitely something to think about.

  • Marijean says:

    @KenMueller Primarily a discussion among marketers, definitely, but since we’re asking larger groups to understand and use these terms, we better have defined for ourselves the nuances. There doesn’t seem to be universal agreement on this, so I’m interested in hearing any opposing views.

  • KenMueller says:

    @Marijean I think you raise an interesting point there. and perhaps there is a blog post in here for me…hmmm. But with the Internet, and Social Media, that “insider” lingo is less inside than it used to be. The general public now has access to more of those terms and may or may not understand them. Either way, they will THINK they understand them. Hmmm.