Have we ever stopped to consider that the way we portray ourselves as individuals or organisations does not necessarily match up to how we wish to be seen? It seems quite obvious, doesn’t it, that you would act in exactly the manner you want people to perceive you as? However many brands or high profile individuals experience this disconnect.
Customers don’t buy, legislators don’t vote and employees don’t come to work simply because of what your brand promises. Rather, they act because of what they believe through their expectations and experiences of your brand. In other words, your reputation.
Reputation is simply, what your stakeholders believe about you, expect from you and say about you to others. Based on this definition it would be fair to say that a company or individual’s livelihood would depend on this reputation that we speak of. Yet so many companies believe that managing a brand and managing a reputation should be treated as two separate entities to be managed and measured by separate functions.
A holistic approach would serve the purpose better, where a culture and an organisational structure that view the two as inextricably intertwined is created. Brand and reputation management should be a part of every discipline with everyone being accountable, right from the CEO to the receptionist – not just a function of communications or marketing where it usually lies.
Ultimately when brand and reputation are aligned in a planned and genuine way, it creates authentic engagement.
Today’s audiences are pretty sceptical when it comes to value, vision and purpose statements. Yes, while companies must be anchored in true values, what makes them authentic is how they express these values with action. It’s your practices, not your philosophy, that make you authentic.
Invest in the attributes you want to be known for and ensure that these attributes actually matter to your key audiences. Communicate these attributes and most importantly, behave as the company, or the person, you want your audiences to believe you are.
Written by: Selina Jardim