• Is there a link between brand and corporate reputation?

    The concept of an organisation's brand is expanding, as it's now no longer limited to just an organisation's product and its identifying features, logos and colour schemes. 

    A recent LinkedIn report which focussed on the employment trends that will define the rest of the year suggested that a brand is now something an organisation can have as an employer. As this concept expands into concerns which can affect an organisation's reputation, such as its role as an ethical employer, it's important to acknowledge how – or if – these trends will impact external communications.  

    How is the concept of branding changing?

    Chairman of the Broadcasting Press Guild Gideon Spanier investigated the way branding is changing in an April 2015 article for Raconteur. In the piece, Mr Spanier argued that a range of modern developments have altered what it means to be in control of a reputable brand. 

    Mr Spanier highlights the increasing role social media is playing in the way people receive and engage with news stories. As most news outlets distribute their content through various social media platforms, not only is the public met with a continuous stream of updates, it's much easier to share interesting – or scandalous – content. 

    The article drew on a quote from UK CEO of Ogilvy PR Michael Frolich which explained how social media is creating unique concerns for reputational risk management

    "If a company has a bad product or their chief executive breaks his or her promise, anyone can simply and directly take their issues to shareholders and customers," he explained. 

    Could it stay the same?

    While some sources are convinced that brand and corporate reputation are becoming increasingly interlinked, conventional definitions suggest that engaging with these trends could hurt rather than help businesses. 

    An investigation into these previously disparate concepts by the Sloan Management Review at MIT agreed that the rapid reaction to public mistakes by companies is the main catalyst for changes in the way organisations manage their reputation. 

    However, it disagreed with the idea that these instances were causing the concepts of brand and reputation to merge. According to the review, while both are intangible assets that add value to an organisation, it's possible to have a strong brand with a weak reputation for meeting corporate social responsibility concerns and vice versa. 

    Either way, organisations discuss the matter, it's becoming clear the public are exhibiting a strong element of control of the way businesses communicate, making it a challenge to protect both a company's brand and its reputation. 

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