What is a brand versus a reputation? Many people might think they’re the same, but they’re not. I had a lot of thoughts on this, especially as I work on branding my personal and professional personalities, and building reputations.
A brand is often a company name, a logo, or even a person. Brands help you differentiate between quality products and services. Brand will not and will not ever connect with consumers. Stop it! Consumers interact with reputations, not brands. Brands are just names.
A reputation is often the perception of the brand. That is, if the brand lives up to their claims, their expectations and if they meet people’s needs. Reputations can’t be manipulated or controlled by the brand. Reputations are solely that of the customers and consumers of the brand.
I don’t want to imply that only businesses have brands and reputations. They aren’t alone.
Everyone has brands and reputations. These are personal brands. Personal brands are built every day, every minute with every person and you don’t even know it. (Or maybe you do.) I will list out a few personal brands and reputations to make this clear:
- Britney Spears
- Brand: Pop-Singer, Success, Music, Actress [possibly]
- Reputation: Young, inexperienced, diva, ‘blonde,’ crazy, scandalous, underwear-less
- Bill Gates
- Brand: Microsoft, Geek, Business owner, Visionary
- Reputation: Wealthy, experienced, proven, leader, entrepreneur, quiet, reserved, inaccessible
- Tony Stewart
- Brand: Home-Depot, NASCAR, Driver
- Reputation: Young, talented, winner, champion
- Gary Vaynerchuk
- Brand: Wine expert, branding expert, entrepreneur, attitude, new media
- Reputation: Wine expert, inspiring, proven, controversial, helpful, loves the Jets, personable
I listed three people you probably have at least heard of, unless you’ve been living under a rock. Reputations describe brands and their character. Brands often relate people to their strengths; conversely, reputations qualify brands through their audience.
The fourth, Gary Vaynerchuk, is a special example because he is able to nail down his brand to match his reputation. This is unlike celebrities, because his reputation actually built his brand, not the other way around. Oh, and he is a real person, atypical from millionaire douche-bags. You can find Gary tasting wine, sharing his opinion and offering fat-free attitude on Winelibrary.tv. When he’s not doing that, he’s snarking on Britney Spears, Barack Obama, Howard Stern and inspiring people to grow their brand (and have the chops to back their reputation).
I haven’t quite decided on my own brand; nonetheless, I think it’s safe to say it’s in social media and helping people. At least I’m thinking about it, which is why I shared this topic. This brings me to a question for you:
What is your brand or reputation and how to reinforce and manage it?