Why should organisations consider corporate brand and reputation, together?
There is now a vast body of evidence – both empirical research and practitioner case studies – that finds that an organisation’s Brand and its Reputation are both proven to contribute to its value and be fundamental to its long-term success.
However, the disciplines of Brand management and Reputation management have developed quite separately, each traditionally being controlled by different functions in an organisation: Brand tending to be the domain of Marketing, Reputation that of Corporate Communications or Public Affairs. The issue this raises is that the measurement and research frameworks that have developed to understand, support and guide Brand and Reputation rarely consider both together, despite evidence which shows – at the very least – that they are related.
It is the firmly held belief of the founders of consultancy, Tovera Consulting, that Brand and Reputation are related, have influence on each other and are together fundamental to an organisation’s long-term success. Therefore, they are best considered in a single measurement and research framework for analysis in order to understand the drivers of both on the desire for stakeholders (including customers) to give their positive support to an organisation.
Within our framework, we envisage the Reputational aspects as a strong, weighty foundation – mostly corporate behavioural aspects (such as ethical underpinning, operational soundness and clear leadership) – that provide license to operate. This gives the corporate Brand a combination of firm roots and stability with the power to propel the Brand in its direction of travel. The Brand is the distinctive, relevant promise to the customer (and other stakeholders) made up of products and services that meet a clearly defined need (or meet a defined need in a different way) and that is recognised as having its own unique personality.
Balance is required – if the organisation’s Brand is strong and distinctive but its Reputation is weakly rooted, the Brand could be undermined, not having the necessary support from all its stakeholders. If the Reputation is strongly rooted in important (but generic) aspects but the Brand proposition is unclear or not distinctive, the whole Corporate Brand could lose, or fail to gain, traction in the marketplace. Either scenario could lead to a loss of support from customers or other stakeholders, and ultimately result in an erosion of organisational cohesion and even value.
So we envisage the ideal scenario as one of solid Reputational foundations acting as strength to support and power to energise the delivery of the stakeholders’ needs in the marketplace, moving in a clear and distinctive direction set by the Brand vision.
If you would like to see the full research paper written by the founders of Tovera Consulting, please be in contact with the managing partner, Spencer Fox – firstname.lastname@example.org