Brand vs. Reputation

Yeah, it's a random image. But I like it.

There is a phrase that I’ve been hearing people say over and over and over again lately. And I think that a lot of them are saying it just because they heard somebody else blurt it out and it sounded smart. I guess this is the part where you want to hear it for yourself:

“What you say about your brand isn’t as important as what other people say about your brand.”

Okay, yes. I get it. I get that the voice of the customer is important. Especially with the new age of social media, blah, blah, blah. But I’d like to challenge the statement, or at least get us to think about it. I’d venture to say that what you say about your brand IS AS IMPORTANT as what other people say about you.

Stay with me here. You have to give customers a frame of reference. Something to react to. Yes, it would help out your cause if what you say about yourself is accurate. This is the classic struggle between brand and reputation.

Boil it down to your personal brand. You know, you. Do you want other people to define who you are and what you think? Um, I don’t.

I think the best way to interpret that saying is that what other people say about you brings credibility to what you say about yourself. That’s the handshake. And that’s what we should be aiming for when it comes to our client’s brands.

Just something to chew on.


  • June 10, 2011


    Good point. Another way to think of it: context is helpful to any conversation.

  • June 10, 2011

    Augie Ray

    Spike, I like your thesis but you’ve only considered what is SAID–what the brand says about itself or what others say about the BRAND. It is not what the brand SAYS but what it DOES that gets other people to say things that help define the brand. A million PR and ad campaigns cannot create a positive brand impression if the actual experience of interacting with the brand is negative.

    I’d suggest the challenge is not what the brand or others say, but how a brand is created through corporate culture, product, experiences and interactions. In other words:

    What brand does = What others feel = What others say = the real, authentic brand

    Thanks for the thought starter!

  • June 10, 2011

    Spike Jones

    Now you’re talking, Augie. I knew it was rolling around in my head for a reason.

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