Strong Brand ≠ Strong Reputation

16 Apr,2020


By Siddhartha Mukherjee


When you combine a logo with promise, what you get is a brand. However, only when you live up to that promise, you accrue reputation. This means a Brand is Inside-Out, while Reputation is Outside-In. However, many corporates get deceived and misinterpret a strong brand equalling a strong reputation. This is why Balance Sheets go through an imbalance.

Depending on which Block (A, B, C or D) the Corporate Entity is in, the above construct gives way to an ocean of Brand Research, Measurement and Data Analytics possibilities which will tangibly benefit Board of Directors, CEOs and the Communications Machinery at large. It can lead to a full circle of Data Information and Analysis possibilities.


Barring Block C, which is a Utopian zone, majority of the Corporate world outside comprises of Corporates who operate from Blocks A, B or D. For them, the relative chances of business success or healthy balance sheet depends on how close they are to the Utopian Block C on the above plot chart.


There are reasons why majority of the Corporates go through the imbalance of Brand Power and Reputation Power:


1. FMCGisation: FMCG Industry’s way of brand management and business approach has inspired almost every single industry vertical today. (No wonder, most of the Top CXOs in sectors like BFSI, Automobile, Telcom, etc. got their initial success in FMCG industry). Which is why, they focus on business sales first, Organization Halo effect later. In other words, they believe that the only parameter to measure Reputation Power is demand, sales & revenues.

2. Focus skewed towards scoring on Brand Promise: Management orientation is towards being visible. No wonder then, Marcomm spends are sky high. CorpComm takes a back seat.

3. No focus on Corporate Reputation Pillars: Barring visibility of Products & Services and Marketing Initiatives, other Corporate Reputation Pillars like Corporate Thought Leadership, Financial Strength, Commitment to Work Place, Responsibility through CSR & Sustainability, etc. are treated through a cosmetic or adhoc lens.

4. Archaic Research and Analysis methodologies: Balancing Brand Power with Reputation Power needs a seamless and clever assembly line of Data Information & Analysis Machinery. Listening (to the MOOD of the ecosystem) itself is the biggest chunk. This not just needs resources but starts with Intent.

5. Perception of Communications Machinery: The age-old saga of Organization’s perception of what value Communication Desk brings to the table is still in poor state. No wonder, “NEWS MANAGEMENT” is the start and end of what this desk is expected to do.


Having said this, I am aware that there are Corporate Dark Horse which are emerging out of this staid thinking and realigning themselves. The Board, Management and the Corporate & Marketing Communications Machinery are working in tandem. They are ensuring that Corporate Symbols, their Promise and Behaviour (actions and reactions) all create equality within Brand Power and Reputation Power so that it creates a spot closer to or in the utopian Block C.


Siddhartha Mukherjee is a senior marketing services research professional. He was until last year Business Head at Eikona and has spent a fair time in the PR industry. Starting today, he revives his fortnightly column for MxMIndia.



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