Brand vs. Reputation

This is a guest post from Spike Jones — Group Director of Engagement at WCG and co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable Word of Mouth Movements. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

There is a phrase that I’ve been hearing people say over and over and over again. 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.


About Spike Jones

Spike Jones is a results-proven communications professional, specializing in digital and offline word of mouth marketing. With more than 15 years of experience, the career path goes something like this: Baylor University; a decade at Brains on Fire; SVP of the Customer Experience team at Fleishman-Hillard; Group Director, Engagement at WCG; and now SVP, Managing Director SW Region at Edelman Digital. Spike is also a co-author of the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements.

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  1. tracy

    I don’t work in marketing. But I read a lot of marketing blogs and books – it’s my hobby. So although I understood that a brand can be the stories that others tell about it, I did often wonder where that left an organization – a brand – in telling its own story. There seemed to be a disconnect – almost silo one and silo two – their story and our story. The handshake idea really resonates with me and ends the disconnect. Thanks for another great post.

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