It seems so many words are being rendered meaningless these days.
We tend to blur the difference between words.
We use specific words in a broader context than originally intended.
Often, we use words as umbrellas to bring together a multitude of ideas.
But, among us, we’re not consistent in the way these words are used.
As a result, if you ask three business people what a particular word means, you’ll get no fewer than five answers.
Take these two words as examples: “Brand” and “Reputation”
What does each mean?
What are the differences between them?
Where does one end, and the other begin?
Why is it important to understand what makes them different from each other?
To quote from our paper, “The Path to a Brand’s Meaningful Reputation:”
“For many, there is no distinct line between the meaning of a brand and its reputation. However, by intentionally creating a line between the two, at a point where one can presume one ends and the other begins, one starts to see clearly how a brand drives its reputation.”
To us, there is a big difference between the two words.
“Brand” is the things you can control (e.g. your identity, products, services, and behavior).
“Reputation” is something people control through their perceptions of what you offer, how you do business, and why you matter to them (if at all).
When viewed in this light, it becomes easier to see how important your brand is in shaping the reputation of your business.
Working from the platform of what your business does, and how it does it, people put you into a “good reputation for X” box within their hearts and minds.
If you truly matter to someone, your business is the only one in that box, and gets chosen every time.
If, on the other hand, your behavior doesn’t strike an appropriate give and take between what your business does and what people are seeking in the age of meaning, that box can be very crowded.
And, as others in that box work to enhance their reputations by making their business matter more to people, your offering loses more and more appeal.
Others rise above you, because they better match what they do – and how they do it – to the needs, beliefs, interests, and aspirations of people who want to create more meaning in their lives.
These people gravitate to businesses and brands that help them do things better, achieve more, and live more fulfilling lives.
They seek to align themselves with businesses that have a clear and appealing purpose beyond profit.
They appreciate when businesses deal with them in ways that make them feel that they are valued, that the company is a caring one, and that doing business with the company is a smart and respectable choice.