I was having a conversation with a prospective client of mine and this is what he told me, when I told them that reputation is everything for me. This feedback got me thinking on how key reputation is, for people as well as brands too.

A good brand reputation is not easy to create. It takes a lot of hard work, money, time and what not, to create a great reputation. Think what helped Maggi bounce back? A brand with reputation will surely get a lot of support from its consumers, especially when the going is tough. It also helps in reaping a lot of return through the ability to create positive word of mouth. So, whether you are a person, small brand or big, let us take a deeper look on what are the components that help to create a good reputation, especially from the lens of a brand.

Broadly, there are 3-4 components which helps in creating a first impression and a reputation in the long run.

1.    Your overall appearance. In other words, Brand Design. Whether you are a person or a brand, your physical appearance does matter. A good looking logo matters. So whether it is the clothes you wear, how you answer the phone, colours, wall graphics in your office or how your reception or website is, it all adds up to building a great reputation. The first step to creating a reputation is with being considered. So, if you want to be considered, better start being relevant to the people who you want to be relevant.

2.    The words you use and the tone. In other words, the Brand Voice. Imagine the impression which forms in your mind when someone first greets you by saying ‘Namaste’, ‘Howdy’ & ‘How are you’. These are three different styles and each of these form a different image in the minds of the recipient. And to make matters worse, there are 5000 odd messages like these, which is coming your way every day. It takes a lot to cut through the crap and reputation is finally formed by saying the same relevant differentiated thing continuously and consistently, for years.

3.    Your deeds – Brand Action. Yes, your actions will speak louder than words. I don’t need to tell you that. Right? So, think twice before you launch that next product or service, think when you dump your waste on the road, think about how your customer is attended to, think about how you treat your peers; every little thing matters.

4.    Is that enough? Not really. Consumers of today (especially the Gen Zs & Millennials) have gone beyond all these too. They have started seeing through brands and are looking for a higher purpose in everything they do, buy, connect or support. So, it is important that the business brand has clearly defined what their larger differentiated purpose is, because if you have not figured why you exist, then on what basis will you create your experience, base your words or define your actions on.

So, in essence, what is brand reputation? Brand reputation is the sum total of your track record. It is nothing but the accumulation of all your actions and statements. And do keep in mind, whether it is a personal relationship or the one with your customer, say and do only the right and relevant things. While you work hard to build your brand step by step, remember that it takes only one bad move to create a trust deficit.  Do make sure that you also have taken adequate measures to protect the reputation which you have created till date.

So, what do you think? How important is reputation? Or should I really go to hell with reputation. Would love to hear your thoughts.