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Reputation and image are terms that you often hear when it comes to brands and organizations. Yet people sometimes confuse them with each other and that is not surprising: they are related. Let's see some terms reputation and image represent. Why they are important to your brand and how they interact with each other for the success of your brand or organization.

In a world where online and offline life are increasingly parallel, more and more organizations are questioning the possibilities of their brand. How do you make your brand or organization known and appreciated, how do you beat the competition, how do you consolidate on the market? These are just a few aspects that brands and organizations try to develop and that are important to be successful in the long term.

The changes that have taken place over the years in the market, in communication, in technology and also in us as people, have revealed how complicated the relationship is between products or services, the values of an organization and, for example, the interaction between brand and customer.

What a brand is and how stakeholders see and value this brand plays an important role in the choice of a brand, product or service, and can even be decisive.

Identity, image and reputation: definitions and characteristics

Your brand identity, image and reputation give value to your brand and influence, among other things, the sales of your products or services and your brand awareness.

A brand represents all the distinguishing elements: from the name, the logo to the slogan and everything that can be traced back to interaction with the public. Such as fame, (online) presence and, for example, customer satisfaction. All these aspects distinguish one brand from another.

What is identity?

The brand identity is the core of a brand or company. It defines the distinguishing features of a brand and says something about the essence of a brand. Determining the identity helps to determine how a brand wants to present itself and be seen by those involved. Consider, for example, customers (consumers or business customers), employees, stakeholders, residents, governments, media and other parties.

More about the Corporate Identity and stakeholder management.

The brand identity consists of various visual elements, such as the logo, colors and font of the name, but also includes the core values and objectives of the brand, with the aim of communicating them.

What is image?

The image is the image of the brand that those involved actually have of a brand or company. In practice, the image indicates how stakeholders and involved parties view a brand and its services and products.

It is, as it were, an appendage of the brand identity, but certainly not always the same. Sometimes there is a big difference between identity and image.

A good image is conducive to success. If employees and customers think positively about the brand, they are more likely to choose the products or services or to work there. If the image is negative, those involved do not want to associate with the brand.

An image is able to evoke positive feelings and emotions and influence users' choices. The image arises from subjective perceptions, which are related to the reactions of stakeholders and the public to the peculiarities of the brand.

If the image is positive, it highlights the qualities of the brand and its products and emphasizes the differences with the competition.

More clarity around the difference between reputation and image

Now that you know what brand identity and brand image are, we explain the third aspect: reputation. Because what is the difference between reputation and image?

Reputation and image are not the same, although they often go hand in hand. Both are necessary in business communication and depend on it. Both are based on the image that stakeholders and stakeholders have of the brand. And finally, both contribute to the unique effect that sets each brand apart from its competitors in the eyes of the public.

However, there are differences:

  • It image is mainly related to strategies applied by the company linked to its brand identity. Image does not always coincide with the true essence of the brand. Then there is a gap between identity and image.
  • The reputation on the other hand, it is determined based on the actual actions the company takes, in other words, how it actually behaves.
  • Image is more subject to possible changes in customer perception.
  • Reputation is strictly dependent on the actual behavior of the brand and therefore, if managed properly, it tends to remain stable over the longer term.

However, beware of missteps: if the reputation is lost, it is very difficult to rebuild it. To manage and protect reputation as best as possible, you must properly structure and integrate your marketing and communications strategy.

At the center of all your work, as always, should be your target group. Whether they are customers or residents, for example. Meeting the practical needs of your target group with products and services you offer and ensuring that you maintain a clear and truthful relationship with them.

Identity and image differ

In some cases there is a difference between brand identity (how you think your brand is) and image (how others see your brand). Then there is work to be done. In the articles about it PESO model, the Positioning matrix and Reputation management we provide you with practical tools for this.

Would you also like to work on your identity, image and reputation?

We hope this article provides clarity on the difference between reputation and image. Are you unable to find a solution for your organization? Take Contact contact us, we are happy to help you!


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