Hidden Harmony: Power of Reputation & Brand

by PR Coach on December 6, 2012

Reputation, brand equity make powerful harmony together

What happens when you combine corporate reputation and brand equity?

According to a 2012 research study by the Council of Public Relations Firms and Harris Interactive, the outcome is a powerful “Hidden Harmony” that can result in exceptional business results.

Traditionally, marketing and brand managers work hard to build brand equity. Separately, PR pros develop and manage programs to strengthen reputations for their organizations. Even in this modern age, it’s not often the two work together seamlessly, if at all.

“In each industry, we found that a unique and combined set of product brand and reputation attributes maximized both purchase consideration and recommendation. Positive brand equity and positive corporate reputation individually drove greater purchase consideration and recommendation, but combining the two produced even stronger effects,” the report says.

Clear as a bell and critically important to every organization.

If you want more buyers and product or service recommendations get marketing and PR working together.

The report goes even further saying that marketing and communications pros need to rethink their traditional, silo approaches.

The study offers a prescription for managers of brands and corporate reputations:

  • address reputation more strategically
  • investigate neglected areas of reputation management
  • pursue research the brand-reputation divide
  • allocate more budget to corporate reputation
  • pay more attention to reputation in your day to day conduct
  • Monitor the brand’s behavior, not just its communications.

The report says: “Transparency of information and the proliferation of communications channels enable today’s consumers to learn about matters that formerly would have been kept secret. Numerous case studies suggest that brand management alone can no longer move the needle for companies among consumers.”

Brand Equity and Reputation Impact Purchases and Recommendations

The report shows how brand equity and reputation together affect consumer buying and willingness to recommend products, regardless of whether it was in the automotive, B2B or food and beverage categories.

The following chart provides insight into that powerful combination:

As consumers become even more vocal and powerful through social media, the importance of brand equity and a sterling reputation together are even more critical.

The report concludes:
“Brand and reputation building work best in harmony with one another – a harmony all the more powerful, potentially, because it is largely invisible (even, as we have seen, to corporate leaders). But documenting and understanding this harmony is not enough. Clients and firms also have to do their part to cultivate and sustain it.”

This study by the Council of PR firms and Harris interactive could serve as the marketing blueprint for many organizations in 2013. At the very least, smart brand managers and reputation strategists will pay close attention to its recommendations.

You can download a copy of the A Hidden Harmony report here.

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Author: Jeff Domansky

Visuals: Library of Congress (Wesley Prince, Nat King Cole, Oscar Moore), Council of PR Firms