Too Much Brand Focus

I needed some post inspiration today, so I decided to look for an article to kick off this week’s conversation.

While browsing the PR News website, I came across an article that spoke about the end of branding and the new focus on reputation.  In the article, David Humphries claims that branding will always be important, but reputation is what will determine success in the long run.

I agree with Humphries’ message.  I think that companies and organizations today put a ton of focus into branding and re-branding.  In fact, some entities put so much focus on this aspect of communications that, after a while, they lose sight of representing what and who they truly stand for.

I, however, don’t blame companies and organizations for the constant efforts to rebrand.  With all the technology available today–as well as the rapid spread of information that comes with it, I commend companies and organizations for doing what they can to keep up.  Society today swallows information left and right.  News is spread immediately upon a breaking event.  Twenty minutes later, that new news is old news.  Society gets bored very quickly.

I think that companies are always trying to figure out ways to keep their brand interesting, so that society does not get bored.  But, as Humphries suggests, companies need to stand by their promise:

Make sure your brand reflects the reality of your organization.  A brand is a promise, and a broken promise destroys trust.

A brand should uphold reputation, not create it.  What creates reputation are the organization’s services and/or goods provided.  What creates reputation is what the organization stands for.  As Humphries states, “Be the right organization first, get the name right later.”

So, what can be taken from this as a student studying public relations?  Well, it all goes back to integrity, which triggers trust.  Individuals will support organizations they relate to and know they can confide in.  An organization–naturally–can only relate to certain publics within a specific sphere.  So long as those publics are catered to and so long as the organization’s reputation is good within that sphere, the company will be fine.  I think that re-branding in such a way that an organization tries to reach too far outside this sphere is risky.  This is where an organization might lose sight of who they really are, and thus lose credibility in terms of reputation from the publics already within their sphere.

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