Posted on November 15th by Kevin Donnellon

Brand equity and corporate reputation have nothing to do with each other, right?

No so fast, my friend.

A recent Council of PR Firms study of 50,000 consumers found there is a “hidden harmony” between brand equity and corporate reputation. This is covered in a recently released white paper.

The key insight from the Harris Interactive Poll:

“Positive brand equity and positive corporate reputation individually drove greater purchase consideration and recommendation, but combining the two produced even stronger effects.”

In each industry, the poll discovered a unique and combined set of product brand and reputation attributes that maximize both purchase consideration and recommendation.  It calls out these three industries and reports how reputation and brand equity work:

  • For B2B companies and their product brands, brand equity and corporate reputation played an equal role in driving purchase consideration and recommendation.
  • With automotive companies and their brands, corporate reputation influenced consumer behavior slightly more than brand equity, having a greater effect on recommendation than on purchase consideration.
  • In the food and beverage category, reputation mattered more than brand equity, impacting recommendation more strongly than purchase consideration.

Harris believes that this research does not offer a paint-by-numbers formula, but it offers powerful evidence that a traditional silo-ed approach to product brand and corporate reputation management and communication will not drive a business forward most effectively.

In fact, the report suggest that marketing and communication practitioners need to rethink their approaches and processes as simply as:

  • Marketers might benefit from considering themselves as operating in the corporate reputation business.
  • Corporate communicators might consider themselves as operating more deeply in the product marketing business.

The report recommends more specific research, attention and action for brands and companies to benefit from this harmony.

Here is my fundamental advice for companies and brands of any size:

  1. Customer drives brand – use conventional and social tools to monitor their thoughts and feelings about your brand AND company. And act or be acted upon.
  2. Build brand and corporate reputation in tandem – causes that are important to your customers can support both equity and reputation. It is a tragedy, and many corporations and brands stepped up during Hurricane Sandy.
  3. Acknowledge the benefits beyond sales – great corporate reputation affects employee morale and great morale translates into building brand equity through exceptional service.
  4. Someone is always watching and listening (and recording, ask Prince Harry) – so be prepared to advance or defend your brand (crisis communications plan helps).
  5.  Get into this mindset – even if resources are limited, starting thinking and acting that this matters.

This research and recommended actions apply to companies and brand of any size. Some of my clients – SeeMore Putter Co., Allen Edmonds and Sage Products that range in size and revenue merge brand and company reputation management.

How are your brand and corporation capitalizing on this valuable research?

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