PR sits at the intersection of reputation and brand

The relationship between an organization's brand and its reputation should be indisputable and inextricable.

The relationship between an organization's brand and its reputation should be indisputable and inextricable. 

Optimizing results across the marketing and communications spectrum to support both means that strategies shouldn't exist in silos. Execution must be cross-channel and cross-platform, and shared goals must be the guiding force for action.

This nirvana is integrated communications. But it's elusive to achieve.

Far too often brand marketing and advertising folks, who are concerned with brand value, exist on one side of the divide, with corporate communications and PR folks, who are concerned with corporate reputation, on the other.  Digital folks are in there somewhere, jumping between the two sides. Get close enough and you can see that a true divide exists only in org charts. 

Prophet, a brand and marketing research consultancy, offers new evidence in its 2010-2011 Reputation Winner and Losers report.

The study examined companies that experienced major events that affected reputation – both negatively and positively – and the year-to-year comparison illustrated that damage to reputation directly correlated to a decrease in brand value.

The opposite proved true as well: bolstered reputation buoyed brand value.

Why? The game has fundamentally changed. The new reality is that we are in the era of stakeholder engagement, where the broader “we” expects companies to address social maladies and corporate leaders to instill ethics and values throughout the ranks for brands to be authentic and relevant to our daily lives.

Passionately, albeit unsurprisingly, I believe PR is the bridge between the brand and reputation, connecting both to a vast constellation of stakeholders. Because PR is the most powerful way to engage stakeholders, it is also the most potent force in organizing total communications strategy around business goals.

Kim Sample is CEO of Emanate.

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