Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reputation, image and reputation: what meanings?

What (s) difference (s) can be made between reputation, brand image and reputation?! Behind these words, employees at all sauces by professionals, do we find different meanings?! These terms are complementary?!
Before returning to the presentation of some tools I have in stock, I offer an article very "theoretical" to pose a clear and clean the mean THE employees of these three terms all the time on this blog. As I said previously, the reputation is not a new term emerged with the web, and island seems to me useful to define it to begin a second year on this blog dedicated to e-reputation ...
According to the dictionary of the French language dictionary, 2009, the reputation is "[the] manner in which someone or something is known, seen in public." But also "favorable or unfavorable opinion of the public for someone, something."
The reputation is therefore two aspects: the perception of someone or something by a "public" (that is to say, a community of people see an individual), and the result of the cognitive process leading to the formulation of an opinion. Reputation can be seen as a result, more than a cause:
==> Result of actions taken by "someone or something" on the perception that people have of that person or thing. The term "manner" in use in the first dictionary definition then becomes a scale of value: what (s) way (s) and how intense the public consider you it signs and messages sent by someone or thing? This idea of ​​scale value is also confirmed by the Latin etymology of the term reputation "reputation" which means "assessment".
==> The result of the interpretation of signs perceived by the individual (thus becoming an opinion, that is to say the result of "evaluation" done, consciously or not elsewhere)
The individual thus receives signs that interpreter. These signs are referred voluntarily or not ("can not not communiquer1). The receiver of these signs then created an image of what he has collected, the assessment made by its own scale of values.
Reputation for being present every thing (person, object, event, etc.). We will focus our comments here on the reputation of organizations. The image is perceived by an individual becomes an image known brand.
Indeed, the mark is (a commercial point of view and mostly legal) a name, term, sign, symbol or other element used to identify a product or service and differentiate it from its competitors. This term applies to those organizations, which all have a "brand". For example: Renault, whose name is a trademark or Kronenbourg is a brand (a product) of the Danone group, see a craft that is commonly called the "brand" that helps to differentiate it from its competitors.
The brand name becomes the receptacle of the proposed reputation, that is to say, it can differentiate and name the object on which we project a reputation, for which one has an opinion. More specifically, it is rare to hear that the cars in general have a bad reputation, but rather that this particular model producer (designated by a mark) have a good or bad reputation.

As for the reputation, brand image is conventionally defined as the set of rational and emotional representations relating to a brand's value judgments brought by an individual on a brand.
This term is used particularly in marketing, and many authors associated with the discipline of management have written on this subject.
Jean-Jacques Lambin2 provides a precise definition of the image. For him, it is "all mental representations, cognitive and affective, that a person or group of people make a mark. He identifies three levels of branding:
==> The perceived image, that is to say how the target segment (the target audience, which is projected on the picture) sees and perceives the mark
==> The true or real image of the brand with its strengths and weaknesses, as known and felt by the company
==> The desired image, is how the company wants to be perceived by the target segment and follows a decision by positioning

Reputation, as we have defined above may be associated with "perceived image" as defined by JJ Lambin. "The true picture" would be the reputation of an organization as perceived by its members. "The desired image is the image projected by the organization to its audiences.
One of the objectives of an organization to control its image would thus reduce the gaps and reduce the dissonance between "perceived image" and "the desired image, while remaining faithful to" the true image .
Considering the large number of definitions of the concept of branding, Pinlon-Labbé3 proposes to distinguish three levels:

==> The image itself is to say, perceptions of a brand by consumers, either in a sustainable way and in absolute terms or in a specific situation to compare different brands or Finally, a special case of communication about this brand

==> The identity of the brand, defined as the set of characteristics that the company which manages the brand that the consumer wants it combines

==> The media coverage of the brand, which is the set of characteristics that mark diffused through signals from the company that manages, or from sources not controlled by the company

These three levels can be seen as a reformulation of the definition of JJ Lambin.
However, some points are worth emphasizing.
First, the notion of "media" that helps bring the concept to support the brand. The signals sent by an organization are charged to the individuals targeted by communication media, ie media. Each of these media have different characteristics that can distort or amplify the message. In our case, the support of the media message is that Web 2.0 and media types associated with it.
The idea of ​​"uncontrolled sources is here also in line with the concepts related to Web 2.0, namely the fact that any person (user) can become very easy (technically speaking) a source of information recognized by community, and thus outside the direct control of an organization (some would argue that traditional journalists are also out of reach of many organizations ... case demonstrates otherwise ... but this debate will not be developed here).

Then, the concept of brand identity. This "identity" away from the concept of "true image", since identity can be built from scratch (see be falsified). It is no longer here that members of an organization perceive it, but rather how they will highlight the characteristics that seem attractive to their targets. Beyond the notion of inner perception, the concept of brand identity reinforces the idea of ​​control of an organization's image.
The representation of the image by an audience thus requires knowledge of the attributes of that brand knowledge acquired by the information projected by the organization, as well as how information is perceived, understood and integrated by the public target.

According to the dictionary of the French language dictionary, 2009, the reputation is "[the] character of what is notorious, known to many people."
If one combines this concept with that "brand" awareness becomes the measure of the degree of brand presence in people's minds. It's sort of the result of the projected image of an organization's reputation and resulting in the minds of individuals.
More simply, the reputation is the public knowledge of a trademark: it exists or it is zero (when it is reduced to the single individual), or she is graduated (knowledge of some specific attributes that most of others).
Applied to the Web community, awareness appears to be complex. According communities, brand is known or not. On the web, brand recognition becomes its level of visibility: in virtual communities (social networks, forums) on search engines (based on certain keywords), sites or blogs linked to areas of expertise of the brand, etc.. The brand is present? Tell you one of them?
To summarize, we can define the different concepts as follows:

==> Reputation: image perceived by an audience
==> Branding: the projected image
==> Reputation: result of the projection and appropriation (memory) that it is the public

These three concepts are complementary. Relations between them can be schematically represented as follows:
The organization sends voluntarily or not the public a certain image of its trademark.
The public interprets this image in his mind becomes a reputation. Reputation he referred in his speech (when it is mediated) to the organization. Awareness is then the quantitative measurement of traces of the projected image and perceived image (reputation): the public remembers the brand and / or certain of its attributes or not.

After measuring its reputation and evaluated its reputation, the organization can adjust the image it sends to the public, and return. And so on ...
This comprehensive approach to the concept of reputation and other concepts associated with it (brand and reputation) lays the foundations for the concept of e-reputation.
More precisely, it demonstrates the need and the overall objectives of the management of reputation, brand image and reputation of an organization: to match the image desired by the organization that paid by the public target, and ensuring that increased awareness of the organization (or one of its brands).
If reputation is an objective, Web 2.0 is a vector and its associated media (blogs, forums, etc..) Facilities management (or correction).



  1. Thank you for sharing. To put a brand in the best position to succeed, all brand communication must speak with one voice. This often requires the services of a brand development company.
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  2. Thank you for the kind content. The mindset is the most important part of the game and life.

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