Talk Story: Brand versus Reputation ”“ 4 Questions to start with

Here’s a great subject for a talk story with your team:

  • What are the perceived differences between your BRAND and your REPUTATION?
  • Why is this important, and how can each person on your team affect each one?
  • How does COMPANY brand affect PERSONAL brand? How about reputation?

If you are a manager, consider this:

  • What is the role of the manager in regard to your responsibility shaping brand for BOTH the company and your staff’s personal reputation? Think about the gift you can give your staff!

If you are a leader, consider this:

  • What clarity can you lend to this type of discussion in regard to company vision and mission? What explicit and implicit “permissions” can you give to make it easier for everyone to take action with building brand personally as well as professionally ”“ it’s a win for everyone.

There is no doubt that you, and everyone you work with affects both brand and reputation, and both create an asset. This is a great talk story to have because you aren’t looking to debate the rightness of single answers to these questions; you are using them to talk about the behaviors that are specifically right for all of you in your own workplace.

A talk story on brand versus reputation
is terrific for setting team expectations, and for creating possible crucibles with how people consider their individual responsibility.

This past week I wrote an article for Joyful Jubilant Learning called Learn to Build Your Personal Brand, and within it I shared part of my own story of switching from corporate life to entrepreneurship, explaining that at the time of my corporate career, I didn’t even think about the possibility that I could build my personal brand while working for an employer ”“ one who had an exceptionally strong brand presence that I then felt was also mine by executive association.

My story caused David Sandusky, founder of Your Brand, LLC. to comment;

“I would suggest that a personal brand strategy is just as important for the corporate career as the self-employed or entrepreneur. These days more multi-career professionals (slash career) have a potential brand confusion. Fun stuff!”

He is right.

Today the workplace is dramatically different in a number of ways, particularly with how the internet has turned so many of us into citizen publishers. For instance, for most of my corporate career I thought you could only build a personal brand if you had your own business; now I can clearly see that you can have a compelling, strong personal brand just with a message. And you choose your message.

Have this talk story with your crew, and share some of what is talked about with the rest of us would you?
As David says, “Fun stuff!”

Here are a couple of other reading resources to help you with facilitating the conversation:

  • In While We’re Talking About Branding, Marci Alboher asked blogger Pamela Slim to guest post about the branding challenges of *slash careerists* at Marci’s column for the New York Times
  • There is a 2006 article at by Alan Bergstrom, chief brand strategy officer at The Brand Consultancy with some definitions you can start with called Brand vs. Reputation: Same or Different? but again, I would encourage you not to get stuck within them – just read as food for thought and talk this out with your team to see what they think.

Read more of our Ho‘ohana Community Learning discussions at Joyful Jubilant Learning:

Joyful Jubilant Learning


  1. says

    Thanks for including me in this great discussion.
    What got my attention the most is the “fuzzy” definition in brand vs. reputation. I think it can be simplified by accepting reputation and brand are always one in the same.
    The challenge is knowing for sure if the reputation (brand) is the same as the message (marketing). Is it consistent? The other challenge is reputation (brand experience) is in the eye of the beholder – managing the brand.
    If there is a perception problem, reputation (brand) can be fixed and that is where values based personal mission and vision lives. If a brand is a collection of values and you have a reputation for caring out those values — success!
    BTW, my keynote address at Disney World in May about Personal Brand Strategies follows an amazing presentation on “Quality Service” produced by the Disney Institute – I don’t know if they did that on purpose but you bet I will bring the point home – reputation! Sorry, I could go on and on on this subject…

  2. says

    My goodness David, here you have me going yet again with your insights… this is a good way to simplify those questions I had posed here:
    “I think it can be simplified by accepting reputation and brand are always one in the same. The challenge is knowing for sure if the reputation (brand) is the same as the message (marketing).”
    All the best to you with your keynote address in May – I am sure you will wow them!