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June 26th, 2020
What’s the difference between a brand and a reputation? The two seem remarkably similar, but few people think about their own person as a brand. Certainly people rebrand themselves when seeking to switch careers, but do we think of our own personal brand on a daily basis? When talking with friends, while meeting someone new, while working on a personal project, while working for someone else?
Reputation seems to be the word we gravitate towards in most of these circumstances. We have a reputation to uphold. . . supposedly.
The two words have one subtle difference that holds across all these considerations: Reputation is what you end up with based on what you’ve done, whereas a brand is a concept through which we project.
Certainly there is an enormous amount of overlap between these two words, but notice this way of using them. We end up with a reputation, we don’t end up with a brand. At the same time, a brand can have a reputation, for being a good brand or a cheap, flimsy, unreliable brand.
If a Brand can have a reputation, does that mean a reputation can have a brand?
There’s something awkward about trying to make the words fit in reverse in this way. The reason may be because one is forward looking, and the other, our reputation, is evidenced only by looking backward. A brand is a kind of template, or a limited pallet of emotional and topical considerations. This isn’t to say that something is necessarily out of the purview of the brand, but that the constraints of style and concern that are represented by a brand create a productive lens through which to move forward. The blueprint of a brand functions like a guiding set of principles about what to create and how to create it. Whether this be a physical product, a service, or even a relationship between people.
We all have a reputation, for better or worse, and we all seem to settle on a style, also for better and often for worse. The result of our life in these capacities is somewhat passive compared to the pressure that a brand-concept can sear into a vision of the future. In this way, a brand is deliberate, and can aid each of us in the effort to be more deliberate about the life we want to live, tomorrow.