The True Value Of Brand Lays In Its Reputation

The True Value Of Brand Lays In Its Reputation

Brand has been king in the marketing game for a long time, and I’m here to challenge that.

Brand has been king in the marketing game for a long time, and I’m here to challenge that.

We can see brand. It’s the Coca-Cola logo on the bottle in the hut as I reach the Sun Gate at first light at Machu Picchu for the Winter Solstice in 1999.

It’s the McDonald’s golden arches that adorned the “Player of the Week” voucher that I got as a 5-year-old playing my first game of soccer 43 years ago.

But once that brand is released into the world, it becomes the domain of the consumer. It can be loved, hated, protested against, dismissed.

Brand’s function is for recognition, but reputation is how the consumer feels about a product. The reputation of a brand is how consumers connect, which emotions they elicit in the consumer, which needs and wants it satisfies.

Reputation is the forever changing dynamic of an individual’s relationship with a brand, which drives an individual’s choices, how they interact with that brand, and how they speak about that brand to others.

I see reputation as the relationship a brand has with its customer. Is there trust? Doubt? Affection? Disappointment?

Even further – was it there for you when you needed it? Did it comfort you? How did it make you feel?

I love using the examples of the two greatest marketing businesses on the planet (pre-tech). Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are geniuses. We all know the health effects of consumption of both brands. But most of the (Western) World has “enjoyed” a Coke, or done a Maccas run.

But when I think of both products, I think of the things I love – soccer, sports, holidays - and Maccas and Coke have been there at every memory, every World Cup, every Best on Ground award, every magical sunrise in Peru….

This is their reputation. It’s part of how I see them, how they have involved themselves in my life. It’s my relationship with them. So as much as I know I shouldn’t - on the very odd occasion I have a soft drink – it’s always Coke, and it’s always the “Fully leaded” version!


Because it reminds me of that Peruvian sunrise.

So the true value of the brand, the compelling story that makes it ok for me to buy a Coke, is the relationship that the brand has with me – it’s reputation of being there, quenching my thirst for sugar to fight the altitude sickness, the little energy kick it gave me to climb Huayna Picchu, to escape the crowd and spend time looking back down on this ancient masterpiece of civilization.

Sure, I see the brand. I see it everywhere. But my choice to consume is based on a personal relationship, its reputation built over time and shared experiences.