By Marta Gonçalves, Managing Partner at Say U Consulting
“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” Abraham Lincoln
When facing the challenges presented by the current economic context, the response of the companies with a certain degree of resilience was swift. They adapted their strategic positioning and searched for opportunities abroad.
Proof of this tendency to conduct business outside in order to balance deficiencies encountered in one’s own market can be found in the values for Portuguese exports of goods and services in 2013, which surpassed national and international forecasts.
The role of marketing in this evolution plays a key part when one considers the necessity of creating a reputation that acts as an element of contact between one organization and its key audience.
It is this vital character of the concept of reputation, more than simply talking about brands, which we should focus with the objective of maintaining an effective positioning when facing those we consider as our target audience and partners in the implementation of a successful strategy.
As a differentiating asset in a market with goods and services sharing identical characteristics, an organization’s reputation becomes the reason for being preferred by the consumers, for projects being approved and for renewed notoriety. For companies searching for new opportunities, reputation becomes an assurance factor enabling them to develop a profitable commercial strategy and implementing projects in an agile and effective way.
It has become imperative to develop the image we present to those outside the organization. Despite the critical factor of the solutions we offer, transforming them into a link to an idealized communication guaranties that these acquire a double role.
This shift of attention from branding, the logo and the image means relegating to a support role elements that do not have a direct influence in creating an objective and clear reputation. With a clearly defined positioning, the next step becomes one of consolidating a certainty in the mind of the consumer: a brand is a promise. Answering adequately to the market expectations in what regards this promise is a fundamental condition necessary to create an idea of reputation within our audience.
More than ever we need to think in the long-run, focusing on resilience and on our link with the market. Here, the value that Reputation acquires is highlighted as a crucial element in a wider communication strategy that has as an objective transforming the organization into a recognized and immediately accepted brand by those to whom it is directed.