CIArb Features

Managing brands and avoiding disputes. The relevance of reputation in the 'Age of Unprecedence’

15 Jul 2020

How many times have we heard the expression ‘unprecedented’ since the outbreak of the Coronavirus? Of course, the virus has had devastating effects on all aspects of our lives, and whilst no one can dispute that brands are facing enormous challenges, isn’t ‘unprecedented’ becoming the new normal for brand managers? The internet is creating ‘unprecedented’ challenges to retailers. Climate change is creating ‘unprecedented’ demands on producers. Supply chains battle to keep everything moving whilst acknowledging the need to operate sustainably is ‘unprecedented’.

However, one word that has not been used so frequently is ‘reputation’ even though during times of crisis, plenty of brands stand to gain or lose theirs depending on how they respond to disruption and change.

Multibillionaire investor Warren Buffett once famously said that: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Arguably, brand identity is the most valuable asset that a company possesses, so reputation is something that needs to be protected and nurtured within organisations – not something left up to the marketing manager to handle alone.

Whilst brand values may be defined by company executives, it can be difficult to measure a brand’s true value, simply because brands are created and defined in the hearts and minds of the consumer. There are plenty of examples where leading brands have disappeared because they have lost the trust of their customers. The vast majority of consumers, regardless of age, income and gender, agree that their ability to trust a brand is central to any buying decision.

A recent survey published by global public relations and marketing consultancy Edelman found that some 81 per cent of respondents said they would only consider purchasing a particular product from a brand if they were able to trust it to “do what is right” and 53 per cent agreed every brand has a responsibility to get involved in at least one social issue that does not directly impact its business.

Consumers are now more discerning than any generation before them when it comes to brands and how they choose to spend their money. Indeed, it has been shown that there is a strong correlation between a company’s business performance and its reputation, yet organisations are coming under increased scrutiny from all directions, whether it is for what they do or do not say and whether they act responsibly and transparently or unaccountably and deceptively.

CIArb’s new course, Brand Protection in Times of Disputes, examines the issues of brand reputation and how to avoid disputes associated with the brand. It looks at the evolution of the concept of brands, how reputations are created and managed and how disputes can be avoided.

Brand reputation may be hard to measure, but it becomes a valuable asset during times of crisis especially.

Richard West ACIArb

Richard West ACIArb is a Senior Lecturer at the Westminster Business School, University of Westminster. Before joining the University, he was a brand manager in the telecommunications industry and a brand consultant for several start-up online brands and digital businesses.He currently lectures in international marketing with a research interest in branding strategies for sustainable businesses in countries of fthe former Soviet Union. He also works extensively with professional bodies, including the Institute of Promotional Marketing, where he has published several white papers on brand loyalty, promotions and consumer behaviour. He is course leader for the MSc International Business and Management and writing a new degree in Sports Management.

Brand Protection in Times of Disputes

This bitesize and interactive e-module provides learners with a sound understanding of brand reputation and how to avoid disputes associated with the brand. It looks at the evolution of the concept of brands, how reputations are created and managed and how disputes can be avoided.

Learn more