Image and Reputation….What a Difference A Day Makes

eyetoeyelogoIn the world of Public Relations, image is extremely important. When you take “image” and “reputation” and blend them together, you end up with “credibility.” Consumers carry images in their minds about products and brands. So, it’s important for a company to be clear on the impressions it wants to make to its customers, the benefits it provides and what are its key differentiators. PR can make a difference in this area.

While “image” is planned and crafted, “reputation” comes from the actual experience a consumer has with the brand. Did the product work? Are the service levels and quality impressive? Based on the customer experience, a brand is either provided a positive or negative reputation. That’s why social media has had such a big impact on branding. Actual customer ratings and comments influence the reputation of the brand, product or service in real-time. Social ratings from friends carry even more weight. Our client Wajam knows a thing or two about social recommendations.

The Academy Awards reflect positively on the reputation of people in movie industry who are nominated and judged by the Academy, which is made of of actors, writers, directors, designers, cinematographers, film editors, make-up artists, musicians and producers. For months, members of the Academy experience every film first-hand and evaluate their choices. Receiving an Oscar propels an actor’s reputation to the highest levels. While I’m sure every actor hopes to one day receive an Academy Award, only those who actually have their names called know what a difference that day makes. New opportunities open, winners’ pay rates increase and their credibility within their given specialty increases too.

On March 2nd, more than 40 million people will tune in to watch the coveted Academy Awards. Now in its 86th year, the Oscars have become an icon for image at its finest. Whether you tune in for the glitz and glamour of the red carpet, the reactions of those who both win and lose, or the entertainment of comedian Ellen, who is slated to host the event, you will find these 40 million viewers judging their favorite movie stars, producers, directors and cinematographers’ every move.

People enjoy the Academy Awards for its entertainment value, and for the glimpse into the unscripted lives of people we typically see performing well-rehearsed. The awards gives viewers the chance to see celebrities who are, granted, well-coiffed and in their black-tie best, but also subject to the televised public judgment of their work. It’s an opportunity to see very “human reactions” to successes, joys, failures, and even mourning.

In the moments and days that follow, people are certainly abuzz with the news of the award winners, but also with the events that surrounded them. Who remembers Jennifer Lawrence, who won best actress for her role last year, tripping up the stairs as she went to accept her award? Or Sally Field declaring “You like me!”? Or Jack Palance who did one-arm push-ups as he accepted the Best Supporting Role for City Slickers in 2008, proving his age was no factor to the many young nominees he was competing with.

The Academy Awards allows us to see our favorite stars at their best — and also their most vulnerable. The ones who balance that act best often end up with the most favorable public images. Those who display humility and are humble when accepting their award tend to elevate above the prideful.

We all know every actress attending the Academy Awards carefully plans their evening attire, knowing they will be judged on the red carpet for how they present themselves. The time and coordination that goes into their hair, makeup, jewelry and ultimately the design of their gown are all very carefully selected and then evaluated by the public. Brands need to take the same level of consideration when developing their message, crafting their news, designing their logo and website and ultimately creating the packaging of their products.

Image and reputation aside, one lesson learned from the Academy Awards is that those movie stars who show their human side, and let their vulnerabilities shine through, tend to fare better when it comes to “credibility.” Brands can learn from this. So, while you develop key messages and design graphics to reflect the most appropriate images, it’s okay to look a little rough around the edges. It’s even okay to apologize to a customer publicly for making a mistake. While “credibility” is the sum of “image” and “reputation,” it is also gained by the results acting authentically and virtuously. Can your company answer “yes” to the question, “are we satisfying our customers and understood?”

Today we are launching a fun campaign called #TheOscarGoesTo through Eye-To-Eye’s social media pages. We hope you will join us in talking up your favorites. We will be rewarding our followers for engaging with us with a chance to win a $100 movie-night-in basket of goodies. Visit us on Facebook, like our page, and offer us your insights to the Oscars! You just may come out a winner…..what a difference a day will make!

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