As a graphic designer, I can go some way to help with brand building, yet I am unable to build a reputation. There is a broad misconception that brand and reputation are one and the same thing. This also breads the misconception that your audience, customers etc are the ones that build your brand whilst they talk about you when you're not in the room.
Branding is painting pictures in people's minds, whereas, reputation is the collective consideration of your artistic endeavours.
Your brand is all under your control. What you say, where you say is and how you say it. It’s how you walk and talk. It’s the colours of your logo, your company name, and tag line or mission statement. It’s the visual imagery you publish. It's how you talk and how you walk. It’s all of this and more which is how you go about painting pictures in other people’s minds.
Now the mind interface is the critical point where your brand is under the spotlight of perception. It’s important to understand that your brand is still your brand. What is actually happening when your brand enters the mind interface is that your reputation starts to come into play.
Now your reputation is a whole new ball game that you have little control over. With your brand, you can paint your picture, however, it’s up to observers of your picture to decide how they feel about the vision in their gaze. This is when your reputation grows.
There is a misconception that your brand and reputation are one and the same thing. That famous quote about brand being what people say about you when you're not in the room. They are not building your brand, they are building your reputation.
Look at it this way; you start a new business and put things in place to create your brand. At this point you've got a brand but no customers or anyone talking about you in a room. You have a brand but no reputation. No matter what you do you cannot create a reputation; it takes customers to do that.
Equally, once you've begun to get a reputation, those people in the room cannot change the colour of your logo.
Reputation affects brand affects reputation
Now this is not to say that you can't reflect upon reputation to make tweaks to your improve your brand in order to try and guide the minds to create an improved reputation.
I'll leave you with one good example of brand and reputation in action:
A German motorcar creates a BRAND based on performance, style, engineering excellence, a real driver's car with elevated social status. It's the Ultimate Driving Machine
They have a REPUTATION, generated by the general public, of producing cars with indicators which don’t work.