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Is reputation a guarantee for continued success?

My newspaper’s business section today had an Associated Press story with the headline: “Critics often overlook Apple’s bruises.”  In the story was the quote, “Very few companies have this kind of iconic status where anything they do, even if it is mediocre, will automatically have a halo around it.”  [quote attributed to Peter Fader, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.]

The question that comes to mind is this: should any company…any business…whether it’s my MonaVie independent distributorship or Apple, Inc. rely on it’s past reputation for future success?  Isn’t that a bit like taking your customers and associates for granted?  Aren’t you then making a huge assumption that anything you throw out into the marketplace will be accepted simply because of your reputation?  Is that presumptive?  Doesn’t reputation need to be earned…continually?

Reputation in the marketplace, if you are fortunate enough to have a positive one, you probably got through working with integrity, high business ethics, good customer service, high quality in products and services…all things that build trust and follow-ship.  As a customer I come back to certain companies’ products because I trust how they are made, I trust the company that is behind them.   

Here’s another thought: if my favorite company, whose products I have come to know and trust, begins to drop the ball, begins to not deliver on quality and service…do I continue to purchase and use those products simply based on that company’s reputation? 

It’s just a thought, but perhaps, as business owners, we ought not to rely on past reputation as a guarantor for future success; perhaps we ought to always seek to give the highest quality  in product and services.

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