June 16, 2017
For corporations and individuals within them, several things constitute the competitive edge. There is no question that the uniqueness or the discernable differentiating features of a company’s products will largely define a corporation's success. Several functions within an organization are integral in promoting a company’s products. Innovative marketing, advertising, and public relations are essential to success. An aggressive, knowledgeable sales force is a powerful element of competitive advantage. Basic product quality is an entry into any business. Exceptional quality is a distinct competitive advantage. Fundamentally, a product that delivers or exceeds all of it’s promises ultimately sells.
Something that is an intangible for competitive advantage is reputation. Corporations, like people, ultimately build a reputation. When a corporation delivers what it says it will deliver, with exceptional concern for the customer and quality competence, its reputation is enhanced. Reputation does not mean giving the customer everything they want. Indeed that ultimately could result in a loss of reputation. Reputation is delivering value. Reputation is stating what you sell, what your products do, how much they cost and doing this with integrity. Reputation is uncompromising honesty.
Corporations should function modeling the Ten Commandments. Think about it. If corporations today did this, success would be the norm, not the exception. Scandal would be the exception, not the norm. Corporations that guard their reputations uncompromisingly, survive over the long haul. Those that let their reputation slip eventually fall. King Solomon, who actually had much to say about business in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible stated that, “ A good name is better than fine perfume” (Eccl. 7:1a). He was not referring to a memorable corporate name, nor was he referring to a memorable tagline. He was referring to the plain simple truth of a solid dependable individual reputation. This can aptly apply to companies.
Reputations can be lost. Corporations, like people make mistakes. Good reputations can be won back, but it takes hard work. Every corporation should take pause and measure their reputation. How healthy is it? What processes are in place to ensure its protection? Does everyone in the corporation understand that corporations have personalities and characters, just like individuals? Most of all, do individuals know that their conduct and everyday projection contributes to the corporate reputation? It’s tough when a good reputation is lost. In fact, it can be one of the most discouraging things to ever happen to a company. Work to protect this asset "which is better than perfume".