Ditch reputation management

“What’s in name?” (The Economist, April 21 issue) says the biggest problem with the reputation industry is its “central conceit that the way to deal with potential threats to your reputation is to work harder at managing your reputation. 

“The opposite is more likely: the best strategy may be to think less about managing your reputation and concentrate more on producing the best products and services you can.”

The article argues that so many individuals and organisations push the barrow of the importance of squeaky clean image that we live in “reputation economy”.

Among other objections to the reputation-management industry, the writers note the industry depends on “naive view of the power of reputation: that companies with positive reputations will find it easier to attract customers and survive crises”. 

The Economist points out there are plenty of examples of companies running counter to this theory. 

“Tobacco companies make vast profits despite their awful reputations. Everybody bashes Ryanair for its dismal service and the Daily Mail for its mean-spirited journalism. But both firms are highly successful.”

It concludes that “happiness is the incidental by-product of pursuing some other worthy goal. The same can be said of reputation.”

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