One of the most important aspects of a business is its reputation overall or that of its founder. If you have a bad reputation as a business owner then it can be difficult for your enterprise to survive. There are a number of high profile examples of when a business has suffered from a reputation slump and careers and complete businesses have been ended because of it.
Protecting your reputation
One of the most important aspects of managing your reputation is being able to actively protect it. In the modern world competitors can often behave in a malicious manner. Lies and falsehoods are easy to spread on the internet, without being traced. This can leave your business with a bad reputation before you know it. This is all the more pertinent to start-ups that do not have years of good grace to use in order to get through any issues. In a situation like this it is wise to engage the services of an organisation such as Reputation Defender. They protect the reputation of your business from malicious attacks and make sure that any falsehoods are removed before they do irreparable damage to your brand’s reputation.
Gerald Ratner: the man who destroyed an institution
Gerald Ratner is one of the most obvious examples of someone who did not understand the importance of reputation. The Ratners Group were one of the biggest jewellery groups in the world. Worth over £500 million in the 1980s they sold cut-price jewellery to consumers. Despite selling cheap items they had a level of popularity that meant they were a very successful company. They were so successful that Gerald Ratner was even asked to deliver a speech at the institute of directors’ conference in 1991. Ratner spent a lot of time on his speech, he wrote in some jokes that he thought were excellent, even though his wife did not agree.
The jokes in his speech were self-deprecating ones. It would be kind to call them that, what they actually were was insulting to the product that the company sold. Ratner told the conference that a sherry decanter set that his company sold for $4.95 was “total crap” and that a set of earrings was “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long.” This had an almost instant detrimental effect on their brand reputation. The firm had over 2,500 shops before Ratner made his speech and they had to close a huge number of them. Their share price dropped by over £500 million leaving them a shell of a company. The only way that they could save their destroyed reputation was by sacking Ratner and rebranding themselves. They survive today under a different name, but the Ratners Group under that name is gone forever. All because Gerald Ratner did not understand the importance of brand reputation.
Blackberry went from business must have to industry also ran
There was a time in the late 00s when the Blackberry was the must have smartphone. In 2008 Blackberry had double the market share of the iPhone. It had branded itself in a highly successful manner. The Blackberry was seen as the phone to have if you wanted to perform additional tasks. It allowed people to browse the internet, play games and send emails. Typing was a breeze on the revolutionary keyboard that was included on the Blackberry. The included messenger app also made it cheaper to message people, as long as they had a Blackberry as well. The Blackberry brand was seen in the most positive of positive lights. It had a huge market share to prove it.
By 2011 that had completely changed. Blackberry had dropped to just a 9% market share; just a third of the market share that the iPhone had and a sixth of the market share of Android phones. What had gone so wrong that caused Blackberry to fall so badly? It was a reputation problem. In 2008 Blackberry had a reputation for being innovators. They created a phone that allowed people to do things they had never been able to do before. It was seen as “cool” and useful. By 2011 it had not kept up with the competition. That gave Blackberry a reputation for being dated and uncool. Their reputation had been ruined by their own inaction and by resting on their laurels. They did attempt to rescue their market share with improved phones, but they have never recovered to the level they once enjoyed. While Blackberry did not fall to the levels of the Ratners Group, their fall in reputation did lead to them no longer being the market leader they once were.