As an internet marketer, I hear a lot of talk about reputation management. I was recently impressed by a great success story. It wasn’t really done to manage reputation, but to live up to one of the companies values statements: “Caring about our communities & our environment.” For most companies, I think a value statement like this is just lip service, so it was very refreshing to see a company actually living it. Like Cervantes said, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Recently, Whole Foods Market (WFMI), a primary sponsor of the Great American Salad Bar Project, has committed to helping put 300 salad bars in schools around the nation. It’s no wonder that WFM has consistently been ranked as one of the top 100 best companies to work for. Employees can go to work and know they work for a company that means what the say.
I can think of no better way to engender a positive reputation than by being a company of integrity. In Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson’s book REWORK, they say that “A strong stand is how you attract super fans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider and more passionately than any advertising could.”
I hope more companies will be like Whole Foods and stand for something, both internally with their employees and externally with their customers. Like AJ said in his recent post about social media and customer interaction:
As customers, we want to be heard, noticed, and recognized. A fast, transparent response about what is going on behind the scenes is always appreciated.
The key to all of this is being real. So be real or be lame, its your choice.