Strong Reputations Added to the idea of a strong brand is the idea of a strong reputation, that is having a good image for those dimensions of personality valued by stakeholders. In the following example the first three are fashion retailers the last a food retailer who also sell some fashion.
Beware Mathematical Correlations Correlation does not prove causality (although a lack of it can imply that there is no causality) A correlation is evidence of causality but some reason to explain the mathematical relationship is essential.
Case 1 Fashion Retailer Targeted at the young with limited disposable income Price led Small shops with loud music Fashion follower rather than a leader
Agreeableness Agreeableness evokes trust and in fashion retailing to be told that you Look wonderful in that is a sure sign that you dont, unless you can trust the employee. Branches where Agreeableness was high had a much higher sales per employee figure.
Competence and Informality Customers were more satisfied in branches where they rated them higher for Competence and Informality. A picture emerges of a retailer where the customer likes an informal atmosphere but at the same time wants to be dealt with competently and given an honest opinion.
Case 2 Fashion Retailer Targeted at those on a budget and tending to attract an older, more conservative customer. Large stores lacking a bit in character. 100% own brand
Enterprise Enterprise correlating negatively with sales growth means that customers preferred stores that did not appear to be so enterprising (modernity, adventure, boldness). They didnt want to see too much at the leading edge of fashion.
Case 3 Fashion Retailer and Enterprise (Again) This time Enterprise correlated positively with sales growth. Branches that appeared more enterprising were doing better. The retailer had once been a fashion leader and had fallen behind Modernity (one of the facets of Enterprise) correlated strongly with the age of employees.
Case 4 Is Ruthlessness Always Negative? This company is in the construction industry. Business is won against tender. Profitability is won by being tough with the customer and employees to ensure the job is finished under budget and that the customer pays well for any additional work Dominance (inward looking, authoritarian and controlling) correlates with sales growth
Case 5 Does Image always correlate with performance? Answer no. In this example of a large food retailer, Chic and Agreeableness correlate with satisfaction and satisfaction with financial performance but neither image factor correlates directly with sales growth. The links may at times be more indirect still, such as via loyalty
Does Satisfaction Always Drive Sales Growth? Again no. In this example a financial services retailer had lower sales growth in branches where customer satisfaction was higher The explanation is that as the branches got busier customer service and satisfaction declined as management were reluctant to put on more staff, because the business as a whole was suffering
Whats Reputation Worth? Differences within the same organisation of between 12 and 20 % of sales growth Dimensions of personality and/or satisfaction explain about 50% or more Tidying up Reputation appears to be worth 3-7 % sales growth, i.e. merely learning from within Exxon Valdiz cost Exxon about 5% sales loss
Whats Reputation Worth? The capital value of reputation is about 50% of annual sales Improving reputation is worth 5% per annum sales growth, say 1% on profit Assuming a 20% ROCE then the maximum investment in Reputation should be 5% of sales, about the same as the advertising budget for a consumer product
Summary Reputation is worth about half a years turnover and about 4-5 % sales growth Different aspects of corporate personality will rive commercial performance fro even similar companies