Reputation & Marketing

Food For Thought

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It does not take Captain Obvious to tell you that having a great reputation is gold. However, times it is also a curse.


Wawa is a large chain of convenience stores in the mid-Atlantic United States. They started as a dairy farm in the last century and eventually grew into a chain of convenience stores with some of the best food offerings you can imagine. Go into a Wawa at lunchtime or the breakfast hour and you will find a ling line of customers ordering meals on a kiosk and three to six diligent employees racing to fill them. This devoted following knows the reputation Wawa has developed for tasty sandwiches and other foods.

Competitors have tried to duplicate Wawa's success and often fail.


Because they are generally companies that have a reputation as gas stations. The consumer sees them as a gas station selling gas-station-food. Wawa, on the other hand, sells as much or more gasoline as their competitors but it was not an offering there until the 1990s, long after Wawa's reputation was established. They are a convenience store that just happens to sell to have gasoline.

Patrice & Associates

Another example - hospitality recruiting Patrice & Associates has a reputation as the "Gold Standard" of recruiting. For nearly 30 years they have found great talent for their clients, vetted the talent, and presented standardized resumes to their clients. These candidates are successfully in many cases even though they are not actively searching for a new position or even on social media. Patrice & Associates has proven they are well worth the fees they are paid. Yet their reputation is largely in the hospitality management field. Among hotel and restaurant workers most tenured professionals know their name and respect them. Yet their reach is much further than that. Their recruiters also work with retailers, grocers, manufacturers, IT, and even cruise lines. When talking to potential clients in those fields the reputation of Patrice & Associates will often solicit comments such as "We are not a restaurant" or "we are a bank, not a hotel'.

Reputation and the bottom line

Despite the misunderstanding of some customers about one's business model reputation is still an important asset. When Toys R Us was in their heyday they used a strategy of lowering their diaper prices to below-cost prices. Mothers would travel to their stores to stock up on this necessary item. Often their children would tag along and demand a toy in exchange for quiet or the mother would see an impulse item (with a high gross profit) to offset the diaper discount. The belief that Toys R Us had the lowest diaper price became so entrenched in the minds of the shopper they stopped looking at other stores, even Walmart, for diapers.

As soon as shoppers had a core belief, they would save at Toys R Us prices began to rise. Shoppers were not looking at competitors for prices and they had developed the habit of going to the toy giant so there was little risk on the retailer's part. Profits were restored.


Build your reputation and make sure you live up to the customer's perception. For Wawa and Patrice & Associates, their market share where they have an established reputation will remain if they are faithful to the perception. Make sure you do the same as an organization or individual.

© 2019 Max Impact Corporation