Why Reputation Matters

To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, I may not be able to define “obscenity, but I know it when I see it.”

Yet, despite myriad succinct definitions by, Merriam-Webster and others, the same could be said about “reputation.”

“She’s great.” 

“He has a reputation.”

If those were descriptions of you, which would you prefer? Me? I want to be her. And, that’s why reputation matters. When it comes to reputation, you want people to use an adjective to describe it. Left unmodified, simply having “a reputation” is pejorative.

Our reputations develop and change over time. Often, they precede us, whether through a personal referral, a deliberate Internet search or by sheer happenstance, so the first impression is out of our control. Other times, they’re shaped by the impressions we leave.

As a result, protecting one’s reputation presumes a certain degree of self-awareness, whether you are an individual or an organization, corporation or another entity whose reputation you’re managing.

With that in mind, who are you (or your organization), really? How do you want to be known? What words would you like family, friends, customers, competitors or colleagues to use to describe you? These are the questions to ask and the things to consider as you define your brand and your desired reputation.

Reputations are complex things. They evolve with the people they define. They distinguish each of us as individuals. They are what help make each of us, us. And, they can be built, shaped and protected when we understand what they are and define them to a stricter standard than Justice Stewart’s famous definition of obscenity.

It is for that reason, that I created this site. And it is for that reason that reputation matters.

What do you think? Join the conversation….