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When it comes to reputation management, too many people don’t think about it until they need it. By then it may be too late.

Amazon has recently been awarded the most reputable company by Forbes Media and Reputation Institute. That’s quite an honor, but the surprising part is that the company didn’t win that distinction on the strength of its brand, but on the strength of its leadership. Other companies didn’t do so well:

  • Google – 9th
  • Apple – 46th
  • Microsoft – 47th
  • Best Buy – 78th
  • eBay – 81st

Many of these companies have strong products and brands, but its the leadership of a company that determines its reputation. Amazon proves it.

The criteria used to judge reputation for this award include:

trust in companies and leaders rather than product brands, multiple stakeholders and their interactions, and building a connection between a company’s reputation strategy and its business strategy.

If you’re wondering whether your company can be judged by these same criteria, the answer is yes. In fact, your business will be judged by these criteria – and more. Whether you are a small business or a multi-national enterprise, your leadership will determine the reputation your company maintains in the marketplace. Leadership, not products.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build good products that people want to buy. It means, in addition to building great products, you should focus on great leadership. That’s the best reputation management you’ll ever have.

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