Industry Reputation

Industry Reputation Matters

Written by: Alan Rodway

Industries have different reputations and they make a difference to how easy or difficult it is to do business.

How is your industry regarded, by government, by the community, by customers and potential customers, by potential employees, by overseas interests? What are the predominant thoughts held in each case and what are the resulting impacts on your business? Whilst there will always be variation amongst people as to how your industry is regarded, consider, in broad terms, how it is regarded for aspects such as:

  • Professionalism
  • Customer service and value
  • Community worth
  • Industry purpose
  • Innovation
  • Trustworthiness
  • Investment opportunity
  • Benevolence
  • Pricing
  • Quality of people involved
  • Training and development

Understanding how your industry is regarded is important for many reasons. It can impact your sales/revenue, your ability to attract high quality staff, your longevity as a business, your ability to successfully launch new products, your ability to bring about change and it can affect how your people feel, to name a few.

If you are in an industry that is perceived as something less than positive it will be making life harder than it needs to be. Industries regarded as greedy will experience adversarial relationships with government, consumers and lobby groups. Industries regarded as unprofessional will find it difficult to attract quality people.

Poor industry reputations can be turned around though, by making some positive changes that people will notice. This is a strategy that many businesses should consider.


  • Find out, objectively, how your industry is regarded by those on the outside.
  • Where negative perceptions exist, consider the impact of taking actions to turn them around and do so if feasible.
  • If your business is a positive exception in a negatively regarded industry you will already be experiencing significant benefits as consumers and others gravitate to your business. Recognize and perpetuate the causes of you being an exception.
  • In extreme cases, it may be necessary to exit the industry over time as attitudes make it too difficult to run a sustainably profitable business in the future.
  • If you are in an industry that is positively regarded then determine the factors that make that the case and skillfully emphasize them in ways that aid the success of your business, e.g. in recruitment, in marketing.

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