“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV) In Hebrew the word “name” is shem which designates something as a mark or memorial of individuality, and by implication, honor, authority, reputation or character (Strong, 2010). Other biblical versions state, “A good reputation…” Businesses, in this case marketing firms, establish a reputation through their interactions with consumers whether good or bad. However, in order for these firms to enjoy longevity and lasting success, character must be the foundation of their business.
Marketing management is the art and science of choosing target markets and getting, keeping, and growing customers through creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value” (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Within this context, a firm “identifies and meets human and social needs profitably” (Kotler & Keller, 2012). Where some businesses have fallen short is that they place “profits” above all else. They may have a good reputation (momentarily), but their foundation is built on deception and lies. A firm’s reputation may help get customers in the door, but it’s their character that contributes to the keeping and the growing of the customers. A company with character exhibits traits such as integrity, fairness, and trustworthiness just to name a few. Firms that market products to their customers using deceptive advertisements, that fail to recall a defective product, or that knowingly creates a lower quality product and overcharge the consumers, are examples of a business that lacks integrity, fairness, and/or trustworthiness.
Conversely, firms who have these characteristics ingrained into their culture or their way of doing things, have a competitive advantage over other companies. Not only will they get customers, but they’ll be able to keep them. These businesses establish lasting relationships built on trust and the quality of the products. While making a profit is important, these firms are not solely driven by it. “Character is rather to be chosen over riches…” When a company deals with others fairly and honestly, God shows them “loving favor”. And what is better than the favor of God. Should their reputation take a hit through slanderous means, these firms will still rise to the top because at their core, their foundation is their “character”. They will outlast any lie that may have damaged their “reputation”. Like Abraham Lincoln says, “Character is like the tree and reputation is like a shadow” (n.d.). In other words, a reputation is only an appearance and character is the real thing.
Events in the last few years clearly remind us that not all businesses (Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco for example) have “character”. Some of them lack the very essentials of character i.e. integrity, fairness, and trustworthiness. These businesses had a money first mentality and because of this they used any means necessary to obtain and keep it. They chose riches over a “good name”. Marketing firms are no different than any other business. If it has character, it will have a good ‘name’ or reputation. A company with a good reputation but lacks character won’t last. At the end of the day, character is the foundation.
Kotler, P., & Keller, K. (2012). Marketing management (14th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Prentice Hall. ISBN: 1256392510 custom Lincoln, A. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/29760.html Strong, James (2010) The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.Revised edition. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Pg. 283. The Holy Bible. King James Version.