Image or Quality? Which is King?

When first starting a business and putting the resources into its development, it is important to have the “image” of the business in mind. Questions one may ask are the following. What will your business stand for? What will it represent? And, what is your potential customer pool as a result? All of these questions fall into the “image” of the company and the reputation you will build for it as the model progresses. As such, this critical regiment should not be ignored.

Developing an appropriate image for a business is essential in its growth. What this means is that establishing a positive image will improve the likelihood for success for your business. Various studies show that businesses where values reflect respect for customers, high quality service and overall positivity had the greatest long term success. Many of these studies revealed that customers who rated the “image” of the business relatively highly were more likely to spend more money there and to visit said businesses more frequently. This was often found to be true regardless of the products of the company itself. What this leads me believe is that the way in which consumers see a business, not just its products, is the driving force behind the potential success of a business. In this regard, owners and executives of business should invest greatly in increasing this image. In this way, they can secure long lasting customers and income.

I agree with this notion completely. My take on this is one where I recommend a balance of the effort that executives put into a company’s overall image and the attention paid to ensuring quality of its products. The first will ensure that new customers visit the business and that those who already have visited continue to do so. Additionally, these people will spend more money with the business with each visit. However, the way to compound this effect greatly is, obviously, to offer a great, quality product in addition. Between the great product and the atmosphere of the brand, the environment is set for profits to be made.

This practice has been proven with many establishments. Among them is Chik-Fil-A. This chain restaurant is known for their kind and welcoming employees, clean restaurants and overall positive environment. In addition, the restaurant is observant of the “Sunday Rule” where families of both employees and customers are encouraged to spend time at home, together. Additionally, the restaurant remains closed on Sundays because the founder believed strongly in Christian values such as regular worship. For these reasons, the image of the restaurant is improved because of the respect seen for both employees and customers. These positive attributes of the restaurant are only bettered by the fact that the restaurant also produces great food at a great price point. Organic and otherwise “healthy” food options are regularly available to customers, ensuring that almost every customer is satisfied with their food options. The taste of the food, according to most who visit the chain’s restaurants, is definitely above average. In addition, the cleanliness of the kitchens and the standards employees who cook the food are held to are pristine, ensuring a quality product be served to customers.

Should the above advice be applied to new businesses, I believe that great benefit can be derived. By matching a great set of values, regulations and customer interactions and creating a beneficial reputation for the brand as a result, the profits of the business will only benefit. Matching this guideline with an overall quality product greatly increases this effect. I believe this is the main reason some businesses do better than others, regardless of how similar or even identical their products may be. This sense of “image” is king.

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