Why Your Product’s Reputation Really Matters

by drjim on August 29, 2011

Once Your Product's Reputation Is Lost, There's No Getting It Back

Once Your Product’s Reputation Is Lost, There’s No Getting It Back

As product managers we try very hard to make sure that our products have all of the features and functionality that our customers want and need. In order to get our customers to purchase our products we attempt to make our products look like the type of product that they’d be proud to own. This all seems to work pretty well with one exception. We’ve all been told that if our product’s reputation gets damaged, we can expect to see customers walking away from our product in droves. In this day and age, is this still true – does a product’s reputation really matter?

Why Does A Product’s Reputation Matter?

Yes! Product managers like to think about things that are in the here and now and this is one reason that we can become confused about why our product’s reputation is so important. A product’s reputation is built-up over time and should be viewed as a sort of insurance policy. If a crisis occurs that involves our product, its reputation can see it through the crisis.

A reputation is much more important than many of us give it credit for. A product’s reputation is how our customers make decisions about which product to purchase once they’ve already made the decision to buy. Additionally, a product’s reputation can play a key role in such areas as retaining employees (who wants to work on a product with a bad reputation?), support from the community, etc.

What Can A Product Manager Do To Improve Their Product’s Reputation?

Product managers can play a key role in developing and improving their product’s reputation. It turns out that one of the key ways that a product reputation is created is through communication with customers.

Product managers can engage the community of potential customers in order to build their product’s reputation. This allows them to demonstrate to future customers just exactly what their product stands for. It is important to realize that this communication needs to be a two-way dialog – product managers need to listen and then take action based on what they are hearing.

Keep in mind that there are key areas that product managers can address in order to boost their product’s reputation. These include environmental issues such as: energy efficiency, waste, green products, and recycling.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

It turns out that yes, even in the digital age in which we are living, a product’s reputation really does matter. Our customers are always struggling to try to decide if they should buy a product and if so, then which product they should buy. A product’s reputation is one of the most important ways that they make this decision.

Product managers play a very important role in establishing their product’s reputation. Ultimately, reputation has a great deal to do with communication and that’s where a product manager comes in. The better you do in telling your potential customers about your product’s role in such reputation enhancing areas as energy efficiency, green products, etc. the better a reputation it will have.

Product managers need to learn that a product’s reputation is not a fixed thing. Rather, it’s dynamic – always changing. This means that managing your product’s reputation is something that a product manager needs to be working on all the time. Good luck and make sure that your product’s reputation is one that you can be proud of!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: What’s the first thing that a product manager should do if you inherit a product with a not so stellar reputation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When I was first out living on my own, the arrival of the latest copy of the yellow (and white) pages was a big deal. Since my parents had always received these huge volumes, when I got mine I felt that somehow I was now a “grown up”. Fast forward to the 21st Century and man have things changed. There still are Yellow Pages®, but is it possible that owning this product is the worst product management job ever?

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