Bimbo Banter

The Benefits of a Great Reputation

  • Crisis
  • April 21, 2016
  • by Merrie Spaeth


It’s true that a great reputation takes years to build and can be lost in an instant, but a stellar reputation can also be very handy in rough moments. A great example is the front page editorial in the Dallas Morning News defending Southwest Airlines for its recent decision to remove a passenger for speaking Arabic.

The passenger went public and outrage ensued. A deeper investigation showed that the passenger had spoken of ISIS in a manner that alarmed another Arabic-speaking passenger. When the other passenger expressed concern, an airline official escorted the passenger off the plane to question him. During questioning, the passenger grew irate and accused the airline of “Islamophobia.” At that point, he wasn’t allowed back on the plane. (Southwest did, however, offer him a refund on his ticket and he was able to book on another airline that day.)

Initially, public opinion supported the passenger’s demand that Southwest offer a formal apology. It hasn’t, and its hometown paper has risen to its defense.

It’s worth noting that Southwest doesn’t just have a good business reputation; it has a reputation as being a great place to work, having accessible executives, placing a high value on a warm, friendly and caring environment and knowing the value of humor.

As you read the story, ask yourselves: “When we get in trouble and are criticized, who’s going to rise to our defense?” If there’s only silence, you have some work to do.

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