In fact, they are just about the most important thing you have in business.
If customers don’t trust you, if you fail to deliver on your word, if your products don’t do what they say they’ll do on the tin, Joe Public will quickly abandon you.
And they are unlikely to give you a second chance.
It’s a lesson learned the hard way by some heavyweight brands.
German car giant Volkswagen reckons it has paid a £25billion price for fiddling its diesel emission results to make it look like its cars were less polluting than they really were – and has set aside another £1billion for legal costs to cover the fallout from the scandal.
Banking giant Northern Rock – a company with a £5bn turnover at its peak – disappeared from our high streets almost overnight when the then BBC economics editor Robert Peston revealed in September 2007 it had applied to the Bank of England for emergency support to help it through a liquidity crisis.
Thousands of people with money in the bank lined up outside its branches the next day to withdraw billions of pounds and seal its fate. The Rock crumbled the second its core reputation was called into question.
And – without wanting to be overtly political – look at the way Theresa May’s position became untenable when she repeatedly made promises she could not deliver. She would not call a general election (she did), we would leave the EU on March 30 (we didn’t), there would be no extension to the Brexit deadline (there was) and Brexit meant Brexit (I’ll leave you to decide on that).
As PR specialists with a track-record in journalism, we know just how valuable your reputation is. We know that too many companies take it for granted. And we know that once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Good PR will never be able to repair the damage of consistently failing to deliver on your word, of being caught out being economic with the truth or engaging in sharp practices.
But if you are one of the thousands of companies in this country doing your level-best to deliver the best possible service or product you can, a bit of PR help is an essential part of establishing, managing and enhancing your reputation.
And if the day does dawn when you find yourself in the middle of an unforeseen crisis, you’ll be able to breathe just that little bit easier knowing that we have got your back.