Gallows humor? Perhaps, in the context of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, a 777 jet carrying passengers from Seoul, South Korea, that crashed at San Francisco's SFO airport on Saturday. The aircraft has had a great reputation for safety; the carrier less so. The Wall Street Journal says, "While the causes of the crash remain under investigation, Asiana's reputation has likely taken a hit in China, its second-biggest market in the region outside of Korea, say analysts."
Reputation for what? In Forbes magazine today, Jonathan Salem Baskin, Mission Intangible Monthly Briefing moderator, makes it clear that affinity is not the basis of reputation. Rather, it is the willingness of stakeholders to take actions that at the end create significant value for the company. The Economist made the same point last year, "Everybody bashes Ryanair for its dismal service and the Daily Mail for its mean-spirited journalism. But both firms are highly successful. ... the best strategy may be to think less about managing your reputation and concentrate more on producing the best products and services you can.”
Turning from the subjective to more detailed objective (algorithmic) metrics from Steel City Re, as of July 3, a few days before Asiana's crash, Southwest's ranking at the 84th percentile (reputation premium) is backed by a very low current RVM volatility (Consensus Trend) indicating near unanimity about the firm's reputation. Economically, the firm has been trailing the median of its peers ranking only in the 27th percentile. And with regards to safety, it has a fabulous record. Most of its passengers, indeed, get there alive. In light of its rising reputation ranking, the metrics suggest the firm is undervalued.