Reliability: What’s Required To Build It

Reliability:-whats-required-to-build-itWhat brands have you come to rely and depend on? How did they become worthy of such trust and confidence?

Sadly, lots of decent businesses and good brands have broken consumer trust and lost customer confidence. For some it was a single, devastating mistake. For others, it finally showed up after multiple issues never got resolved.

Embracing reliability as a core value is the easy part. Living it consistently is difficult.

As a differentiating value, Reliability means worthy of trust; dependable; faithful; authentic. Note the four components of this value:

  1. Worthy of trust. There’s no way around it, building trust takes time. So a start-up company shouldn’t try and claim this.
  2. Dependable. It’s about demonstrating consistent behavior until it’s predictable. This is how lasting brands are built.
  3. Faithful. The ability to stick to a set of principles or remain true to a defined ideology is only proven in difficult times. It’s about remaining loyal and steadfast no matter what. Unfortunately, this is rare to find in business today.
  4. Authentic. When others believe “you’re the real deal” they will stick by you. You won’t have to defend that you’re brand is the original. They’ll do it for you. It’s the reason there is only one Coke, Kleenex, and iPhone.

Here’s how two well-known companies – one in waste management, the other sells toys – define reliability as a core value:

  • Republic Services: We are trustworthy and accountable.
  • Toys “R” Us: Being reliable means working as a team so everything can move faster. We are a company that is dependable, and we produce what we promise.

Then there is Mylan.

Reliability in Action

Mylan-logoIf you’ve ever taken a generic drug, there’s a good chance it was made by Mylan. Of course, you can’t buy it directly from this company. You have to get it through your pharmacist.

When Mylan started in 1961, the two founders sold products out of the back of their car to doctors and pharmacists. Today, the company is a global leader in the production and distribution of generic drugs and specialty pharmaceuticals. It’s grown to become a major force in the generic drugs business.

Here’s how Mylan defines the value of Reliability:

Dependable. Reliable. Call it what you will, we’ve made it a habit. We strive to be there through thick and thin, rain or shine, delivering on every promise, every time. That’s why people around the corner and across the world count on Mylan.

Regardless of your opinion about the generic drug business, one thing that you absolutely expect from drug makers is reliability in the efficacy of the product. You expect every pill to perform exactly the same way, every time you take it.

The problem is that not all generic drug makers are reliable. Many articles have been written about this topic. And it’s not a new concern.

For Mylan, the value of reliability was first put to the test in 1986 when corruption and fraudulent practices were exposed in the generic drug industry. With Mylan’s help, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) changed their review procedures for generic drugs and introduced new safety precautions for consumers. In other words, the company stepped up to help solve an industry-wide problem of reliability.

In a more recent case, Mylan filed a suit against the FDA challenging their approval of India-based Ranbasy because of known manufacturing violations that compromised the quality of drugs being produced. Was this a case about fighting for exclusive rights to market a specific drug? Of course. But Mylan leveraged their focus on reliability as the foundation for the challenge because they viewed it as a competitive advantage.

That’s the kind of activity required from those that choose to embrace this value. They must be willing to do whatever it takes to build trust; demonstrate consistent behavior until it’s predictable; stick to a set of principles in difficult times; and demonstrate that they are “the real deal.”


Do you know of a company that embraces reliability as a core value? How are they doing it?


Today’s value was selected from the “Fairness-Respect” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Value.


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I write about differentiating values and their impact on leadership, marketing, and marriage - focused on couples in business together. Read more about Robert.