Our friend Don Thibeau wrote an article for American Banker about Wells Fargo recent fraud against their own consumers. If you are interested at all in authentication I recommend giving it a read here:
But I’d like to bring up another aspect of Wells Fargo’s scam as a case in point for the danger of adherence to the theory that “no one ever got fired for buying IBM”. (No slight against IBM intended.) When I was just starting out in business, buying services from only big name companies was a safe way to go. After all, how could you really trust a company you had never heard of before? But the times, they are a changin’.
- Wells Fargo hoped consumers wouldn’t notice the extra accounts they hadn’t authorized.
- Volkswagen hoped consumers wouldn’t notice how they rigged their car’s emission systems.
- Dare I bring up Enron, Arthur Anderson and HealthSouth?
- Those of us involved in telecom should also remember WorldCom, Adelphia and Global Crossing.
My point is that buying from a well-known brand doesn’t mean your business will be treated well, nor does it mean you’ll get a good product. It doesn’t even guarantee what the company says on its website is true. What makes a company great isn’t that you’ve heard of them. What makes a company great is the people who work there. But it isn't the number of people, it is the individuals themselves. Whether or not you’ve heard of the brand has nothing to do with product quality or the strength of the company.
A few cases in point:
Ingram Micro. A 30 billion dollar company with 14,000 employees that you’ve probably never heard of. But if you’ve purchased a computer… any computer… they likely had some role somewhere in the distribution channel to get it to you. (@IngramMicroInc)
Johnson Controls. A 28 billion dollar, 130 year old company that, among other things, makes car batteries and electrical components for just about every car company out there. You haven’t heard of them because those companies stamp their brands on most of the products Johnson Controls makes. (@johnsoncontrols)
YKK Group. A Japanese company that, unless you are reading this naked, probably manufactured a part of something you are wearing. If it’s a zipper, it likely came from YKK.
These companies make great products and are known in the industry and to their competitors, just not to the general public. Being a well-known brand doesn’t have anything to do with producing good products. Well-known companies can make as many bad things as unknown companies can make good things. So the next time you think to yourself “I’ve heard of them so they must be OK” you might want to think twice and actually test what they're selling. Don’t be surprised if the quality of a well-known brand isn’t nearly as good as that of the brand you’d never heard of. You’ll never know this unless you test.