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Chapter 3 The Customers' Perception Toward Secret Recipe's Reputation by Using the Reptrak™ Model

Abstract Reputation is a key feature of a successful business. To be among the most precious intangible assets to a small business, the excellent reputation is taken into account. However, in order to assess the company reputation, the variety of dimensions of corporate reputation can be perceived in different ways by different customers. This study perceives that these differences are significant to find out customers' perception toward the Secret Recipe's reputation specifically by using seven key dimensions of the Reptrak™ model.

Thus, a survey research was applied in this study. The survey was carried out in three different outlets of Secret Recipe. The questionnaire was comprised of 23 attributes which are divided in 7 key dimensions of the Reptrak™ model while four questions have been asked in order to measure good feeling, trust, esteem, and admiration that customers feel toward a company. This study concluded that by analyzing corporate reputation dimensions, the company would have a better understanding and decide on which reputation dimensions to focus besides ensuring that they still have a place in the customer's heart as well as enhancing their reputation.

3.1 Introduction

Nowadays, SMEs have a significant role in Malaysia's economy with regard to financial growth and also offering a job opportunity. Reported in the SME Annual Report (2006), SMEs lead to the expansion of manufacturing, services, and agriculture industrial sectors, including ICT services in relation to output, value added, employment, and exports. In the year 2011, statistics has proven that SMEs comprised 99.2 % of most businesses and led to 32 % of GDP, as well as 59 % of the overall employment [1]. Moreover, according to Hashim [2], SMEs in Malaysia are distributed in all activity sectors and perform a significant role in the Malaysian economic system. Their contributions caused huge impacts to the Malaysian economy. Reputation is a key feature of a successful business. Besides, it is often being seen as a hidden and most valuable asset toward the company. Branding and reputation in SME businesses are relatively new, even though corporate branding and reputation researches are relatively well established among giant companies such as Kraft Food Inc. [3]. The reputation in small businesses has yet to receive significant attention from researchers studying corporate reputation, with the focus predominantly on large global companies [4]. In today's competitive business environment, small businesses distinctly differ from large ones. Indeed, in small businesses, a more informal and less strategic approach to building a corporate reputation is employed compared to larger businesses [5].

Therefore, there are dissimilarities that exist in the reputation between small and large businesses [6]. There are also barriers to adopt the best practices in branding and corporate reputation due to financial and time constraints and/or a lack of specific branding and communication skills [7]. Different stakeholders might have distinct perceptions of the firm's reputation based upon their needs; on economic, social, as well as individual experience [8, 9]; and even on their special relationships with the company [10]. Seeing a company's corporate reputation is actually associated with people's past experience with a company [11]; a company might have multiple reputations, with a diverse number of attributes for different stakeholder groups [12]. Therefore, the variety of dimensions of corporate reputation can be perceived in different ways by different stakeholders. The different stakeholders may incorporate different weights to these particular dimensions and also use the various elements to assess a company. This study perceives that these differences are significant to find out customers' perception toward Secret Recipe's reputation specifically.

Since the RepTrak™ model has been launched in 2006 by the Reputation Institute, the model has been used to measure the reputation of large organizations and well-known companies such as Apple, Google, and Kraft Food. Therefore, by using the model, this study would like to test the credibility of the RepTrak™ model to measure the reputation in SME industry focusing in the Secret Recipe reputation.

 
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