The power of reputation
A few years ago, I moved into a new home, and since then, I have slowly been decorating it, fixing issues, and making it better suit my needs. Improving both my living and working space has been great, and I have learned a lot while doing so.
I wanted to become better at DIY, so I studied hard. I’ve learned to move radiators, fit floorboards, change light fittings, paint, plaster, and much more. Despite my efforts to learn, there have been several things where I’ve needed outside help, and at times, that has been difficult.
Finding an expert in a very specific trade can be tricky, expensive, and often a gamble as you can never be sure how well the job will be done. This is where reputation is important, and perhaps more than any industry, reputation in the trade business matters. If you read a couple of reviews saying the person left the house in a mess or the problem came back, it can be very off-putting.
I had one task that required taking part of a wall down, but all the surrounding walls, the floor, and the ceiling needed to be left untouched. It took three months to find someone who could not only do the work but was willing to spend the extra time required to do the work by hand to protect the other parts of the room. Yesterday, they completed the work, and I couldn’t be happier. They did a great job, but more importantly, they took note of my needs and adapted their services to accommodate me. I’ll be recommending them to friends and reaching out if I ever need more work done again in the future.
At the heart of the board gaming industry is a community of gamers who are very passionate about games. They make the hobby a wonderful thing to be a part of and talk about games with each other regularly.
If you have a good reputation in the industry, then that community will start to trust you and support you in taking on bigger and more complex games. They’ll learn how you work, your strengths and weaknesses, and share them with other gamers. Just like a good tradesperson will find most of their work through word of mouth as a result of their reputation, a good publisher can find many of their customers in the same way.
There are many areas that will impact your reputation, but some key things for me are as follows:
- Create high-quality games, both in terms of components and gameplay.
- Deliver on time, whether it’s a crowdfunding project or going straight to retail, you should do everything you can to achieve your deadlines.
- Update people frequently, whether it’s good news, bad news, or no news. Going silent for a long period of time is damaging.
- Offer replacement parts freely and maintain a good replacement parts system.
- Support your customers no matter the issue. Make sure you respond quickly while being as helpful as possible.
- When you receive special requests, do what you can (within reason) to accommodate them. It’s not always possible, but if you can go the extra mile to help someone out, they are much more likely to tell people about you.
- Be active in all the places you operate within, whether that’s your website, social media, or something else. If people are looking somewhere you’ve told them you will be, make sure you are active there.
Most importantly, whenever you make key decisions for your business you should consider how the different options will impact your reputation and use that to help choose which direction to go.
Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!
Jen and Pete Lohs
20th April 2023 at 10:27 pm
Thank you for your thoughtful insights Frank; your time and effort is appreciated. We completely agree reputation is key. How we feel about publishers with passion, integrity, quality, honesty and openness encourages us to look initially at a game and often purchase again their follow up games. It certainly encourages a follow along. At this stage we love and play Isle of Cats with expansions, and are looking to pick up Race to the Raft in retail.
21st April 2023 at 2:55 pm
It’s my pleasure Jen and Pete, and I am really glad to hear you’ve been enjoying The Isle of Cats! I’m going to continue trying my best to provide a good experience while making enjoyable games. I really can’t wait to get Race to the Raft out in to the world later this year.