Good corporate reputations are critical because of their potential for value creation, but also because their intangible character makes replication by competing firms considerably more difficult. Existing empirical research confirms that there is a positive relationship between reputation and financial performance. This paper complements these findings by showing that firms with relatively good reputations are better able to sustain superior profit outcomes over time. In particular, we undertake an analysis of the relationship between corporate reputation and the dynamics of financial performance using two complementary dynamic models. We also decompose overall reputation into a component that is predicted by previous financial performance, and that which is ‘left over’, and find that each (orthogonal) element supports the persistence of above-average profits over time. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.