Category Archives: Reputation

The What… and The How

A quick three question quiz:

1) Who was the HP Chairman who resigned her position over the recent HP Board leak investigation scandal?

Right, Patricia Dunn. You probably knew that.

2) Who was the HP Board member who was widely reported to have done the leaking that precipitated the investigation?

Can’t remember? It was George Keyworth.

3) For extra credit, what did he leak?

I’ll bet you’re having a harder time with this one… it’s reported almost nowhere, except that we all know the Board was “pooped” after it concluded discussions about it.

This brief morality tale is provided to illustrate one simple point: from a media and public perspective, the “how” of your actions in any response are likely to be as, if not more, significant than the “what” to which you are feeling compelled to respond.

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In another note, rumor has it that Bill is stirring from his slumber and may have his first post for us any day now. He gave an exhilarating address at Notre Dame recently and we’re waiting to hear about it. Keep your RSS readers peeled.

(posted by Ray Jordan)

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“…so this is a tragedy for us.”

Following so closely on the heels of a couple of postings about declines in company reputations, I must put forth a plea to my colleagues: let us please be careful in our language.

Over last couple of days: 94 confirmed cases of e coli in the United states due to contaminated packaged spinach; 14 gravely ill patients; one confirmed death of a 77 year old woman in Wisconsin.

Yesterday, after Natural Selection Foods did what from a distance looked to be all good things with timely recalls and warnings, a spokesperson for the company told the Associated Press and New York Times and other outlets, “What we do is produce food that we want to be healthy and safe for consumers, so this is a tragedy for us.”

A tragedy for us?

FOR US?!?!

Sorry, but I’m still shaking my head…

(Posted by Ray Jordan)

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“Reputation” gaining on “corruption”

OK, here’s a silly little thing.

Check out this Google Trends display. There’s a suggestion that we’re becoming increasingly more interested in “reputation” than in “corruption” (except perhaps in Washington, DC, as the chart shows). That’s an encouraging little social sign, no?

Perhaps we are what we search.

(Posted by Ray Jordan)

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Unraveling one slender thread around reputation

Sometimes you get some interesting pieces to a puzzle; and only months later as more pieces arrive do you start to see how they may be fitting together.

Let’s try putting a couple of pieces together on the topic of business reputation in the United States, thanks in large measure to data generated from the often insightful Pew Research Center.

First, let’s start with the sobering finding that public regard for business corporations has been in a downright plummet… from 73% of Americans favorable in 2000 to 45% favorable in late 2005. How low is 45%? Well, in 20 years of data collection, it’s never before dropped even as low as 50/50. Here’s a link to the Pew Research Center report.

Now, let’s mix in a broader finding from reputation research. This finding is that a large portion of the public regard for a company can be traced to the public perception of how that company treats its own employees. Although I’ve seen this regularly confirmed in proprietary research over the years, I don’t have a ready link to a publicly-available study. (I’d be happy for any comments that might remedy that.)

Now for the linkage. Pew has new research about workers in America that shows a profound shift in the levels of loyalty between employers and employees. According to Pew, “By a margin of 56% to 6%, Americans say employers are less, rather than more, loyal to workers now than they were a generation ago… By a similar margin of 51% to 8%, the public says workers show less, rather than more loyalty, to their employers now than they did a generation ago.” Here’s the link to that research.

So, to summarize:

Unprecedented drop in the underlying loyalty between employees and employers.

Unprecedented drop in public favorability towards business corporations.

Coincidence?

I think not.

Causality is tougher to prove. But this potential link does raise a couple important questions, given the pressures of today’s business environment:

1) can the sense of loyalty ever be restored between companies and their employees, generally recognized as one of their most valued assets?

2) if the answer to 1) is “no”, is there anything in the relationship between employer and employees that is powerful enough to substitute for loyalty – purpose, personal challenge, intellectual growth, etc?

(Posted by Ray Jordan)

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Filed under Communications / PR, Reputation