A radical kind of brand activism

There is always time for a first when it comes to CEO Activism. First we had the CEOs in opposition to the anti LGBT laws in 2016. Then we had CEOs against the Trump ban on immigration. Then we had the advertisers pulling ads from Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor, a favorite station of the president’s. And most recently some CEOs protested against the climate change withdrawal from the Paris Accord. All of these are part of an evolution of how business is being held accountable to corporate values and standing up for principles that are the foundation of corporate behavior. Then this week we saw the Reebok “flow chart” which criticizes President Trump’s comment about what great shape French President Macron’s wife is in during the presidential visit to Paris and Reebok jumps on this ill-advised statement to say that they take offense. After all Reebok is  all about the women’s fitness Continue reading "A radical kind of brand activism"

A radical kind of brand activism

There is always time for a first when it comes to CEO Activism. First we had the CEOs in opposition to the anti LGBT laws in 2016. Then we had CEOs against the Trump ban on immigration. Then we had the advertisers pulling ads from Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor, a favorite station of the president’s. And most recently some CEOs protested against the climate change withdrawal from the Paris Accord. All of these are part of an evolution of how business is being held accountable to corporate values and standing up for principles that are the foundation of corporate behavior. Then this week we saw the Reebok “flow chart” which criticizes President Trump’s comment about what great shape French President Macron’s wife is in during the presidential visit to Paris and Reebok jumps on this ill-advised statement to say that they take offense. After all Reebok is  all about the women’s fitness Continue reading "A radical kind of brand activism"

Reputation Tidbits

Gosh, it’s been a while since I posted. It’s been a nonstop quarter and I feel like I can breathe this weekend. So I thought I’d mention a few things that have been on my radar reputation-wise. First, Harris Poll RQ released their 2017 corporate reputation study that included some interesting metrics. First, they find that crisis in one company does not necessarily infect other companies in the same industry. Thus, a company that has lost reputational standing in the financial services industry does not necessarily transfer its problems to other industry peers. That’s good news. The Harris Poll analysts also revealed that some companies are more liked (have higher RQs) by Republicans than Democrats. The polarization that exists today carries itself into reputational favorability among the public. This is notable because more CEOs are making their positions known on hot-button societal issues. So it makes sense for CEOs to
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Reputation Trends for 2017

Here we are at a most pivotal point in America’s history. Donald Trump, perhaps one of the most surprising people to have ever been elected President of the United States, will soon be inaugurated. For better or worse, the reputation of this nation hangs in the balance. Will America’s reputation be burnished or burned? Hard to say just yet. But one thing is abundantly clear. President Trump is likely to be a sharply different type of President than we are used to. His words and deeds will undoubtedly impact us not just during the next few years, but for years to come. As a businessman, and as someone who has appointed numerous other business people to hold significant posts in his administration, his words and deeds will also impact the reputation of American business and business leaders. I must confess that as I pull together my reputation prognostications for 2017, Continue reading "Reputation Trends for 2017"

Company as Platform

As I was preparing for a recent presentation on trends in the corporate world, I came across this quote from Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. The article was about how he showed up in Rufus King Park in Jamaica, Queens with rapper Common to nudge people to get out and vote. Schultz made the point that the only way we can get over the dysfunction in American government today is if we all go out and vote in this upcoming election. I have to agree with him that people must take advantage of their stake in government and make their opinions known. What struck me in the article, however, was this simple statement: “We really think of Starbucks as a platform.”  He could not be more right. We’ve heard a lot of talk this past year about purpose-driven companies but I think that Schultz’s vision of taking a company and turning Continue reading "Company as Platform"

Reputational Threats

I came across this interesting chart in a report by the Harris Poll 2016 about which potential scenarios are most damaging to reputation, according to the American public. The results make clear that the greatest threat to corporate reputation is being dishonest, unethical and hiding the truth. Lack of disclosure is a reputation-killer. A full 80% of respondents indicate that not telling the whole truth about products/services and intentionally lying on the part of leadership will lead to severe reputation harm. Third on the list of reputation-busters is data breaches which at this point is almost an everyday affair. This finding underscores how important privacy is to Americans and how much citizens expect companies today to be prepared for the inevitable or pay the price. I was surprised that hearing bad financial news was not higher on the list but clearly we are all immune to hearing that financial performance is not what was expected.
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Pharma’s Rise in Reputation

It has been a long time coming but in the annual corporate reputation survey by PatientView among more than 1,000 patient groups in 72 countries, 45% reported that pharma had a Good or Excellent reputation in 2015, up from 39% the year before. That is the highest level since the survey began in 2011. To lend even greater support to that finding, nearly 3 in 10 (28%) patient groups said they expect the pharma industry to improve over the next 12 months. This is good news for a beleaguered industry. The bump in perception comes from patient group’s view that the industry is delivering greater value in its delivery of high quality products and services. However, the pharma industry still has its work cut out for itself. Patient groups did not give high ratings for the industry’s fair pricing policies and nearly 1 in 2 said they were poor at this. The countries Continue reading "Pharma’s Rise in Reputation"

The Freefalling Reputation Stumble Rate

Weber Shandwick’s annual calculation of reputation loss – the “stumble rate” – finds the lowest rate of loss since we began calculating and tracking this rate back in 2010. During 2015, just about one-quarter of the world’s largest companies lost their esteemed status as the #1 most admired company in their industry. That’s just one in four compared to one in two in 2010. That is more than a trend … that’s a sea change. And good news for those who stay awake worrying about their company’s reputation. Each year Weber Shandwick measures the rate at which companies lose their lofty perch in their industries on the Fortune World’s Most Admired Companies list. We call this the stumble rate. Between 2015 and 2016, 25% of the world’s largest companies experienced a stumble, down from last year’s 31% and on a steady decline since 2012. Before jumping into several insights Continue reading "The Freefalling Reputation Stumble Rate"

Small and Mid-Cap Company Reputation

Always enjoy finding some new data on the value of corporate reputation among different subsets of companies. Small and mid-cap companies believe that 28% of their value is attributable to reputation. Thus, the total value of corporate reputation for all UK listed companies could be nearly £1.7 trillion. The research was conducted by BDO LLP and the Quoted Companies Alliance and conducted by YouGov. Other interesting stats:
  • 79% believe that corporate reputation is very important
  • The person primarily responsible for a company’s corporate reputation is the CEO (34%), followed by the board (32%) and executive management team (21%).
  • The people that companies turn to for advice on corporate reputation are PR/Communications professionals (46%), brokers/NOMAD (37%) and then lawyers (13%).
  • Greatest threats to reputation are rumors in traditional media (21%), cybersecurity (18%), rumors on the Internet (17%) and fraud (12%). Interesting that hearsay in traditional media leads those on the Internet.
And Continue reading "Small and Mid-Cap Company Reputation"

Wishful thinking on gender equality

I just received the lowdown on McKinsey Quarterly‘s top 10 most popular articles for 2015. As a subscriber, I was curious where their excellent work on Gender Equality would rank. Top five? Bottom five? I was rooting for it to appear among the top three. Because my team at Weber Shandwick was deep in the throes of launching our own research on gender equality in the executive ranks, we were in watch mode for their September release along with partners’ Lean In and The Wall Street Journal . Talk about a powerhouse team. Turns out their series of articles based on the research was not among the top 10 most popular articles this year. Instead, their most popular ones include features on innovation, marketing, digital know how, leadership types, etc.  How is this  possible? Does no one care? I already know the answer from our own survey. Gender equality in the upper ranks is not a top Continue reading "Wishful thinking on gender equality"

Page One

I judge my own reputation oftentimes by where my work on reputation shows up in Google. As we say, Google is not a search engine but a reputation management system. As the holiday weekend is ending, I thought I would spend a few moments typing in “reputation” into Google and seeing how many pages back some of our work appeared. Lo and behold, an article I wrote on Reputation Warfare in HBR a few years back showed up on the bottom of page one. Thank you to Google webcrawler for making my day. The post Page One appeared first on ReputationXchange.

Company behind the brand matters

Came across an illuminating research report by Stanford Business School, Trust and Consequences: A Survey of Berkshire Hathaway Operating Managers, by David Larcker and Brian Tayan. They surveyed the CEOs of approximately 80 Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries. It’s an ingenious idea because how often have business people wondered what it would be like to work for the renown Berkshire Hathaway? Is all that reported independence as true as reported? Clearly it is. Turns out that this highly successful and revered company is what it is said about it…it is hyper-decentralized and focused on long-termism.  The research asked what it would take to get Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger riled up enough to place a phone call in this highly independent and hands-off conglomerate.

According to one CEO, the main messages that come from HQ are the following:

“1. Never lose reputation for the Berkshire Hathaway brand or the company’s brand;

2. Run your business as if it Continue reading "Company behind the brand matters"

The gender tipping point

In our recent study on gender equality in the executive ranks, we posited that gender balance would become a prime driver of reputation in the years to come. I would say we are on the cusp on that happening soon. The report provides reasons why that is the case and I urge you to read it. But one of our more interesting questions we asked of male and female executives was what they saw as the tipping point that will ultimately trigger gender quality at the C-level. The findings were fascinating. For male executives, the number one tipping point was external pressure from stakeholders such as board members, shareholders, vendors, partners, job applicants, clients and consumers. In other words, pressure from the outside. This finding made me think back about to about nine years ago when we pitched a super large electronics company and one of their first questions they asked us was whether the Continue reading "The gender tipping point"

On my reputation mind…

A few notes from my week…
  • I got a kick out of Fortune’s Geoff Colvin’s Power Sheet this week which I read religiously. He said that despite all the weighty topics at the Fortune Global Forum on disruption and the digital revolution, all the CEOs kept coming back to culture. I think that more than ever, having the right place to work with the right values and the right people is at the heart of the best companies. I never forgot a quote from an individual many years ago after a Royal Dutch Shell incident who said that culture was the heartbeat of an organization. I always liked that.
  • The Guardian had an interesting roundup on the value of reputation. Listen up. Two days after the VW emissions scandal became public, the automotive company lost nearly $28 billion in market value. I guess you can say that’s the downside of a damaged reputation.
  • At  Continue reading "On my reputation mind…"

Gender media-wise

You can probably tell that I am deeply immersed in how gender equality at the C-level of organizations is going to become a strong reputation driver as the war for talent heats up even more, more lists on best places for women to work evolve and women run out of patience. Our report, Gender Equality in the Upper Ranks, certainly found hints that this is the case. As we were releasing the survey earlier this week, a colleague mentioned to me a new hire at the Guardian US. (see below). Again, more proof that Gender is going to be the new “green.” I know that sounds corny but it is true. Here is what my colleague sent me:

Molly Redden will soon be a Senior Reporter covering gender equality at Guardian US. She is currently finishing up as a Reporter in Mother Jones’ Washington bureau. Previously, Molly worked for The New Republic, Continue reading "Gender media-wise"

Gender Equality in the Upper Ranks

The universe of female executives and CEOs is very small: Just 5% of U.S. FORTUNE 500 and 4% of FTSE companies are run by women. On a global basis, just 9% of CEOs and managing directors are women. 

We at Weber Shandwick just recently released our own information on the topic. We consider our data unique because it is not just US-based (S&P500) or an estimation from a survey among executives. We measured the number of women in senior management teams in the largest 100 companies in the world and found that only 12.5% of senior management teams have a woman, not exactly gender-balanced (50/50). A startling 29% have no women on their teams and unfortunately 0% (ZERO) are gender balanced. In my first draft of how we should communicate our Index results, I thought to myself, when do you ever see a 0% finding in a headline? We chose to focus instead on the 12. Continue reading "Gender Equality in the Upper Ranks"