The|Intangibles » Current Affairs http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil Selected posts from Boyd Neil's blog at http://www.boydneil.com Tue, 23 Nov 2010 20:22:30 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Gladwell on the Sidelines http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/9/28/gladwell-on-the-sidelines.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/9/28/gladwell-on-the-sidelines.html#comments Tue, 28 Sep 2010 10:57:36 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:9023240

(The lovely image is from the article discussed below, but there is no credit identified.)

Malcolm Gladwell tends to write about what exists and why, not what is coming into existence and what it means or how to advance it.

In an article in the October 4th issue of The New Yorker called Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted, he does it again with social media activism:

. . . it is a form of organizing which favors weak-tie connections that give us access to information over the strong-tie connections that help us persevere in the face of danger. It shifts our energies from organizations that promote strategic and disciplined activity and toward those which promote resilience and adaptability. It makes it easier for activists to express themselves, and harder for that expression to have an impact.

He is talking, of course, about ’slacktivism’ which is the pundit’s dismissive term for the way many people leave their militancy on the walls of Facebook pages:

Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make real sacrifice.

Contrasted to this is “high-risk activism” which is at the core of disruptive social change like that which started the civil rights movement in the US in the late 50s and early 60s . . . “Activism that challenges the status quo – that attacks deeply rooted problems – is not for the faint of heart.” It requires, as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (rendered in the picture above) and Gladwell agree, strategy, discipline and hierarchy. (That’s why the Bolsheviks led a revolution and anarchists could not.)

No argument there. But to say this is not Facebook, Twitter and other social networks is short-sighted and something of a straw-man line of reasoning. Yes Facebook and Twitter are weak-tie networks and will never in themselves be platforms for sweeping systemic change. But they do a couple of things well: they create ties where there were none before; and they are a source of ideas. People making connections and debating ideas are fertile ground for social activism, just like the late night chats of the freshmen in Greensboro who courageously challenged racism at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in 1960, Gladwell’s apocryphal story (not in the facts, which are true, but in the significance Gladwell affords it) starting point for his article.

I wish Gladwell had spent his awesome intellectual gifts thinking about what use of the social web could move weak-tie connections to the strong-tie relationships that are midwives to strategic and disciplined social activism. He should take a close look at successful online political and community organizing (such as the Obama election campaign about which he says nothing) and see how it converts loose networks into a campaign force. Or he should imagine a Facebook campaign which, at its inception, builds in mechanisms for organizing action, for gathering and unleashing committed high-risk activists.

Instead, Gladwell plays to the myopic crowd who find it easier to talk about limits than about opportunties.

]]>
http://www.boydneil.com/blog/rss-comments-entry-9023240.xml 0
Howard Rheingold’s Social Media Literacies http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/9/25/howard-rheingolds-social-media-literacies.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/9/25/howard-rheingolds-social-media-literacies.html#comments Sat, 25 Sep 2010 17:54:08 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:8983194

Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs among other writings on technology and culture, spoke (inspirationally) last Thursday at Toronto’s Ryerson University about the use of social media in education. That’s him below . . .

One of his themes is the need for educational institutions, instructional designers and teachers to recognize the new ‘literacies’ required of graduates, and the implications of them on how and what is taught.

The ‘literacies’ in Rheingold’s lexicon are attention, participation, collaboration and critical consumption, all of which make sense given the ubiquity of information, ease of search and value of networks in invention and ideation. Critical consumption – or crap detection – is especially important in a culture in which even barely educated Hollywood celebrities and 16-year-old pop singers have political and social opinions they think worthy of tweeting. And I would also add visual mindfulness to the list given the increasingly dominant place of images in online narratives.

I did wonder, though, about how much Rheingold values what he called ‘alphabetic’ literacy and the role it plays in his collaborative model of learning. As the final assignment in his course at Stanford, Rheingold asks his students, reluctantly I sense, to create (not ‘write’) an essay drawing together the words or concepts defined throughout the course. But the chronicle seems secondary to the process of connecting and interacting to develop the understanding, which now that I think of it is true . . . to a point.

My experience teaching at two urban Canadian universities and as a communications consultant in a large firm, makes me sensitive to any devaluation of the act of writing and what it requires in logical structuring and presentation of ideas. I see a lot of sloppy writing, from essays to news releases. And by sloppy I don’t mean the creative manipulation of language to make a point or give birth to a feeling, which can be artful.

Writing in Wired a few months ago, Clive Thomson reported that:

In interviews, they (students) defined good prose as something that had an effect on the world. For them, writing is about persuading and organizing and debating, even if it’s over something as quotidian as what movie to go see.
Nothing wrong with that. But persuading, organizing and debating, especially persuading and debating, without the rigor of expression is ineffective and usually boring. Not that I think Rheingold undervalues rhetoric. He is too much the master of language and reasoned argument himself. But I do think he and others should be careful not to turn a blind eye to how untutored many people are these days, and the fault is only ours when we don’t ask for high standards in expression even if people are attentive, participatory, and collaborative and exhibit effective bullshit detection.
Critic and scholar Jacques Barzun justifies why in the preface to his 1986 book A Word or Two Before You Go:

The fact is that great ideas and deep feelings cannot be fully known or enjoyed, rightly valued or reported, unless they are closely scanned in the only way open to us – matching the experience with the right words.

]]>
http://www.boydneil.com/blog/rss-comments-entry-8983194.xml 0
Social Media and Civic Engagement http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/18/social-media-and-civic-engagement.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/18/social-media-and-civic-engagement.html#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2010 13:49:26 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:6328483 The British magazine Prospect featured a debate this month between Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky about the advantage -- or danger -- the Web brings to global politics, civic life and the pursuit of such values as freedom, liberty and democracy.

These two examples capture the differing points of view of the two debaters:

First to Clay Shirky:

Nevertheless, I want to defend the notion—which Morozov goes after in the “man most responsible for intellectual confusion” section of his essay—that social media improves political information cascades, as outlined by the political scientist Susanne Lohmann. It also represents a new dynamic within political protest, which will alter the struggle between insurrectionists and the state, even if the state wins in any given clash. Where this will lead to a net advantage for popular uprisings in authoritarian regimes is an open question—and a point on which Morozov and I still disagree on—but the new circumstances of coordinated public action, I believe, marks an essential change in the civilian part of the “arms race.”

Now for Mr. Morozov's rebuttal:

One possible reading of the current situation on the ground in Tehran is that, despite all the political mobilisation facilitated by social media, the Iranian government has not only survived, but has, in fact, become even more authoritarian. The changes currently taking place in Iran are far from positive: a catastrophic brain drain triggered by the recent political repressions, a series of violent crackdowns on politically active university students who have chosen to remain in the country, the persecution of critical bloggers, journalists and editors, the appointment of more conservative ministers to the government, and mounting pressure on dissident politicians. From this perspective, the last six months could be taken to reveal the impotence of decentralised movements in the face of a ruthless authoritarian state—even when those movements are armed with modern protest tools.

I am on Mr. Shirky's side in this debate; as, I suspect, would be New York Times journalist, and Iranian exile, Nazila Fathi who wrote yesterday that "Protest was not about to die in Iran. Neither was news about it, nor our part in telling the story. Three things have made all the difference: the global reach of the Internet; the networking skills of exiled journalists and our sources; and the resourcefulness of Iran’s dissidents in sending information and images out."

Shirky's premise is that we are witnessing a fundamental shift in what he calls civic life. The demos is choosing more and more to play out civic life, and to participate in communities and the politics of their nations, through social media -- Twitter, Facebook, blogs, mobile chats and hundreds of social networks. The effectiveness of these social media today in toppling regimes, or the fascist backlash that sometimes result as Morozov points out, from this digital engagement, is not the crux of the matter.

The question should be: Is the existence of social media changing what we mean by civic life, and how we discuss politics, organize civic action and combat despotic regimes? The answer is yes, and political thugs and petty autocrats should be taking note.

In Canada where the government prorogued parliament for what some felt were cynical and partisan reasons, civic opposition took the form initially in the creation of an anti-prorogation Facebook group. The group offered no suggestions for effective action, just a way to express outrage at what they apparently felt was a haughty political manoeuvre. 

But almost 200,000 people have taken the time to identify themselves as opposing what some called a "sad day for Canadian democracy".  'Question authority' as the slogan from the 1960s urged of us, and they are. Is it enough to change the governing party's mind? Not likely given it's reputation, deserved or otherwise, for being opaque and distant and proud of it . 

However, to continue with the 1960's metaphor, 'somethin's happening here and what it is is EXACTLY clear' (Buffalo Springfield song for those who weren't around). Nearly 200,000 people have taken a step to make their feelings known . . . and in a public way that six or seven years ago would have been impossible.

People in democracies and those suffering under authoritarian regimes are channeling their impatience, indignation and anger through social networks. They are coalescing their opposition in groups mediated through these networks.

And both are just a step away from direct civic engagement and action.

]]>
The British magazine Prospect featured a debate this month between Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky about the advantage — or danger — the Web brings to global politics, civic life and the pursuit of such values as freedom, liberty and democracy.

These two examples capture the differing points of view of the two debaters:

First to Clay Shirky:

Nevertheless, I want to defend the notion—which Morozov goes after in the “man most responsible for intellectual confusion” section of his essay—that social media improves political information cascades, as outlined by the political scientist Susanne Lohmann. It also represents a new dynamic within political protest, which will alter the struggle between insurrectionists and the state, even if the state wins in any given clash. Where this will lead to a net advantage for popular uprisings in authoritarian regimes is an open question—and a point on which Morozov and I still disagree on—but the new circumstances of coordinated public action, I believe, marks an essential change in the civilian part of the “arms race.”

Now for Mr. Morozov’s rebuttal:

One possible reading of the current situation on the ground in Tehran is that, despite all the political mobilisation facilitated by social media, the Iranian government has not only survived, but has, in fact, become even more authoritarian. The changes currently taking place in Iran are far from positive: a catastrophic brain drain triggered by the recent political repressions, a series of violent crackdowns on politically active university students who have chosen to remain in the country, the persecution of critical bloggers, journalists and editors, the appointment of more conservative ministers to the government, and mounting pressure on dissident politicians. From this perspective, the last six months could be taken to reveal the impotence of decentralised movements in the face of a ruthless authoritarian state—even when those movements are armed with modern protest tools.

I am on Mr. Shirky’s side in this debate; as, I suspect, would be New York Times journalist, and Iranian exile, Nazila Fathi who wrote yesterday that “Protest was not about to die in Iran. Neither was news about it, nor our part in telling the story. Three things have made all the difference: the global reach of the Internet; the networking skills of exiled journalists and our sources; and the resourcefulness of Iran’s dissidents in sending information and images out.”

Shirky’s premise is that we are witnessing a fundamental shift in what he calls civic life. The demos is choosing more and more to play out civic life, and to participate in communities and the politics of their nations, through social media — Twitter, Facebook, blogs, mobile chats and hundreds of social networks. The effectiveness of these social media today in toppling regimes, or the fascist backlash that sometimes result as Morozov points out, from this digital engagement, is not the crux of the matter.

The question should be: Is the existence of social media changing what we mean by civic life, and how we discuss politics, organize civic action and combat despotic regimes? The answer is yes, and political thugs and petty autocrats should be taking note.

In Canada where the government prorogued parliament for what some felt were cynical and partisan reasons, civic opposition took the form initially in the creation of an anti-prorogation Facebook group. The group offered no suggestions for effective action, just a way to express outrage at what they apparently felt was a haughty political manoeuvre.

But almost 200,000 people have taken the time to identify themselves as opposing what some called a “sad day for Canadian democracy“.  ‘Question authority’ as the slogan from the 1960s urged of us, and they are. Is it enough to change the governing party’s mind? Not likely given it’s reputation, deserved or otherwise, for being opaque and distant and proud of it .

However, to continue with the 1960’s metaphor, ’somethin’s happening here and what it is is EXACTLY clear’ (Buffalo Springfield song for those who weren’t around). Nearly 200,000 people have taken a step to make their feelings known . . . and in a public way that six or seven years ago would have been impossible.

People in democracies and those suffering under authoritarian regimes are channeling their impatience, indignation and anger through social networks. They are coalescing their opposition in groups mediated through these networks.

And both are just a step away from direct civic engagement and action.

]]>
http://www.boydneil.com/blog/rss-comments-entry-6328483.xml 0
Reputation Key in FDI http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/9/1/reputation-key-in-fdi.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/9/1/reputation-key-in-fdi.html#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2009 11:12:23 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:5052388 An analysis by Shawn McCarthy in Canada's national newspaper The Globe and Mail of PetroChina Co. Ltd.'s investment in Canada's oil sands (through an investment in Athabasca Oil Sands Corp.) makes this assertion:

Despite some concerns about PetroChina's ultimate control resting in the hands of senior mandarins of China's ruling Communist Party, the company will likely face little opposition from the federal government on this deal.

Just two weeks ago, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was in Beijing and told officials that Canada welcomed commercial investments in resource development from Chinese companies, so long as they are subject to proper corporate governance.

It is indeed an important test of the Canadian government's new guidelines for state-owned foreign direct investment. But broader public understanding of - and support for - foreign investment by offshore suitors would help the government along. For this to happen, these companies need to do a better job of making their case before announcing a deal. There are at least four things that should guide their reputation building strategies, assuming they care about public opinion:

  1. Being transparent and honest about their global business strategy
  2. Introducing their senior executives to the host country to temper mistrust
  3. Creating healthy sources of information online about the company, its management and its investment and operational track record
  4. Committing to integrity and openness in corporate governance and providing evidence of this  commitment through a world-class and defensible code of business conduct

The alternative is to hope the host government will not experience, or will ignore, public doubt or opposition. And with any elected government that is always a questionable proposition no matter its ideological commitment to foreign investment.

]]>
An analysis by Shawn McCarthy in Canada’s national newspaper The Globe and Mail of PetroChina Co. Ltd.’s investment in Canada’s oil sands (through an investment in Athabasca Oil Sands Corp.) makes this assertion:

Despite some concerns about PetroChina’s ultimate control resting in the hands of senior mandarins of China’s ruling Communist Party, the company will likely face little opposition from the federal government on this deal.

Just two weeks ago, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was in Beijing and told officials that Canada welcomed commercial investments in resource development from Chinese companies, so long as they are subject to proper corporate governance.

It is indeed an important test of the Canadian government’s new guidelines for state-owned foreign direct investment. But broader public understanding of – and support for – foreign investment by offshore suitors would help the government along. For this to happen, these companies need to do a better job of making their case before announcing a deal. There are at least four things that should guide their reputation building strategies, assuming they care about public opinion:

  1. Being transparent and honest about their global business strategy
  2. Introducing their senior executives to the host country to temper mistrust
  3. Creating healthy sources of information online about the company, its management and its investment and operational track record
  4. Committing to integrity and openness in corporate governance and providing evidence of this  commitment through a world-class and defensible code of business conduct

The alternative is to hope the host government will not experience, or will ignore, public doubt or opposition. And with any elected government that is always a questionable proposition no matter its ideological commitment to foreign investment.

]]>
http://www.boydneil.com/blog/rss-comments-entry-5052388.xml 0
Future of Newspapers – Debate Rages (?) http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/08/14/future-of-newspapers-debate-rages/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/08/14/future-of-newspapers-debate-rages/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2009 20:05:54 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-6a00d83451d94369e20120a4f5787c970b Debate about the future of newspapers won’t die for some time yet I think . . . at least among journalists, news media watchers, some bloggers and Clay Shirky.

Roy Greenslade on Greenslade Blog wrote this week on newspapers and magazines charging for their online content. Greenslade’s title alone raises the key question: "Paid content is all the rage with US publishers – but where’s the proof that anyone will pay?"

I chuckled over the comment from Steven Brill, founder of Journalism Online, in the piece that JO "has helped shift the debate over charging for online news from ‘if’ to ‘when and how’" because beleaguered publishers have moved past the "abstract debate" to agree that paid content is the way ahead." (JO’s goal is to help them get there.)

Now there’s a shock right? Publishers think the solution to declining print revenues is to charge people for accessing onlne content.

Megan McArdlein The Atlantic online framed the debate marvellously this way "The problem besetting newspapers is not that there are hordes of bloggers giving it away for free . . . Even if every newspaper and magazine in the country entered into a binding cartel agreement not to put more than a smidgen of free content on their websites, newspapers would still be losing money, and closing by the dozens.  It’s the economics, stupid . . . We’re witnessing the death of a business model."

So how exactly is pushing people to pay for online content recognizing, as people like Shirky and McArdle (and dozens of others) have been rightly trying to point out, that the paid online content model which has been tried many times before will not revive the fortunes of "old" media.

]]>
http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/08/14/future-of-newspapers-debate-rages/feed/ 0
Newcastle United – How NOT to Manage Reputation http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/07/16/newcastle-united-how-not-to-manage-reputation/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/07/16/newcastle-united-how-not-to-manage-reputation/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2009 21:41:51 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-6a00d83451d94369e20115720f534d970b Newcastle United FC is a storied franchise in English football and ‘my club’ in the sense that I was born a Geordie (the name used to describe people from the northeast of England) and therefore am genetically predisposed to being a member of The Toon Army, as frustrating as that can be. My father (long deceased) was a friend of one of the team’s legends, Jackie Milburn (‘Wor Jackie’ as he is known), from when they both lived in Ashington in the 1940s.

This past season was a disaster for the club, with managers changing three times during a 38-game season and poor performances on the field by highly paid "stars’. The result is an ignominious demotion to the Coca-Cola Championship from the Barclays Premier League (where such other well-known franchises as Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool play).

The owner — Mike Ashley, who has been problematic, if not a disaster, from the beginning according to most reports — has been trying to sell the club since at least the last day of the Premiership season. It is now being coached by an interim manager.The players are furious and many of the first string players are asking for transfers. Even Ashley admits he has made a mess of things: “It has been catastrophic for everybody. I’ve lost my money and I’ve made terrible decisions. Now I want to sell it as soon as I can."

I have watched the public relations calamity unfold online on an almost daily basis through news reports from British newspapers and the NUFC’s website (which tends to report absolutely zilch about what is going on). The extraordinary thing is that management appears to be saying naught. News reports are based almost exclusively on comments by players or "sources’ close to the club.

From what I can tell, management has said nothing to reassure the city of Newcastle nor the club’s extraordinarily devoted fans that the coming season in the lower division will be nothing short of a debacle. No reassurances are being given; no sympathy expressed; no plans outlined; no time frames given; no deadlines offered . . . in other words, completely counter to basic crisis communications principles.

Okay, maybe management doesn’t see the situation as a crisis. Maybe management’s solicitors or investment bankers have said it must say nothing. Maybe it is sending out news updates that no news outlet is picking up. Maybe it has a social network, YouTube channel, blog or Twitter presence which I just haven’t been able to find. Or maybe management simply doesn’t recognize the damage that is being done to its reputation.

The supporters will be there for the players on the pitch when the dust settles: but when Geordies are called on to support an NUFC management business initiative, when the city is asked for a concession or a tax, or when the club’s history is written, who will be there to defend management’s interest and its "license to operate" the Geordies’ club?

]]>
http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/07/16/newcastle-united-how-not-to-manage-reputation/feed/ 0
Social Media and News Miscellany http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/06/12/social-media-and-news-miscellany/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/06/12/social-media-and-news-miscellany/#comments Fri, 12 Jun 2009 14:10:34 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-68018891 Lots of juicy factoids and information today that add a little more to my thinking on new communication memes:

  • Twitter_logo_header Of the many striking statistics in a report called ‘Inside Twitter‘ out of Canada’s Sysomos people, this one stands out for evidence of the sheer stupidity of the hordes who now call themselves  ’social media consultants’: “Of people who identify themselves as social media marketers, 65.5% have never posted an update (on Twitter).” I guess they just can’t be bothered . . . or don’t have time?

  • To be filed under the tab ‘Public Relations Through the Rear View Mirror’, according to an article today in the Ottawa Citizen Canada’s National Defence HQ has a new ‘conduit’ approach to public relations (in which all media questions are funneled through public affairs staff, with the journalist never allowed to speak to a subject matter expert directly) that the writer calls the 24 DAY news cycle: “Into this brave new world of hyper-speed news gathering, NDHQ has rolled out what I’ve termed, the 24-day news cycle. Yes, 24 days…..That’s about the length of time I figure that it takes NDHQto answer a question from the news media…..if it is answered at all.”
  • Bear with me on this one. Those who follow me on Twitter will know that as a native ‘Geordie’ I am an ardent — and frustrated, some would say foolish — supporter of the Newcastle United football club, formerly of the English Premier League now relegated to tier two football as a result of an abysmal season this past year. Thankfully, the owner has put the club up for sale (at 0,,10278~3488677,00 about US$200 million). Before he did so, he published a statement in which he said “I’m sorry” about four or five times. Frankly, it sounded hollow given Ashley’s unwillingness to invest in the club and his lack of commitment to its success in spite of having one of the most loyal fan bases of any football club. The lesson here is simple . . . saying ‘Im sorry’ in a crisis is not enough. An apology has to be backed up by action to resolve the underlying problem. In this case, the owner getting out is the right move, although that is not counsel I would give to many CEOs.
  • Finally, this about philanthropic giving . . . “Today, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) shares a first-look at results from its annual philanthropy survey of nearly 140 leading companies, revealing that 53% of companies increased their total philanthropic donations in 2008, and 27% increased their giving by more than 10% year-over-year.” So things are not as bad as the CR critics would have us believe.

]]>
http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/06/12/social-media-and-news-miscellany/feed/ 0
Reputation Risk and Water http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/06/01/reputation-risk-and-water/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/06/01/reputation-risk-and-water/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2009 12:38:54 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-67499873 Reputation risk for companies is an underestimated consequence of global concern about climate change. Rather than expending more inventive energy on denying a relationship between CO2 concentrations and global temperature, smart businesses should be looking for ways to gain come reputation capital by managing climate change risks in cooperation with communities and global agencies.

Last week, the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute released a short paper on climate change and its impact on water which recommends a number of sensible management strategies. The context for the paper is the statement that:

“There is overwhelming scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels has altered the chemistry of the atmosphere. Figure 1 shows that atmospheric CO2 concentrations are reaching levels that are likely higher than in the last 20 million years.Rising CO2 concentrations along with other greenhouse gases (GHG) are changing the planet’s climate. Global mean temperatures have increased three-quarters of a degree Celsius since 1900 and 11 of the 12 warmest years since 1850 have occurred since 1996.These climatic changes are expected to accelerate over the coming decades.”

The paper argues that a significant body of scientific evidence suggests climate change will affect the scarcity, sustainability and quality of the global water supply, which increases business risk, especially with respect to energy supply management, raw material inventories, industrial production systems and the associated financing costs.

Reputation risks can easily follow, for example as “people become more aware of their rights to access water . . . local businesses may find themselves using copious amounts of water in regions where people lack sufficient water to meet basic needs.”

The paper outlines some business strategies which mirror two dominant themes on how businesses today need to think of corporate responsibility (CR): CR as part of business strategy discussions (integrating “water and climate change into strategic business planning and operational activities”) and engagement of stakeholders in responsible planning (engaging “key stakeholders as a part of water and climate risk assessment, long-term planning and implementation activities”).

]]>
http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/06/01/reputation-risk-and-water/feed/ 0
Reasons to Feel Uneasy or Exhilarated http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/05/31/reasons-to-feel-uneasy-or-exhilarated/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/05/31/reasons-to-feel-uneasy-or-exhilarated/#comments Sun, 31 May 2009 21:45:29 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-67483033 Philip Sheppard, a past president of the International Public Relations Association, brought to my attention this exhilarating and numbing video called Did You KNow? posted on the Pilot Theatre (from Wakefield West Yorkshire) website . . . Lots to make you think about business, communications, knowledge management and North American education (strengths and failures).

]]>
http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/05/31/reasons-to-feel-uneasy-or-exhilarated/feed/ 0
Restoring Reputation http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/05/27/restoring-reputation/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/05/27/restoring-reputation/#comments Wed, 27 May 2009 21:32:11 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-67340393 The stock of CSX Corp., a Jacksonville Florida-based railway company has been discounted as a result of lingering criticism of “poor management”, according to UBS analyst Rick Paterson as reported today in the Financial Post. (I can’t find a link: The Financial Post’s website doesn’t make it easy.) It should be trading at a premium to its competitors according to Paterson.

He goes on to say “Four or five years ago that (“poor management”) was probably true, but we think these days are long gone and (mis)perception is lagging reality.”

If that’s the case (and I have no idea if the company has been actively trying to restore its reputation), then why is it that investment bankers and equity analysts stubbornly resist the idea that a good reputation, consciously developed, nurtured and communicated, can have a measurable impact on valuation? And why is it that some companies have such a hard time understanding that reputations don’t recover solely through solid financial performance?

There are strategies for reputation recovery. But they require commitment, humility and honesty . . . and the support of financial advisers, lenders and legal counsel.

]]>
http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/05/27/restoring-reputation/feed/ 0