The|Intangibles » Reputation 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 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”).

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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).

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Corporate Blogging: Still Hesitant After All These Years http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/04/24/corporate-blogging-still-hesitant-after-all-these-years/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/04/24/corporate-blogging-still-hesitant-after-all-these-years/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2009 12:00:23 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-65964009 More Fortune 500 companies are blogging, but the pace of growth is still shall we say restrained.

The full results of a study by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D. and Eric Mattson, CEO of Financial Insite
Inc., a Seattle-based research firm are available here and a summary of the key findings are in a news release by the Society for New Communications Research.

Of the findings posted in yesterday’s statement, here are few of particular interest:

  • 81 of the Fortune 500 or 16% currently have public-facing blogs, compared with 39 percent of the Inc. 500, 41 percent of the higher
    education sector and 57 percent of the nation’s Top 200 Charities.
  • 28 percent of the Fortune 500’s blogs link to Twitter accounts
  • 90 percent of the Fortune 500’s blogs have the comments feature enabled
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WSJ Takes it on the Chin http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/04/15/wsj-takes-it-on-the-chin/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/04/15/wsj-takes-it-on-the-chin/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2009 21:07:24 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-65453759

I have no idea if this post from Molly Wood truly reflects Apple’s approach to public relations (“hammer and hammer and hammer and hammer”), or if it is just the usual journalistic hectoring of public relations people doing their job.

But the pull-out quotation from the Wall Street Journal that prompted the piece demonstrates why many business people (and the demos at large) occasionally — okay, often — question the devotion of journalists to seeking truth from facts. Since the WSJ article uses as its source “people familiar with the matter”, “these people say” and “they say” it is also fair game to conjecture, as The Molly does, whether the publication has been spun by a zealous public relations “machine”.

The blame, though isn’t with the public relations people, as Wood accedes, but with lame and now inadequately supported journalism:

 

“It’s not a crime for a company to have a good PR machine. It’s working for
Apple and it has for a long time. But this is a nation that is, at the moment,
finding itself in quite a pickle because we blindly believed everything that
companies were telling us. So, if we’re trying to be skeptical about, say, large
financial institutions and their outlandish and/or reassuring claims, shouldn’t
we also cast the same critical eye on a convenient flood of information that
does little other than improve Apple’s stock price a week before they have to
answer to angry and worried shareholders? Or, hey, maybe the Wall Street Journal
just trying to boost the Nasdaq on purpose. You know, to help the
economy.”

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Maple Leaf Foods’ Launches “Crisis” Blog http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/03/25/maple-leaf-foods-launches-crisis-blog/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil/2009/03/25/maple-leaf-foods-launches-crisis-blog/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2009 17:43:11 +0000 Boyd Neil tag:typepad.com,2003:post-64623319 Maple Leaf Foods (not a client) today launched a blog in response to the 2008 Listeria deaths caused by eating its deli meats and, as with much of how the company handled the crisis, it is a very good model for the language and tone of effective messaging . . . frank, honest and contrite. (Although its design is quite lackluster.)

The first post is by CEO Michael McCain and here is how it begins: “Since August 2008 twenty-one Canadians have died after eating Maple Leaf deli meats contaminated with Listeria.  We all watched in horror as the worst food safety crisis in modern Canadian history rolled across the country.” Now that’s frank and the antithesis of how many companies begin apologies after serious events.

Later in the post Mr. McCain writes “This was by far the most awful event in the one hundred year history of our company.  I can’t properly describe the overwhelming sense of grief and responsibility we all felt … I felt, personally (emphasis added).  You may remember seeing me on television back then, apologizing for the tragedy and vowing to develop the most comprehensive anti-Listeria program of any food company in Canada.” He then goes on to outline in details the changes Maple Leaf has made to reduce Listeria findings in its plants.

Even more significant he actually raises three subsequent issues related to Maple Leaf Foods’ safety performance that most people had likely forgotten.

Textbook . . .

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