Johnson & Johnson has launched a new corporate brand campaign. As I’ve mentioned here before and based on our research, corporate reputations are becoming increasingly important in this see-thru world. Weber Shandwick’s research, The Company behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust, found that 87% of executives think that the corporate brand is as important as the product brand. And 70% of consumers will turn away from a brand if they do not like the company behind the brand. Our research also found that 86% of executives were increasing their efforts to build reputation. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for J&J to rethink what their overall reputation stands for and reconnect with consumers, health professionals and other key stakeholders as trust in companies declines and it is harder to stand out than ever before.
Michael Sneed, the head of global corporate affairs told Forbes, “The reputation of J&J is very important to us. We take it very seriously. We have a lot of data that we look at, both externally and internally. I wouldn’t say there was any one thing that precipitated [the campaign], and we certainly don’t do these things just for rankings. Reputation is something that’s born out of actions. The reputation is a reflection of people’s perspective on the actions that we do take.”
The new campaign is based on “for all you love, Johnson & Johnson.” Again, the company choose to focus on who they are, what they stand for and why consumers should invest in them both emotionally and selectively when there is an abundance of choice today. Sneed mentions that they want to participate in the great social media conversation that is happening today. A new campaign such as this makes it easier to say who they are when people’s attention spans are fleeting. Interestingly, the tag line is only about 35 characters so it should travel well in the twitterverse as well.
I thought this was one of the stranger things I have seen. A reputation specialist JW Maxx Solutions issued a press release with this headline and with the text below. Talk about trying to sell your services on the good (or bad) fortune of another (Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan). I was trying to think what category this fits into on my blog (see categories to the right). I think the only one I can think of is a new one — reputation chutzpah. Just thought I’d share here.
Reputation Specialist JW Maxx Solutions Honors JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon
Reputation specialist JW Maxx Solutions salutes Jamie Dimon for maintaining a sterling reputation as a banker and boss at JPMorgan. Dimon not only kept Chase profitable throughout the financial crisis of 2008 as banks around him crumbled, but most recently, shareholders voted to allow him to retain two pivotal leadership roles at Chase: CEO and chairman.
The vote, held on Tuesday, spoke to Dimon’s efficacy and success as a leader and decision-maker. Only 32 percent of shareholders voted to oust him.
Dimon, 57, helped JPMorgan achieve record profits over the last three years while many competitors struggled just to stay afloat. This reputation specialist of a manager is not without his critics, however. “His political capital has been diminished,” says Mark Williams, a former bank examiner. “Dimon portrayed himself as the responsible banker through the financial storm, but we’ve learned that he is no better than all the other risk-taking bankers.”
With the entire financial industry demonized after the most recent meltdown, “bank” has largely become a four-letter word. But through it all, Dimon’s characteristic successes and trademark popularity have helped him remain steadfastly at the top of his industry. “I have tremendous respect for someone who so aggressively maintains his stature against all odds,” says Walter Halicki, founder and CEO of JW Maxx Solutions. “Many people make poor decisions and lack the discretion to understand that their reputations stay with them forever. There’s no foresight. Jamie Dimon understands the cause-and-effect balance of being in the media spotlight, especially in such a volatile time.”
Within days of the shareholders’ vote, shares of JPMorgan Chase steadily inched up 2.1 percent, finally ending up at $53.38.
Reputation specialist JW Maxx Solutions is acclaimed for its reputation repair and reputation management services. Operating throughout the country and across the globe, JW Maxx Solutions has come to the aid of companies in virtually every industry, from cutting edge technology firms to tropical resorts, helping them maintain and control they way they are perceived online among the world’s most trafficked search engines.
Reputation specialist JW Maxx Solutions can be contacted at:
Phone: (602) 953 — 7798
11811 N Tatum Blvd, Suite 3031
Phoenix, AZ 85028
I think bad news comes in threes. Thinking about President Obama and the recent bad news he has received regarding the terrorist attack in Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the secretly snatched AP reporters’ phone records, it has to be true. It is the culmination and convergence of these three reputation hits that changed the political balance in favor of the Republicans and Tea Party members for a change. Not a full tilt but enough to rain on the President’s parade.
When I talk to company leaders about what drives a reputation into the ground, I often use the baseball metaphor that all it takes is three strikes and you are out. The first mistake happens to just about everyone these days. The second reputation hit is basically unforgivable but no one wants to put you out of business. The third hit takes you down because it is clear that leadership was absent and judgement was non-existent or negligent (even worse). When I think of the perfect example of the Three Strike Reputation Rule, I think of BP. First, they were tied to 15 deaths when the Texas Refinery blew up in 2005 in the US. Second, an oil leak in Alaska from their pipeline in Prudhoe Bay captured negative attention. But third, and for the final straw, the horrific Gulf of Mexico oil spill that ultimately drove their reputation into the ground, along with their CEO’s Tony Hayward. After the third strike, it’s time to call it quits.
Yet, from what I’ve been reading, President Obama’s approval ratings have barely budged from their high marks. Perhaps we will see the proof in the pudding at the next election cycle. Hard to tell. And BP, after much soul searching, is coming back again with new leadership, better values and a new heartbeat. The rest is yet to come.
Wonderful post by Pattie Sellers of Fortune fame today. She answers the question on her blog Postcards about what it takes to be a female Fortune 500 CEO. Here’s the answer (and mind you that this is not a huge sample size here!): “More than half of the 20 female Fortune 500 CEOs graduated with so-called STEM degrees.” STEM stands for science, tech, engineering and math. A few examples:
- IBM’s Ginny Rometty (computer scinece and electrical engineering)
- Xerox’s Ursula Burns (mechanical engineering)
- DuPont‘s Ellen Kullman (mechanical engineering)
- PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi (chemistry, physics and mathematics)
- Avon’s Sheri McCoy (textile chemistry, chemical engineering)
- Mondelez’s Irene Rosenfeld (marketing and statistics)
Why is that? The post posits some thoughts but the theme is that these women come to their jobs with the background, training and discipline of analytical thinking. Many of these women also have advanced degrees. From what I can tell too, none of them attended Harvard which seems to be a requirement of many top notch male Fortune 500 CEOs. Revealing difference.
Great insight into what it takes to build a highly admired female CEO reputation.
I had heard of a new CEO listening tour but to me, this was a first. JCPenny is running a social media Apology tour. We’ve all heard CEOs apologize for one thing or another and we’ve all worked in companies where a new CEO visits different employee facilities to meet and greet and hear what is on people’s minds. But JCPenny now has a new campaign on TV that apologizes for letting customers down and thanks them for coming back. If you recall, the former CEO Ron Johnson from Apple fame was booted out when his plan failed, possibly because of the elimination of coupons which drove customers into the store. The former CEO, Myron Ullman, was asked to return and now they are in recovery mode. The two ads say:
“It’s no secret. Recently, J.C. Penney changed. Some changes you liked, and some you didn’t. But what matters with mistakes is what we learn. We learned a very simple thing: to listen to you. To hear what you need to make your life more beautiful. Come back to J.C. Penney. We heard you. Now we’d love to see you.”
“At J.C. Penney, we never stop being amazed by you. How you work so hard without looking like you do. How you make every dollar stretch so far and keep your family so close. So we brought back the things you like about J.C. Penney, gave you new things to explore and now, we’re happy to say, you’ve come back to us. We’re speechless, except for two little words. Thank you.”
But back to social media….using the hashtag #jcplistens, JCPenny is in response overdrive from what I saw on Twitter today. They are in constant contact with its Twitter-ites. Every customer or tweet seems to get a personal and speedy response asking to help out, mentioning they will share the feedback with the team if something was amiss and thanking customers for comments. As pointed out on Business Insider, they even told people when they were retiring for the evening. On its Facebook page, JCPenny is polling fans about their favorite brands that they want back after having been cut by the former CEO. And it looks like they are bringing back St. John’s Bay, a favorite. So they are listening hard.
You’ve got to hand to them. They’re trying. And social apology tours are a smart redemption move.
It is a graduation time. Young students are leaving their colleges and universities and thinking about career opportunities. In a startling study I just came across, Lloyd’s CEO Horta-Osório spoke at Oxford University’s Saïd business school saying that the reputation of the banking/financial sector was hurting recruiting. He cited a study which I think came from Said business school that revealed that more than one quarter of students (28%) reported saying that they would be too embarrassed to tell friends if they were going to work in a bank. The survey also found 41% of students distrust banks and financial services providers and 56% trust banks less than they did five years ago. Whenever I discuss industry reputation with colleagues, it often comes up that someone worked at a company which made them embarrassed to mention when they were out on the weekends with friends and family. The fact that nearly 3 out of 10 college graduates in the UK feel this way about the banking industry is disturbing and shows how important reputation can b — in fact, 58% of students think that an organization’s reputation will influence their career decision. There you go.
Many clients ask what is the potential impact of a crisis. How long will it last? When will the scrutiny die down? How does it compare to other scandals or crises? How much will it impact my reputation? When should we start the recovery process? The New York Times’ insanely smart Nate Silver who writes the FiveThirtyEight blog had an interesting post yesterday on which political scandal — the IRS targeting of conservative groups or the Benghazi attack in Libya — would be longer-lasting and possibly impact the next election cycle. Silver chooses the former (the IRS scandal) and explains so in his article. More importantly for my interests and for those that follow me was Silver’s five questions that he developed on whether a scandal “has legs.” He credits Bill James’ Keltner list for the initial questions. To determine whether reputational injury will be enduring, these questions are a good place for companies, leaders and others to start:
1. Can the potential scandal be described with one sentence, but not easily refuted with one sentence? Using the 140 character Twitter test is one good way to see if the scandal has legs. Can you say it in 140 characters. Or try it with as few as 16 words which if you recall is all it took to sink former President Bush in 2003 when he said in his State of the Union Address, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantitites of uranium from Africa.” Silver’s argument that if it cannot be easily refuted in a similarly short string of words, you have a problem on your hands. I might add that it could be even less than one sentence…it could be a video or photo today.
2. Does the scandal cut against a core element of the candidate’s brand? The word candidate could be substituted for company or CEO. In this case, a company that proclaims transparency but is caught doing damage to the environment behind the scenes or engaging in financial manipulation is going to lose its credibility 1-2-3. Think about Enron and their much heralded reputation for innovation at the time. It turns out that their innovativeness was in their financial shenanigans, not in reinventing business processes that led to success. Even though Enron was long recognized by Fortune as one of the most admired and innovative companies in the world, the scandal essentially decimated that impression. In fact, it took its leaders from pinstripes to prison strips.
3. Does the scandal reinforce a core negative perception about the candidate? Or company/CEO in this case. As Silver says, “A scandal can be equally dangerous if, rather than undermining a candidate’s strengths, it reminds voters of what they like least about him.” I think that Congressman Anthony Weiner’s late night racy Twitter sexting reminded people of his unlikeability and brashness. Perceptions that confirm what you already thought of a person or company are hard to shake loose. Another example would be BP’s then CEO, Tony Haywood, who at the time said that he wanted his life back while oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, the general perception was that BP did not care about the damage being done to the environment by the oil spill and the CEO’s statement only reinforced that negative reputation.
4. Can the scandal be employed readily by the opposition without their looking hypocritical, risking retribution or giving life to a damaging counter-claim? Most competitors in business do not take advantage when their peers are knocked down by scanal. Companies today easily recognize that a scandal for one company affects all and impacts the entire industry. The question for company reputation is “Can this scandal spread to peers and further damage the industry sector that might already be struggling?” Not a perfect example I fear but an example that comes to mind might be the quality issues that emerged years ago in China when lead paint was supposedly found in children’s toys. That perception continues to linger for products manufactured out of China today. I was recently in a children’s store when a customer asked the cashier where a T-shirt was made because she only bought children’s clothing made in the USA.
5. Is the potential scandal occurring amid an otherwise slow news cyle? This is a good question to ask when a potential reputation disaster emerges. There are countless examples of company reputation debacles that get drowned out by other news that draw the media’s attention. I always think about how some recalls get scant coverage when bigger business stories are erupting. Or how some stories are not uncovered until the cycle is very slow and investigative reporting resumes. Silver mentions how the crude measure of a Google search shows that today, American’s appetite for political news stories is at an eight year low. So President Obama and the Democrats might just avert the sting from the IRS scandal because it’s not the tantalizing subject for readers as it might have been eight or nine months ago. Perhaps when the Dow is reaching 15,000, some stories just fade away.
I spoke on a panel one week ago organized by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) in Connecticut. The topic was “Can They Really Say That About Me?” I was joined by terrific panelists….John Hines of Clark Hill (Online Reputation: Legal Perspective), Polly Wood of Reputation.com (Protecting Your Online Reputation), Dr. Pamela Newman of Aon‘s Newman Team (Insuring Reputation) and Stephen Schultze of the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy (Policy Perspective on Reputation). We all had a terrific time learning from one another since we all approached reputation from different angles. I approached reputation from a company point of view, John from a legal point of view, Polly from an individual point of view, Pamela from an insurance perspective and Stephen from a policy angle. John Hines organized the event and we are hoping to take the show on the road to Chicago.
Stephen brought up a question that has been lingering in my mind since the session ended. He asked whether society was perpetuating a “reputation gap.” He posed the idea that there is a divide between those that can police their reputation and those that cannot. It costs money, time, resources and know-how to protect your reputation, build positive mentions to push down the negative, open new domains and populate social media to create good first impressions. The “have nots” do not have the same access to information and Internet savvy to protect their reputations, balance the positive with the negative or hire an online reputation management specialist to help better situate their reputations. Just yesterday I wrote on this blog that nearly $1.6 billion was spent in 2012 managing reputations online. With figures like this, Stephen Schultze has to be right asking whether there is a reputation gap. The answer is clearly “yes.” Perhaps some of these online reputation management companies should provide services pro bono for some of the unfortunate who are maligned online and do not know where to turn to for support.
As for me being in the reputation business myself, I do make it my business to help people whose reputations have been tarnished by explaining what they can do and where they might seek help. So I hope that I am doing my bit to narrow the reputation gap.
A quick note for a Saturday. In this article, I read that small and medium sized business spent nearly $1.6 billion in 2012 managing their reputations online. This figure is expected to reach more than $2.9 billion in 2017. I imagine that if you added in large sized businesses, you’d be closer to $4 billion. (Just estimating) in 2012. This confirms that there is an entirely robust online reputation management industry that has just gotten started. And the reasons behind this new cottage industry are strong when you take into consideration that nearly 94% of people do not move beyond the first page of Google or Bing to get what they were looking for. Last I had heard, the number was closer to 89% but it certainly is creeping up. I bet it hits 100% in no time.
Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said the company’s next chief executive officer will bolster the company’s reputation as a source of stability in times of crisis. Talk about a shot of credibility if your company is in crisis or in doubt. He was referring to his infusion of funds into leading financial institutions when their stocks were slipping during the Great Recession.
At the company’s annual meeting in Nebraska, Buffet said the following:
“Berkshire is the 800-number when there’s really sort of panic in markets.”