If the Shoe Fits and Looks Great, Do Ethics Really Matter?
May 6, 2015
I recently purchased a suit from the Canadian apparel company Judith & Charles. I was drawn by the cut and fabric, and sold on fit and price – at 30 per cent off, it was a steal. Days later, when removing the tags, I learned that my new skirt and jacket had been "tailored with...
From Know Thyself to Be Thyself
May 6, 2015
Every CEO should have a go at answering the Proust Questionnaire. You know the one. It forms the basis of Vanity Fair's inside back page and has questions like: What is your greatest fear? Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Which talent would you most like to have? What is your motto? What is your...
The Power of the POV
April 24, 2015
I was talking to a friend last week who was vexed. Why, he wondered, was his colleague, a man with over 40 years of experience in his sector, so reluctant to express a point of view? He clearly had one. If you sat him down of an evening, with a cognac and a good cigar,...
Expectation Leaders Move Beyond Disruptive Innovation by Truly Understanding What Customers Want
March 25, 2015
Netflix revolutionized the TV Industry. Chipotle promises “Food with Integrity.” CVS banned tobacco product sales companywide. Starbucks introduced free Wi-Fi at all stores. PayPal paved the way for mobile payments, and IKEA introduced furniture to charge your phone. These companies all have something in common. They are Expectation Leaders. Expectation Leaders are companies that set new expectations for their...
The Fundamental Flaw of Traditional Employee Communications
March 1, 2015
Almost every change initiative fails. A depressing statement, yes. However, there’s hope. How you integrate formal and informal communications can help you be one of the few who succeeds. In 1996, John Kotter published Leading Change, considered by many to be the seminal work on change management. Yet despite vast forests of books and articles...
Fake It Till You Make It?!?
March 1, 2015
How many leaders have been successful with that strategy? Yet that’s the premise put forward in the most recent Harvard Business Review cover story. The article, “The Problem with Authenticity,” proposes that being true to oneself is limiting to one’s career success. The problem with the author’s premise is in her very definition of authenticity....
Four Trends for Better Business in the Years Ahead
February 24, 2015
As companies continue to become stronger, more engaged brands that maximize the positive value both for their businesses and society, here are four emerging trends that will impact our current and future clients. The Fundamental Business Model is Becoming More Socially Conscious than it is Today Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Net...
Day 15 of Pros and Conversation Series: Crisis Planning – A Letter to CEOs
November 21, 2014
As we conclude our 15 Days of Pros and Conversation series today, we end on what is arguably the most important of all 2015 planning topics – crisis preparedness and the growing need for leaders to anticipate issues and to have a well thought-out strategic and tactical response plan. Especially in today’s environment, where news...
Day 13 of Pros and Conversation Series: Executive Communications: Visibility Creates Credibility to Set Expectations
November 19, 2014
Looking at today’s big public stages for social and economic topics, it’s natural to ask, “Where have all the business leaders gone?” For many companies, these visibility opportunities may seem to present more risk than reward. That’s faulty logic, since executive visibility is both an advantage and requirement for success, especially today. Reputation and brand are both...
Day 11 of Pros and Conversation Series: Rocking A Social Enterprise - The Building Blocks to Electrifying Social Media
November 17, 2014
I used to be in a band. I was so serious about it that I spent my first couple years out of college trying to make it as a rock star and discovered that being in a touring band is a lot of work. Social media at the enterprise level requires so many people with...
Day 9 of Pros and Conversation Series: Principles, Passion and Purpose – the Key to Authenticity for Leaders
November 13, 2014
Alibaba’s Jack Ma is often held up as an example of a potential role model for the new generation of global leaders, not just in China, but also throughout the world. He has inspired such confidence not only because of his entrepreneurial brilliance, but also because of his strong sense of values and seemingly effortless...
Day 7 of Pros and Conversation Series: It's Time for Convergence of Marketing and Communications
November 11, 2014
Marketing and communications have long stood in separate silos with different goals, strategies and programming tracks. But with digitation, "autonomous silos are simply no longer viable," states the Harvard Business Review, echoing growing acknowledgement of the benefits of tightly coordinated efforts between groups. A combination of branding and reputation produces stronger results than either of...
Day 6 of Pros and Conversation Series: Your Change Initiative Will Probably Fail. The No. 1 Reason? Your Employees.
November 10, 2014
The speed of change in the world through technology, market forces competition and beyond necessitates that organizations adapt or die. “The only constant is change,” Greek philosopher Heraclitus said. So it’s disturbing that research shows that 75 percent of transformation initiatives fail – not because the strategy or core direction was flawed, but because employees...
Day 4 of Pros and Conversation Series: The Message Jungle
November 6, 2014
As communicators, how much time do we spend trying to craft the perfect message? By the time the key message document has gone through its umpteenth draft, most of us have lost the edge and excitement we started with and are no closer to the simple, communicable and attractive missive we set out to create....
Day 3 of Pros and Conversation Series: Published Voice vs. Perceived Voice
November 5, 2014
Brands take great measures to create messaging platforms and organic social media conversations provide a perfect environment to pressure-test how that messaging has been adopted, understood and received. But many organizations don’t take advantage of these insights that are sitting right at their doorstep. Doing a deep dive into a brand’s published voice relative to...
Day 2 of Pros and Conversation Series: The Credibility Gap in Corporate Communications and PR
November 4, 2014
For many communication professionals and teams today, the single biggest challenge is gaining and retaining an authentic, credible advisory voice at the C-suite table. More and more the price of admission for communicators is a deep grounding in how their organizations compete and make money. Understanding a balance sheet and business processes are as important...
Day 1 of Pros and Conversation Series: Behaviors of Authentic Companies
November 3, 2014
Welcome to day one of our 15 Days of Pros and Conversation series. Why is it that when we have more content and channels available to us than any time in human history, it is harder than ever to have a meaningful conversation? Why are authentic leaders harder and harder to find? Join me for a...
Did the Ice Bucket Challenge Educate the C-suite on How to Manage a Crisis?
September 10, 2014
CEOs all over the world are emptying buckets of ice over themselves in the name of a good cause, but has this viral phenomenon alerted them to the opportunities – and dangers – of social media in a crisis? The speed at which the ALS ice bucket challenge has built momentum and a dedicated, engaged...
When the Worst Happens: Managing Your Company’s Reputation
March 3, 2014
“The CEO has been arrested,” “There’s been a chemical spill,” “We’re on the short-sell hit-list.” These and many other types of crises strike right at the heart of any company involved, and that includes the investor relations department. Combined with increasing demands for good corporate governance and transparency for Asian companies, issues affecting reputation are...
February 4, 2014
To whom is in charge; Your company deserves all the success in the world and a loyal following that loves your offering and keeps on coming back for more. But sometimes things go wrong. Your product or service can have a malfunction, it may be improperly used. This can be your fault, it can be...
My Friendly (Big) Brother
January 23, 2014
The full version of this post can be found at the Center on Reputation. As a Brit, I’m not all that enamoured of conspiracy theories. Raised on a seemingly endless stream of government mishaps, as a nation I think we believe more in ‘cock up’ than conspiracy, unable to credit any government department with the...
PR Crises in China: How Apple, KFC, Maserati Can Do Better
January 9, 2014
Social media has triggered a paradigm shift in managing crises and companies around the world have not recognized this threat and keep getting caught out. FleishmanHillard’s proprietary methodology – Assess. Resolve. Control.™ - not only gives companies the best practice approach to managing crises in this always-on world but also addresses how companies can harness social...
A Reputation Roundup for 2013
January 9, 2014
I recently took a look at the past year's communications winners and losers. The full list, plus analysis, of the good and not-so-good from 2013 can be found here. Among the winners are Prince William and Kate, the American sailing team and Malala Yousafzai. As for those who didn't do as well in 2013, I break...
How Far Does Corporate Responsibility Go?
November 25, 2013
Do companies have a responsibility beyond their core business to ensure the individual health and well-being of people? Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) just issued a report, A New CSR Frontier: Business and Population Health. BSR's research shows "that the nation's largest companies face increasing pressure to improve health outcomes by promoting wellness and prevention—not only...
Can Corporate Reputation Lessons Be Found in Global Affairs?
November 15, 2013
Reputations that earn the respect and trust of others demand all the positive vision, planning, effort and willpower required to build a great cathedral. This cannot be produced by a despotic state that has no vision beyond survival and suppression, whose key initiatives are focused on negative outcomes. Struggling nations like Libya and Egypt today...
To Get Real Results, Go Beyond Corporate Responsibility
November 7, 2013
The ever-changing climate of corporate expectations today has redefined business’s role in society. The once intriguing social and environmental efforts that would set a brand apart have become the minimum standard in the eyes of customers, current and prospective employees, investors, and other stakeholders. At the same time, the potential to create value for a...
Chinese Market Investors Need to Know
October 29, 2013
Chinese companies ranked the lowest in a recent survey of public reporting practices across emerging markets, underscoring concern that the PRC government’s anti-corruption campaign may not have taken root in the corporate sector. The 33 Chinese multinationals surveyed by Berlin-based NGO Transparency International (TI) averaged a score of 2 out of 10 points in TI’s...
October 14, 2013
Earlier this month, I sat on a panel at a conference in Prague (yes, I know, tough life). Anyway, the subject was “The Communicator 3.0.” What, therefore, does the next generation of communicator look like? Will we be different, better, replaced by (semi) intelligent robots, or what? An interesting topic, especially for those of us...
Office Politics and Corporate Reputation
October 9, 2013
For decades, our profession’s most accomplished chief communications officers have usually been masterful politicians. Not only did they leverage strong relationships with their CEOs but they knew how to line up support when critical matters were debated. The larger an organization, the more difficult it is to achieve this level of influence. It doesn’t happen...
Compliance Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word
October 2, 2013
The scandal that has plagued GSK since June and spread right through the pharmaceutical industry in China is a timely reminder of the impact of non-compliance on reputation. With the Chinese government’s crackdown on drug companies, sales and profits and even the staff morale of the companies under investigation are under threat. Hong Kong-listed Chinese...