In the corporate responsibility arena companies aren’t just doing more, they’re talking about it much more too. But when you read the actual words being used, the language often feels strangely out of step with the real world. In fact, the way companies talk about reputation runs the risk of undermining the very thing they’re trying to enhance.
With corporate trust at a low ebb, most businesses are struggling to work out how to increase their reputation.
A few years ago I was working for one such company. The business had a number of reputation challenges and I remember one day the CMO, faced with ever declining trust numbers, suggested creating a campaign solely to explain why they were a trustworthy business. Sound like a crazy idea? I certainly thought so. I tested the messages for them in a poll, they didn’t work well, and the idea was quickly dropped.
Do you really put customers at the heart of everything you do?
I was watching an old edition of Undercover Boss yesterday. Earnest and hard-working CEO of a large manufacturing company is shocked to discover his positive messages aren’t being well received by his staff and customers, for whom things are much tougher and more difficult than he realised. Who would have thought?