A Reputation that has been Rehabilitated

May 18, 2010

A Reputation that has been Rehabilitated

  I often feel that all I hear is bad news about companies losing reputation. When I see or hear the news, it usually is about another dent in a company’s or CEO’s reputation. Of course, that is what news is about — wrongdoing. I understand that companies that are maintaining or lifting their reputations up are not particularly newsy unless something catastrophic had happened to them.
Yesterday I spent in the jury pool in Brooklyn where I live.  As I walked out, I thought to myself how nice it was to participate in a system that had seriously improved its reputation. Years ago, jury duty in Brooklyn (never been to other borough’s courts) was downright depressing. The seating was terrible, the lighting dim and the officers downright rude, grumpy and dismissive. Yesterday was completely different. The seats were comfortable and actually cushioned with distance between each one so that you were not sitting shoulder to shoulder on hard benches with total strangers like on the subway. There were flat screens with the news playing in several areas of the large room where we started our day. I did notice that Fox News was on in the morning but later MSNBC took over.  They balanced even that. There were banks of computers for people to check their emails for free and people were told they could take 10 minute breaks for smoking.  The wireless in the jury room allowed me to work most of the day which was extraordinary too. The court officer announcing how the day was going to go and what our rights were was very funny and made me want to listen to him. People were treated like customers, not potential criminals which is how it used to feel. Most notable, at the end, another very official court officer thanked everyone who was dismissed from jury duty and stood at the door to thank people on the way out.

The customer-friendly welcome was evident in every touchpoint during the day. I was very pleased that if I had to spend a day away from the office after traveling for two weeks, at least I could watch fine reputation-building in action. And, even more to my astonishment, Brooklyn residents are not called back for another eight years. After being called every three years, that’s another reason to live in Brooklyn.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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