ReputationXchange http://www.reputationxchange.com CEO & Corporate Reputation Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:39:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Reputacion in Mexicohttp://www.reputationxchange.com/reputacion-in-mexico/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/reputacion-in-mexico/#comments Sun, 30 Aug 2015 16:39:31 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17556 Just returned from Mexico City where Weber Shandwick opened a new office as part of our LatAm network.  We held a terrific event to officially officially declare that we are open for business! At the spectacular breakfast event, we released our results on CEO and corporate...

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Just returned from Mexico City where Weber Shandwick opened a new office as part of our LatAm network.  We held a terrific event to officially officially declare that we are open for business! At the spectacular breakfast event, we released our results on CEO and corporate reputation conducted among Mexican executives.  Juan Pardinas, director of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), also participated in the event to share his perspectives on the findings. He related our findings to the David Brooks’ book, The Road to Character.

I found it particularly interesting how important CEO reputation is in Mexico considering how many family-led and privately-held businesses there are. These types of companies are less apt than publicly-held companies to worry about building reputations, including external profiles, because they are not beholden to investors. In our research, we learned the following about Mexican executives’ perceptions of CEO and corporate reputation: executives in Mexico attribute 59% of their company’s reputation and 56% of their market value to the reputation of their CEO, on average. Also 78% of executives in Mexico agree that external CEO engagement is now a mandate for building company reputation.

Like many other companies around the world, the demand to find the best talent is of major concern in Mexico. When asked about the extent to which a CEO’s reputation impacts people’s interest in joining an organization and staying, nearly 8 in 10 executives in Mexico agreed with the statements. These figures were higher in Mexico than in many other markets (except for Turkey, India, China and Malaysia) which seems to indicate that attracting the best talent is high on executives’ agendas. Since the Millennial generation in Mexico is its most digital one, there must be a demand for finding and retaining these 18 to 34 year olds which everyone is looking for.

When asked how CEOs should engage today, we learned that executives believe CEOs should speak at public events and hold leadership positions outside their companies. In addition, 87% agreed that CEOs should be visible on the Internet and 41% would like to see CEOs engage in social media. When we looked at the top 10 Mexican companies and CEO social engagement, we found 50% on Twitter (although two were hard to verify) but less so elsewhere in social media. Only one appeared on their company website. I’d have to say that Mexican executives have work to do to attract those Millennials, 34% of their population, to their companies and one way would be by engaging socially.

Here is the infographic for more information.

We also introduced our firebell simulation product which helps prepare executives for crisis situations. That’s a good thing because 91% of executives in Mexico said that a strong CEO reputation helps protect against crisis and gives a company that needed benefit of a doubt.

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Reputation of Blog Postshttp://www.reputationxchange.com/reputation-of-blog-posts/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/reputation-of-blog-posts/#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 20:43:21 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17549 Someone in my office sent me this information from Bulldog Reporter and I thought it was worth sharing here. The reason why is that sometimes I ask myself what’s a blog post worth and why do I keep at it. I am partially aware why...

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Someone in my office sent me this information from Bulldog Reporter and I thought it was worth sharing here. The reason why is that sometimes I ask myself what’s a blog post worth and why do I keep at it. I am partially aware why I post – I use it as an archive for all the things that I care about having to do with reputation and I like sharing my expertise more widely. Also, I started blogging some 15 years ago when it was the only way I could have a voice in the field of reputation without resorting to the traditional media who tended to bypass people like me who worked in public relations. In fact, the other day I was telling someone how the news media used to assume that PR firms had no business producing its own research or thought leadership and could never be taken seriously. Luckily that is not the case today and not only are PR firms included in the “commentariat” or “chattering classes” but so are average citizens of all ages.

The article that was sent to me described the lifetime value of a blog post. It was done for IZEA and conducted by The Halverson Group. Imagine this — 555.7 million blog posts were written in 2014 on WordPress alone. Of course, many are abandoned in a few days or weeks but this is not small change.

Here is what they found. The lifespan of a blog post is almost 24 times what is typically accepted as 30 days. Intuitively, I knew this to be true but now have some hard data to attach to the fact that blog posts are essentially evergreen. “The study found that by day 700, a blog post will receive 99% of its total impressions. A 700-day lifespan indicates that blog posts, and by correlation things like content marketing, are an annuity that provides value over a significant timeframe.“ The researchers describe three stages of a blog post’s life cycle that includes 1. Shout (initial post where 50% of impressions are created within 7 to 10 days; 2. Echo (up to the 30th day where 72% of impressions occur); and 3. Reverberate (from day 30 to 700 where 28% of remaining impressions occur). So here it is. Blog posts have long shelf lives….many thanks to the Internet and search engines.

What does this have to do with reputation? Well, the reputation of blog posts are not appreciated nearly enough in my opinion. Blog posts are long-form content created by people with a point of view and by influencers or subject experts. They are enduring and everlasting and not ephemeral like most things today. Permanence can be a wonderful thing.

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Instagram CEO Bearing Giftshttp://www.reputationxchange.com/instagram-ceo-bearing-gifts/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/instagram-ceo-bearing-gifts/#comments Sat, 22 Aug 2015 17:14:29 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17530 When Hurricane Katrina struck, our associates in New Orleans and the gulf region worked tirelessly to help the communities we serve recover. Today, I’m honored to announce a 5-year commitment from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation on global disaster relief and resiliency. We’re all in...

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With the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching next week, thought this $25 million gift over 5 years from Walmart for its continued recovery and announced on the personal Instagram account of the CEO, Doug McMillon, was definitely cool.

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Power Profileshttp://www.reputationxchange.com/power-profiles/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/power-profiles/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:54:49 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17521 Linkedin published its most viewed power list in India recently. Interestingly, they included Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the list under CEOs because “CEOs steer a group of people in a direction, and as a leader, Modi is doing that for India. That’s why he has been...

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Linkedin published its most viewed power list in India recently. Interestingly, they included Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the list under CEOs because “CEOs steer a group of people in a direction, and as a leader, Modi is doing that for India. That’s why he has been clubbed under CEOs,” a Linkedin India spokesperson told Quartz where I first read about it.

I just took a look at Modi’s first sentence in his Linkedin summary profile which reads, “Dynamic, dedicated and determined, Narendra Modi arrives as a ray of hope in the lives of a billion Indians.” Definitely a different twist than most leaders and CEOs.

I also checked out President Barack Obama’s Linkedin profile summary this way: “You, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.”

We have two leaders here using their Linkedin profiles to say something uniquely direct to their constituents.

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CEOs Sleeping Outhttp://www.reputationxchange.com/ceos-sleeping-out/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/ceos-sleeping-out/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:16:23 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17511 Sometimes you have to travel all around the world to learn something new. When I was in Sydney, Australia last June talking about our research on CEOs, I heard mention of this thing called CEO Sleepout. Since I was not sure what that was, I...

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Sometimes you have to travel all around the world to learn something new. When I was in Sydney, Australia last June talking about our research on CEOs, I heard mention of this thing called CEO Sleepout. Since I was not sure what that was, I inquired. Here is what I learned.

Back in 2006, the idea of raising funds for Vinnies Homelessness Services was born. The man behind the brilliant idea was business leader, Bernard Fehon, of Tactical Solutions. The idea has grown exponentially. When I was there on June 18th, nearly 1300 CEOs slept outside for the night, experiencing what 100,000 Australians experience themselves. This act raised nearly $7 million and  and it has spread wildly to other parts of Australia. CEOs spend one night sleeping out in the raw evening air and help to raise funds to assist people who are homeless and are in a chronic cycle of disadvantage. The CEOs are provided with cardboard to sleep on and/or a structure to sleep in and get a simple meal of soup, bread, beverage. Although this probably helps to elevate the CEO’s reputation, it is not done for that purpose. It’s a way to do something worthwhile and for others. If I recall right, that night was terribly rainy so it was no picnic.

It is a very worthwhile initiative and I just remembered that I wanted to write about it.

 

 

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How Execs Use their Timehttp://www.reputationxchange.com/how-execs-use-their-time/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/how-execs-use-their-time/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:25:25 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17498 There really have not been many new studies on how CEOs use their time. So when one comes along that even remotely has information, I jump. This one is from Quartz, the Atlantic Media publication that is billed as a “digitally native news outlet for the...

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There really have not been many new studies on how CEOs use their time. So when one comes along that even remotely has information, I jump. This one is from Quartz, the Atlantic Media publication that is billed as a “digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.” The information is not even remote, it’s pretty directly related to the kind of information that I find useful.

The results from Quartz’s global executive study is shared online. They surveyed 940 global executives about their use of time and present the data by four industries – finance, tech, media/advertising and consulting, among other breaks. As interesting as the results are, their description of how they managed to get so many time-scarce top execs to answer with a 55% response rate is equally compelling. Read about that here. Here are some of the interesting pieces of information that grabbed me:

  • 44% of global execs focus on news when they first wake up, so catch them early
  • 75% of executives spend at least 30 minutes on news every day, mostly in the early morning and mostly on their phones. They check the news periodically during the day but no preferred time showed up since their days are so chaotic probably
  • 61% primarily use their mobiles to get their news with only 5% reading a newspaper or turning on the TV first
  • 60% of executives read an email newsletter as one of their first three news sources they check daily. The prominence of the email newsletter continues. As the late and wonderful David Carr wrote last year, the death of the newsletter is greatly exaggerated. Gosh, I miss his Media Equation on Monday mornings. Here is how Carr explained the ascent of the email newletter, “Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos.”
  • Executives really heavily on email newsletters (56%), general news sites (55%) and industry-specific news sites (55%)
  • Nearly all execs share work-related information with others via email
  • Execs are most likely to share information via mobile (47%) and desktop (48%)
  • Only 22% share information face to face, preferring to share via email or social platforms
  • About half of the executives follow brands on social media, whether inside or outside their industries. What interests them most is industry analysis, company products and innovation, leadership insights and to a far lesser extent, growth stories or perspectives on social issues. Social issues always ranks last it seems, not fair!

I have noticed that email newsletters are great ways to get short bites of information to start your day. They bullet point the few things you ought to know before everything comes crashing down. As a rule, I read our industry newsletters every day (PRWeek and The Holmes Report) and then a variety of emailed newsletters about women executives, newsletters from the WSJ and NYT, Quartz and some from bloggers I follow. Although I never feel like I have the time, I almost always scan them and never fail to read something that intrigues me. They either provide me with good information to use or they are witty and sharp and it gets me in fighting practice for my day. Actually, I quite enjoy it.

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CEO First Impressions Counthttp://www.reputationxchange.com/ceo-first-impressions-count/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/ceo-first-impressions-count/#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2015 19:19:58 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17491 Stanford Business often has great new compelling studies that always worth reading when it comes to CEOs and business. This one from Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Elizabeth Blankespoor and co-researchers is about the importance of CEOs’ first impressions, particularly during the IPO road...

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Stanford Business often has great new compelling studies that always worth reading when it comes to CEOs and business. This one from Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Elizabeth Blankespoor and co-researchers is about the importance of CEOs’ first impressions, particularly during the IPO road show. It also applies to all new CEOs and new business heads starting out anew leading a business unit or division. First impressions matter.

The question she asked is why all the fuss and expense over an IPO road show when all the information is already made available in the prospectus. Well, as she points outs, investors want to see the whites of the CEO’s eyes and determine if they place their trust in the leader. She posits that a lot can be told from body language and non-verbal gestures during an IPO presentation because it is often the first time institutional investors get to see the CEO in action. The undeniable conclusion from her research is this – “It’s not what you say that matters, it’s also who says it and how well.”

In their clever experiment to assess the validity of the importance of first impressions of CEOs on stage at IPOs, they rated CEOs on competence, attractiveness and trustworthiness. Similar to the researchers, I asked myself is it really plausible that a CEO’s demeanor and live performance at the podium can impact company valuations? Is it really that elementary? Are investors just making snap judgments like Malcolm Gladwell writes about in Blink? But here is where we again are confronted with how important leadership communications actually are. Blankespoor says, “A leader has to be able to command attention, persuade, and motivate people. So personal presence, even just the ability to make a strong initial impression, is important. In a way, they’re constantly making first impressions.”

It gets even scarier when the researchers examined stock prices one year later of various companies in their study. You’d probably suppose that first impressions waned after that initial flush of decision-making, but no change was apparent 12 months later. Blankespoor and team even found that those first split second judgments one-year-later were predictive of company success. Yikes. This is astounding and dashes all my hopes that stringent data analytics and multivariate analyses mattered more than CEO first impressions. Instead, how it is said seems to matter greatly and dearly.

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Reputation Critickshttp://www.reputationxchange.com/reputation-criticks/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/reputation-criticks/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 17:02:11 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17487 Sometimes it is important to be reminded that what’s new is probably old. This is a quote that a colleague shared with me. It was written by Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris on July 26, 1781. “You are sure to be censured by malevolent Criticks...

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Sometimes it is important to be reminded that what’s new is probably old. This is a quote that a colleague shared with me. It was written by Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris on July 26, 1781.

“You are sure to be censured by malevolent Criticks and Bug Writers, who will abuse you while you are serving them, and wound your Character in nameless Pamphlets, thereby resembling those little dirty stinking Insects that attack us only in the dark, disturbing our Repose, molesting and wounding us while our Sweat and Blood is contributing to their Subsistence.”

Critics, naysayers, reputation assassins and incivility have been around since our country was founded (and of course, way before). I like the way the word Character shows up in the text showing how it is the very core of what gets harmed when mean-spiritedness and public shaming shows up. And just imagine, this is way before the Internet was born which we tend to blame as the ultimate culprit. Not so apparently.

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CEO Activism Can Drive Sales, Less So Public Opinionhttp://www.reputationxchange.com/ceo-activism-can-drive-sales-less-public-opinion/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/ceo-activism-can-drive-sales-less-public-opinion/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:33:16 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17470 I was so pleased to run across this interview on CEO activism with Aaron Chatterji who has written extensively on the subject with Michael Toffel and whom I’ve cited on this blog. Since we asked a question in our research about CEOs taking stands on political and...

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I was so pleased to run across this interview on CEO activism with Aaron Chatterji who has written extensively on the subject with Michael Toffel and whom I’ve cited on this blog. Since we asked a question in our research about CEOs taking stands on political and societal issues, my interest in this topic is clearly evident and something I am enjoying watching take hold.

This section of the interview (below) with Julia Taylor Kennedy for Policy Innovations is about CEOs who take stands on societal issues of the day and the whys and repercussions. The full interview which you should read because it includes terrific commentary from John Browne, former chairman and CEO of BP, on LGBT issues and Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, former chairman CEO of Shell, on a tragic episode in its history in Nigeria. The interview also has a counter view from Tom Bower, a journalist, on CEOs putting a stake in the ground in these areas. Fascinating all around. However, I wanted to pull out this part because it provides more background on CEO activism and a survey that Chatterji did on Apple‘s CEO Tim Cooke’s stand on gay rights in Indiana when the Religious Freedom Law made headlines. Take it away!

“AARON CHATTERJI: Aaron Chatterji, I’m an associate professor at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Together with my colleague Michael Toffel at Harvard Business School, we’ve been studying corporate social responsibility for quite some time.

We started to see something new with CEOs like Howard Schultz, and COOs like Sheryl Sandberg, and other corporate leaders speaking out about social issues that were, in many cases, unrelated to their businesses. We termed this “CEO activism” in our Harvard Business Review piece, and started a whole research agenda on this topic to figure out: Why were CEOs speaking out? What was the impact? And what we could expect in the future from corporate leaders?

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Now, the way Chatterji sees CEO activism is very different from your standard approach to corporate social responsibility, or CSR. In traditional CSR, you’d have a CEO saying their company needs to do certain things to help society. CEO activism isn’t even that more holistic approach to sustainability that Lord Browne undertook at BP, or that Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi is using as she is trying to bake global health into the core operations of her company.

AARON CHATTERJI: In contrast, what Howard Schultz is doing when he’s speaking out about race, or what Tim Cook is doing when he speaks out about sexual orientation and gay rights, is something very different. It’s of course related to what people at Apple and Starbucks might believe about certain issues, but it’s not as intimately related to the bottom line, in our view, as Indra Nooyi’s activism on food and beverage products are. We see CEO activism as speaking out on social issues that are largely unrelated to the firm’s bottom line. That’s what makes this so interesting.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Of course, Chatterji knows CEOs have spoken out about political issues before.

AARON CHATTERJI: Henry Ford published an article about capital punishment back in an earlier era. There were CEOs speaking about the Prohibition movement, women’s rights and suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, gun control, and a wide variety of issues. There has been, it seems, a “boomlet,” if you will, of CEOs speaking out more recently.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: He thinks it might come from a sense of frustration with U.S. politics.

AARON CHATTERJI: When you hear CEOs talking at corporate round tables and at retreats and conferences, they often lament the political gridlock in Washington and some state capitals. There’s the sense that if we could be less ideological, less partisan, talk about the facts, that we could get more done.

I think a lot of CEOs of different political persuasions are hoping to break that logjam by jumping into the public debate. I think that’s what you’re seeing with many of the recent examples we talked about.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: But the impact of CEOs using that megaphone they’re afforded by their stature remains unclear.

AARON CHATTERJI: We ran a field experiment with a market research company called CivicScience. I should disclose that I’m an equity-compensated advisor to CivicScience.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Together, CivicScience and Chatterji’s team wanted to understand the effect of a specific example of CEO activism. When Indiana passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, allowing business owners to refuse to serve LGBT customers, Apple CEO Tim Cook was one of its most vocal critics. He published an op-ed in The Washington Post and put out several tweets that went viral. So the research team wanted to understand whether these activities influenced public opinion.

AARON CHATTERJI: We used their platform to ask people all around the country questions about their attitudes toward Indiana’s law, and their intent to buy Apple products.

By running this experiment with different preambles to our questions regarding Tim Cook’s statement, we were able to isolate an impact of hearing Tim Cook’s views on RFRA—as they call it in Indiana, the religious freedom law—and willingness to buy Apple products.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: The results were pretty surprising.

AARON CHATTERJI: We found the public opinion didn’t shift very much when Tim Cook spoke out.

What we’ve found is when people hear about Tim Cook’s views, they are more likely to buy Apple products.

In some sense, the preaching to the choir effect might be much more powerful than changing people’s minds.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: So a cynical listener might think this kind of political speech is just a marketing ploy. Chatterji isn’t sure that’s the whole story. After all, some CEOs’ political views have actually hurt their reputations.

AARON CHATTERJI: It’s not just CEOs who are speaking out for progressive issues, but also folks who are speaking out in more conservative positions. By and large, those haven’t necessarily been received as well.

CEOs like Dan Cathy, who expressed support for traditional marriage, came under a lot of criticism, and threats of boycotts of Chick-fil-As on college campuses.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Chatterji does think that the boost in Apple sales after Tim Cook spoke out against the Indiana law says something about public opinion in the United States.

AARON CHATTERJI: It does feed this notion that we’re already pretty dug in, and our views are pretty set on some of these controversial issues. It’s really hard for a single individual to change somebody’s mind. What we did see was sort of signaling which side of the cultural divide Apple and Tim Cook were on, and that was very powerful.

I think that this notion of choosing sides and telling people who are with you that you’re with them is as important as any change in public opinion from the CEO activism comments.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: So CEOs could strengthen the resolve of folks who already agree with them politically—and boost their company’s revenues. Now, CEOs continue to meet privately with political figures too.

AARON CHATTERJI: With the Indiana law specifically, I know that the legislators in that case were meeting with business leaders all the time.

I think there is something really powerful, though, about these large public statements—the op-eds by Tim Cook and others in The Washington Post; in his case, the tweets that got lots of retweets and lots of favorites. These things create the buzz and a momentum that really couldn’t have been accomplished with behind-the-scenes meetings.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Taking on an international issue like John Browne did with global LGBT rights adds another level of complexity for CEOs.

AARON CHATTERJI: For a CEO to speak out about something in their own country where the primary location of their business is and where they’re deriving most of their revenue and profits is one thing. To make statements about a country half a world away where they don’t necessarily have as much of a foothold, or their power could be under more scrutiny, or they might be blocked from entering that market in the future, it’s certainly a lot more risky.

In the international context, there’s a risk of overstepping our bounds and meddling into the affairs of these developing countries and their governance. Certainly, there’s been a long history to learn from there.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: And Chatterji thinks that as CEOs look for a reputational boost by speaking out on one issue that will endear them with the public, they may look to diminish scrutiny on other corporate behavior, say on safety or labor rights.

AARON CHATTERJI: Perhaps not speaking out on labor rights on one hand, but speaking out forcefully on a domestic issue where the country is behind you, there’s some sort of compensation. We haven’t done the research on that particularly, but I know a lot of people think about this when they analyze what CEOs speak about and what they don’t speak about.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Chatterji shared a few rules of thumb that he thinks can help guide CEOs when they think about becoming politically active.

AARON CHATTERJI: I would advise them that people are going to listen to you if you speak out. Choosing your spots is very, very important. It should be an issue that you have real credibility on. I think, to the point, Tim Cook has real credibility on these issues related to discrimination against LGBT individuals, partly because of his own background and his cover story in BusinessWeekabout his own background.

Secondly, speaking out when there’s actually a debate or a flashpoint like there was in Indiana, is really important to maximize the impact.

I would say, the last thing is also being humble enough to listen to the other side, to compromise and to figure out ways to reach a solution. I think what Americans, at least, are looking for in their business leaders is some of that pragmatism that we don’t see in other parts of society. It’s not just your way, or my way or the highway, but it’s actually trying to find a real solution.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: When it comes to exerting political influence, CEOs have to also think about the moral implications.

AARON CHATTERJI: Almost every moral or ethical dilemma has its roots or can be explained by a line from a comic book. For this one, I would say, “With great power comes great responsibility.” CEOs are listened to. They’re listened to because they’re job creators. They’re listened to because they have been successful running large organizations. And they’re listened to because they’re often seen as set apart from the political divides that are plaguing Washington and some of our state capitals.”

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Global Corporate Art Collections as Reputation-Makershttp://www.reputationxchange.com/global-corporate-art-collections-as-reputation-makers/ http://www.reputationxchange.com/global-corporate-art-collections-as-reputation-makers/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 20:55:09 +0000 http://www.reputationxchange.com/?p=17457 Can art shape your reputation? I had not thought about it but after reading this piece in the Financial Times, it absolutely makes sense. According to the article, institutions are increasingly selecting art not just as decoration but as reputation-maker and creativity-inspirer.  The article talks about companies…”that see...

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Can art shape your reputation? I had not thought about it but after reading this piece in the Financial Times, it absolutely makes sense. According to the article, institutions are increasingly selecting art not just as decoration but as reputation-maker and creativity-inspirer.  The article talks about companies…”that see art not just as a decorative necessity but also an opportunity to stimulate the thoughts of their employees, support artists through purchases of their work and, perhaps most importantly, to project their desired image to clients, staff and visitors.”

Companies, especially financial services ones, have extraordinary art collections and sponsor global art fairs like Frieze and Art Basel where they have the opportunity to invite clients and prospects as well as their own executives. Whereas golf events used to be the hot ticket to die for, a visit to a MoMA show or Tate Modern as a guest of a company sponsoring the exhibition can be exhilarating.

What surprised me most was that when companies buy art which today is most often contemporary, they are also sending a message to their stakeholders that they are cutting edge, innovative, creative, international. It does reflect kindly on the company as a lover of art and expression and supporter of artists. It signals a different kind of corporate responsibility in its support of the arts, artists and patronage. The recession no doubt curbed many companies enthusiasm and pocketbooks for expanding their art collections but since the recession eased, companies have been back at it again filling their lobbies or private gardens with their newest purchases. I should add that many of these companies also make these collections available to the public whether in the public space of their buildings or at community events they host. The idea of sharing art adds to a company’s public image-making and reputation for generosity.

The article also described a new book, Global Corporate Collections, published by Deutsche Standards, which showcases these incredible collections. It would be lovely to see.

I have to admit being enamored of some of the art I have seen in corporate headquarters when I visit various companies. It elevates everyone and everything around it. As a reputation-builder, not a bad thing. I kind of like it.

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