Reputation is indivisible

December 11, 2011

Reputation is indivisible

I met Howard Schultz at a luncheon years ago when I was at Fortune. His company was pretty much in its infancy and we talked about Brooklyn.  Needless to say, he’s a great one to follow when it comes to reputation-building, engagement and reputation recovery. In an article I read about him recently where he was named businessperson of the year, Bill Bradley, the senator, basketball star and board member of the coffee company, noted how reputation was central to their success. Bradley said, “You don’t get millions to support your social networks just by selling coffee. People have to admire the company.” 

I have been pretty enamored by Schultz’s political action where you can buy an American-made Indivisible wristband in the stores as a thank you when you donate to the Create Jobs for USA Fund. Last week I bought one in our local Starbucks because if my $5 can make a difference for even one person, I’m in. 

As I may have mentioned before, I also met the head of Starbuck’s Ethics & Compliance several months ago at a meeting and was impressed by his thoughtfulness and mission. And a young woman I have mentored for many years and is now working her way through college works at a Starbucks in midtown. She adores it and it has introduced her a decent job that has influenced her interest in majoring in business.

There have been many touchpoints with the brand over the years and they all seem to add up.  Just like the wristband says, reputation is indivisible. The whole is greater than the parts but the parts, the touchpoints, can all add up to a halo-like shield that makes a company’s reputation harder to destroy and easier to admire. That’s reputation at its best. It takes years to build and many bumps along the way. But when it gels, it is a wondrous thing to admire.

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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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