I came across this interesting chart in a report by the Harris Poll 2016 about which potential scenarios are most damaging to reputation, according to the American public. The results make clear that the greatest threat to corporate reputation is being dishonest, unethical and hiding the truth. Lack of disclosure is a reputation-killer. A full 80% of respondents indicate that not telling the whole truth about products/services and intentionally lying on the part of leadership will lead to severe reputation harm. Third on the list of reputation-busters is data breaches which at this point is almost an everyday affair. This finding underscores how important privacy is to Americans and how much citizens expect companies today to be prepared for the inevitable or pay the price.
I was surprised that hearing bad financial news was not higher on the list but clearly we are all immune to hearing that financial performance is not what was expected. We now just expect the ups and downs today, especially after having weathered the Great Recession.
These findings are a good reminder that anything but full disclosure on a timely basis will have severe repercussions.