Photos Can Be Worth 1000 Words

August 04, 2006

Photos Can Be Worth 1000 Words

Two articles are featured side by side in today’s The New York Times (August 3) speaking more than 1,000 words. Talk about a reputational eyesore for Ford Motor Company.

On the left side of the printed page is an article about GM launching a new line of pickup trucks. The trucks are being rushed to dealers several weeks ahead of schedule giving the impression that the turnaround is gaining momentum. Amidst a gaggle of trucks, GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner is seen in the photo (over to the left) presiding over the event in a very CEO-like manner. He stands behind a podium suited up for business. Wagoner is quoted as saying that the new trucks are “the most important part of our North American turnaround plan.”

On the right side of the page with no photo is an article about Ford Motor’s second quarter loss being more than double what was expected. This bad news followed a major recall announcement yesterday about cruise system controls catching fire.

The two headlines were: “GM Hopes a Line of Pickups Will Lead to Prosperity” and “Ford Loss in Quarter is Bigger than Forecast.”

The juxtaposition caught my eye because of the preponderance of doom and gloom about American automakers lately. But today GM is featured getting back to business and Ford is being hammered by more bad news. Photos can often convey more about company reputations than words can ever do.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

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 corporate and CEO reputations.

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