Reputation building in a noisy economy

December 08, 2011

Reputation building in a noisy economy

Yesterday’s oped by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times got me thinking about how much harder it is to build reputation in this shout-marketing world. Her column was about the loss of silence which was a pleasant surprise because I was not in the mood to read about politics. She quotes Ed Schlossberg of ESI who said, “Paying attention to anything will be the missing commodity in future life. You think you’ll miss nothing, but you’ll probably miss everything.”  When everything and everyone seems to be talking, it is hard to make sense of it all.
Reputation building has reached that tipping point I fear. There are so many messages being distributed through so many channels that only bad or sensational news are getting through. Now I know that is an exaggeration. But it seems sometimes that the best way to get my attention is to tell me something awful that has happened and who it happened to (meaning which company or CEO).

Today I was on the subway on my way to work and two young men were talking about MFGlobal and Jon Corzine. Then I looked at the woman next to me and she was reading the Wall Street Journal about Olympus’s problems. Of course, someone was doing the crossword puzzle and another was reading their Kindle.  Another person had a shopping bag with Macy’s logo on it and I was thinking about JCPenny teaming up with Martha Stewart. What about Macy’s?  And all along, here I was thinking about how a company can break through and be liked enough.

Dowd’s column struck me hard. Silence is golden.

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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 corporate and CEO reputations.

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