You can’t buy reputation either… That’s one of Richard’s thesis I really agree with…
My central thesis is that corporations can’t buy reputation or brand loyalty any more. These are earned through performance over the long-term. The dispersion of media; people’s continuous partial attention from a surfeit of daily impressions; and the lack of trust in traditional institutions and leaders are all driving this evolution.
…The pyramid of influence, the classic C. Wright Mills description of the power elite where information moves one way from pinnacle to the mass audience below, has been eclipsed. The new reality for communications is the sphere of cross reference, in which information moves unpredictably among equal stakeholders. Conversations now occur spontaneously, in peer-to-peer discussion, with individuals creating their own webs of trust including people like themselves. Our task in PR must be to facilitate and contribute to the discussion in both the controlled vertical axis reaching traditional audiences such as investors, regulators and mainstream media, and on the horizontal axis to inform employees, passionate consumers, NGOs and communities.
Tom Friedman wrote a column in the New York Times on June 27, 2007 called, “The Whole World is Watching,” that “In this transparent world, how you live your life and conduct your business matters more than ever…Companies that get their ‘hows’ wrong won’t be able to clean up their mess by taking a couple of reporters to lunch…But this also creates opportunities…’how’ you keep your promises … build trust…collaborate…lead…that is where companies can now really differentiate themselves.”