Make News for Doing Things Right
Cheating, dishonesty, and poor judgment are among the primary drivers today generating a wide and deep sense of distrust in businesses, institutions and individuals. Every day, it seems, there is more reason for the public to doubt, suspect, and condemn.
And, for companies like the Peanut Corporation of America that try to get away with horrible (perhaps criminal) behavior, consider this lead sentence in the Feb. 18th edition of the Wall Street Journal:
For any business thinking of cheating on quality to save a few bucks, here are some famous last words: Peanut Corporation of America.
Most American businesses are ethical and honest. The wise ones stay on the radar screen, understanding the need to maintain visibility and accessibility to important audiences through the media.
But in times like this, the good businesses can easily be splashed by the sins of others. Remember all the recalls of products produced in China last year? We witnessed a series of recalls for kids’ toys, many of them laden with lead-based paints.
Those stories bred an environment of guilt by association for anyone in the toy business. But the wise companies doing their job to prevent bad product from reaching their shelves made themselves available to the media. Toys R Us CEO Jerry Storch understood the potential downside and made a point of confronting the issues proactively. (Click on video below.)
It’s this kind of wisdom that corporate America needs to practice in today’s highly-charged environment. The media are masters at driving impressions. They can do it with you, or without you. If you choose the latter, you’re letting them set the agenda.