Saturday, September 18, 2004

A Good Name...

Hugh Hewitt quotes a famous "case study" at Harvard Business School on how Johnson & Johnson managed and preserved their brand even though poison was found in their Extra-strength Tylenol:
"This was unusual for a large corporation facing a crisis. In many other similar cases, companies had put themselves first, and ended up doing more damage to their reputations than if they had immediately taken responsibility for the crisis."

By contrast Hugh explains how CBS is squandering their brand:

“For reasons unfathomable to outsiders, the Board of Directors of Viacom is watching the brand value burn to the ground without lifting a finger to stop it. This isn't about a one week ratings fade. It is about setting free an entire generation of news viewers to sample other networks and develop new habits.

The events of the past week may be taught in business schools for decades to come as the companion to the Tylenol case study: How to destroy a brand it took nearly 90 years to establish. The roped and doped network; all because there isn't one person above Rather with the guts to speak
the truth?”

Trust is a commodity that has value beyond all others.

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold. (Whole Chapter: Proverbs 22 In context: Proverbs 22:1-2)

This truth is enduring, almost eternal. Yet why would any organization risk the trust that is the foundation of all value that the organization has? It’s either arrogance or incompetence. Either CBS has forgotten that it’s in the trust business or they have become so arrogant that they believe that they can go public with obviously fraudulent information and not be noticed or called to account..

This has implications for any ‘trust’ profession. The traditional professions of Medicine, Law, and Clergy have historically created guilds or other self-policing methods to attain high standards. Journalism has no such track record other than the guild of public opinion and blogging allows the public to project their collective opinion quickly and forcefully. Clearly clergy, whether you call it the Church, Ministry, or Religion, have suffered a decline in the ability to self-police and attain high standards of integrity. CBS should be cautionary tale that generations of integrity can be squandered in a single day.

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