Random Reputation, CSR, & Social Media Predictions for 2009

In spite of Casey Stengel's warning to "Never make predictions, especially about the future", I will anyway.

  1. Companies will continue to struggle over the question of creating a corporate blog. In fact, there will likely be only minimal incremental uptake, at least by North American CEOs. The risks are frankly great and the perceived benefits too marginal. A CEO would have to accept three things in order to blog: There is value in being seen as a leader who is willing to have his or her personality, ideas and quirks on show; Freedom from weakness, miscalculation and error are not commodities valued by citizens, markets and employees -- honesty is; Disagreement, discussion and criticism are necessary for progress. (All three ideas are at the core of Web 2.0.) 
  2. Trust in corporations will continue to decline, although it is hard to imagine it getting any lower given recent examples of the manipulative shenanigans of U.S. financial industry executives. The latest evidence? Researchers at Forrester found that when it comes to trust " Only 16% of online consumers who read corporate blogs say they trust them." Yes, this says something about corporate blogs (see #1). But it is really about the endemic mistrust of corporate executives given their propensity to ignore ethical lapses.
  3. Corporate social responsibility will not decline in 2009. Even the most obdurate CEOs will recognize the trust deficit won't be chipped away if they sidestep expectations for sustainable business decisions and ethical conduct.
  4. Further, more companies will recognize that business strategy can benefit from assimilating care for the impact of products and services on the environment. As Peter Drucker pointed out in 1968 “Social responsibility objectives need to be built into the strategy of a business, rather than merely be statements of good intentions.”
  5. Twitter, which for me is a means of staying surrounded by smart ideas, will not be the social media panacea dreamed of by marketers. Attempts to get people to "follow" product-based tweets will be ignored unless, like @jacqsava at Soak Wash (not a client), you bring the person behind the product to the dance.
  6. My posts will cover the same subjects, but will feature more creative presentation. Think charts, diagrams, pictures and videos.


Only number six is in my wheelhouse to do something about . . . show me how and you can hold me to it.

Trusting the Street . . . Or Any CEO

Podcast on Economic Meltdown