All posts in Reputation Intelligence

  • Tesco Apology

    The challenges faced by the processed food industry are being extensively covered elsewhere. Reputations of major supermarkets have been challenged (they are supposed to be our trusted purveyors of food and they ought to ensure that we get what we think we are buying).

    Food brands have been caught out and will suffer – news last night was that frozen burger sales are 40% down.

    The apology by Tesco last month was swift and decisive.

    Full-page ads in newspapers, and posters by checkouts. Many of the hallmarks of an effective corporate apology were followed:

    • swift action to acknowledge of the problem
    • plan to do something about it
    • commitment to keep people aware of developments
    • avoid any attempt to ‘spin’ into a sales message

    Compare this with some of the banks’ recent travails – in the case of Goldman Sachs this embarrassing climbdown on bonus payments.

    Terry Leahy, the ex CEO of Tesco, left a legacy which still runs strong. Here on BBC Desert Island Disks he talks about his straightforward approach to building one of the UK’s most successful businesses.

    Third Largest Retailer in the World

    Third Largest Retailer in the World

    Somebody give him a bank to run.

  • People – staff, suppliers and reputation

    Amazon security staff in one of its warehouses in Germany have allegedly been intimidating low wage staff, whilst wearing neo-Nazi uniforms.

    Camp Amazon

    Camp Amazon

    In any large organisation people represent one the greatest areas of risk to its reputation.  Never more so than now – staff behaviour, photos, tweets, Facebook-ing all have the potential to draw the attention of millions of global eyeballs – scrutinising your organisation and how it operates

    Outsourced functions (in this case security) can be even more challenging to manage and control.  How do you ensure your supply chain doesn’t damage your reputation?

    Amazon’s difficulty here is what this incident indicates about its broader approach – its treatment of its workers, and the conditions in which they operate.  At the moment Amazon scores highly on surveys of well respected brands.

    But people will think twice if they believe they are supporting a company whose values are at odds with society.  This applies not just to customers, but regulators, governments and tax authorities.

    It was announced that Amazon has terminated its contract with the security firm involved.

    Amazon is reviewing its approach to corporate reputation management, and it would be well advised to consider specifically the implications of supplier selection and behaviour.

    This has profound implications for its business.