I haven’t stopped blogging. But for the moment I am concentrating most of my attention on my new book The Language of Trust. You can find my latest blog posts listed to the right and on www.languageoftrust.com. Hope to see you there!
In an age of mistrust, even the smallest slipup can destroy a well-cultivated corporate image. So it’s no wonder that Toyota is scrambling to control the fallout from their latest recalls. The acceleration problems that have led to a recall of more than two million cars aren’t simply a quality-control issue – they strike at the heart of the company’s value proposition: reliable cars that keep your family safe.
Much has already been written about Toyota’s response to this corporate crisis, and especially their failure to act more quickly. I want to focus on a specific event, Akio Toyoda’s February 9 Op-Ed in the Washington Post. The point is not to assess Toyota’s overall approach to this crisis or to predict its effectiveness. Continue reading
“How much do you trust business to do what is right?”
That is the question posed in the Edelman 2010 Trust Barometer. And the good news – if you can call it that – is that 54% of Americans believe that business will do the right thing, representing an 18% jump from last year.
But business should hardly celebrate. First, there is always the risk of mistaking a majority for a mandate. This number is barely half the population at best and means that the other half don’t trust business to do what is right. And while the numbers are not broken out, my guess is that only a very small percentage of the population feels strongly about their belief in business.
More importantly, being acknowledged as a company that will “do what is right” is not really a ringing endorsement. I might believe that a company will “do what is right,” on the big things – fraud, serious product safety issues, etc. – while also doing everything that it can to put its profits and shareholders ahead of its customers. In other words, I might trust the company’s big actions but remain skeptical of its everyday interactions with me as a customer.
In fact, that is what I see everyday. Even where companies are not perceived as inherently evil, the overwhelming majority of Americans view them with a skeptical eye. This trust, even if it is increasing, is incredibly fragile.
Who did the best? Who did the Worst? A Report Card
The list of apologies in 2009 is almost too long to recount. But who did it best – and worst – and why? We tested 15 of the most public apologies of the year to see what makes for a good apology and a bad apology and what we can learn from our A-list of apologists.
First, the perp walk:
1. A-Rod for trying to be a superhuman,
2. Michael Vick for being inhumane,
3. Serena Williams for dressing down a line judge, and
4. Tiger Woods for carousing with anyone in a dress.
The politicians: Continue reading
Posted in Credible communication, Crisis Communications
Tagged 2009 In Review, A-Rod, Alex Rodriguez, Apologies, Balloon Boy, Celebrity Apologies, Chris Brown, David Letterman, Decade In Review, James Crowley, Joe Wilson, John Ensign, Kanye West, Mark Sanford, Michael Vick, Serena Williams, Tareq And Michaele Salahi, Tiger Woods, Year In Review
I am happy to announce that my new book, The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics, is scheduled to be published in May 2010 by Prentice Hall Press.
Below is a little preview. The book is available at Amazon for pre-order in case you want a headstart.
The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics
Trust is dead. Now what?
Living through the horror of 9/11 era, the 2008 financial collapse, and a lifetime of accumulated consumer experiences, Americans are more skeptical now than at any other time in our history. They think financial services companies will take their money. Pharmaceutical companies put profits over patients. Politicians are all liars. And corporations will do anything for a dollar.
At the same time, the public has access to more information and more viewpoints. Major corporations and mommy bloggers find themselves on equal ground in the fight for attention and credibility. And for every fact and statistic that supports one side of an argument, a quick Google search can reveal an equally compelling alternative view of the world. Continue reading
Posted in Brand communications, Credible communication, Crisis Communications, Political Communications
Tagged Buzzwords, credibility, Crisis Communications, language, language of trust, Politics, skeptics, trust, Words
You have to love Tony Hsieh’s letter to employees following the Zappo’s deal with Amazon. His company has gotten a lot of credit for its customer service, but this is an example of how that service happens. While I don’t know how Zappo’s employees reacted to the letter, my guess is that this is exactly what they hoped to hear. There are few senior executives who could pull off a letter like this because they simply don’t have the credibility inside their organizations that he likely does. But there are a couple of good lessons for all CEOs in talking to their teams. Continue reading
I have to give a friend of mine (Sam Greene) credit for this idea, but Obama’s rhetoric on health care is sounding more and more like Bush’s on the War in Iraq. This isn’t meant to be a partisan attack, just what seems to me to be a growing and glaring set of analogies between the two situations. Interested to hear how much I get slammed for the comparison.
Here are a few examples:
- Bush had an opening created by 9/11 that he used to push through an important item on his political agenda – overthrowing Saddam. Obama has an opening created by the financial crisis to push through an important item on his agenda – healthcare.
- Bush blamed the previous administration for failing to stop the terrorists who started the war on terror that he claimed necessitated an attack on Iraq. Obama blames the previous administration for creating the financial crisis and huge deficits that he claims necessitate health insurance reform.
- Bush built the case for war in Iraq on what was found to be a false premise: WMDs. Obama is building his case on what increasingly looks to be a false premise: that it will not increase the deficit (rejected by the CBO).
- Bush’s approach to Iraq was highly partisan and ideological (though it had bi-partisan support in the beginning). Obama’s approach to health insurance reform is similarly partisan and ideological (though it likely won’t have bipartisan support).
Whether or not the War in Iraq goes down in history as a success, it ruined Bush’s presidency. The question is whether the same will be true of Obama’s health care reform effort.