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Trust and Transparency

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Posted: 22/01/2018 Written by: Penny Arbuthnot

Two astonishing national news items in January have made us think about trust and transparency, gender equality and the values we hold as individuals and in business.

First, the Presidents Club dinner on 18 January, which was exposed by two Financial Times undercover reporters who were among the 130 ‘hostesses’. Who would have thought that such an event could be held in 2018 and that so many business leaders, politicians, celebrities, would be drawn to attend what was billed as a ‘men only’ fundraiser, which surely would have sounded the alarm bells?

 

How many had the courage to walk out when they realised this event was downright wrong on all accounts? Not many it seems.

 

Several big name charities handed back funds while many of the individuals who were present have pushed out press statements in a bid to preserve their reputations. The investigations and fallout continue.

 

Brand reputation starts and ends on values.  The behaviour of the big name business people at the Presidents Club dinner has undermined the brand reputation of their businesses. Sponsors have rushed to disassociate themselves.

 

Then the revelation by New York Times this week of 55 celebrities who have purchased thousands of fake followers for their Twitter accounts using the company Devumi which promises them ‘discretion’.

 

The individual ‘brands’ which are our household name celebrities, lose the trust and popularity we the public have in them when their behaviour lets them down. It’s sad and misguided that any individuals (and sometimes businesses) thinks they can ‘buy’ popularity (or perceived popularity) through fake Twitter followers.

 

As 2018 unravels there will no doubt be further exposures of this kind.

 

Defining your brand reputation is about spelling out who you are as a business or organisation, defining your values – and living those values through how you behave to your customers, employees, community and other stakeholders. Company owners, directors, every employee has a responsibility in representing their company brand.

 

The core principles are straightforward. Live your values, and be transparent about who you are and what you stand for. These are the foundations for developing a strong and lasting brand reputation.

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