Corporate CEOs need to get involved to move corporate reputation management onto the curriculum at America’s business schools, Makovsky + Company president Ken Makovsky told public relations executives last week, while accepting the John W. Hill Award at the New York PRSA’s Big Apple Awards ceremony last week.
Makovsky challenged the heads of corporate communications at American companies to join together and organize a campaign involving their CEOs, telling the audience: “If the CEO of a Fortune 500 company calls the Dean of Harvard, he or she will listen. But this will not happen unless we, as professional communicators, stimulate and push such action.”
Decrying the lack of curricula devoted to corporate reputation management among the nation’s business schools, Makovsky asked, “In an era when democracy is being reinvented via the Internet ... at a time when every company exists only because of public consent, and two- and three-way conversations are multiplying faster than you can say ‘blogosphere,’ how can potential CEOs and other senior executives hope to be on top of their game without counsel and training in the strategic management of corporate reputation?”
According to Makovsky, “When just a single person on a mission can bring down a company with the click of a mouse, profit-making is dependent upon the ability to forge strong connections and build trust with every stakeholder. Keeping messages in a silo, so only one audience sees or hears them, is nearly impossible today. Every interest group has access to every message on the Internet. This is posing a new challenge to business and one where our expertise is crucial.
“Good communications is a matter of survival for corporations in today’s wired world… Transparency is no longer a theoretical construct. It’s a fact of life. And honest communications is the only safeguard against the risks associated with transparency.”