Reputation issues for J&J, Apple, private equity--
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Reputation issues for J&J, Apple, private equity--

Paul Holmes

[email protected] offers a searching look at recent crises at Johnson & Johnson, long a paragon of reputation management, and suggests that “the stumbles have certainly tarnished its halo among consumers and created challenges for CEO William Weldon, who must convince consumers and investors alike that J&J's problems are behind it.” There’s a strong argument that a “relentless focus on the bottom line” (I’d suggest a focus on the short-term bottom line) is one factor. Unfortunately, the articles suffers from a lack of any significant suggestions about what Weldon—or his successor—needs to do to turn things around. “Apple PR maintains a blacklist of journalists that it refuses to talk to. This includes any media outlet that posts anything even remotely negative or heaven help you, a rumor.” Presumably, ZDNet is now on it. Yet another example of best public relations practice from America’s most reputable corporation. A new study from the Schwartz MSL Research Group shows news release headlines are too long and—more troubling—found only 19.5% met current SEO guidelines. Even if you have a quibble with the firm’s definition of what meets SEO standards, in the year 2012 anything less than 100 percent suggests a lack of professionalism. When even The Economist joins the chorus of disapproval against your industry, it’s time to think seriously about how you’re managing your reputation. And this article at the Huffington Post suggests that the industry understands this, and is gearing up for a “lobbying and PR campaign” to push back against criticisms. I’d offer only one piece of advice: the more lobbying cash the industry throws around, the more difficult the PR challenge is likely to become. Luc Beauregard, founder and builder of Canada's largest public relations firm, provides a perspective on the state of PR north of the border in this interview with the Globe & Mail. “We fought for a long time to be recognized as senior people around the executive table. I cannot say this battle is entirely over, but there has been a lot of progress. Many of the new CEOs understand the importance of communications to all their stakeholders.”
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