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Restoring trust and rebuilding reputation: The critical roles of corporate purpose, earned media and the new CEO mandate
Global studies underscore how the world is filled with uncertainty and people are in search of truths. Globally, trust is stagnating; in the USA, it has collapsed altogether. The corporate reputation bubble has burst, and with it, people’s trust that organisations will do the right thing. The flipside of these issues is an opportunity for companies to take action to restore trust and enhance reputation. At the top of the list is strong corporate purpose — the new business imperative that is quickly becoming today’s clarion call. Unlike traditional corporate social responsibility, a moral purpose should reflect a company’s DNA, serving as a natural extension of its business, addressing a societal problem like climate change or world hunger. Another area involves a renewed focus on earned media. Society is now looking to experts like trusted journalists as sources of credible information; companies must continue to cultivate relationships with them in order to tell their stories through respected media channels. There is also a new expectation for chief executives, who now must play the role of chief values officer and demonstrate activism for relevant causes to enhance reputation. This paper gives insights into how to restore trust and enhance reputation.
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Larry Weber is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of communications agency Racepoint Global. He also founded Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading global communications and marketing services firms; and the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), the world’s largest internet marketing association. He is widely regarded for his forward-thinking insights on the seismic shifts technology has had on business and marketing. He has authored six books covering disruptive forces such as the internet, digital technologies, and the new business imperative of social purpose, offering marketing strategies that drive deeper customer engagement.