IT is an interesting feature of modern life that when the Press comments on the affairs of a business, whether multi-national or local, it is most usually to communicate fluctuating share values or negative aspects of corporate behaviour.
This isn't necessarily to blame the Press, as companies often fail to take the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) seriously enough or to integrate it sufficiently into their business vision and brand management.
The brand, in a traditional marketing sense, is changing (and its scope is widening). It is now a 'persona' of the company, encompassing corporate qualities, values and promises.
This is not woolly thinking, but an entirely logical response to the changing sentiment and expectations of the world.
We can pin down the change more tangibly with the aid of long-term trends in public attitudes.
In the late Seventies, the public, by two-to-one, agreed that the profits of large companies benefited their customers; but a recent survey now shows the public disagrees by two-to-one. That particular basis of trust between business and consumers no longer exists.
While it may be desirable to reverse the trend, there is perhaps greater scope for businesses to build a new basis of trust with customers: that of corporate responsibility.
The increasing interest in those issues of priority to the public is clear from another recent (2002) MORI MRC survey in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that asked consumers when forming decisions about buying a product or service, how important is it to them …