Corporate Responsibility In the Age of Public Participation

How does one define politically correct corporations?  How does a corporation become loved by the public? How does a company move from being “one of the bad guys” to “revered by all”? What companies are considered “the good guys”? Sun? Saturn? Dove? The Body Shoppe? Tim Horton’s? Is it all about perception and mis-perception?
I work with very cool, very smart, very dedicated people. I work on teams where the member participation ranges from Vancouver to Rimouski… Those Rimouski guys are ridiculously smart!! :-) Teammates that have families and interests and compassion. At the executive level, the passion and intensity is even more evident. The laughter, sharing, support and recognition of individual and team contributions is contagious. I’m in a small microcosm of “good guys”. Does that traslate into an over-arching goodness?


Still, as I work internally with groups to determine corporate blogging strategies, it makes me wonder if there is much more at stake than a marketing answer to a web 2.0 initiative. A corporte blog strategy has got to take into account the mandate to improve external relationships, even with folks who are not customers, and folks who may never become customers. It’s a fine line between the perception that the guys on the left have, and the rest of the community.

Companies have got to expect that if one person has a “bad guy ” perception, there’s got to be more. The only way to change that perception is to provide content and context that allows folks to get a better look inside companies. To challenge corporate PR, if you will… To challenge the whole public conversation.  I know - it sounds a litte nutty for a big company to think of such innovation.

The irony? In this day and age, companies can’t help but have this conversation on their radar. It needs to be a conversation that includes highlighting the little people, working like berserk, making things and caring about customers and the community. The Million Dollar Question, how does an organization change perceptions?  Can it be a fast road or a slippery slope?

Can one take such a naive position as this and make it acceptable? Can naivety and corporate optimism be joined to create something better? 

 


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