The Holmes Report: A Reality Check For Corporate Reputation

The Holmes Report

By MARK PENN
Published February 23, 2012

Corporations have a long way to go to maximize their reputation with an increasingly demanding public according to the Global Corporate Reputation Index, which measured corporate citizenship and performance across 6,000 companies. For most companies, citizenship scores lagged in comparison to basic performance attributes such as quality and innovation.

The Index, which was based on 40,000 consumer interviews across six countries (Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United States), indicates that companies have an opportunity to strengthen their reputation by demonstrating and communicating their commitment to the consumers and communities they serve.

The model is a new way to look at corporate reputation as distinct from brand. Core attributes like quality, service and innovation are scored to create a market performance indicator while personal attributes like caring, friendly and service to the community are scored as a citizenship indicator, with the two averaged to create the Global Corporate Reputation Index. But each brand has an all important measure across geographies – the citizenship gap, which shows whether issues are a drag on its overall reputation or not. The greater the gap, the greater citizenship issues can act as a drag on market performance. It’s a new concept and new way to measure and allocate corporate resources.

Read the full article at The Holmes Report

TIME Ideas: How Is Obama Faring Against a Republican Challenge?

  TIME IDEAS
How Is Obama Faring Against a Republican Challenge?

Republican strategist Karen Hughes and Democratic pollster Mark Penn in their bi-weekly faceoff about Election 2012

Penn: What Republican challenge? While the Democrats had a long primary process in 2008, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama emerged from that contest as credible presidential possibilities; in this case, the Republican contenders are being diminished, not enhanced, by the bloody contest.

And unemployment is down, the Dow is up and President Obama is in election mode. Fired up and ready to go with his blueprint for America, Obama is rising in the polls.

The President’s budget is not without points of attack. It expands government and raises taxes — problems he describes as virtues in a spirited defense of government spending to protect middle-class values while raising taxes on the affluent. But so far Mitt Romney, one of the wealthiest candidates paying one of the lowest tax rates, has been ill-equipped to join the battle. He is self-interested in lower taxes for dividends and capital gains and so he comes to the debate tarnished by his perceived motivations.

The President has fared well these last two months. But this race is building for the day that there is a Republican nominee and a joint debate on the economy and the budget, which will be about more than unemployment statistics and deficits — it will be a clash of ideologies. Neither Obama nor Romney, if he is the nominee, come from the true extremes of their party; they nevertheless have very different outlooks on taxes and government spending that are going to be at the heart of the election come November.

For now, Obama has put together a strong case that his approach is beginning to work and that it’s time to raise taxes on the affluent to fund maintaining entitlements. So far, the Republican rebuttal has been fragmented and ineffective, but it’s not until the argument is joined one-on-one that the voters will make their firm choices for the presidency and decide the direction the country will take on these big issues.

Hughes: President Obama’s supporters may be feeling a little better this month, thanks to slightly lower unemployment numbers. But to borrow the President’s new favorite phrase, the Obama team’s current sigh of relief is not “built to last.”

Americans’ unprecedented pessimism continues, with 63% believing the country is on the wrong track according to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll. And no wonder. At 8.3%, unemployment is still higher than President Obama’s Administration promised it ever would be. And if you count the estimated 3 million workers who are so discouraged that they have given up looking for work, today’s actual unemployment stands at more than 10%. A record number of Americans are living in poverty, and the housing crisis continues, with more than 1 million homes likely to be foreclosed on this year. Most discouraging, the President’s most recent proposals indicate he’s not serious about any fundamental changes.

Read the full article at TIME Ideas

World Economic Forum: Tuning in to more than corporate performance

By MARK PENN
Published February 7, 2012

In the worldwide marketplace, corporations are continuously being judged by vastly different audiences. From Germany to Brazil, today’s consumers are tuning in to more than just performance; they’re judging corporations on their citizenship. Yet, based on our findings in the inaugural Global Corporate Reputation Index, which was released at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting by Burson-Marsteller, Landor Associates, Penn Schoen Berland and Brand Asset Consulting, corporations aren’t getting or effectively processing that message.

In fact, across the six countries (Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United States) surveyed, citizenship, defined as how responsible a corporation is to its community, consistently lagged in comparison to corporate performance, suggesting a lack of emphasis on citizenship in today’s corporate marketplace. Companies can and should use this finding as a clear opportunity to strengthen their reputation by demonstrating and communicating more actively their commitment to good corporate citizenship.

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PRWeek: Davos 2012: The great transformation

By MARK PENN
Published February 3, 2012

With record snowfall, spirited Occupiers, and thought leaders from across industries and around the globe congregating in Davos, Switzerland, this year’s World Economic Forum was laser-focused on current worldwide crises at hand. Aptly themed, “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models,” the conversation was heavily influenced by the debt crisis in Europe. The larger questions about inequality, how capitalism is working, and how to redefine fairness in the 21st century were discussed at length.

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TIME Ideas: Has Newt’s Challenge Hurt Romney or Made Him Stronger?

  TIME IDEAS
Has Newt’s Challenge Hurt Romney or Made Him Stronger?
Republican strategist Karen Hughes and Democratic pollster Mark Penn in their bi-weekly faceoff about Election 2012

Penn: Newt Gingrich has been a great candidate in the way that the Titanic was a great ship. It has been very attractive to board, but we know where it’s headed. Of course Gingrich believes he is unsinkable, and, for that, Democrats must be very grateful.

So thank you Gingrich for running a negative ad campaign in Florida so that the Democrats don’t have to. You have literally saved the Obama campaign, Democratic National Convention and Democrats around the country millions of dollars. Moreover, you have all but done the work for the Obama opposition research team. From painting Mitt Romney as someone having a “profound character problem” to acting “totally dishonest,” you have torn apart his record at Bain Capital, made him release his tax returns and forced him to deplete his bank account.

Thank you Gingrich for further fragmenting the Republican Party. You have self-declared this GOP nomination a two-person race between yourself, the conservative leader, and Romney, the Massachusetts moderate. In doing so, you are working to depress conservative voter turnout in the general election.

Thank you Gingrich for bringing prolonged drama and grandiose schemes to this primary season. With 46 states to go, you have ample opportunity to remind us of the reasons why moon colonies and farmers in space should be a priority going forward as well as why employing poor children to serve as janitors to earn money is a good Republican idea.

As he did during the ’95-’96 federal government shutdowns, Gingrich is once again bringing his unique brand of brinksmanship to hector Romney and the Republican Party.

Hughes: That which does not kill you makes you stronger. That old adage came to mind as I watched Romney overcome the most serious threat to his campaign thus far with a decisive victory over Gingrich in the important and diverse state of Florida.

To his great credit, Romney seems to be relishing the fight and rising to the occasion. As he said in his well-crafted Florida victory speech, “a competitive primary does not divide us; it prepares us.” Candidates rarely enjoy a genuine threat to the survival of their campaigns. But unless it knocks them out, it almost always makes them better. After John McCain dealt a stunning 19-point defeat to then-Governor George W. Bush in the 2000 New Hampshire primary, we had to re-tool. We had let McCain’s attacks against our candidate go unanswered, we realized, and allowed McCain to steal the mantle of reform. We developed a sharp new message describing George W. Bush as a “reformer with results” and contrasted his executive decision-making experience with Sen. McCain’s years in the Senate. Instead of the usual campaign speeches, Gov. Bush began having town hall meetings, where he was forced to answer lots of questions he might have preferred to avoid — but it helped him hone his answers and demonstrate his ability to think on his feet.

The Romney we saw campaigning in Florida lived up to his promise to show that the GOP nomination is worth fighting for. He rose to Newt’s challenge to his frontrunner status with two of his best debate performances. After coming across as both dodging and defensive about his income and income taxes in South Carolina, he delivered a full throated and effective defense of his wealth, saying:

“I have earned the money that I have. I didn’t inherit it. I take risks. I make investments. Those investments lead to jobs being created in America. I’m proud of being successful. I’m proud of being in the free enterprise system that creates jobs for other people. I’m not going to run from that. I’m proud of the taxes I pay. My taxes, plus my charitable contributions, this year, 2011, will be about 40%. So, look, let’s put behind this idea of attacking me because of my investments or my money, and let’s get Republicans to say, you know what? What you’ve accomplished in your life shouldn’t be seen as a detriment, it should be seen as an asset to help America.”

It was one of the strongest statements of the campaign thus far, and it’s exactly the argument Republicans need to make this fall to confront President Obama and his attempts to attack success and divide Americans based on income. As he fights Newt’s attacks on his tenure at Bain, his record as Governor and his financial success, Romney is refining his message for the fall campaign and ironically, showing that he is what Republicans want most: the candidate capable of taking on and defeating President Obama.

Read the full article at TIME Ideas

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