Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Independent report by Gihan Thabrew, on Q2 E/MBA club on "PR & Comms in 21st century business", with Simon Burton, Acting Head of Corporate Affairs Camelot, 2012
Independent report by Gihan Thabrew, MEMBA09
The first part of the 2012 Q2 E/MBA Alumni Club social event was finding the fantastic location organised by the hard working Gareth Wong at the private members’ club “Eight Club Bank” (see www.eightclub.co.uk). Down the little alleys off Cornhill and knock on a black door to be let in….down three flights of stairs to the welcome drinks and a brief chance to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones.
Our host was Simon Burton, the Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, Camelot [EMBA97] who introduced himself as an East End boy with a comparison to Jonathan Ross and Jeremy Beadle. Simon is an ex-journalist who joined Fishburn Hedges, completed his MBA in 2000 and joined Camelot 18 months ago managing corporate press aspects.
Given the evening’s subject of “Reputation Management (RM): whose business is it?” there may have been some expectation on something relating to the dangers or risks of gambling. Quoting the lines from Othello “Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial”, Simon explained how RM is more professional now and is about making sure there is no gap between what you say and do. There is a need to be stronger with executive leadership with RM currently focused on defence rather than an attack minded tool to convey positive messages and create value.
Social media has been helping to change the value of RM. Sainsbury’s are a company who do RM really well, for example with selling curved cucumbers, to drive value in the organisation. Utilities and Pharmaceuticals organisations use RM to free some of their regulatory shackles and generate growth. Contrary to these industries, Financial Services still have a long way to go in using RM well.
Finally, Simon noted that many CEOs spend a lot of time these days on R&R – Revenue and Reputation. The question was then posed on how many business schools teach reputation…..a scandalous zero!! Time for a new module at Cass we think… ☺
An interesting Q&A session followed with a variety of questions asked. For example, how you measure reputation impact depends on who you are targeting and how you measure against your competitors. It’s the outcomes of what the target audience does as a result of your actions. A current day poser of what JP Morgan could have done would be to pre-empt the situation through honesty – go ugly go early! Be bold, really thorough, get a clean slate and show control as soon as possible. Simon highlighted how corporate news is now front page news, not just on the business pages hence the importance to manage reputational situations that will allow investor confidence to follow. The Barclays Bob Diamond affair compared deserved reward with fair rewards with the 21st century a different era now about moral dimensions and what is fair. Customers who get fairness will help organisations to prosper.
To close, Simon stated that organisations will need to be on the front foot and assertive, to show rewards are deserved… Zeitgeist wins the day!!
A big part of these quarterly events is the networking opportunity offered and many stayed on to mingle, chat and learn more about what the Cass alumni network can offer. I’m looking forward to the Q3 event already. Hope to see a lot more new faces there!
@GarethWong: many thanks for Simon and everyone that supports us, including Gihan & previous independent reporter.. and of course Cass' Krista & team in helping out our badges and website signup logistics and Erica for helping us to reach new graduates. ;)
+++ Mark your diary now, Q3 E/MBA club is 16th Oct (topic below, location & signup will only be revealed to qualifying fellow City/Cass MBAs, please ask Cass Alum office or contact us via http://CassAlumni.org )