Running scared... to the PR spivs

Submitted by Matthew on 26 January, 2011 - 3:33

We know that web-based organisations like Wikileaks and UK Uncut are doing a great job, but it is still gratifying to read that corporate Britain is running scared as a result. The question is, will it make the tax dodgers clean up their act. PR Week gives us some clues, but it’s not good news! The report reveals:

“One senior agency source told PR Week that boardrooms across the UK were fearful of web-based organisations such as Wikileaks and UKUncut. ‘A lot of corporate Britain is running scared’, said the source”.

Leading corporate PR company chief executive, Nick Murray-Leslie of Chatsworth Communications, said that, for top corporate executives whose recent concerns have been primarily about financial risk and exposure: “reputational risk is now in the ascendancy”. Asked why Wikileaks is so dangerous, he added: “Quite simply, because it has changed everything. It has opened an extended risk front to the business world, that of almost instant, global reputational risk”.

Hill & Knowlton’s boss of crisis management, Tim Luckett, agreed that the internet was making corporate reputations more vulnerable: “Fundamentally, the web not only exposes businesses to a far broader range of critics, but also makes it easier to bring them together. Add to that, the reputational legacy of such incidents via the Google Effect and there becomes a significant threat to your brand. The way in which activists are mobilising has changed — these online organisations have increasing influence and subsequent offline power”.

So what is the corporate world doing about this new threat? Cleaning up its act? Paying a fair amount of tax, perhaps? Err, not exactly, it seems.

Murray-Leslie explains: “Not being evil helps but if you can’t do that, prepare, prepare, prepare”.

Spending a lot more on employing PR consultants seems to be the answer.

Jon Lansman is secretary of the Labour Party Democracy Task Force. His contributions to Solidarity are taken from the blog www.leftfutures.org.

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