Out of Scope Issue 107: Mastering the Reputation Game is Never Ending
This week, we saw some established industry and world power players shaking things up. In truth, it seems everyone is out to try something new to boost their reputation: A storied world leader embarked on beefing up his brand, a longstanding media favorite is shuttering, and a major news outlet made the headlines rather than wrote them. We’re all for experimentation, but sometimes, using the tried and true method is safer.
????ON OUR MINDS: Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
- Timely, clear, and precise communication must be the foundation of any business. It improves productivity, efficiency, revenue, and that most elusive thing: a sterling reputation. Global brands are no exception, and this week we saw what happens when things aren’t quite clear to stakeholders. In the past few days, this was experienced first-hand by digital disrupter Netflix and global advising powerhouse Ernst & Young.
- Content kingpin, Netflix, got its break-the-internet event last Sunday, albeit in a less-than-desired way. The ‘Love Is Blind’ season 4 reunion was Netflix’s second-ever live event on its own platform. The show was set to stream live at 8 p.m. ET. Netflix subscribers could join a waiting room for the show 10 minutes before airtime — and those who did were still stuck in limbo an hour later.
- In a now-deleted tweet, Netflix initially acknowledged viewer concerns about a delayed broadcast, stating that the broadcast would be delayed by 15 minutes. However, the live show was ultimately canceled nearly 90 minutes after its scheduled start time, resulting in significant social media backlash from viewers and competitor brands, alike.
- In Ernst & Young’s case, a perceived lack of transparency may result in a mass exodus of talent. EY recently abandoned its plan to split into separate businesses, followed by the announcement of layoffs. EY initially planned to separate into consulting and auditing firms but halted due to internal and external pressures. However, EY later announced a round of layoffs, which it claimed was unrelated to the split decision. Regardless of the situation, the timing and lack of clarity for employees may impact EY’s reputation and lead to staff attrition, as competitors could view the firm as weakened.
- In both cases, we realize mistakes and unforeseen events happen, but timely messaging and sharing what you do know (when you know it) can go a long way to protecting your reputation.
???? ON OUR RADAR
- Joe Biden concluded a diplomatic and personal visit to his ancestral home, Ireland. The expectedly reactionary British press quickly criticized his visit, but crowds on the Emerald Isle couldn’t get enough of him. Never one to be shy about his Irish heritage, the 46th US President has made his family background a major part of his Presidential persona in recent years to help cultivate a “brand built on Average Joe relatability.” Biden’s likeability among millions is enviable in that regard– but is it successful personal branding, or just the luck of the Irish?
- News about the news: On Tuesday, FOX agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems. The suit, launched in response to the network’s promotion of misinformation about the 2020 election, seems like a reasonable consequence for a general effort to discredit American democracy via the airwaves. You know what they say — the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward a $787.5 million fine.
- Always ask follow-up questions: It leaves a great impression and can even get you out of a lawsuit. Taylor Swift was the only celebrity to inquire if the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX asked if they were selling unregistered securities when they approached her for a $100 million deal. FTX’s former celebrity representatives, including Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Steph Curry, and Shaquille O’Neill, are implicated in the $5 billion dollar class action lawsuit against the brand for violating Florida securities and consumer protection law and of engaging in an illegal civil conspiracy. The pop star remains in her not guilty era.
- For the Financial Times, Gillian Tett breaks down the power of word choice. The IMF addressed the “cost of living crisis” in its official meetings this spring instead of simply saying “inflation” as they might have a decade ago. Tett argues this reflects a shift in priorities. Historically the IMF has functioned as a purely financial entity, declining to consider anthropological factors in the global economy. In keeping with leading economists, they’re working to address the human element of economic performance. That change begins with a few specific terms in a few important meetings. It’s a testament to the high communication stakes in the room where it happens and a possible sign of a new fiscal paradigm.
In case you missed these stories.
- There’s a time and place for everything. Holding a powerful environmental justice demonstration at the World Snooker Championships might not have been it.
- If the bungled live stream wasn’t enough, another sign of the times from Netflix: their last mailed DVDs will be shipped in September.
- Buzzfeed is the latest digital media outlet to suffer layoffs, with their newsroom announcing it will shut down this week.
- After what feels like years of a will-they-won’t-they saga, Twitter finally revoked non-paying users’ blue check marks, which signify verified users. It’s the wild, wild west out here, folks.
Thanks for reading,