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Starbucks, Reputation Damage and PR

Starbucks, Reputation Damage and PR

It’s great to see that Starbucks will be standing up to its tax obligations here in Britain (well to an extent…. but that’s a topic for another blog).

I’ve walked past a few Starbucks recently (and deliberately didn’t go in for a coffee) but noticed with pride that they were all pretty empty. It’s good to see people taking a stance and seeing the value of PR coming into sharp focus with the ongoing reporting of tax avoidance involving not only Starbucks but also Google and Amazon.

Interestingly and rightly, the BBC on the 1 o’clock chose to seek commentary from a PR expert, head of Corporate Affairs at Ketchum, Jo-Ann Robertson, only last week. She astutely pointed out that corporates cannot underestimate the reputational damage an issue such as this can cause and that PR and communications departments can suddenly become as important as the finance department when a board seeks to address how to handle the company’s public image.

So many companies can be short-sighted; PR kicks in only after the event and they still fail to recognise the importance ongoing communications with customers and shareholders.

Starbucks customers are voting with their feet at the moment with one independent coffee shop in the BBC piece admitting their profits were up due to their proximity to Starbucks!

The battle to win and retain public confidence in challenging markets is a tough one, so surely part of winning that battle is down to effective external communications, as well as an investment in strong media and social relations?

It’s the corporates who fail to see the value of investment in ongoing PR that will come unstuck in a crisis because the reputational damage is already done and that can take years to fix.

Posted: 6 December 2012

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