In the next few years, we are going to see two kinds of companies emerge from this mess: Saints and Sinners.
A very recent survey indicates that CEOs are less popular than politicians — a sign of things to come. In my book, Saving The World At Work, I predicted that the Responsibility Revolution would reshape branding as we know it.
My research indicated that the 2002 scandals, such as Enron and WorldCom, gave rise to the corporate social responsibility movement. Consumers began to gravitate to companies that offered a social value proposition: Green, community focused or good to employees. This is a natural psychological reaction to scandals and the resulting landscape.
This will only get bigger.
This is why a recent article (Surprising Survivors: Corporate Do-Gooders) indicates that leading companies with sagging stock prices are holding firm to their commitments to the Triple Bottom Line.
Expect to see labels on products tell a compelling story in the future. Pepsi just put R&D dollars into seeing how green their orange juice product was — and planning to make this a labeling issue in the future. Analysts say this is a good strategy because in this climate, beyond price, we need to give consumers a reason to buy from us … and today! (Check out: How Green Is My Orange)
So don't give up on your commitments to connect your company with a cause bigger than surviving. Your future brand depends on it. Also, many companies will cement a social reputation over the next year or two, based on their ability to continue to 'do the right thing', when media pundits are suggesting they jump the shark instead.