Friday, February 17, 2006

Reputation That Never Dies

Recently we asked how long it takes for people to forget a corporate crisis. For a long time, it seemed that this was a reasonable question. Clients in turmoil often ask us how long it takes before a crisis fades in people’s minds and no longer makes headlines. [I bet VP Dick Cheney was asking himself this very same question this week.] The results are not too favorable.

When global business influentials were asked about the shelf life of a crisis, they reported that it takes about two years before it loses saliency. I think now that they are wrong. Call me dense but I recently realized that crises, scandals and wrongdoing never make it to the reputation graveyard. With the Internet, a crisis now lives on forever. Martha Stewart has been out of prison for several months but the Inclone stock debacle always comes up highly “relevant” when her name is typed into google or yahoo. [Dick Cheney's reputation will always include some reference to his shooting error.]

Reputational brevity is a thing of the past.

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