Reputation Losers of 2011

By | December 30, 2011

Trust and relevance, in combination, is the key to building reputation.  What happens when you are relevant for the wrong reasons?  When relevance comes without trust, the result is negative for reputations.  Here are my thoughts on the biggest reputation losers of 2011:

  1. Rupert Murdoch – Murdoch was never a beacon of honesty, but a publication-ending scandal of this magnitude solidified his position as the guy we shouldn’t trust.
  2. Ashton Kutcher – what happens when a twitter-licious celebrity goes off the rails? Ashton’s public marital problems, followed by his rant defending Joe Paterno caused his reputation to take a major tumble.
  3. NBA and David Stern – when millionaires fight with billionaires, nobody wins. And while the fans got a Christmas gift with the return of NBA play, they start the shortened season with a black eye.
  4. Yahoo – is this really how you fire a CEO? Enough said.
  5. Joe Paterno and Penn State Football – Legendary coach Joe Paterno’s firing in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal is the headline here, but far from the only reputation damaging event in college football.
  6. Bank of America – already the poster child for labor protests on executive pay and the “1 percent problem” Bank of America’s decision to implement nickel and dime fees to customers is one of the things that makes me go “hmmmm?”
  7. Mayor Bloomberg – OWS, mishandling the October blizzard and the Cathie Black debacle have made the straight talking Mayor one of the year’s reputation losers.
  8. Big Banks, Wall Street and the Financial Services industry – it’s hard to believe that there is further to fall after the TBTF trend of last year – but OWS, MF Global and other high profile events are proof that there is still further they can fall.
  9. The European Union – the European Financial Crisis is one to watch in 2012…seems like yesterday that the world was celebrating the EU and the Eurozone – concepts whose viability are now in question.
  10. Netflix – the customer owns the brand. And that customer is angry.  A bumbled apology doesn’t make up for a breathtaking lack of awareness of what matters to customers.  BofA and Netflix seem to be missing the same chip here.



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