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The 18 Immutable Laws Of Corporate Reputation: Creating, Protecting, And Repairing Your Most Valuable Asset

by Ronald J. Alsop, Ron Alsop
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publishing date: 16/03/2004
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780743236706
  • ISBN: 074323670x

Synopsis

From Enron and WorldCom to the Catholic Church and Major League Baseball, reputation crises have never been more widespread. Now Ronald J. Alsop, a veteran Wall Street Journal authority on branding and reputation management, explains the dangers -- and gives organizations the eighteen crucial laws to follow in developing and protecting their reputations.

Consider this example of a simple decision made by a low-ranking employee: When rescue workers at the site of the World Trade Center disaster sought bottled water from a nearby Starbucks outlet, they complained that an employee charged them for it. In a matter of hours, the Internet had picked up the story and Starbucks' carefully cultivated worldwide reputation was quickly besmirched.

This is just one instance among many of how the business world, ever more global and competitive, has become increasingly difficult to navigate. Studies have demonstrated the powerful impact of reputation on profits and stock prices, and yet less than half of all companies have a formal system for measuring reputation. Clearly, companies in every industry -- from Dow Chemical to Disney to DaimlerChrystler -- have much more to learn.

It is still the rare company that realizes the full value of its reputation: how corporate reputation can enhance business in good times, become a protective halo in turbulent times, and be destroyed in an instant by people at the lowest or highest levels of the corporate ladder. Mr. Alsop provides eighteen thoroughly documented lessons based on years of experience covering every aspect of corporate reputation, with a clear distillation of the complex principles at the heart of a reputation. He explains:

• How to protect your reputation when the inevitable crisis hits

• How to cope with the many hazards in cyberspace

• How to create a reputation for vision and industry leadership

• How to establish a culture of ethical behavior

• How to measure and monitor your ever-changing public image

• How to make employees your reputation champions

• How to decide when it's time to change your name

The result is a book that is important not only for business executives, consultants, and advertising, public relations, and marketing professionals but also for anyone eager to learn more about the companies they work for, buy from, and invest in.


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  • Good layout of a problem, but few solutions.
    From Amazon

    This book is worth reading just to get a sense of the way the American public views business today. The stories of businesses told in this book are one-sided and even irrational, but without a doubt, they reflect the way American business is seen by the public right now.

    The problem with the book is that it offers very few ideas on how a business can successfully navigate today's minefield of public perception. As a reader hoping to come away with ideas on how to nurture the public's perception of my business, I instead finished the book feeling that businesses are largely at the mercy of dumb luck and circumstance when it comes to perception. Further, the author admits that businesses are in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation when attempting to let the public know about any acts of goodwill.

    This book is well-timed to take advantage of today's anti-business climate, but not of much help for those seeking to find their way through it.

  • The Limits of Journalism
    From Amazon

    Ronald Alsop's book is pretty much the product of what one would expect from an author with a background as a newspaper journalist. The book reads like a collection of articles on the subject. Corporate reputation-building is, of course, a very important subject these days. So one would benefit from some original thinking and deep analysis on the subject. Not much of that here, however. You could get the level of treatment the book offers from a perusal of newspaper and magazine articles over the past couple of years.

    What's amazing is that none of Alsop's sources are disclosed. There is no bibliography, no footnotes disclosing where often highly specific results of corporate rankings and opinion polls should be backed up with authorities. What about the question of the reputation of an author, and his publisher, for solid research and scholarship?

  • About time someone spoke about reputation!!!
    From Amazon

    Alsop is a senior reporter for the Wall Street Journal and I have read many of his stories over the years. I am glad that someone of his caliber has addressed the issue of corporate reputaion at a time when big business ranks about equal to politicians in public perception. Even the mafia is thought to be less sleazy!!

    Alsop starts with a basic, uncontestable premise: A corporation's reputation is one of its most valuable assets. This determines how much slack a cynical public will cut it when things start to go wrong. Other assets - such as those that show up on the balance sheet - are carefully measured, tracked and managed. Reputations are not. Not even by so-called excellently managed companies.

    Next Alsop lays out various 'laws' to help a company manage its reputation. The first two just talk about how important it is and how important it is to measure it. Then he becomes much more interesting as he starts laying out what a company should do build and maintain a sterling reputation.

    He stresses how important it is for a company to 'live' its values and ethics and why being defensive is actually offensive. These could be bromides. What gives them value are Alsop's anecdotes drawn from a lifetime of reporting on business. These well selected stories not only illustrate his points, they also show the reader how to implement his ideas in their own situation. And there are hundreds os such stories.

    For example, Alsop talks about how being socially responsible can be an important component of a sterling reputation. And he relates how Timberland does it with a range of initiatives from monitoring labor practices at its contractors' overseas factories to giving its employess the opportunity to do community service on company time. And he doesn't stop there. He tells what dozens of other companies do from Johnson & Johnson to Paul Newman's food company.

    These stories and examples are, by far, the best part of the book. This is where the value resides and it is not at all difficult to take each of these examples and suitably modify it to use in your situation.

    An excellent book. My one quibble is a philosophical one. I think Alsop is too easy on companies like Altria - the former Phillip Morris. Does having an exemplary ethics code with lots of employee input compensate for the fact that its core product kills when used as intended? You make up your mind on that one. Alsop shows how Altria does a lot of things right in terms of global cultural sensitivity but I would simply not have used such an example.

  • Stategic Insight into Managing Corporate Reputation
    From Amazon

    "The 18 Immutable Laws of Corporate Reputation" (18 Laws) draws an up-to-date roadmap for (1)establishing a good corporate reputation, (2)maintaining that reputation and (3)repairing a damaged corporate reputation. Starting with the premise that a good reputation is a corporation's most priceless asset, writer Ronald Alsop presents mini case-studies of "lessons learned" from the crises faced by companies and organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Philip Morris (Altria), and the Roman Catholic Church to explore the benefits of a good reputation, the consequences of a bad reputation and ways to protect good reputations and fix bad ones.

    While sticking mostly to the main highways of stategy development and avoiding the gritty back roads of tactical decision making, 18 Laws provides important insights into key principles and strategies for building, maintaining, and fixing corporate reputations. Though it lacks turn-by-turn directions and employs clichés with surprising frequency, this well-researched, well-organized and clearly-written business book is a worthwhile addition to the personal, corporate or PR agency library. C-level executives and corporate communications professionals can benefit in perusing the 18 laws in preparation for the next inevitable corporate crisis or as a strategic reference manual for use as the crisis unfolds.

  • A Textbook for Communications Professionals
    From Amazon

    I found this book highly readable, balanced and full of useful information. It should become a textbook for people in the communications field and for senior executives.

    The book is structured so well, with the best practices of companies clearly explained. The author is feisty in his assessment of reputation blunders and shortcomings, but he always turns them into instructive lessons.

    Mr. Alsop vividly illustrates each law with detailed examples. I especially enjoyed learning about companies' tactics for dealing with Internet rumors, Merrill Lynch's crisis-management strategies, and the inside story of Philip Morris's name change.

    There are also many rankings of companies with the best and worst reputations. And the author has written entertaining short pieces for some of the chapters about famous corporate apologies, the IBM Hall of Shame, and a corporate name change quiz.

    Given the state of corporate America's reputation, this book should have a long shelf life.

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