December 04, 2012
Unsolicited Advice For Large Corporations
It is not enough these days for the overfed fat cats of large corporations to make billions of dollars. Now they want to be loved and admired. Here's some advice for them and for the poor fools who have to implement their delusional PR and social media plans.
1. When will you be loved? Um…never. I know, people just don’t understand how much good you do and what a wonderful company you are. Oh, and your people are the best! Well, guess what? Nobody gives a shit. There are going to be a substantial number of people who think you are a criminal enterprise and that the world would be better off without you. Stop whining and get used to it. It’s the price you pay for being big and successful.
2. Do good things and shut up. It’s fine to speak modestly about the generous things you do, but don’t pound your chest and don’t rub our noses in it. You are expected to do good things. Generosity and community-mindedness are not extra-credit projects, they are your responsibility. Be charitable and generous because they are the right things to do, not because you want bouquets.
3. Put your money where your mouth is. There is a fashion among large corporations and pandering politicians to glorify small business -- while they're stomping all over it. If you really believe in small business, hire them as suppliers. Have an officer whose job it is to identify small companies that can do a better job for you than the big dumb oafs you are currently using. You’ll do a lot more for small businesses by employing them than by your patronizing lip service.
4. Refrain from social media egocentrism. You’d be amazed at how little consumers care about your “philosophy.” I know, your agency has shown you research that proves that consumers want to do business with companies that share their values. This is, to a large degree, a bunch of hooey. Consumers do business with companies that provide them with good products, good service, and good value. End of story. Sure, when you survey them they'll tell you they prefer companies that are “good, like me.” What do you expect them to say? That they want to do business with creeps and perverts? And whatever you do, don’t talk yourself into the Pepsi narcissism trap.
5. Results by indirection. While you will always be resented and disliked by a certain component of the population, there is a group of people who can be influenced by reason. The best way to influence these people is indirectly. Let them hear about your good works from third parties. Don’t try to force feed your righteousness to them. By not pushing too hard on the virtue button, but by having a strategy that employs discretion and unpretentiousness you may actually get some people to like and appreciate you.