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In a week in which the euphoria of sporting triumph has given way to mainly negative headlines about pay rises, alleged corporate bribery and over-charging the public purse two headlines have come as a relief. Firstly there was the personalised response sent by NASA to a seven year old who wanted to become an astronaut. Then there was the story of Her Majesty The Queen who set aside protocol in agreeing to have her photo taken with a little girl and her teddy bear.
Both actions were simple in themselves but both highlighted the way in which a good deed can result in a wash of positive publicity. Conversely the other stories remind us that the old mantra of any publicity being good publicity has vanished under the influences of 24 hour news and social media.
In fact nowadays any bad publicity can have far reaching consequences, affecting not only the business’ reputation but also affecting the morale and engagement of employees. Poor service, flimsy products, lack of customer care; whatever the tale it can now be found on the internet and customers are increasingly using the net as a source of research.
That is one reason why businesses are increasingly looking to their corporate culture to make a difference, to turn aside from silos and self interest and towards innovation and creating a culture of excellent customer service. Sometimes this means a complete organisational restructure, a sweeping away of old values and a new focus on care. Other times, it may just need something simple, empowering employees to give that little bit extra, to resolve that problem, to take time to send that personalised response.
Whether it is a special photo or a personalised letter, a new way of working or a fresh focus, organisations which innovate will reap the competitive advantage. Hopefully one day the headlines will carry nothing but good news, in place of tales of corporate cultural failure.