Goldman Sachs Gets Green

The timing was just about perfect. Goldman Sachs announces in a full-page ad in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal that it is helping a clean energy company find investors, and PR News publishes crisis expert Jim Lukaszewski’s Tip Sheet on why CEOs shouldn’t hide behind CSR efforts. Of course, Goldman is now taking it on the chin for this rather obvious campaign to position itself as a good corporate citizen. Is the new Goldman campaign ill-advised? Should the company be talking instead about what it’s doing to clean up the financial mess? I’m of the latter opinion, but I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.

–Scott Van Camp

  • HarvPR

    (Our thoughts about financial industry image issues)– More serious image issues for big banks. With some of the largest multinational banks delaying home foreclosures because bank employees allegedly signed off on foreclosure documents without reading them. Add this most recent negative coverage to negative news about the role of Wall Street financial firms in the Great Recession, and negative news about escalating credit card interest rates and a range of fee increases for banking services…and you begin to wonder why financial firms seem to be doing everything possible to generate negative perception of their respective brands. Of course, like business firms in other industries banks are attempting to advertise their way out of trouble. With controlled messaging about their many good deeds addressing community needs and their diligent efforts to boost lending in support of small businesses.

    You can bet that ad agencies are delivering convincing metrics to bank executives in efforts to demonstrate the strong role of ad messaging in generating positive opinion of the big banks. But really, now. When you think about it, how can big banks and Wall Street firms dig themselves out of the deep hole they’re digging for themselves? Maybe they don’t need to worry, if revenue streams keep rolling in. Or should they be concerned? Since negative perception of big business and institutions is at very high levels.

    People need to feel good again about enterprise. The positive spirit of enterprise by individuals and businesses that lifts the human spirit. What we all need is substance, rather than clever messaging.