If Reputation and Values Matter, Why do Companies Seemingly Ignore Them?

There are few phrases that spill more often from the mouths of PR pros than corporate reputation. Moreover, plenty of articles, in this publication and others, extol the importance of corporate reputation. And how many surveys conclude that consumers prefer value-based brands? We’re told Millennials and Gen-Z especially will purchase from companies that support values such as DEI, sustainability, fair treatment of workers and human rights.

More than that, PR pros predicted 2022 will see brands facing consequences should they fail to stand behind their stated values.

How, then, to understand why the board of Better.com, knowing its corporate reputation was ebbing, retained a CEO who coldly fired 900 staffers during a Zoom call in December and then trashed them online? (More on this below.)

And how to explain why value-based companies are risking their reputation and spending large sums as Olympics sponsors? For example, one of the newest partners, AirBnB, is paying the International Olympic Committee (IOC) $500 million through 2028. The Olympics Winter Games begin in Beijing, China, Feb. 4.


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