A brilliant discussion (as well as the ever-tasty pastries and bacon rolls) this morning at our regular Breakfast Club event at the RAC. Giles Gibbons of Good Business, Richard Reed of Innocent Drinks and Simon Myers of brand consultancy Figtree were discussing the ethics of 21st century, expertly chaired by former CNN anchor Todd Benjamin.
There was consensus among the panellists that too many companies think that they can change their reputation without actually changing themselves. McDonalds was cited as one example of a business that understood this. Its reputation was at such a low point in the 80s and 90s that the fast food chain had to fundamentally change its whole way of working, convincing even those who would never be customers, that the brand was completely different, which it has done.
Richard Reed praised the power of the internet in facilitating this change, enabling people to engage and sort out the good guys and the bad guys of brands. However he said we were a long way off, some 200 years in fact, reaching a full transformation.