Published: March 21, 2012
Smith's public shaming of Goldman presents an opportunity for the firm to commence a proactive and transparent program of internal and external communications to begin the reputation-repair process. Smith's opinion piece states that what Goldman officials communicated to the public about the firm's value to society had little resemblance to what was communicated internally. As Smith smartly noted, "If clients don't trust you
, they will eventually stop doing business with you." That should be a wake-up call to all executives and politicians, especially at a time when the public has little trust in either group.
We can only hope that the Goldman Sachs executive team will use this firestorm as an opportunity to right the firm's many public trust and reputation issues. That effort can begin with honest and transparent communications about the firm's practices and the beneficial role it ought to have in and on behalf of society.
Gerard F. Corbett
Chair and CEO
Public Relations Society of America
New York City