When is standing still falling behind? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is finding out.
True, the Chamber’s role is to represent members’ interests. But when some members are treated more equal than others, it causes friction.
It also caused angst as the Chamber’s PR team tried to sidestep the problem without talking about it. When an organization’s reputation is on the line, a more direct approach gets better results.
The latest dust-up came this week when giant CVS Health Corporation, which last year banned the sale of tobacco in its 7,800 retail stores and pharmacies, resigned its membership after it was reported that the Chamber is vigorously lobbying against anti-smoking laws around the world.
That disclosure also created discomfort for four other healthcare companies, including Anthem, that serve on the Chamber’s Board of Directors and had made their feelings known to no avail.
This is only the latest controversy for the Chamber. In 2009, Apple — the world’s most valuable company — quit over the Chamber’s adamant opposition to regulations to limit global warming. In 2013, the U.S. division of major Swedish construction company Skanska resigned because the Chamber was lobbying against green building codes.
Picking sides is always tricky, especially in an organization with members whose interests are as diverse as the Chamber. All the more reason to tread carefully.
Traveling the same worn path out of habit is seldom a good idea. Neither is embracing new concepts simply because they’re new. But listening with an open mind is. So is reassessing old ideas if new evidence and shifting public perceptions warrant.
It’s a story as old as time, and it’s true for all facets of society. Those who unyieldingly dig their heels into the past are punished as their reputation erodes. Those who adapt when appropriate are rewarded as their credibility and reputation strengthen.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.
If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog, Insights on High-Stakes PR.
For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net