In the boardroom, the lack of decency is taking its toll. Trust in corporations around the globe continues to erode, with government even less trustworthy than corporations. Only 30% of the general public worldwide trusts their governments to serve everyone’s interests. The greater the perceived impotence of our federal government, the greater the potential societal responsibility of American business. A corporation’s communications and public affairs strategy now needs to reflect these challenging new imperatives.
In the past, businesses have largely stayed out of politics. The steadfast rule has been: Focus on shareholders and customers. There was a bright-line between business and public services that is bright no more. Two-thirds of consumers in the U.S. now expect brands to stand for social and political issues beyond their product. Companies can no longer just be about results, they have to be seen as being decent.