Apr 11

Doing right by doing good

According to a survey undertaken by Equilar, Inc., on behalf of The Wall Street Journal, many more CEOsCashbonus
of America’s largest companies are turning down their bonuses. At least eight top kicks turned down their 2007 bonuses. That’s compared to only four in ’06. And, based upon today’s economy, I’m sure we’ll see the number expand dramatically next year.

That said, experts quoted by the Journal say a deferment sends mixed signals and can be interpreted by employees as a ‘ho hum.’

First American Corp CEO Parker S. Kennedy is doing it the right way. Instead of saying, ‘no thanks’ to the board, he’s asking that his $800,000 bonus be disbursed among eligible employees. That’s really smart. It not only says, ‘Hey, I know times are tough and I’m not going to take advantage." It also says, ‘But, I want my best employees to suffer as little as possible.’

Employees are any company’s ultimate brand ambassadors and, in my opinion, the most important target audience to influence. Employee actions or inactions can make or break a company’s fortunes in a Recession. Just look at Bear Stearns. Or, Arthur Andersen.

More CEOs of publicly-traded companies need to emulate Kennedy. It portrays him as a caring, responsible chief executive who does the right thing when the chips are down.

I think Wall Street and Main Street alike will reward those CEOs who not only turn down bonuses in down times, but truly share the wealth. It’s a great example of doing right by doing good.

Mar 27

1.67 pennies for your thoughts

The U.S. Mint recently admitted that it now costs 1.67 cents to produce a single penny. They say penniesPenny_2
now are 97.5 percent zinc with thin copper plating and admit that the value of the metal exceeds the coin’s face value! To borrow Peppercom’s Deb Brown’s favorite expression, ‘you simply can’t make this stuff up.’

So, in a period of tremendous economic uncertainty, market flux and job loss, our country is deficit-spending to create coins that no one wants or uses. What’s wrong with this picture? A penny for your thoughts. Make that 1.67 pennies for your thoughts.

I’m surprised I haven’t read more news stories about this farce. I’m also surprised McCain, Hill or Barry haven’t jumped on the issue to position it as yet another example of big government waste. God knows Clinton and Obama need something right now to distract negative stories.

If I were running the show, I’d tell the U.S. Mint management team we’ll be deducting an extra .67 cents from their annual salaries for every new penny they make. That should get their attention. I’d also enroll them in an Economics 101 class ASAP.

Whoever’s running the U.S. Mint is one bad penny. One might even call them cents less.

Thanks to Deb Brown for the idea.

Feb 01

Rumblings of a recession cause discomfort

Steve and Ted discuss the present state of the economy and the possibilities of a recession. Repchatter_logoWhat impact
could this have on the PR industry?

This discussion centers around the recent doom and gloom stories presented by the media at top tier publications.

Should we be worried about our jobs? Is the media contributing to the problem by hyping the recession to a point where it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy?