By Dave Hendrick
Newswise — With engaged citizens acting as 24/7 auditors of corporate behavior, one formerly trusted company after another has had their business disrupted with astonishing velocity in the wake of what, in the past, might have been written off as a bad media cycle. Control of the corporate narrative has shifted to engaged stakeholders in a new social landscape that has reset expectations for business conduct, impacting not only branding but also the ability to attract and retain the next-generation workforce.
In their new book Reset: Business and Society in the New Social Landscape (January 2018; Columbia Business School Publishing), University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor James Rubin (1951-2016) and Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fellow Barie Carmichael provide a strategic roadmap for businesses to navigate the new era, rebuild trust and find their voice.
The book comes at a particularly relevant moment in corporate history, as scandals and allegations of misdeeds have recently rocked scores of high-profile companies, from technology darlings like Uber to financial stalwarts such as Wells Fargo.
“Reset deftly draws a road map that corporate leaders can use to navigate the new landscape of risk and responsibility,” said Jon Iwata, senior vice president and chief brand officer at IBM. “Particularly powerful is Rubin and Carmichael’s wise recommendation to make ‘corporate character’ — the essence of why an organization exists and whether it lives its values — a strategic governance priority for executive management and boards of directors.”
Noting today’s conflicting global forces of a widespread decline in trust in companies colliding with rising expectations of business, Reset draws on years of research, case studies and in-depth interviews with academics and leaders of top brands.
Arguing that the old rules of corporate brand building have been reset, Rubin and Carmichael further posit that businesses can succeed in the new era of radical transparency by embracing the three-way intersection of customer need, business capability and societal need.
A British literature scholar by training, Rubin joined the Darden faculty in 1991 and helped to revamp and bolster the school’s Management Communication area, which gained prominence in the graduate business school world. An award-winning teacher and sought-after expert in corporate communications, branding and reputation management, Rubin was finalizing the manuscript for Reset at the time of his death.
Carmichael has more than 35 years of experience in corporate communications, where she currently serves as senior counselor with APCO Worldwide. Previously, Carmichael served as vice president and chief communications officer for Dow Corning and has held senior positions at Visa and The Brunswick Group.
Rubin and Carmichael are members of the Arthur W. Page Society, the professional association for senior public relations and corporate communications experts.
Reset will be published 9 January.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.