Lessons from Greg Smith's letter of resignation from Goldman Sachs

March 27, 2012 by Jonathan Hemus

When considering customer backlashes, boycotts of products and services or anger spread throughout the media and the internet we tend to focus on consumer facing organisations. These companies are all too aware of the possible reputational risks and most are prepared for the online battle to protect their corporate reputation and brand. They tend to be well-equipped with a social media action plan ready to be used when the crisis hits.

The situation is a little different when it comes to big corporates or business to business (B2B) companies. Their assumption has been that the Internet in general and certainly social media have little relevance to their reputation as B2B businesses operate in a different realm compared with their consumer-focused counterparts.

This belief was turned on its head when Greg Smith announced his resignation from Goldman Sachs in the New York Times calling his employer “morally bankrupt” and subsequently causing crisis of monumental proportions. From an article in conventional media channel, it spread quickly via Twitter, anti-Goldman Sachs Facebook pages and many blogs.

Social Media Influence has thoroughly analysed the Goldman Sachs crisis and their insights are available here.

The lesson from this reputational disaster is that no company, be it a consumer brand or a more traditional corporate, is safe from an online vendetta. And thus, crisis preparedness and training – including social media exercises – is a must.

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