Take on issues before the government does, Edelman tells communicators

Edelman CEO Richard Edelman called on business communications leaders to take a greater role defining their companies' reputations while speaking at Ethisphere's Best Practices in Ethics Communications Workshop on Tuesday.

Edelman CEO Richard Edelman called on business communications leaders to take a greater role defining their companies' reputations while speaking at Ethisphere's Best Practices in Ethics Communications Workshop on Tuesday morning.

Citing results from the agency's 2012 Trust Barometer, which the firm released in January, Edelman noted that consumer trust in both government and private sector businesses – especially the financial sector – has plummeted in recent years. However, he said the private sector has more “speed and flexibility” to change perceptions, adding that businesses “have to take on issues before the government does.”

To do so, communicators will have to brush aside legal departments and other parts of corporations that could pan some initiatives as “too risky,” Edelman said.

The agency chief executive added that he doesn't believe Facebook's disappointing IPO will damage its reputation much in the long term, noting that the tech sector gets high marks for its entrepreneurial CEOs and few scandals. About the IPO itself, Edelman explained that “Morgan Stanley priced the stock too high.”

He also advised audience members that they should tie themselves to their company's technology work wherever possible.

“That is your Superman cape,” he said.

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