Editorial: Firms hone their PR consciences

Nike’s hiring of Shell International troubleshooter Yvonne Ywaniuk is a firm signal that the beleaguered shoe manufacturer is putting the trials of the last couple of years firmly behind it. Nike hasn’t had an easy time what with allegations that it employed Third World ’sweatshop’ workers to manufacturer overpriced footwear, the controversy surrounding its Brazilian World Cup sponsorship, and last year having to report its first substantial loss in a decade.

Nike’s hiring of Shell International troubleshooter Yvonne Ywaniuk

is a firm signal that the beleaguered shoe manufacturer is putting the

trials of the last couple of years firmly behind it. Nike hasn’t had an

easy time what with allegations that it employed Third World ’sweatshop’

workers to manufacturer overpriced footwear, the controversy surrounding

its Brazilian World Cup sponsorship, and last year having to report its

first substantial loss in a decade.



Ywaniuk should feel at home, however, having weathered at least some of

the fallout from the public storms over Shell’s human rights record in

Nigeria and the Brent Spar affair.



At the time of the Asian crisis, Nike PR manager Graham Anderson

admitted to PR Week that the leading shoe manufacturer had failed to

properly communicate its attempts to clean up its ethical record.

However, the company has been working hard on the social responsibility

front with the unveiling of a package last year including a plan to

improve working conditions at 150 Asian factories, education programmes,

loans to entrepreneurs and university research funding.



Social investment is undoubtedly high on the corporate agenda at the

moment. Only last month BSkyB announced its involvement in youth

outreach projects in a bid to bring some warmth to its controversial

corporate persona.



But corporate responsibility campaigns and social investment can become

a costly and ineffective gesture if not tied firmly back to a well

defined reputation management strategy. However, Ywaniuk’s appointment

to this new umbrella role, places social investment in its rightful

place in the management structure - alongside public affairs, and

corporate communications.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.