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  • Posted by: Amy Edel-Vaughn on Thursday, November 15 2012 06:14 PM | Comments (0)
    BP Statement

    “How will admitting to negligence and misconduct, as well as a historic $4.5 billion settlement impact the brand?” is a natural question on the heels of breaking news about a global brand of the scale of BP. Tom Zara, Global Practice Leader for Corporate Citizenship at Interbrand, contends, though, “Everybody’s focusing on the wrong thing.”

    While the penalty against the brand is unprecedented and something of this magnitude has not happened to their competitors, the question is not will people stop buying BP, in fact at the end of last month the company announced a higher quarterly dividend and while fourth quarter profits slipped, BP's share price has climbed around 57% since April 2010. So Zara suggests, the question is, “What are they doing to ensure it never happens again?”

    “Good corporate citizenship and responsible crisis management means that a company can’t hide critical information simply because it fears the backlash,” says Robert Khuzami, Director of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Enforcement in a Department of Justice Press Release issued today. What has BP done to redefine itself so there aren’t future lapses in values?

    Tom ZaraThis is the time, Zara says, for the brand to look at its own “ethical bone structure,” to look within to assess what they have done to be sure “their culture, operations and governance have embraced new brand values. This is an opportunity to affirm internally what their values are.”

    The key to overcoming this latest blow to its brand image Zara notes is more than taking its lumps in the form of fines and accepting guilt. “Tenets that guide behavior must be in place with a commitment to safety, accountability and responsibility,” he says. “The answer people are really looking for is to what degree have they demonstrated these key values.”

    BP worked hard to craft an image of itself before the Gulf Spill as “Beyond Petroleum” and since 2010 has promoted tourism in the impacted region and sought to leverage its sponsorship of the London Olympics to improve its reputation. Now the company says it will appoint a safety and risk-management in the Gulf of Mexico and an ethics monitor to examine the brand’s code of conduct, implementation and enforcement.

    “The explosion of the rig was a disaster that resulted from BP’s culture of privileging profit over prudence,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in the DOJ release. “We hope that BP's acknowledgment of its misconduct – through its agreement to plead guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter – brings some measure of justice to the family members of the people who died on board the rig.”

    Zara warns, “Notoriety of criminality isn’t the death knell of a brand, but corruption of culture will kill the brand."

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  • Posted by: Damien Moore-Evans on Monday, May 7 2012 05:45 PM | Comments (0)
    Cisco House

    The 2012 Olympic Games is truly an exciting event for all GB citizens (Londoners especially), and for me personally given the fact I live one tube station from the Olympic Park. This will be the first time for many of us to really live and breathe the Olympic Games. As the city of London will be at the heart of the Games it gives us a great platform to witness and experience how global brand sponsors, such as Adidas, McDonalds and Cisco, are activating these multimillion pound deals for their customers and their employees. It also raises questions as to whether or not these partnerships are truly contributing real value back to the brands and what metrics sponsors have in place to measure this.

    As mentioned, Cisco is a key sponsor and the proud supporter and network infrastructure provider of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Specifically, Cisco has provided 2,200 switches, 1,000 Access Points, 7,000 Cable TV Outlets, 16,500 Telephones and 80,000 Ports, all of which will prove crucial to the communications infrastructure for the Games. Additionally, Cisco put forward a $500m investment supporting London’s Tech City and other tech start-ups. But arguably more importantly, Cisco plans to leave a lasting legacy through Building a Brilliant Future, which will primarily benefit young people. In London alone the firm is setting up 30 Cisco Network Academies in East London schools.

    Having been invited to Cisco House for an evening by David Critchley (Managing Director, Commercial at Cisco Systems) and featuring a discussion hosted by BBC Presenter Sue Thearle, with special guests, I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed. The special guests were Olympic Athletes James Cracknell, Luke Campbell and David Weir, who were speaking about the Games and the Legacy of the Games. I was keen to share my experience and first-hand account of how Cisco is activating this partnership.

    Cisco House is a building designed to showcase fresh thinking in terms of new business and service models. Cisco’s UK and Ireland CEO Phil Smith details, “the space would perfectly demonstrate Cisco’s brand identity and the focus of Cisco House is not on what Cisco makes, but what we make possible.” It will be open for five months from April 2012 and is expected to greet more than 11,000 guests.

    Cisco House sits on the roof of the Westfield Stratford shopping centre, Europe’s largest shopping mall, so as you can imagine the view over the Olympic Village is spectacular. When walking into the space it showcases modern technology, innovation, simplicity, design and uniqueness. On the ground floor there are touchscreens displaying Cisco case studies, kinetic technology where you can try on items of clothing from local retail stores and Cisco’s own TelePresence technology all on show. It was a real eye opener in terms of how far Cisco is redesigning technology for our long-term futures. All these touchpoints are truly delivering on Cisco’s core values of being Collaborative, Innovative and Inclusive.

    As part of the Cisco House experience all guests had the opportunity to go on a trip called the “Business Transformation Experience.” We were taken through to a tube carriage at Cisco House station, where we took a seat and put on 3D glasses. Stephen Fry, one of the most subscribed to celebrities on Twitter with nearly 4.5M followers and counting, then greeted travelers. Stephen took us on a journey illustrating Cisco’s fresh thinking and ground-breaking technology, delivering competitive advantage to change the way we live, learn, work and play across the globe.

    The Cisco House experience will not only be remembered for delivering an engaging and seamless brand experience for both Cisco employees and customers. It conveys an experience that lives and breathes the message of the 2012 Olympic message - Inspiring a Generation.

    Damien Moore-Evans is Interbrand London's New Business Executive.

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