There is a silver lining to the dark cloud of Covid-19: the pharmaceutical industry showed business leaders how companies and organizations can recover from crisis situations.
In The Great Awakening, a recently released report about a national survey conducted by The Harris Poll, the company observed, “In previous crises, business was viewed as part of the problem. In [the coronavirus] crisis, business is clearly regarded as part of the solution. Corporate reputations surged across a variety of sectors, even in industries traditionally unpopular with consumers.”
The report noted, “What’s clear, however, is that the traditional drivers of corporate reputation—high-quality products and services, and delivering solid business results—are now simply the price of entry.”
Character And Trust Count
According to The Great Awakening, “What differentiates companies and reputations today is a company’s character, all underpinned by trust.” The report pointed out that:
- Prior to Covid-19, only one-third (32%) of Americans had a positive opinion of the pharmaceutical industry.
- After vaccines brought the end of the pandemic within reach, the number of Americans with a positive opinion nearly doubled to 62%.
- Just less than half (44%) of Americans say their opinion of the industry has improved since the start of the pandemic—because of the actions the pharma industry has taken.
Laura Guitar, who leads rbb Communications’ Reputation & Risk Advisors, noted, “One key reason that business is enjoying a boost in reputation has much to do with the government’s failure in the early stages of the pandemic response, creating a crisis of convergence in which mishandling of a crisis of coincidence bled into a crisis of confidence.’
Looking For Answers
“When government fails, people look to business for answers to society’s issues,” Guitar said. “In response—and in conjunction with the social justice movement last summer—many companies chose to champion purpose and values. By doing so, those companies have been able to emerge from the pandemic’s crisis of coincidence in a position of strength. But holding on to that position will take intention and care.
“Ensuring that purpose is pervasive throughout the organization, meaning it is regularly employed as a decision making metric, is the most powerful thing any organization can do to confine its crises to those of coincidence,” she said.