Tags: business roundtable | ceo | branding | profit

Nearly 200 Virtue-Signaling CEOs Discover Branding

Nearly 200 Virtue-Signaling CEOs Discover Branding
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 10, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, 20 August 2019 10:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Pathetically, 181 CEOs of The Business Roundtable signed a statement professing their loyalty to customers, employees, suppliers, and communities — while claiming to subordinate the “old-fashioned” mission of making profits and increasing shareholder value.

What a load of virtue-signaling crap.

What’s behind this out-of-nowhere initiative? Why announce it? Why now? Why not just do it?

Today’s CEOs want to appear “woke” to whining, holier-than-thou Millennials and the growing swarm of anti-capitalists in America. Profit, in many quarters, is now a dirty word.

Apparently, unless today’s corporations toe the politically correct line, they have trouble recruiting and retaining history’s first virtuous employees.

When I was a college graduate, I felt lucky to have a job — not entitled to tell my bosses how to run their companies. I had to earn that right — after I proved myself. I’m so yesterday.

Says Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase:

“Major employers are investing in their workers and communities, because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term. These modernized principles reflect the business community’s unwavering commitment to continue to push for an economy that serves all Americans.”

Goals from the CEOs’ “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation”:

  • Delivering value to our customers
  • Investing in our employees
  • Dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers
  • Supporting the communities in which we work
  • Generating long-term value for shareholders.

Here’s the irony: everything listed above is required to generate long-term value for shareholders. Nothing new here. These chief executives just discovered branding. How amazing!

The essence of branding is understanding customer needs, communicating those needs back to the customers — in their language — and delivering unique value to them.

How can any company succeed, on a sustainable basis, by mistreating employees and suppliers? It can’t. But, it also can’t succeed by letting inexperienced, infantile employees call the shots.

You’d be surprised how many CEOs either disdain or don’t grasp this concept.

Banding together America’s top leaders to announce common sense — this “modern standard for corporate responsibility” — is akin to a car-owner bragging about regularly checking his tire pressure and changing his oil.

One line-item above, though, bears closer inspection: supporting the communities in which we work.

What does that mean?

Buying shirts for the local Little League teams? Or becoming a substitute governmental agency, doling out largesse to keep the politicians away? We don’t know. But, companies can’t do that: they must earn profits.

The bottom line is still the bottom line.

If companies don’t maximize shareholder value, over the long term, they will lose shareholders. Without shareholders, enterprises cannot function.

Trying to sustain long-term value, while operating with a short-term, shortcut mentality, has never worked and will never work.

Don’t let being woke become a joke.

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs, speaker, media commentator, and author of "Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line" and "Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding." Find him at MarcRudov.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Today’s CEOs want to appear “woke” to whining, holier-than-thou Millennials and the growing swarm of anti-capitalists in America. Profit, in many quarters, is now a dirty word.
business roundtable, ceo, branding, profit
503
2019-30-20
Tuesday, 20 August 2019 10:30 AM
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