Monitor flash (penn state) nov 2010


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Monitor flash (penn state) nov 2010

  1. 1. Peter Rose Director, Western Region, SVP November 10, 2011The Penn State Tragedy:A "Chilling Reminder" for Brands “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - Albert EinsteinThe recent tragedy at Penn State University involving allegations of child molestation Related Readingby long-time assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky — and the subsequent failureof the school’s administration and iconic (now former) head coach Joe Paterno toreport the alleged abuse to authorities — is merely the latest in a lengthy list ofinstitutional and individual abuses of power and authority in this country. The grandjury testimony of the eight young men allegedly abused by Sandusky describesactions both horrific and incomprehensible.Those same words — horrific and incomprehensible — can be just as easily appliedto the inactions of those holding positions of power. As a result of these inactions, anumber of young men’s lives have been irreparably damaged, the legacy of one ofthe game’s most respected coaches has been forever tarnished, and the image of anhistoric football program best known for nameless jerseys, logoless helmets, and aquiet commitment to excellence and integrity has been permanently stained. The 2011 Yankelovich MONITOR State ofThis extraordinarily sad state of affairs serves as a chilling reminder to those who are the Consumer Report: Looking for aresponsible for maintaining and nurturing the image of powerful and respected New Way Forwardbrands. In no way do we wish to minimize the atrocities that are alleged to have Related themes: Energy around self-occurred at Penn State by discussing them in the context of implications for the protection; New metrics of success; Themarketing community.Yet, there are lessons to be learned from the system-wide growing desire for common sensefailure that occurred in State College. Critical themes discussed by The FuturesCompany in the last two years of the Yankelovich MONITOR State of the Consumercontinue to resonate, and are sure to grow in importance among Americanconsumers as long as those in positions of power continue to put their own interestsahead of the greater good.Transparency Is Not Optional: What started several years ago as a consumertrend of wanting to be ‘looped in’ to the discussion has grown exponentially;consumers will mete out far greater punishment to those who speak in half-truths,
  2. 2. battle over semantics or engage in public relations spin over those who simply fessup to having erred, no matter how greatly. For Penn State to have been aware ofallegations against Sandusky as far back as 1998 — and to “punish” Sandusky onlyby preventing him from bringing youths onto the Penn State campus — reeks of a“see no evil, hear no evil” mentality that simply magnifies their lack of transparencyover a 13-year period.Heed the Demand for Fairness: Consumers have been stunned and outraged bythe audacity of betrayal they’ve felt in the last few years, from Wall Street toCongress, from BP to Netflix. The demand for fair treatment is ever present and callsinto question whether anyone at Penn State ever gave a second thought to thehorrendously unfair treatment of the adolescent boys and their families.The Energy Around Self-Protection Will Grow: This new MONITOR dynamic MONITOR 4th Quarter 2010 Brief:speaks to consumers’ efforts to slow the sense of free fall, re-establish personal Combating Consumers’ Feelings ofcontrol, manage risk, and increase their perceived sense of security and safety. BetrayalConsumer emotions and needs around the idea of self-protection — for me and for Related themes: Rising feelings of outrage;those important to me — are likely to rise to altogether new levels after this latest a demand for fairnesspunch to the gut. Even for members of Generation X and Millennials, twogenerations reared under the assumption that you can’t count on once-trustedinstitutions, Penn State (and Paterno specifically) was one institution that was abovethe fray, the proverbial exception that proved the rule. That façade has beenshattered.Common Sense Must Prevail: Too often, common sense is invoked by anorganization only as a reactive measure to remedy a wrong. It must be baked intothe process up front, applied to operational procedures and to protocol. It is almostunfathomable to think that at no point did people in the Penn State hierarchy stopand consider the consequences of reporting the possibility of a crime only to one’ssuperiors, rather than to law enforcement.Heritage Will Not Carry the Day: A 20-, 50-, or even 100-year legacy guaranteesnothing anymore. Given the fast, fluid nature of society and the new waysconsumers are defining success, a long history will take a back seat to the brand’sability to deliver on its promises, act with integrity and honesty, and help consumersnavigate the choppy waters they face today and well into the future. The challenges we face in managing and growing brands pale in comparison to the steep uphill climb that Sandusky’s alleged victims will face every day for the rest of their lives. But to ignore what reportedly transpired in Central Pennsylvania — or be unwilling to consider changes in our own (or our organization’s) behavior as a result — would simply add to a tragedy that has already reached unspeakable proportions.Note: This is the inaugural issue of the MONITOR Flash, a periodic newsletter thatintends to make sense of the daily headlines from a marketing perspective. Any andall comments are welcome (email us here for feedback). Click for printable PDF version © 2011 by The Futures Company