chapter  8
Corporate communications and the employment relationship
Pages 38

Although we have been a little sceptical of the more overblown claims of communications specialists regarding their contribution to reputation management and branding, few managers, especially in HR and marketing, would disagree with the view that communications are at the heart of creating positive organizational images and identities. Indeed, the business press has recorded a catalogue of communications and public relations failures to do so, including during the

Exxon Valdez oils spill disaster, problems with Farley’s and Gerber’s baby milk and baby foods, Perrier’s benzene contamination of its bottled water (Haig, 2001), and British Airways’ repeated crises at Heathrow following the series of summer strikes (see, for example, People Management, 2005). These failures of communications (but also of content) not only have cost companies many customers but have also damaged employees’ trust and identification with their brands, and hindered the ability of these firms to compete in the market for talented people.