Wal-Mart pumps millions into public relations campaigns.
Wal-Mart rated top corporate citizen in U.S.
Coincidence? We think not.
Forbes Magazine reports that more Americans named Wal-Mart as a socially responsible corporation than any other American company. Given that Wal-Mart is the second largest corporation in the world, it’s not surprising that it would show up in the survey. The fact that it outranks any other company is surprising, says pollster Charles Fombrun, given the negative publicity the retailer has received about its business practices and treatment of employees.
Perhaps the public relations campaigns are paying off. A recent effort to improve the retail giant’s reputation emphasizes some environmentally friendly products offered at Wal-Mart. After years of ignoring its critics, Wal-Mart is making a concerted effort to improve its image.
“A couple of years ago, financial performance was everything. Today it’s part of everything,” says Leslie Gaines-Ross, of PR firm Weber Shandwick, in the Forbes article.
I haven’t looked into what exact questions were asked in this survey, but the analysis in Forbes seems to suggest that, as much as Wal-Mart’s $245 million in mostly local corporate donations, the company probably also benefits from the perception that low prices are “socially responsible,” in the way they help average people save on expenses.
- Edelman Reveals Two More Wal-Mart ‘Flogs‘
- Edelman, Wal-Mart and the WOMMA’s Code of Ethics – Constantin Basturea
- Reputation Institute’s 2006 corporate reputation results, interviewing 25,000 consumers about 600 companies in 25 countries.
- Working Families for Wal-Mart – The Saga Continues
- Spoof site WFFWM
- Wal-Mart, Wikipedia entry