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January 2, 2012 | cwinters

Reputations to Watch in 2012

As we move into the New Year, who will be 2012’s biggest winners and losers in the reputation game?  Here are a few on my “watch list”:

  1. Tim Tebow – College and professional sports have had a rough year, and we are looking for some new heroes.  Enter Tim Tebow – athletic uber-achiever, seemingly authentic advocate for faith, Tim Tebow has the stuff that heroes are made of…so much so that he was voted the most desirable celebrity neighbor in a recent poll.  Is this sustainable?   Or is he a one hit wonder?
  2. President Obama – this one is self explanatory – people don’t think of our President as the CEO, but he is the CEO of America, Inc.  As Washington’s gridlock continues and the Republican nominees become more of a known quantity, will President Obama be the reputation winner?
  3. Target – still a beloved brand for its budget-chic sensibility, Target is a reputation at a crossroads.  Last year brought negative attention for support of anti LGBT candidates to the red bulls eye, and a series of workplace issues threatens the store where the First Lady loves to shop.
  4. Johnson & Johnson – The iconic trusted “baby company” is taking a lot of punches due to a series of recalls.  How long before that reputation goodwill bank runs out?
  5. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook – The young billionaire took a few punches with release of The Social Network, punched back with a mega-donation to the Newark Schools.  If Facebook IPOs in 2012, all eyes will be on this company.
  6. London and the 2012 Olympic Committee – an event of this magnitude is a make or break proposition.  But no pressure…
  7. Sears & Kmart – my personal view is that the Kmart acquisition gave Sears a big black eye.  After weak holiday sales, they announced this week that they are shutting stores.
  8. North Korea and Kim Jong Un – will a new supreme leader change the nation’s reputation, and its economy?
  9. Meg Whitman and HP – distractions in leadership and strategy shifts put HP on the reputation roller coaster at a time when it was still reeling from the scandalous resignation of Mark Hurd.  Whitman seems to be bringing focus back to HP – and this may be the year they get their reputation mojo back.
  10. Warren Buffet – 2010 was the year of asking billionaire’s to give away their wealth.  2011 brought the Buffet “tax me please” message to Washington.  What will the Oracle of Omaha do in 2012?
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