There’s a new pastime that’s all the rage in drought stricken California. Outing celebrity green lawns. In terms of environmental activism, it’s not up there with strapping yourself to a decommissioned oil rig in the middle of the North Sea or risking life and limb to disrupt a Japanese whaling ship, but nonetheless, it’s doing a great job of heaping shame on those celebrities who seem to rate their green lawn as a higher priority than irrigation for crops, or even drinking water.
For those tasked with safeguarding a company’s reputation, we get used to rooting out those potential crisis situations buried somewhere deep within an organisation. But how often are those reputation manglers hiding in plain sight? For many a celeb in California, they appear unaware that their conspicuously green and verdant lawns are a reputational car crash in the waiting. For many companies the same principle applies, except of course it’s usually not a green lawn at issue.
What was once acceptable…
Perhaps it’s a tax arrangement that may be perfectly legal but under today’s intense public scrutiny has become questionable at best; or employment practices (zero hours any one?); or the sponsorship of a particular event or organisation that once made sense and now seems clichéd or unacceptable; or even the hobby your chief exec pursues.
You can get too close sometimes to a situation to realise a potential PR crisis in the making. Perhaps it’s worth stepping back for a moment and asking yourself, where’s your ‘green lawn’?