Inept CEOs killing their brands

The US is the only country that rewards failure. When a CEO makes strategic mistakes, the employees pay, or he gets a golden parachute to leave the company. Many huge brands are becoming irrelevant to consumers because they are making cuts in areas that affect their brand equity.

Over a month and a half ago, I shipped a package via FedEx. It arrived damaged beyond repair, and I filed a claim since I had insured it. The maze of emails, phone conversations, and submitted forms kept going around and around until, finally, FedEx denied my claim because they said the item was not adequately packaged. By the way, it was double-boxed with extra padding. I’ll never use FedEx again, and if I have a choice will never select FedEx shipping.

FedEx is hurting right now. They’re laying off employees, and the pilots are preparing to strike. Will there be any accountability?

Over at Nestle, CEO has decided to raise prices on selected products even though grocery buyers are pushing back. As one buyer told me, “it’s going to cost them market share, and they are going to lose customers.” If it doesn’t work, they will lay off employees.

Google’s CEO is under intense scrutiny after laying off thousands of A performers and an embarrassing AI demonstration that caused the stock to plummet. Zuckerberg has instituted an employee performance ranking system that forces managers to downgrade employee ratings. It’s expected to lead to thousands of more people being fired.

What will it take for CEOs to learn the lesson that your employees ARE YOUR BRAND? Treat them well, and your company will flourish; treat them poorly, and you will flounder.

There was a point when employees had the power because the job market was hot. Today employers are slowly taking back their ability to treat employees like garbage. Granted, nobody should ever believe that their employer cares about them more than profits, but the way Facebook and Google laid off people is hard to understand.

Any marketing plan, to be successful, has to get buy-in from employees so they can support its key initiatives. Does anyone believe the remaining employees at Google will go out of their way for their company anymore? Will laid-off Facebook people ever forget that Zuck spent over $15 billion on his failed Metaverse?

The attitudes of voters and employees are changing. The idea that a CEO can wreck a company and leave with tens of millions of dollars is ending. Boards need to not only fire CEOs but also ensure they are not rewarded for failing.

Branson is right; your most important customers are your employees.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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