0 comments on “Boeing tried to win the wrong argument”

Boeing tried to win the wrong argument

This blog is based on a short quote which the Financial Times was kind enough to include in “Boeing criticised for not acting faster“.

Boeing appeared to be trying to win the wrong argument.

Having watched the dominoes fall around the world, as successive countries decided to ground the Boeing 737 Max, the US finally followed suit.  Two crashes months apart were enough.

Right up until that point, when President Trump and then the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) withdrew support, Boeing had seemed confident that all would be well because the FAA was not at first mandating further action.

But while Boeing had focused on explaining the technical argument, it lost the public, more human, one.  Though it was initially supported by the FAA, it could not last.

The popular arguments took hold, among customers, passengers, pilots and governments.  All were all fearful.  Ultimately, it was that, the human reaction and concern that held sway.

Boeing’s technical reassurances missed the point.  It is all very well to be working closely with the FAA to have the flight control software enhancements ready for April.  But that did not comfort anyone.

From a reputational point of view, they would have done better to get out ahead and put in some sort of firebreak.  To be seen to do the right thing.

Even with an “abundance of caution”, as many others put it, they could have made the decision themselves to ground their planes and lead the investigation to find out and resolve what had gone wrong.

Instead, they have ended up in the same place, with their planes on the ground, but with less credibility and authority.

Handling a crisis well can enhance an organisation’s reputation.  They missed that opportunity.

Boeing let the arguments and the agenda get away from them.  Instead of shaping events, they were dictated to.

Boeing may be have been making rational choices based on technical evidence they had available, but they were not adequately addressing the public concern.

From now on, they need to be a model of openness in relentlessly exploring what has gone wrong.  They need to demonstrate that they have listened to concerns and addressed them.

Because of the accidents, they had a performance issue. Now they have a conduct and performance issue.

They need to be their own harshest critic, in the open, and show that they will do absolutely all that’s necessary to put things right.  To fix performance and conduct.

Instead of using legalese to talk about an “abundance of caution” they need to show they are human and talk about what they have learned and what they will do differently.

0 comments on “Can brands level the playing field?”

Can brands level the playing field?

By Suzy Christopher, Charity and Community Director, BT

suzy-christopher-bw.jpgI’d like to think that most people reading this could name at least one sporting initiative from recent years that has set out to get more people involved in sport at a grassroots level. From Sport England’s #ThisGirlCan campaign, which got 1.6 million women exercising, to the recent Sport Relief campaign, which asked the whole nation to participate in a Billion Step Challenge, it’s a widely held belief that sport has the power to change lives.

0 comments on “Championing the small business economy”

Championing the small business economy

By Gary Turner, managing director, Xero, the online platform for small businesses and their advisors, and Fourteen Forty client


Very often small firms do not need external investment to grow.  They need working capital.  That was one of the key messages that came out of a stakeholder and media event that we recently held to launch Xero Small Business Insights.

0 comments on “Investors are waking up to the risks posed by antibiotic resistance”

Investors are waking up to the risks posed by antibiotic resistance

By Joy Frascinella, head of PR, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)

Joy FrascinellaAntibiotic resistance, caused by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, is a very real and growing threat to human health worldwideIt is estimated to claim approximately 100,000 lives in the US and Europe every year. The numbers are much higher in developing countries.

0 comments on “Do brands really need a “social purpose” to do good?”

Do brands really need a “social purpose” to do good?

By Guy Corbet, Fourteen Forty 


The researchers at professional services firm EY reveal four fifths (82%) of us believe a brand’s values must include a clear purpose. This purpose is critical in deciding whether or not we will buy from them.

0 comments on “Making the moral case for business”

Making the moral case for business

You’ve had this conversation before.

Maybe over supper with friends, your family or a colleague at work.

You’ll make the case for business and free enterprise more broadly. Companies support 82% of all employment in this country.  They provide the taxes that essential public services depend on, you’ll add.

0 comments on “Weak Links #2: brands, holocaust, art, apologies”

Weak Links #2: brands, holocaust, art, apologies

“Weak Links?”

In 1973 Stanford Professor Mark Granovetter’s “the strength of weak ties” argued that weak links, between people with different opinions, help new and unfamiliar ideas spread.

Strong ties bind friends and families. They encourage group think and build echo chambers. They deter people from thinking broadly, or seeing other perspectives. Strong ties lock you in.

0 comments on “Saying sorry can be a good business decision”

Saying sorry can be a good business decision

By Guy Corbet

A poorly handled first response makes a crisis even worse

Guy Corbet

The Apology Clause campaign has been set up to make it easier for businesses to behave with compassion when things go wrong, and to help victims have better recoveries. 

That is because too often, when it feels like a business should say sorry, it does not.  This may be to a customer who has been let down, or someone who might have had a right to expect better than they received.