Generally speaking, when it comes to reputation management, success is a good thing. When success is achieved, it certainly reflects well on a company and its reputation. Unless, of course, you are Goldman Sachs or any of the other financial services giants that received federal “bailout” funds.
When Goldman Sachs posted what many considered an “obscene” first-quarter profit, the media reacted in a predictably negative manner. This raised important reputation management questions: How successful is too successful? When does a company’s success start hurting its reputation?
After all, aside from the legal quandaries that seem ever present in the financial category, the purpose of the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was to help make distressed financial services companies that were “too big to fail” become solvent so they could become profitable. Goldman Sachs has done exactly that.
But rather than making the jobs of those tasked with the company’s reputation management simpler, the first-quarter results have made them more difficult.
During a time when success can been seen as a negative (at least in the court of public opinion), reputation management becomes even more complicated. As earnings reports from other TARP recipients unfold throughout the year, it will be interesting to see if reputations become damaged by success.