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Posts Tagged ‘Goldman Sachs’

@GSElevator Reveal Shocks Absolutely No One

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How much can social media parodies really hurt a client? In the case of “Goldman Sachs Elevator“, the answer seems to be “very little.”

He’s not the only one. Top New York Times Wall Street guy/damage control expert Andrew Ross Sorkin didn’t even need to use the #ApologyWatch tag on Monday night when he outed the man behind the feed as John Lefevre, a 34-year-old trader from Texas. In fact, the biggest outrage we saw online concerned the fact that the Times used its considerable resources to get to the bottom of this mystery as opposed to reporting on something that mattered.

And it’s not like the feed really hurt Goldman Sachs’ already poor reputation.

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Goldman Sachs Brings Sexist Back at Women’s Coding Event

GS codingLast week, Harvard University (please say that with your nose in the air) held a conference for some pretty smart women of the world — Women Engineer Code. At said WECode event, Goldman Sachs stepped in for the key sponsorship.

Its savvy idea for swag would be a compact mirror and nail files. Keep it classy, GS.

According to the story in the New York TimesGoldman Sachs also provided these blossoming 13-year-old girls (I guess by the nature of the gift), T-shirts and key chains to hold earbuds. The event’s organizers “encouraged Goldman Sachs to bring goodies that would appeal to a female audience.”

And that was the selection. What misogynistic dinosaur made that decision?

“We are strong supporters of efforts to recruit and retain women in technology. We apologize if the gifts gave anyone offense,” a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman said in a statement to the Times.

Keep telling yourselves that, GS.

‘Goldman Sachs Elevator’ Feed Scores Book Deal, Ruffles Some Platinum Feathers

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That’s GS on the far left. Go Jersey!

It’s a little odd to score a book deal on the strength of a Twitter feed, but stranger things have happened: remember Sh*t My Dad Says with William Shatner? (It’s probably better that you don’t.)

Today’s news that Simon & Schuster will publish a book based on the “Goldman Sachs Elevator” Twitter feed isn’t too terribly surprising, but anyone who thinks this will create a big dent in the firm’s already dubious reputation should probably calm down.

The anonymously authored tome will be called Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking, and a press release spins it as both a semi-memoir and “the definitive exposure of investment banking culture.”

Really, though: come on.

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These 10 Brands’ Public Images Improved Most in 2013

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Yes, we’ve already offered readers our takes on 2013′s winners and losers via listicles galore. This post, however, is less about our personal overgeneralizations and more about research conducted by our friends at YouGov.

The survey in question sought to determine which brands’ public images had improved most dramatically in 2013, and its results may surprise you; they certainly surprised us.

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Which Word Best Captures Epic #AskJPM Fail: ‘Evil’ or ‘Satan?’

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a social media disaster for the ages. In an apparent attempt to connect with the common man, JP Morgan Chase announced an “online discussion” with vice chairman Jimmy Lee that was supposed to occur today before things very quickly went to…well, you know:

Who knew social media “engagement” isn’t always a good thing? In a show of just how poorly planned this event turned out to be, “evil” and “Satan” were two of the terms most commonly used in tweeters’ super-earnest questions.

We feel you, bros—but we also prefer a little more subtlety in our critiques. Some favorites after the jump.

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Big Brands Encourage Supreme Court to Support Gay Marriage

Supreme Court of the United States An update in case you don’t follow judicial politics: The United States Supreme Court is about to hear a couple of cases challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), the 1996 legislation that effectively said “in the eyes of the federal government, marriage and related legal benefits can only occur between a man and a woman.”

Public opinion on the issue has shifted dramatically since that law passed, and now more than 200 of the country’s biggest brands are teaming up to let the Supreme Court know that this isn’t just a cultural or political matter–DoMA is making it harder for businesses to operate.

Brands ranging from techies like Facebook and Apple to consumer biggies like Nike and even financial titans like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs signed on to file what’s called a “supporting brief” or “friend of the court brief”. Their major point: DoMA effectively forces us to discriminate against our employees and makes the process of finding, courting and rewarding the talent we need that much more challenging.

How so, you ask?

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Top Bankers ‘Accept’ Pay Cuts. Will the Public Forgive and Forget?

You don’t have to be a public relations expert to know how the public feels about the banking industry. We hate it–like “record low” opinion polls hate it. In fact, we hate all of it—from hidden banking fees to that one time when banks almost destroyed everything good on the planet with their greed, obfuscation and wildly irresponsible practices.

And then there are those financial industry executives and their astronomical multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses. (There’s an app for that, by the way. It claims to compare bonuses for execs at the world’s biggest banks, and it can be yours for the appropriately inflated price of $11.99.)

The public doesn’t have a problem with people acquiring wealth through diligence, intelligence and sweat equity, but we loathe watching the economy sink into a financial abyss while those in charge shop for their own private islands.

Ever since the early days of the recession, the public never fully understood how people doing such a terrible job could be paid so handsomely. There appeared to be rules at play that don’t apply to the rest of us. Finally, however, the situation is changing. That’s right. Jamie Dimon, chief executive for JP Morgan Chase, had his salary cut in half, to a mere $11.5 million. Good to know he avoided that potential PR disaster.

How will this “pay cut” campaign go over?

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Billionaire’s $100M Central Park Donation: PR Win?

Yesterday New York’s Central Park experienced one of its most notable events since the installation of Christo’s temporary art project The Gates in winter 2005: billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson and the Paulson Family Foundation donated $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy. According to Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News, “It is believed to be the biggest single gift ever made to park land.”

The New York Times reported on the rationale behind Paulson’s philanthropy: at Tuesday’s press conference announcing the donation, Paulson said, “Central Park is among the most deserving of all of New York’s cultural institutions. And I wanted the gift to make a difference”. The funds will be evenly divided between the park’s endowment and capital improvements.

Paulson joined the Central Park Conservancy board in June, and he has supported the group for 20 years. According to Forbes, this gift far exceeds Paulson’s earlier philanthropic commitments, placing him “in a league with several of his most charitable peers atop New York City’s alternative asset management universe.”

Conservancy officials expressed delight at the bequest–president and CEO Doug Blonsky hailed the gift as “transformational,” saying it will enable the park to break its cycle of restoration and decline.

Paulson’s financial career has also experienced several ups and downs. He founded his hedge fund management company, Paulson & Co, in 1994 and became a billionaire in 2007, making most of his money by shorting subprime loans and effectively rooting for the collapse of the real estate market.

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Goldman Sachs PR Chief Dishes on Damage Control

Many media outlets have labeled Greg Smith’s investment banking expose Why I Left Goldman Sachs disappointing; some in the financial industry have gone so far as to call him a classic “con man”. That doesn’t mean Goldman’s top PR guy Jake Siewert can rest easy.

A veteran of the Clinton administration and former adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Siewert signed with Sachs earlier this year to help the firm’s principals “put the mistakes of the financial crisis behind them” and improve their company’s public image.

Mere days after Siewert’s hiring announcement, The New York Times published Greg Smith’s defamatory op-ed decrying the Goldman Sachs culture of greed as “toxic and destructive”—so you might say he hit the ground running.

Most of Siewert’s damage control efforts over the past six months have amounted to “off the record” conversations defending the firm’s reputation, but yesterday he sat down with New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose to discuss the politics and challenges of reputation management.

We won’t reprint the entire interview, but here’s an interesting tidbit on why Goldman chose to shoot the messenger:

“Why not just issue a generic statement saying, ‘Goldman Sachs is committed to serving its clients’ needs’ and leave it at that?

That hasn’t worked out so well in the past. And frankly, we didn’t know what was in the book.”

Siewert is predictably guarded, but it’s still worth a read.

PR pros: How big is the challenge facing Siewert? Was Goldman right to attack Smith?

Goldman Sachs Will Address The Court of Public Opinion Now

Today marks a Very Serious Literary Event: the release of Wall Street turncoat/general sad sack Greg Smith’s highly anticipated non-fiction debut, Why I Left Goldman Sachs.

Smith’s book expands upon an op-ed he wrote for The New York Times back in March in which he decried his former employer’s once-noble culture as “toxic and destructive” while claiming to be shocked at “how callously people talk about ripping their clients off”. The article’s best-known revelation was the fact that managers referred to their clients as “muppets”—and not in an endearing Fozzie Bear kind of way.

First the obvious: Most Americans don’t think too highly of Goldman Sachs right now, no matter what Mr. Smith says. When Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone referred to the company as a “great vampire squid”, he wasn’t just engaging in colorful hyperbole: According to the widely cited YouGov Brand Index, GS remains engaged in a bad-PR battle with JPMorgan Chase to determine which financial organization Americans hate most.

Politicians may have plenty of love for Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, but the average “man on the street” feels differently. So how will the biggest name in investment banking deal with its most visible enemy? Until now, the organization has largely ignored Mr. Smith, but a curious internal memo reveals that this is no longer the case.

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