More than a month ago Greg Smith slammed Goldman Sachs in his high-profile public resignation letter. Since then its been continual crisis management for the investment firm.  The job of their crisis PR team wont be getting easier anytime soon – In the newest scandal to hit Goldman Sachs, Prosecutors have started a new insider trading probe against a current employee of the firm.  Combine that with the upcoming insider trading set to start May 21 for former Goldman Sachs Group director Rajat Gupta and it ain’t looking too pretty.

The Goldman Sachs brand is continually being chipped away at and it is very harmful to “Brand Goldman Sachs.” Liken it to a boxer who is continually taking body blows in the midst of a fight – how many bodyblows can Goldman Sachs stand before it does real damage ? Publics need to know that Goldman Sachs is secure – and that these negatives are isolated, and these continued negative occurrences damage the Goldman Sachs institution.

Google Goldman Sachs – On page 1 & 2, 30% of the entrees are negative. A very negative reflection of one of the world’s largest financial institution – and proof that Goldman better immediately get to work on managing their online reputation. Goldman Sachs has to realize there are two courts involved when it comes to crisis PR: the court of law and the court of public opinion (think Casey Anthony, who may have been found “not guilty” in a court of law but is certainly guilty in the court of public opinion). Both courts matter immensely.

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Brand Goldman Sachs is being defined by courts and negative op-eds in high-profile papers. Goldman has a real problem – The legal system at odds with the media system; court proceedings are, by design, long, complicated, and tedious. And media goes on and people form opinions from media (which demands immediacy). Customers, employees, and others are following the media and forming opinions.

Goldman Sachs is facing a court of public opinion which is immediate and viral. Reporters, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, 24/7 cable news, search engine results, etc., aren’t waiting for the next investigation of Goldman Sachs – they are making decisions now.  One of the world’s largest financial institutions – so talented and amazing in so many areas needs to handle their public relations with the same efforts as it handles money.

On May 21, 2010 Lloyd Blankfein said in a public address: “We did a good job managing risk; we did a less good job managing our reputation.” Smart people usually learn from their mistakes – clearly that isn’t the case here as the Goldman Sachs brand doesn’t have a communications plan – and needs a crisis PR Agency asap.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR Agency.  He is also author of “For Immediate Release”, a best-selling PR book.


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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.