How Access Bank Failed the Covid-19 Public Perception Test

How Access Bank Failed the Covid-19 Public Perception Test

Let’s talk public perception today and relate it with/to what is happening at/to Access Bank right now.

They are trending for trying to lay off 75% of their staff to cut costs right after they donated N1 billion to the FG to fight Coronavirus.

Every business doing something good for the public during this Covid-19 pandemic is doing that to have a good public image, to be seen as a business that cares during this pandemic.

Whether it’s an email they sent, discount on product/services, free services or donations, they are all geared towards controlling the way you view the business.

Not surprising though. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer report, 65% of consumers say that how businesses respond during this pandemic will have a huge impact on whether or not they continue patronizing them in the future.

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Now, Access Bank are taking some fire from the public over the news that they want to let over 75% of their staff go to cut costs right after they donated N1 billion to the Nigerian Federal Government to fight Coronavirus.

When they initially donated the N1 billion, they got so much praise. Even those who work for them hyped them and famzed that move.

But they are catching flak now because right after donating N1 billion to the federal government, they are about to cut 75% of their staff so that they can save cost.

What this means is that they have blown that public goodwill. The perception the public has of them now based on their moves during this pandemic is not looking good. Not donating at all would have left them with a better public image than they have now.

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There’s the argument that their donation is from their CSR (corporate social responsibility) budget but there’s no law that says it has to be to Covid-19 and come right before laying off 75% of their staff.

The goal of CSR is to give them a good public image, if that goal is threatened by the same CSR, shouldn’t it have been reconsidered and the timing scheduled properly?

This shouldn’t even have happened for a business of that size. It could be as a result of a communication lapse between the key decision makers because if you’re laying off people tomorrow to save cost, you should not be donating N1 billion today.

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One thing is certain: Access Bank have a huge decision to make and they have to make it soon. What they do next will have an effect on their business.

James Ogunjimi

James Ogunjimi
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