Goldman Sachs – in search of an ambassador in the Muppet Show?

“The goal is to establish a positive online presence for Goldman Sachs”. These are the words stated in the job description of the investment bank which is in search for an online social strategist.

Nowadays, this could be a difficult task for a company who is one of the preferred enemies for banking critics in the recent past. Since the banking crisis broke out, Goldman Sachs is one of the criticized wall-street banks regarding intransparent business practices. Examples of angry people exist in many forms. One of them is the satirical Twitter account of “GS Elevator Gossip” who pretend to be Lloyd Blankfein, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Goldman Sachs. He spreads discussions from the elevator of the Bank. Here are two examples on Twitter:

Or an example on Facebook, which has many negative related pages regarding Goldman Sachs:

Goldman Sachs has actually 17’783 fans on Facebook, which is a little number in relation to other banks (Credit Suisse has 39’459 followers, Bank of America over 500’000). On Twitter, the Bank has only 3921 followers, whereas the Spot-Profile “GS Elevator” has 251’924 followers and therefore more than 70 times more.

According to spiegel.de, the reason for this negative public attitude is not at least due to emails and memos which have been disclosed through the security and exchange commission (SEC). In addition, new negative headlines aroused from Greg Smith, a resigned executive director of Goldman Sachs, who wrote in his resignation letter in the New York Times about the reasons why he stepped down as Manager. One reason could be that managers of Goldman Sachs mentioned their clients despiteous as ”muppets”. Since this resignation letter, Kermit, the frog from the Muppets, became a figure for the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, who is actually a target for angry people because he defended the salaries of investment bankers in the financial crisis (Spiegel.de). If someone searches in Google for “Muppets and Goldman Sachs”, he or she gets almost one million scores.

The internet page “Funny or Die” makes a fool of Goldman Sachs with this amusing Muppet video. A second video is posted by Reuters TV on YouTube.

It appears to be difficult for the first social media strategist of Goldman Sachs to be trustworthy. Not because of the work he is going to do, but of the company he represents. In the job descriptions is mentioned:

“The Community Manager/Social Media Strategist will be responsible for ensuring active and engaged communities around a defined topic or topics by managing long-lead editorial calendars, monitoring online conversations and participating in those conversations to build brand visibility and thought leadership”.

It seems as the investment bank tries to polish the reputational loss of the recent years. But is this really a reasonable way to improve the image of the company or only a measure to put the corporate policy in a better light?

Lukas Stähli

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