Building a brand

by Jaden Constant

October 12, 2017

Stacey Tank ’02, chief communications officer at the Home Depot, visited Newhouse, discussed the importance of corporate character.

Stacey Tank '02 visited the Newhouse School as a guest of the PR department Molly Gibbs

In a lecture at the Newhouse School on Oct. 5, 2017, Stacey Tank ’02 emphasized the importance of maintaining a business’s reputation.

Before working at the Home Depot, Tank held positions at GE and Heineken. She said her stints at these companies strengthened her skills as a corporate communicator. At Heineken, Tank oversaw the company’s brand, serving as a public relations officer. She dealt with crisis management while also leading an entire public relations team.

“I illuminate truths,” said Tank. “I’ll never put lipstick on a pig for you. If we did something wrong, we’re going to fix it.”

Tank pointed out that crisis management is not the only aspect to maintaining a business’s strong reputation. According to Tank, it is important for a business to give back to the community, so trust can be established between the business and consumers. Tank used the Home Depot CEO Craig Menear as an example. In collaboration with Meals on Wheels, Menear delivered food to a veteran. The taped moment, albeit minor, was part of a much larger campaign by the Home Depot, which included reviving an underserved community in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood. Tank said the aim of the project was to not gentrify the neighborhood, but rather to better the lives of the people already residing there.

“[We wanted to] improve the neighborhood,” said Tank. “Bring back schools, jobs, transportation, etc. So [the residents] can live there and prosper.”

Tank believes that building a strong brand is not limited to businesses.

“Reputation comes from how you behave,” said Tank. “What is your corporate character? What are your actions?”

To reinforce her point, Tank compared corporate reputation to a quote from Abraham Lincoln.

“The tree is your character,” said Tank. “And [your] reputation is the shadow of the tree.”

Jaden Constant is a first-year television, radio and film major at the Newhouse School.