“You cannot think about shareholder value without considering stakeholders. Any business that wants to endure must have trust and agreement of society for legitimacy." Ian Davis, McKinsey.
It's interesting to note that management consultants are focusing on more than the bottom line (perhaps it's inevitable). But it poses a challenge to PR consultants, because this should be our natural territory. What's the purpose of public relations? To help establish and maintain the social legitimacy of organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. We've recommended and conducted communications audits for many years; who's going to be first to conduct a legitimacy audit?
Welcome to the age of legitimacy. Prepare to move on from the age of marketing and branding.