Revised Q1 GDP was released last Friday showing anemic 1.6 percent growth. This came on top of still high unemployment rates and plummeting home sale numbers. It is safe to say that reality hasn’t just mugged the Obama administration’s recovery summer PR campaign aimed at the midterm elections, but knifed it and left it for dead in the gutter. To keep this post apolitical, spread the criticism around and also mix a few metaphors, the Bush administration itself crashed and burned when the president pulled the PR stunt of landing on a carrier deck after the invasion of Iraq under a mission accomplished banner. Both cases illustrate the dangers of trumpeting future successes before they have been realized. Credibility tends to be far easier to keep by being conservative in one’s promises then it is to get back once lost.
It’s been a busy 2010 in the world of crisis PR with two CEO’s of major companies gone—Tony Hayward of British Petroleum because of how he handled a crisis and Mark Hurd of Hewlett Packard for being at the center of one. In the case of Hayward he delivered a public relations case study of what not to do in a crisis. Although there is a lot to chose from in the way of his gaffes let’s focus on three highlights.
In hindsight it’s ironic that the economy of the nineties was described as the Goldilocks economy—not too hot, not too cold, but just right for high employment and strong growth. Ironic, because the real moral of the story people should have heeded is that there is no free lunch. And, like in the Goldilocks’ fairy tale, three unfriendly bears emerged. If the nineties was the Goldilocks economy then the period we now find ourselves in of both weak growth and employment might best be described as the three bears economy. Since 2000 there was the baby bear of the dotcom bubble, the mamma bear of the residential real estate bubble and the daddy bear of the government debt bubble—corporate, consumer and now government-led bubbles of unproductive and hence unsustainable spending.
Today, when I was doing a little web surfing on the latest sports news I couldn’t help but read about an ESPN article on basketball star LeBron James. I couldn’t help but come across it because LeBron’s PR team had gotten ESPN to kill the story after it was posted. As a result instead of one forgettable ESPN online article that I amongst others would never have paid any attention to, there are now a multitude of articles about the pulled article. Also, because of the age of the Internet that pulled article still lives on other websites.
Investment & Communication Angles focuses on subjects germane to my professional experience—investments and communications consulting from investor and public relations to branding and marketing. I’m categorizing most posts as either investment or communications related with investor relations posts getting dropped into the communications bucket. It may be a bit of an eclectic mix, but that is a fair characterization and by far not the worst that could be said about me. On a positive note some have found my musings on various subjects to be of interest, and hopefully you will also. Having previously been a magazine columnist and contributed articles to various publications I am looking forward to the freedom of blogging. I hope you will look forward to my occasional blog posts.