Sunday, August 22, 2010

P.R. Failures

In P.R., like other forms of propaganda, believing your own B.S. is done at your peril as described In Case of Emergency: What Not to Do regarding recent failures by Toyota, P.B. and Goldman Sachs:
WHOEVER suggested that all publicity is good publicity clearly never envisioned the wave of catastrophe engulfing high-profile corporations over the last year, laying waste to some of the most meticulously tailored reputations on earth.
Toyota, celebrated for engineering cars so utterly reliable that they seemed boring, endured revelations that its most popular models sometimes accelerated for mysterious reasons. The energy giant BP, which once packaged itself as an environmental visionary, now confronts the future with a new identity: progenitor of the worst oil spill in American history. And the Wall Street icon Goldman Sachs, an elite player in the white-collar-and-suspenders set, found itself derided in Rolling Stone as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Last month, Goldman agreed to pay $550 million to settle federal securities fraud charges. 
“These were real reputational implosions,” says Howard Rubinstein, the public relations luminary who represents the New York Yankees and the News Corporation. “In all three cases, the companies found themselves under attack over the very traits that were central to their strong global brands and corporate identities.”
In other words, there comes a point where spin will not be swallowed any longer. Real world actions have a way of superseding Verbal Worlds.  When one cheats, steals, lies, builds defective products, destroys the environment or the economy propaganda just can't compete.  Politically, the U.S.S.R. learned this lessons when internal conditions came to light.  It seemed it was less a worker's paradise than had been previously believed, and much of its left wing support world wide was lost.  Perhaps, corporations (whose modern in incarnations are as much a product of right wing capitalist ideology as the U.S.S.R. was Marxist-Leninist) should take a closer look at history before their marketing departments lay the groundwork to destroy what little credibility they have...

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