Tuesday, August 04, 2015
One of the standard defenses of the criminal element is "Everybody does it." The pleader is trying to hive off punishment by claiming he was not alone. The answer to that is "Everybody doesn't do it." Some are honest and perhaps are in the majority. Anyway, even if everybody did it, then everybody should stand trial when the time comes. There is an allure to the everybody-does-it defense as if plurality makes right. There is a temptation to use it when protecting a corporation or individual's reputation. From a PR perspective, the defense is empty and has no moral authority. If an organization or individual has done wrong, they should own up to it. It is harder to do, especially if there is prison time to consider. Still, honesty is the best policy. And if everybody the defendant knows was doing it, he can become a witness for the prosecution and perhaps earn time off from his sentence.
Monday, August 03, 2015
This is an example of smart PR on the part of a chicken producer. Knowing the public has turned against antibiotics in the growth of animals, Perdue has taken the lead in producing meat that is free of human antibiotics. The step has taken a prolonged effort and changes in the way chickens are raised, but it has given the company the lead in the industry and a differentiation that is difficult to get with a commodity product, such as poultry. It is one more example of the statement, "PR is what you do, not what you say."
Friday, July 31, 2015
This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. China is actively building its military presence on islands in the South China sea. It is trying for a coup de main -- expanding its forces enough that it won't be opposed when it takes over the sea. So why is China accusing the US of militarizing the area? One explanation is that China is playing to its citizens. Its accusations are designed to increase and inflame public awareness of the military exercises and patrols the US is doing in what the US maintains are international waters. This tactic can and does work when the public is on the side of the government. And, the indications are that Chinese citizens do support their military forces. The danger of this kind of thinking, however, is that it can tilt over into hostile action and escalate tensions, something that no one wants. So, it is best if both China and the US sail carefully in the South China sea and diminish the war of words.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
How do you do PR for a company in a death spiral? This is the situation facing Yelp, the user-driven review site. Its stock has crashed and its chairman has stepped down. There is little that looks good for the future of the company. Still, it is an entity that is in business, and it needs to build users, if it is to continue. The CEO needs to be present for the troops and keep them believing. Yelp has to continue marketing as well. The theme should be that Yelp doesn't know what tomorrow will be but it is continuing nonetheless. That is a hard sell to engineers and others in demand in Silicon Valley. Yelp may have to give retention bonuses to its key people in order for them to stay put. Public relations should focus on real progress rather than the ephemeral. Blizzards of releases won't help now. It would look desperate. Yelp isn't the last company whose valuation will crash. There are plenty of others teetering on the edge. It's painful to be first.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The US Olympic Committee (USOC) had hoped to steamroll Boston's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Bostonians had other ideas and USOC heard the public at last. Boston has now been dropped as the official bid for the games. Call this public relations in reverse. The public made known its opposition to the games and USOC listened. Now the committee has to find another city that will welcome the games, and it has little time to do it. In retrospect, Boston's citizens were correct in repudiating the games. They are wildly expensive to host and every city that has done so has been left with huge deficits. The games in Athens nearly bankrupted the country. Why, then, should Bostonians open their arms to the games? Boston's revolt might be the start of a general questioning of the expense of the games and what might be done to restrain costs. Olympics on a budget is a good idea and it is time to try it.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Google is finally giving up on force-feeding Google+ to users of its search and YouTube services. It is facing the fact that it has not nearly enough members and probably never will. For a company that has been wildly successful with its search engine and algorithms, it might be embarrassing to admit it doesn't know how to engage people. Facebook has led the way in person-to-person connection and has both scale and ease of use. The best Google+ can do is to chip away at Facebook's leadership in the hope that its modest service can appeal to segments of the market. Google+ should be a case study. The problem with it seems to be that it never offered enough differentiation in service that users wanted and couldn't do without. It was a resounding me-too. Facebook had the advantage and took it, never looking back. It should be a lesson to PR practitioners. Fast and flexible movers can stave off competition just as Google has done in the search business.
Monday, July 27, 2015
While I was away, this story appeared in the New York Times. It's a case of too little too late to rescue an individual's reputation. When the court document leaked that Bill Cosby had sex with numerous women and drugs were involved in some of these cases, he lost his reputation as America's Dad. The lawyers should have spoken then. Instead, they let the allegations fester and the wound to bleed. Today, Cosby is a tarred man who has lost endorsements and whose career is finished. That might not be so bad because he is older now and already had a stellar time in the public spotlight, but his legacy is lost. He is no longer the wholesome comedian we thought he was. So, he beat the lawsuits thus far, but that isn't saying much. Using a female attorney to plead his case is spin that doesn't cover what he admitted doing.