Monday, February 07, 2005

Can't Win 

The worst situation for any company and PR practitioner is the situation in which you can't win. Usually companies don't get into this bind as often as politicians, but it's uncomfortable no matter to whom it happens. This is a classic case of "damned if you do and damned if you don't."

The mayor of New York will lose votes no matter where he comes down. Usually politicians kick such issues upstairs. They appoint commissions to study them, and they get the hell away from the complication as fast as they can. The "fig leaf" commission is told to take its time and the hope is the next election will be over before the issue comes to the fore again. Of course, the commission report is filed away in a drawer and never looked at, but it serves the purpose of getting the politician out of a jam. Companies don't always have the luxury of such an out. I have seen corporations appoint investigators to "get to the bottom of the situation," but the investigators never report to the public. More often than not, a company has to take a beating from one side or the other. You can't please everyone. Affirming some relationships means breaking some others.


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