Monday, June 27, 2005


I've been wandering Northern California for the last 10 days with the family. It was instructive from a number of points of view, not the least of PR.

The governor of the state, former movie star that he is, has popularity ratings that are now at the same level of the governor he replaced. It seems that political fan support doesn't last long. Just ask the Bush administration. Anyway, now that the governor is down to a 35% approval rating, he is finding his enemies are rising openly against him. It was eyeopening to see billboards in Sacramento that attacked the governor personally. He is learning a bitter truth. People don't have to like you, but they have to respect you and what you can do. That is a truism for PR as well. There are times when PR is a rough game and involves tough political plays. But, when a company's survival is at stake, there may be no choice. This is a situation that the accounting firm, KPMG, is in right now.

I will have more to write about California, but right now, it is a state in which PR wars are at full tilt between the governor on one side and the legislature and unions on the other. There doesn't appear to be any willingness to seek a middle ground. One or the other will be crippled in the months to come. That's a lousy situation, but it also might be a necessary one. It is a time when PR counselors earn their fees.


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