Friday, August 13, 2010
Here is one high-risk PR strategy -- bold defiance. It is a dare to the public and authorities to attempt to punish. Only a few public figures have chosen to use it, and Charlie Rangel, the long-time Congressman from New York is the current practitioner. The problem with the tactic is that it more often causes opposition to stiffen rather than dissipate. Charlie Rangel's friends might be rallying around him but there are plenty of his colleagues who are not. Chances are that he will get reprimanded, and he has already lost his power. On the other hand, if he is successful with his tactic, he will leave Congress some day on his own terms and not those of the Congressional ethics committee. That in itself will be success. Defiance is rarely a tactic that a PR person would counsel a public figure to use. It depends on having the weight of evidence on one's side. It seems in this case, however, that Rangel doesn't have the facts working for him, yet he is combative anyway. It will be interesting to see how his pugnacity turns out. It doesn't look good from this perspective.