Thursday, March 22, 2012
Oprah Winfrey is learning what it is to be yesterday's celebrity. She just laid off 30 people at her cable network. It is a reminder to communications practitioners that once out of mind, one is gone from public attention. Viewers move on to the next thing that keeps them entertained. That was the ironic ending of The Truman Show, the 1998 film that dissected television mercilessly. Absence from public attention is an issue for corporations as well. There is such a thing as too little publicity when multi-billion dollar businesses fade into the background and their stock prices suffer. There are CEOs who like that. I met one recently. He is perfectly content to serve customers and to be missing from the national scene. If his stock muddles, that's OK. Sooner or later, it will catch up, and anyway, he isn't interested in small investors but only institutions. One can argue that his vision is too narrow, but there are quite a few CEOs who see public relations that way. They don't want to get on the treadmill of communications. If their companies do well, they believe that they will be found. It would be good if that were true.