Wal-Mart’s PR challenges

October 4, 2006

One of the most fascinating crisis management case studies going on is Wal-Mart. Yes, I think Wal-Mart is in crisis, in deep crisis. There are many facets–we love success stories until they become too much of a success. Wal-Mart does destroy many loved and valued local businesses. They are ruthless if legal in the pressure they apply to suppliers. They are not known for high pay and wages. They have stumbled in some of their PR efforts–such as the Andrew Young fiasco. And now, biggest of all, is that they have become a political lightning rod and football (mixing my analogies). That is something no business wants to have happen.

That’s why I find this article from Advertising Age so fascinating. For several reasons. Leslie Dach is heading up Wal-Mart’s PR battle. He’s a former top-level Democratic strategist. He is having to defend his decision to help Wal-Mart against fellow Democrats who want to politicize this situation. Perhaps most interesting is that Dach holds a position at the top level of Wal-Mart. It is what most senior communication managers want but seldom get. Perhaps you have to recognize, as Wal-Mart definitely now does, that the public franchise, or their public license to operate, is one of the most critical aspects of their future.

Good luck, Mr Dach, and I’ll be eagerly watching how you deal with your challenges–particularly those coming from your former friends.

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One Response to “Wal-Mart’s PR challenges”


  1. […] Crisisblogger Gerald Barone has this to say: Yes, I think Wal-Mart is in crisis, in deep crisis. There are many facets–we love success stories until they become too much of a success. Wal-Mart does destroy many loved and valued local businesses. They are ruthless if legal in the pressure they apply to suppliers. They are not known for high pay and wages. They have stumbled in some of their PR efforts–such as the Andrew Young fiasco. And now, biggest of all, is that they have become a political lightning rod and football (mixing my analogies). That is something no business wants to have happen. […]


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