Archive for October 31st, 2006

Government Procurement article on Katrina communications

October 31, 2006

Some time ago I wrote an article on how the US Coast Guard used PIER, the online communication management tool I created and my company provides, to facilitate communication during Hurricane Katrina. That article was published in the October issue of Government Procurement Journal. Read the article.
Here’s a quote from the article:

It’s fair to say that the world is shifting under the feet of today’s Public Information Officer and, for that matter, today’s Incident Commander (IC), both of whom need to understand the demands each faces if he or she is to make informed decisions. Experienced ICs know that their efforts are judged positively by the public only if two things occur: the response is handled well, and the public is kept adequately informed. A poorly communicated public response, no matter how effective it originally may have been, is nonetheless a disaster.


Wal-Mart “Reputation Crisis” reported in BusinessWeek

October 31, 2006

Business Week Headline

Is Wal-Mart in a reputation crisis? I think so, and I expressed that opinion to a reporter working on a story for BusinessWeek. I guess I didn’t expect my judgment about that to appear in the title of the cover story of BusinessWeek online as it is right now. Read the article.

How did I get the opportunity to comment on Wal-Mart’s situation, given how many smart people in crisis and reputation management are either working on this or thinking about it? This blog. I commented on Edelman’s problems relating to the “flog” site “Wal-Marting Across America” and the BusinessWeek reporter, Pallavi Gogoi, who broke the story of Edelman’s sponsorship saw my comments and gave me a call.

I’ve blogged before about the connection between MSM (mainstream media) and the blog world and if this isn’t clear evidence of that connection I don’t know what is.

Of course, you are always a little nervous when a reporter from a publication like BusinessWeek gives you a call. But I was quoted accurately, thank you Ms Gogoi. It’s the gems that got cut you always grieve. Like the fact that what makes this a reputation crisis of significant proportions is that the public license to operate is very much at risk. Wal-Mart’s ability to enter new markets is very much at risk and whenever you have become a political football or pawn, with one party lining up against you and the other one either for you or remaining meekly silent, you have big problems. No company wants its brand to become so politicized, to become a symbol for what a segment of the public most hates about this country. And that is exactly what is happening.

We also discussed union involvement. Is organized labor behind the effort to damage or destroy the Wal-Mart brand? If so, how are they doing it? The connection between organized labor and the increasing opposition from the Democratic party is logical. How much does this play into Wal-Mart’s current distress.

Crisisblogger readers, please weigh in. I’d love to know what you think about Wal-Mart’s problems, potential solutions, and the reporting it is currently receiving.