September 22, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Trading Places, 2009-style

Trading Places, 2009-style

Update: Two more examples of what not to do:

Do not go on a swanky golf trip after forcing unpaid furloughs on workers.

Do not spend $1.2 million on office renovations when your entire industry is sinking, taking the economy with you.

This is just a quick suggestion to all of the PR practitioners out there who have the good fortune to work for large companies with well-heeled executives in the C-suites. It would serve your companies well to get these executives into a room, and discuss what is and is not appropriate to convey during an economic crisis that has millions out of work. Most of this has to do with how they live compared to others, and how, perhaps, their definition of ‘hardship’ does not quite match the same definition as a family of four living on $45,000 a year.

Do not fly a private jet to ask for government (taxpayer) money.

Do not hold retreats in fancy resorts after having received government (taxpayer) money.

And, for heaven’s sake, do not say something like this:

“I’ve never quite been in this situation before of getting a massive pay cut, no bonus, no longer allowed to stay in decent hotels, no corporate airplane. I have to stand in line at the Northwest counter,” Lutz says. “I’ve never quite experienced this before. I’ll let you know a year from now what it’s like.”

Your executives will not get much sympathy, and it will reflect badly on your company. Am I the only one who is thinking that maybe a company-by-company requirement for receiving government cash should be a “Trading Places” -type experiment? Randolph and Mortimer Duke, I will put up the dollar.

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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