Lost and found and lost again: The art of the basics in corporate communication
“Of course you kick your opponent when he’s down,” said a wise friend over cocktails one evening, discussing an issue-oriented political campaign he’d led to success.
“And then you kick him again. And again. And again.”
The Reasonable Reporter recalled his words this morning when the Reno Gazette Journal arrived. Someone, who may now be in line for a raise and promotion at Saint Mary’s Hospital, had issued a swift kick to Renown Regional Medical Center.
Top-of-fold in the RGJ –- coverage of the campaign orchestrated by the SEIU against Renown, central to which has been repeated assertions by Renown nurses that the quality of patient care at the medical center is suffering due to short staffing.
Obscuring the headline and part of the photo –- an advertising sticker, affixed like a post-it to the front page, declaring Saint Mary’s to be “Ranked #1 in Quality in Northern Nevada.” Ouch.
Not complicated. Not high tech. Not expensive, relatively speaking. Not fair.
But this little guerilla tactic revives a lost art in corporate communication. Twenty-first century communicators have become so preoccupied with trying to out-tech the other guy that they’ve forgotten the basics. They’ve forgotten how to bob and weave, and how to dance with real feet on the real ground.
On the ground. That brings us to the sure winner of this year’s Duh Award for Corporate Event Planning. Apparently none of the planners for the Olympic Committee bothered ahead of time to research the political proclivities of San Francisco, the site of the first Tibetan Freedom concert, where “Free Tibet” bumper stickers graced the back of every third vehicle for the latter half of the 1990s. It is, moreover, a city where anyone will protest anything.
So yeah, it’s kind of predictable that running the torch for the Beijing Olympics through San Francisco would cause, at minimum, some consternation. At worst, all hell could have broken loose. Can you say “Duh?”
In fifty states, they couldn’t find a more suitable city to host the torch? It’s not hyperbole to suggest that this event could have erupted into something resembling the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, causing a marketing calamity. (Although the Canadian business mag Financial Post reports the Olympic sponsors tend to hang in there through political turbulence, and even expect same.)
Someone in the Olympic planning cohort woke up just in time to avert outright chaos, which was the good news. The bad news is, a lot of McDonald’s and Coca Cola customers truly excited to see the flame were disappointed when the route was changed, and the concluding ceremony amounted to hustling the torch onto a waiting airplane.
There’s more good news, though. Call it an unintended consequence. Americans who might not have been able to find Tibet on a map have gotten a lesson in global politics. Zimbabwe’s mysterious election results may have eluded them. Hugo Chavez might preside permanently in Venezuela. Um, is he a contender in the World Wrestling Federation championships? Hey wait a minute, where’s the torch, and what’s Tibet?
The beloved Olympic torch, like a good teacher, brought the subject home, even for the students who usually don’t care.Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized