What are the PR rules for the richest woman in the world? Gina Rinehart, who recently topped the list, is an Australian-based heiress whose father started the original family fortune in mining. She inherited the fortune, grew it rapaciously on the back of the long-running commodities boom, and now has pride of place as one of a handful of “self-made women” who get to opine on all matters economic.
Rinehart created a fuss recently when she gave her prescription for creating wealth. Her simple advice? Stop complaining. If you don’t like your current situation, just get back to work. Besides, if you have financial problems, you probably ate and drank your wealth away. Get serious, prescribes the generously proportioned Rinehart, who doesn’t look particularly abstemious herself. Listen to mommy!
She created a news sensation when she told a recent mining conference that mine workers’ salaries in Australia and other advanced economies are too high. Why, in Africa, you can pay people $2 a day! The speech created an internet furore and untold sniping blogs.
The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) for Gina Rinehart and her PR image. If she keeps this up, no political allies will see any advantage in being public friends with her.
The PR Takeaway: Giving people a reason to like you makes it easier to enlist them in your cause. Rinehart seems to have a tough time getting along with people; her ugly financial disputes with her children are well documented. Having inherited such a large fortune, it’s hard to take her pronouncements on being self-made seriously. Telling others to take drastic pay cuts or accept a lower standard of living is guaranteed to backfire. Speaking your mind is one thing, but to drive a public policy agenda, Rinehart might find it more productive to be in listening, rather than telling, mode. The choice is clear: She can be a successful entrepreneur or the Cruella de Vil of capitalism.
To read more about Gina Rinehart, click here.
What might Gina Rinehart do differently to change her PR status? Give us your PR Verdict!