Two-Step Fix for Romney’s “47 Percent” Disaster

 Two Step Fix for Romneys 47 Percent Disaster

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Romney’s response to this latest setback.

Any suggestions for Mitt Romney as to how to put the genie back in the bottle? That is the question as he copes with the fallout from the now infamous “47 Percent” video, in which Romney claimed that 47 percent of the American voting population suffers from a paralyzing dependence on government support and entitlements. It’s a “victim” mentality, said Mitt as he told the faithful that nearly half of the US population is an electoral lost cause.

This taped speech at a private fundraising event was never meant to be aired publicly, but now Democrats can’t believe their luck. For Romney’s campaign, battling with accusations of being tone deaf to the economic plight of ordinary Americans, this comes at a bad time. Mitt, in his response, is holding his ground. While his views were “inelegantly” expressed, he says, they related solely to how his campaign is being structured. This was about tactical electoral strategy only.

Not a bad response, and what else could he say under the circumstances? No sense in denying the comments, but they certainly need explanation and context.

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Romney’s response to this latest setback.   His response may have blunted some of the damage to the campaign, but he needs to do more.

The PR Takeaway: Distract and Switch should be the mantra of Team Romney’s campaign for the coming days. Change the topic of the conversation by pulling wife Ann or running mate Ryan into the media to talk about something completely different. Crisis moments like these have a shorter shelf life when something else fills the vacuum. With the Democrats milking the video for all its worth, the best advice to Romney is to cede the limelight over the next couple of days – the sooner the better.

What else can Team Romney do to mitigate this damage? Give us your PR Verdict!

Anyone Mind About The Swimsuit Issue?


sports illustrated swimsuit issue 211x300 Anyone Mind About The Swimsuit Issue?

The PR Verdict: “B” for the Conservancy’s strategy and responsiveness.

Nature Conservancy the nation’s leading environmental advocacy group has just found itself in a PR storm.  Only in this case it was definitely in a teacup.

The organization which protects fragile and important wilderness areas partnered with Sports Illustrated magazine and luxury retailer Gilt in a fundraising campaign.  Using the iconic “swimsuit issue” of the magazine as its focus, the initiative was designed to widen Conservancy’s traditional support base.

Conservancy went into crisis PR mode when it became concerned that partnering with the best selling swimsuit issue could be seen as demeaning to women.  Too late to pull out of the deal, it went into damage control instead.   This included apologies to board members and staff, reforming procedures and downscaling planned promotions of the fundraiser.

Well done.  This was well handled from a procedural point of view and the issue never really caught fire.  Conservancy’s spokesman recently confirmed sheepishly to the trade press “we haven’t heard much from our donors.”

The PR Verdict: “B” for the Conservancy’s strategy and responsiveness but next time keep authorised public comment to a minimum.

Sports Illustrated’s PR told a philanthropy publication “this is the first time I am hearing about this” and therein lies a clue. A scan of the coverage shows the media heat came largely from Conservancy board members who by giving quotes to the media, needlessly magnified the issue. Interestingly no women’s advocacy, protest group or Conservancy supporter was ever quoted. Next time, delegate the issue entirely to the PR team and only authorize board members to speak if the issue escalates.  And besides, always take into account the news cycle.  With Rush Limbaugh hogging the headlines and promotional coverage of the swimsuit issue failing to provoke questions of the tie-up, there was a distinct possibility that the issue would pass completely unnoticed.

Click here to read more about this issue.

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