Monday, April 30, 2012

Two Icons of Arkansas

If you are from there, you understand how central the Arkansas Razorbacks are to everything in The Natural State. Sort of the same way if you are an American, you know what the world's largest retailer means to you.

Now, two icons of Arkansas -- separated by only a 30 minute drive -- find themselves in deep PR crisis.

Arkansas football is emerging out the other end of the process, soiled and seeking to redeem itself. WalMart's time in the media cross hairs is just beginning. James Haggerty provides a recap of the bribery allegations broken by the New York Times and quick commentary on what WMT has done so far.

Shockingly like some of the early moves by Bobby Petrino's camp. Hunker down. Let the storm pass.

Haggerty wrote: There is no way this one is going to go quietly. . . . And while I have no direct link into the minds and hearts of Wal-Mart executives and their legal and public relations advisors, I suspect “minimize” is a big part of the initial game plan.

Haggerty explains his approach: Better to have gotten the story out on the right terms, in the right context, acknowledging mistakes and providing a complete description of the steps being taken to ensure it can never happen again.

The new game plan advocated by many PR pros is to break your own bad news. That is easier said than done, whether you are the Razorbacks or WalMart. Adam Hartung in Forbes was a little more dramatic invoking the Titanic. Perhaps a bit of on-line hype. More obviously to come on this front.

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