Friday, June 22, 2007

Sisyphean PR and other follies

And you think you've got a PR problem! Consider the uphill battle faced by Price Floyd, a U.S. State Department official charged with improving our nation's image in the world.

As reported in Slate, Floyd pointed to our rejection of the Kyoto treaty, dissing of the International Criminal Court, revocation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and said, "What we don't have here is a failure to communicate."

"These actions," Floyd wrote in a recent op-ed piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "have sent an unequivocal message: The U.S. does not want to be a collaborative partner. This is the policy we have been 'selling' through our actions." As a result, our words are ignored or dismissed as "meaningless U.S. propaganda."

As marketer Chris Houchens noted in a recent post in his Shotgun Marketing blog, this is what happens when you try to "REBRAND" through words and not actions. It's a Sisyphean exercise.

By the way, wondering how Floyd got away with making such pointed comments in an administration known for lock-step message control? Well, Floyd recently quit his State Department job. 'Nuf said.

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