Jun 09

A tale of two crises

This is a tale of two crises. One was handled flawlessly. The other was badly bungled.

The first dominated yesterday's PR news world and concerned the ill-advised attempt by Delta Airlines to charge returning Afghanistan veterans $200 for their extra bags. Ugh.

A social media savvy vet captured the unfortunate and oh-so-unnecessary airport confrontation between the vets and the “Sorry sir, but rules are rules” airline worker. He posted the video on YouTube and it spread faster than Anthony Weiner's nude pics.

In the blink of an eye, Delta suddenly had a 747-sized crisis on its hands. But, that's when the airline turned on the after burners, fastened the seat belts and weathered the increasingly bumpy ride. A Delta blogger, identified only as Rachael R (is Rachael Ray moonlighting?)  quickly posted an apology AND announced an immediate change in the airline's baggage policy for traveling U.S. military personnel. A simple, yet brilliant move. Crisis averted. Delta and the vets can move on. And, Rachael R. can get back to her cooking.

Now, compare Delta's response with the Bank of America's incredibly, ham-fisted mishandling of a Florida couple's mortgage payment.

Warren and Maureen Nyerges had purchased their foreclosed home outright.   However, while on a foreclosure frenzy, BofA decided the property’s foreclosure was still in force and past due.  So, the bank went on with their foreclosure on the hapless Nyerges. With no other recourse, they hired a savvy lawyer who turned the tables on the bank in a brilliant legal maneuver that would impress even the legendary Mike Lasky of Davis & Gilbert fame.

The couple's lawyer proved the home was free and clear and demanded the bank pay their $2,500 legal fees. BofA refused. So, get this, the lawyer got a court order to go to the local bank branch and take possession of their furniture. Ya gotta love it!

Sheriff deputies and a moving van showed up at the bank. But, the brain-dead BofA branch manager STILL wouldn't comply. It took a full hour before he finally gave Mr. & Mrs. Nyerges a check for $5,772.88 as restitution. This local news clip below is a MUST SEE and should be included in any crisis planning workshop.

 

Did BofA issue an explanation, an apology or announce a change in their foreclosure policy? Nope. There wasn't even a peep from the massive financial institution.

So, here's an idea. Since BofA has shown itself so inept at managing crisis communications, why not outsource the function to the Delta Airlines team? I'm sure the ailing airline could use the incremental income and Bank of America desperately needs competent PR counsel. Hey, maybe BofA can even convince Delta's Rachael R. to cook the Nyerges a special 'forgiveness meal.'

Nov 11

The image sent is not necessarily the image received

I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a book that made me laugh out loud with each and every new page. Jon Stewart’s Earth: A Visitor’s guide to the Human Race is one of those rarities. Written by Stewart and his staff, the book is intended for aliens who discover our planet long after we’ve perished. It’s intended to explain to the aliens what they’ve stumbled across.

Sections include: explanations on how our society was structured, our major religions formed and our bizarre culture created. The latter is beautifully captured in what Stewart calls his FAQs, or Frequent Alien Questions. For example:

Alien question: "The Acme company appears to have made low-quality products. How did they stay in business?"

Stewart: "Free shipping to remote desert locations."

Alien question: "You had the word Trump on many of your buildings. What did that word mean?"

Stewart: "A Trump was a demon who sometimes appeared to us in quasi-human form in order to fire us from jobs we never wanted in the first place."

One of my favorite sections is entitled, ‘Corporate Identity.’ It reads: "The choice of a proper brand logo was as crucial to a corporation as a nation’s flag or a religion’s gold-thing-you-wear-on-a-chain. It had to be visually appealing, but it did not have to have anything to do with what your company did." In other words, the image being sent by countless corporations wasn’t necessarily the image received by end users.

Here are three classic examples Stewart cites:

 GerberLogo

What you’d expect them to sell: White babies.   

What they sold: Baby food.

 

Anheuser-Busch 'Here's to Beer' :  

What you’d expect them to sell: Eagle traps.   

What they sold: Urine-flavored beer.

 

Bank_of_America_Logo

What you’d expect them to sell: Three-field crop rotation.

What they sold: Your own money back to you.

 

 

Loving Stewart’s suggestions so much, I decided to submit my own: 

Kfc-logo-high-quality

What you’d expect them to sell: Antebellum plantations.  

What they sold: Cholesterol-laden fried chicken.

 

  Alaska Airlines Logo

What you’d expect them to sell: Grumpy Eskimos.  

What they sold: Air travel to and from places that had no Eskimos.

 

Mr_clean_logo

What you’d expect them to sell: West Village bouncers.

What they sold: Floor cleaner that could probably double as rocket fuel if you Aliens ever find yourself in a pinch.

How about you Repman readers? Do you know any corporate logos that have absolutely nothing to do with explaining the type of product the company sells? I’m all ears (which, FYI to future alien readers, means "I’m welcoming readers to submit their ideas.")