Intent on shoring up a slow, but steady decline in one of his most important markets, a CEO recently paid
it a whirlwind visit.
He met with prospective and existing customers as well as those who had chosen one of several competitive models. He also set aside time to hold a few job interviews and made it clear he was not only CEO, but director of human resources as well. The local media followed his every move in their best paparazzi imitation, prompting some to wonder what all the fuss was about.
The CEO followed textbook crisis communications by apologizing for past product flaws and suggested a new quality control process to lessen the likelihood of such issues in the future.
There was a lot of positive buzz swirling about as the CEO made his departure from the key market: his meetings had gone well, media coverage was universally positive and early indications hinted at possible market share improvements which, after all, was the trip’s purpose in the first place.
But, the Catholic Church’s two fundamental flaws, celibacy and pedophilia, remain in place, with the harsh restrictions of the first paving the way for the pernicious reality of the second. Papal visits remind me of client retreats: everyone gets together for a short while, drinks the corporate Kool-Aid, get all charged up and then return to their jobs with absolutely nothing having changed.
It was nice to host the pope but, until he changes the basic dogma, this trip will be judged at best as a short-term marketing success. Your eminence, you need to work with the product engineers to fix the system. Then, and only then, can marketing really deliver on future visits to key markets.