Defensive Strategies: The Dark Side of PR

When faced with terrible information on our business, we have three options.  The first option is to ignore the data and assume everything is okay.  The second option is to see the data and tackle the problems head-on so we can find out the truth and fix what needs to be fixed.  And finally, there’s a final option – rather than ignore the information or do something about it – the effective and less travelled road is work tirelessly to undermine the original information so customers or legislators have some doubt about the accuracy of the original information.

Option three is a defensive strategy and normally becomes a viable option for a corporation who possibly faces extinction (cigarettes) or major losses (BPH) if the government and public turn against it.  We learned about this strategy in school and it’s darn effective and relatively simple thanks to mercenary scientists and market researchers who start with the end in mind and work backwards to find a suitable test group.

Do you remember when there was ‘conflicting’ evidence that smoking cigarettes were dangerous or the new evidence around global warming possibly not being a real issue?  Confuse the public enough and the corporations get a stalemate as legislators get caught between good science and bad.

While I can’t confirm the above is what’s happening, I did find it interesting that the WV Nursing Home Association would decide to run ads on local radio stations stating that in an *ahem* independent customer satisfaction survey X% (I think somewhere around 95%) of respondents were very pleased with their level of care.  X% – really? 

Gosh, I guess those terrible ratings from the government have to be wrong then.