After a somewhat shocking political announcement on Friday morning of John McCain’s pick as his Vice-Presidential running mate, there was a flurry of blog posts and comments on the Internet with folks wondering what could Mr. McCain perhaps have been thinking when he selected Mrs. Palin. When Mr. McCain made his history-changing announcement, there were mixed reactions among the audience members. Perhaps what was most shocking was that his candidate was a female and a very young female for the political crowd. Although the announcement was to a group that consisted of Republicans, one could not help but notice that the crowd seemed ambivalent as McCain introduced Sarah Palin. There have been mixed, debatable commentaries online and offline about the young, Caucasian female who walked onto the stage, planked with her husband and four of her five children, one of which is a four month old infant with Down’s syndrome. Can she really help run the country?
When the Republican party made this announcement the other morning, some speculated whether or not it was a ploy to split the vote for the Democrats, attract displaced voters from Hillary Clinton’s campaign or just simply a political move to win a race. An announcement shocking at best, but when announcements like these are made, what are the intentions or the motives of the person making them? Are they interested simply in shock value or are they really trying to make a statement? Do they care what fallout results from their decisions or are they thinking about what effects this will have on their image in the short-term sphere of circumstances?
Companies who aim for shock value in their media relations campaign are only interested in short-term effects and immediate results. This type of media relations only attract and hold the attention of consumers and citizens who want instant gratification. Often, they don’t realize that a situation may be magnified for only their benefit and in an attempt to “wow” them, and the company will often go to great lengths to do so. However, after the energy has subsided and the facts are analyzed, most often what remains is an unflattering disappointment involving shaded, questionable facts and a few buzz words. Such was the case with John McCain’s announcement with Sarah Palin. John McCain made a decision involving a questionable candidate and shrouded it in the fact of his candidate being an anti-abortion, female mother of five who has experience in energy-subsidizing and whose son just joined the military. Per Mr. McCain, these are all good reasons why we should vote Republican on November 4th.
Avoiding political issues that cause eyebrows to raise are like avoiding getting caught in the rain; sometimes, it just happens. But for companies to successfully minimize issues that speak to their ability to make sound decisions, they must carefully analyze reasons for making certain decisions. They must also look the results that these decisions will have on their media image and if it will remain a part of their image for the future. If an organization doesn’t handle their image relations carefully from the onset, they are in danger of narrowly placing themselves into an image that can be detrimental to their company and ultimately to their bottom line. Consumers want to have a type of ‘buying faith’ in companies that they spend their money with and base their loyalties on. They want confidence in the product and in the corporation. It’s advantageous for these organizations to convince consumers that they are worthy of their loyalties and their business. It takes a while for businesses to establish this with customers, so steady wins the race. Success will come after a while and small periods of customer satisfaction. Don’t just tell the customer what you think they want to hear. Make promises believable and something the company can actually accomplish. Customers are watching and tabs are being taken. It’s best to save save the shock value for the Hollywood crowd.
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