Good PR Can Guarantee High Job Approval Ratings and High Stock Prices What government and the private sector can learn from one another
The investment community was persuaded that Jay Walker’s 35,000 square feet of sublet office space in Stamford, Conn., with his little assemblage of computers, exotic software and 177 employees, were worth (on paper) $23.1 billion—more than United, Norwest and Continental airlines combined.
Jay Walker was ranked by Forbes as the 25th richest person in the world with personal wealth (on paper) of $10.6 billion.
Alas, it turned out priceline.com’s business model was deeply flawed, with 67 out of every 100 bidders being turned away empty-handed. At the end of 1999, the stock was down to $47.38 and the accrued net loss applicable to common shareholders since 1998 was $1.17 billion.
It was downhill from there. At the end of 2000, media relations had soured, staff was laid off and the stock price on the last day of the year had plunged to $1.31—making it a “Minus 100-Bagger.”
During its brief heady heyday, the officers, directors, warrant holders and other insiders sold their priceline.com stock for riches beyond the dreams of avarice.
Priceline.com could never have happened without one of the most magnificent PR campaigns in the history of business. It was truly a creature of the media.
In short, for success in business and government, it is imperative to have a good, open and friendly working relationship with the media.