Evelyn Lawson

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Yet another story of an Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) success hit my Archive today. Two points: 1) This is Kentucky, where Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened to obliterate Obamacare and cripple this presidency. 2) Most success stories are about happy enrollees whose lives were saved by Obamacare.

I believe in health care for all. The idea of non-coverage because of a pre-existing condition is obscene. And if a serious illness occurred, that uninsured person could lose the house. Pre-ObamaCare, the health care system was a catastrophe. It's still sick and needs work.

Anybody who watched Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on CBS’s "60 Minutes" had to be dazzled. Bezos showed that he rivaled the late Steve Jobs as master manipulator of the media. He led Charlie Rose into a secret room and revealed to the world a dazzling project—mini-drones that deliver merchandise to customers within 30 minutes.

Quasi-socialist France is going broke. The public trough is empty and I'm nervous.

Prior to the strike mayhem (see IN THE NEWS to the right), we bought and paid for airline tickets from Paris to Philadelphia in mid-December. How long will pandemonium prevail? Will we get home on time or, like France, will we go broke being stuck in Paris with the euro on the rise?

For generations, the French have considered it to be their God-given right to retire at age 60. In order to stay afloat, the Sarkozy government has upped the retirement age to 62.

That's not all. When a woman friend in Paris lost her job, she was eligible to receive the equivalent of 57.4 percent of her salary for up to three years, courtesy of the state. She had a job offer, but opted to double-dip—take freelance work while collecting unemployment. Plus, of course, she has universal health care, as do all French.

The only solution is for the government to legislate some major changes in its business model, and the citizenry is up in arms. It's a mini-revolution.

The point is when upheaval is necessary—in business, health, education or government—it is imperative to alert in advance those who are affected and make a powerful and persuasive argument for the change.

In the case France, the message to workers is simple:

France is running out of money. If you don't go along with this change, your pension will be pennies on the euro. What's more, your grandchildren will be forced to work until they are 75 and will hate you forever.

This is not about politics or policy. It’s about process—an exercise in public relations and communication that directly applies to every organization—a one-person entrepreneurship, CEOs of a small business or a giant corporation all the way up to the President of the United States.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has botched myriad PR opportunities and come up the big loser in the court of public opinion.

Quite simply, it is imperative to have a system in place to recognize a public relations crisis and deal with it—a plan that can be implemented immediately. Not tomorrow. Not after the weekend. Now! In his seminal book, “Guerrilla P.R. 2.0,” Michael Levine writes:

One of the single most important points to keep in mind when facing a negative situation of your own is to follow the old dictum: The best defense is a good offence. You must never go on the defensive. By anticipating negative questions you can stand ready with positives.

Levine adds, “There are two speeds in modern P.R.—fast and dead.”

Too many CEOs—Barack Obama included—do not understand the art and science of public relations. PR is too important to be handled by well-meaning amateurs.

It’s not good when the face of your organization has egg on it.

"Public relations is the business of letting people in on what you are doing," counseled Evelyn Lawson, my first mentor in the business. And Michael Levine's new guide, "Guerilla PR 2.0: Wage an Effective Publicity Campaign Without Going Broke" (ISBN 978-0-06-143852-3, Collins paperback, 354 pages, $14.95), will put you and your team in the mind-set-and give you the basics-of professional PR. Even if you have a PR department or an outside agency on retainer, here is the inside dope that will enable you to know whether your PR is being done right or not.

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