Neil Cavuto

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.

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.

Last March it was announced that New Century—a giant lender of subprime mortgages—was going out of business, followed in August by the Chapter 11 of American Home Mortgage. Many economists predicted that this subprime debacle had a long fuse. On October 24, 2007 came the announcement that Merrill Lynch was forced to take an $8.4 billion hit in the third quarter caused by a revaluing of the bonds backed by subprime mortgages. Merrill Lynch stock fell 5.8%, its credit rating was downgraded and the overall loss for the quarter was $2.4 billion. Last August 23rd, this e-zine took off on the subprime mortgage crash.

Judith Regan, a 53-year-old self-proclaimed hottie, has been called by Vanity Fair “the Angriest Woman in Media.” She reportedly cussed out employees on a regular basis with the “f” word, the “s” word and, in doing so, routinely alluded to male and female anatomies—her own included—with various “c” words. According to one former editor, Regan went through 18 personal assistants in 2005. “Say what you want about the fearless, foul-mouthed former publisher of ReganBooks,” wrote Steve Kettmann in the San Francisco Chronicle, “it would be hard to deny she has probably been the single most influential force in publishing over the past decade.” She

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