Paul Holmes 02 Dec 2012 // 6:19PM GMT
It is not often that a PR industry heavyweight takes a legendary musician to court, so John Saunders' lawsuit against Van Morrison is certainly one of the year's more unusual stories. The Fleishman EMEA president is, according to the Irish Independent, claiming damages for misrepresentation, negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract, after previously defending Morrison against allegations that the Irish entertainer fathered a love child. Glover Park Group's Carter Eskew has an insightful defence of President Obama's fiscal cliff public relations strategy, following accusations that the president is opting for rhetoric rather than action. As Eskew notes, Obama "doesn’t have to change his position to signal his reasonableness". Like the best PR strategies, it seems clear that Obama is playing a long game, rather than engaging in the short-term battle of tactics that Republicans would prefer. More shameless populism from London Mayor Boris Johnson, who tells us that Google has a PR problem because it is not paying enough tax. Except, in this case, Johnson is right; particularly when he also notes that MNCs need to show a "greater commitment to society." If companies are serious about their reputations, then they probably need to get serious about addressing the thorny issues raised tax avoidance. We are a little late to this, but Watatawa founder Bill Rylance has penned a typically spirited letter to the FT regarding the empty rhetoric that continues to surround the issue of trust in banks and financial institutions. Rylance makes the refreshing case that banks should not view trust as a quality that can be improved through a specific campaign or strategy, and should be wary of monologues and corporate-speak. Instead, we would support his view that "any organisation must focus primarily on how it goes about its daily business and it should look at trust as an outcome, not a marketing goal." That sounds like a pretty enlightened definition of public relations. Rylance's letter is reinforced by this week's speech from Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, who points out that Wall Street's reputation will remain "in the doghouse" while trading scandals continue. Gorman's point? All of the speeches and messaging are pointless when behaviour, and executive pay, remain unchecked. Now, let's see if Gorman's own words translate into action where Morgan Stanley is concerned. Two of the UK's better-known comms directors are to launch their own firm, according to this story by PRWeek UK. DJ Collins is well-known for leading Google's EMEA PR operation since 2006, while Paddy Harverson counts Manchester United and the Royal Family on his CV. The combination of skills is likely to prove alluring for corporates and public figures alike, adding yet another interesting consultancy to London's vibrant agency startup scene.
Article tagsAge of Transparency Banks Bill Rylance Boris Johnson Carter Eskew Corporate Reputation corporate tax DJ Collins Financial financial crisis fiscal cliff Fleishman-Hillard Glover Park Google Investor Relations Issues Management James Gorman John Saunders Morgan Stanley Obama Paddy Harverson The Holmes Report trust Van Morrison Watatawa