Written by Noemi Pollack on October 21, 2009.
It took the likes of a Rolling Stone article that called the (formerly) embattled financial giant Goldman Sachs, “a great vampire squid wrapped around humanity” and NY’s Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo’s denouncement of banking industry pay practices in general, for Goldman Sachs to wake up and find its way to a PR counselor’s door.
And, of course, in the 4th quarter, just a bit ahead of their plan to pay out an obscene dollar amount of bonuses, which Associated Press reports as $16.7 billion, so far this year.
Apparently the company’s PR plan is to expand lobbying expenses and have their CEO give fuzzy and warm speeches explaining, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal, “it is important that we explain our business model to a wider audience, why what we do matters, and why and how we pay our people.”
Tell that to the Americans who have suffered massive unemployment, foreclosures and business failures, the likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression. They will also not forget that barely a year ago, this company received a $10 billion capital infusion from the government. Although Goldman invested wisely and repaid its government debt, it’s clear that without that infusion, there would have been failure, with few recourses.
Goldman is now sending their CEO on a charm offensive, a public relations campaign full of media interviews geared specifically, to minimize the public’s expected vociferous outcry against the bonus announcement soon to come – that same CEO who, himself, is in line to receive a mega sum at the end of this recessionary year. The company could have shown more social responsibility by proposing several constructive and sustainable PR programs.
Here is a thought…
Their PR advisers could suggest that the company allocate a percentage of all payout bonuses toward seeding start up companies, basically turning their staff into investment angels and helping spur entrepreneurism and ingenuity. This then, would make a story that would humanize the company and hold off those who would vilify Goldman Sachs for being successful.
Americans would buy it… It would be much more powerful in turning around negative perceptions than the planned self-serving explanatory speeches. It really would be a win for Goldman and our economy…