Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Countrywide Mouths

The Wall Street Journal (online subscription required) has a great article on B1 about Countrywide Mortgage and its PR plans to handle the current crisis of reputation.

They do a couple things right--they get a good PR firm in Burson Marsteller to help out. They start internally with a conference call for employees.

However, there's a difference between doing something and doing it well and effectively.

You can read the speaking points for that employee conference call on WSJ's site--an interesting inside look. I come away feeling like it's mostly a pep rally with the theme "we're tough, we're great, we're getting a bad rap in the press, and trust management."

Hmmm. Wonder if any employees ended up at Countrywide after losing their jobs at ....Enron, where the same theme was used by management.

Perhaps, in an enlightened "two-way symmetrical" PR model, Countrywide could LISTEN to their publics instead of launching this loud mouth screed. They might find their reputation is a result of people feeling deceived, exploited, cheated etc--never good words to use in PR reputation objectives. Rather than cheerleading for continuing such aggressive behavior, perhaps the company could change its tone and behavior (see my GRPR: Countrywide and Outside post on this subject from late August). Otherwise their reputation will continue to be suspect, not only by employees, but country wide.

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