Last night I was having a conversation with my very smart friend Zoran. We started to talk about the auto-makers asking for a bail-out, and about how the CEO’s of those corporations blew it by flying into the congressional hearing each on their own private jet.
Pretty dumb, we both agreed. The media ate it up, and every American did too. A horrible branding mistake that comes from super-rich dudes being so completely out of touch with the rest of the real world.
Anyway, Zoran then gave me a different scenario that those CEO’s should have followed. Here’s what he said as best as I can remember.
Here’s what those 3 CEO’s should have done Jim. They should have hopped into a hybrid car, all together, just them and a cameraman, and drove that thing to Washington over a 5-day or so span. With stops in Ohio and PA and where ever else they could stop on the way to DC.
They should have notified the press all along the way, including telling them when they would pull up in front of Congress so the press could be there to see their arrival. And here’s the best part, they should have not showered, and should have been in the same suits they were in when the left, except now their suits would be all wrinkled, and their faces unshaven and all of them looking like they just spent a week in a car.
They should have walked into Congress looking like this. Sat down and said essentially, “We get it. We just spent the last four days, all three of us, in a hybrid car together, traveling across the USA to Washington. We know this was the right thing to do. We know we need to save our companies, but we also know we need to help save the country. We’re ready to do it. Will you help us?”
So that’s it. I was blown away by Zoran’s idea. Not sure if he heard it somewhere else, but I couldn’t think of a better “pitch” than that.
But that’s not what happened, and, well, the country is going to pay for it, literally.
Branding is everything. Sometimes you need to think before you act. This would have been a good time to do that. Remember that next time you’re in a crisis.