Archive for December, 2010

Gov. Christie Learns A Lesson in Perception

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2010 by innovativemediapr

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. That’s a saying and a perception that has lived on for centuries. The post-Christmas blizzard that hit the east coast has caused a major perception problem for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. State roads that went unpaved for two days were blamed on Christie’s administration. Why? The Governor was on a family vacation in Disney World while his Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno was in Mexico. A void in leadership was filled by the Senate President Stephen Sweeney, placed into the role of acting Governor due to their vacations.

A failure by many municipalities to clear roadways and for County and State highways to be impassable due to a lack of sufficient snow plowing led to great anger among New Jersey residents. For many, the perception was about leadership. The position of Lieutenant Governor was approved by voters and made law a year ago, with Guadagno becoming the first to hold the position. This was created expressly to ensure that the Administration would have someone at the controls at all times. In the past, the Senate President would constitutionally assume governing duties when the Governor was out of state.

So, why did Christie allow his Lieutenant Governor to take vacation at the same time that he did? That was the million dollar question being asked by citizens and political opponents. Of course, Christie could not have envisioned a natural weather disaster like the day after Christmas blizzard occurring when he made his choice. However, after being elected with the first lieutenant governor in the state’s history, it had to stand to reason that Christie would never allow having both key administration leaders absent from the state at any given time.

Christie’s absence has given ammunition to his critics to use now and down the line. Already, a liberal political group in Washington D.C. has launched a website The site is a takeoff on the popular children’s book, “Where’s Waldo?”

An Asbury Park Press editorial today points to the Governor needing to supply answers for the breakdown in the snow removal process and why the Governor didn’t cut short his vacation and return to New Jersey to seemingly steer the crisis. These are valid points but they also point to perception issues. Governor Christie may very well have been in touch with state officials all during the blizzard situation. However, to the general public and the media, the perception was that he was enjoying a family vacation in Orlando while the state shoveled out.

This could all have been avoided if the Governor had applied essential crisis communications tools in planning the process for travel for both he and the Lieutenant Governor. The most obvious would have been to insist from day one that since the new position was now part of the state constitution, there would not be any reason to have the Governor or Lieutenant Governor absent from the state.

Since that was not done, Christie should have created a mini-command center in Orlando, whereby he could be seen by the public via satellite interviews with local media, respond to state officials and seemingly be involved in the crisis planning, even though the state constitution places governing in the hands of the Acting Governor. Once flights were restored he should have traveled home. By being publicly engaged, Christie could have avoided some of the perceptions that are out there about the state being rudderless in a crisis.

Whether you are a governor of a state, CEO of a company or just a small proprietor, public perception can determine the fate of your business. President George W. Bush’s eight years in office were marked by two wars, the 9-11 attacks and a financial crisis in his final months in office. However, despite whether you were a supporter of his policies or not, many would feel that the delayed responses of the government to Hurricane Katrina were the biggest negative perception of the Bush years.

President Bush in his newly published memoirs discusses Hurricane Katrina and his reaction to the crisis and the negative connotation it had on his presidency. Bush’s eight years are complete so he cannot alter the course of history.

Christie still has three years left on his term to make good. He can turn a negative perception positive by securing federal emergency relief for areas of the state hit hardest by the storm, conducting a full investigation of what went wrong with the process and then setting a new policy to ensure that it cannot happen again. If not, regardless of what he accomplishes as governor, he will forever be painted by his opponents and detractors as going to Disney World while the state shoveled out.

Tom Cosentino


A great way to spend New Year’s is with

Posted in Uncategorized on December 31, 2010 by innovativemediapr

A great way to spend New Year’s is with a NJ Sparkling wine

The New Biz Chase is Fun but Don’t Ignore Loyal Clients

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 17, 2010 by innovativemediapr

Over the past two weeks, baseball has dominated the sports pages with the free agent signings of pitcher Cliff Lee by the Philadelphia Phillies, outfielder Jayson Werth by the Washington Nationals, outfielder Carl Crawford by the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees resigning of Derek Jeter and Marian Rivera. These signings and the public negotiations gave me pause to think how baseball’s free agent market is in a sense, similar to the chase for landing a new client. All efforts go to bringing in the new prize and often, the loyal steadfast client can get lost in the shuffle.

Lee’s decision to return to Philadelphia and play for the Phillies was described by the former Cy Young Winner as a place where he felt most comfortable and wanted to return. He had helped lead the Phillies to the 2009 World Series following a mid-season trade from the Cleveland Indians. A number of New York Yankees fans speculated, including yours truly, that one of the reasons the deep-pocketed Bronx Bombers wasn’t his ultimate choice was the public way the Yankees dealt with their negotiations with Derek Jeter as a free agent. Jeter addressed this at the press conference announcing his resigning by stating how the public negotiations had taken on an unnecessary negative tone. Was the public knocking of a player that had led a team to five world championships in 16 years a necessary step in holding down the negotiating lever? Jeter eventually signed for a salary that the Yankees were comfortable with, so in a sense they got their way, although Jeter had no leverage since he did not want to play elsewhere.

Will Jeter have the same feeling toward the only professional franchise he’s ever known? That remains to be seen, but you have to figure the public bashing of his skills had to affect him.

Now, how about the clients that you have served so willingly over the years that suddenly get put on hold because of your own pursuit of the new free agent client star? The chase for new business is exciting, but pleasing the rest of the client roster is essential as well, otherwise you’re left with one new player and a disgruntled clubhouse of clients that soon will begin their own free agent agency chase.

So while honing in on your next new business target, make sure you and your staff are taking care of the existing client base. Their loyalty will most depend on the loyalty you exhibit towards them.

Tom Cosentino