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The Cargo Cult of Business » Two Dollars Worth of PR

Two Dollars Worth of PR

Published on 12 Aug 2005 at 12:00 pm | No Comments | Trackback
Filed under The Cargo Cults of Business, Service With A Smirk, Principal Acronyms Only, Winners and Losers, Business and Corporation Related, Branding and Values, Public Relations and Marketing.

In an earlier post I advocated the retention and development of teams and team members with a broad education and experience. One reasonable objection to that, especially at a time when such people appear to be in short supply, is that it costs too much. I’m a little late to the party here, but I submit this: Olesker Story from the Baltimore Sun, via a chain of blogs too long to list.

I do realize that retail sales positions are traditionally among the lowest paid, lowest prestige, and lowest skilled jobs around. I’d like to challenge that idea. How much did this little fiasco cost Best Buy in terms of PR? If you believe that it doesn’t matter what people are saying as long as their talking I guess it was a very profitable day. If on the other hand the kind of publicity is as important to you as the publicity itself, it’s going to cost a lot to counteract this image of corporate cluelessness. I’d say it didn’t do the police department a lot of good either.

There’s a crazy idea here that the lowest priced, newest, least trained, personnel should be the ones to have the most contact with your customers. While it’s clear that sheer numbers make it difficult to solve this problem, it seems that good training, hiring smart people with a broad education, and providing even better trained and more broadly educated first line managers — who are on the scene — would have solved this problem and many similar (though perhaps less egregious) ones which come up every day.

As an aside this is also a great example of a cargo cult response, in the negative form: The money was real but due to lack of understanding it was believed to be counterfeit and so it was treated as though it were without regard to the underlying reality.

Another interesting angle is the question of the "reality" of a two-dollar bill, when it’s not backed by any tangible good and its negotiability is called into question this way. Note the reaction of Bolesta’s son at the end of the article: The other day, one of Bolesta’s sons needed a few bucks. Bolesta pulled out his wallet and "whipped out a couple of $2 bills. But my son turned away. He said he doesn’t want ‘em any more." For my part, I’ll still treat it as real as long as we have federal taxes and IRS will accept them. I’ll even offer to buy them from Bolesta’s son 3 for a $5 bill.

-- John
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