Posted by an Honored Guest
Did you catch the Whole Foods vs. FTC fight this week. Great lesson in communications, i.e what to do... and especially what NOT to do.
Well, today we've got a special treat. Today we have an analysis by Eric Starkman, President of Starkman & Associates.
Starkman, a seasoned crisis communications executive, is well known and respected among the national media. He's a journo turned crisis communications pro with pretty extensive creds. Eric’s career includes reporter-editor gigs at major newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, including The Toronto Star, The Montreal Gazette and The Detroit News. Charlie Gasparino, one of the most respected – and feared – reporters on Wall Street, includes Starkman in the acknowledgements of his acclaimed book “Blood on the Street.” Starkman was later the head of the Corporate Communications practice at one of the largest national Investor Relations firms, the former Morgen-Walke Associates.
Without further ado... here's Eric.
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I think it's a bit "old school" to conclude that praising the competition is a bad move.
It shows potential customers that you're sufficiently self-confident and enlightened not to engage in the traditional competition-bashing that so annoys the public; that you recognise good quality (and thus implicitly aspire to match or surpass it); and if Wegmann's ran those ads I wonder who would get the most praise - wouldn't the headlines would say as much about Whole Foods' open-mindedness as they would about Wegmann's quality?
True, but to end the sentence with 'it is difficult for us to effectively compete against them" isn't exactly sending out a great message about Whole Foods to either its shareholders or customers.
Perhaps Tom, but nor is it duping the shareholders/staff. The customers will vote with their feet and Whole Foods will choose its strategic battles and redouble its efforts in finding a superior offering to Wegmann's. If PR were all about being a yes man then, in a networked world, it would wither and die.