PortlandQuarterlyIssue 09: Spring 2013Reputation Management in theDigital Age
PORTLAND QUARTERLY
A strategic communicationsconsultancy for the digital age.We help major brands, governments,campaign organisations andhigh...
Contents                      06                                              10                     Reputation Management...
14                                           20Communicating on a Global                    The Select CommitteeStage     ...
REPUTATION                     MANAGEMENT IN                     THE DIGITAL AGE                     Tim Allan            ...
O             nly a few years ago,        Companies need to equip                 The final change is that             the...
THE                                                 SOCIAL AGE                                                 Mark Flanag...
T           here used to be saying,       The damage is real and impacts          ronandunneo2) took to Twitter to        ...
#                     THE HASHTAG                     HIJACK                     Jamie Silverstein                     Twi...
Monitor: Knowing who is saying what      him or her to imbue a #tag like         responding promptly by switchingabout you...
W                                   hen the G4S security      Government and LOCOG, to the GLA          the government’s d...
REPUTATIONMANAGEMENTON ANOLYMPIANSCALEDan TimmsAs one of the largestcommunications challenges ofthe decade, the London 201...
COMMUNICATING ON                     A GLOBAL STAGE                     Justin Kerr-Stevens                     For multi-...
T           wo days after the volcanic    response is key, yet the quality of       the right channels and competent      ...
THE NEW BREED                     OF “BRAND                     JOURNALIST”                     George Pascoe-Watson      ...
T          he newspaper industry           and brand MP is a crucial audience         into an appetite amongst politicians...
A                                 s a journalist, I saw          wrong journalist — something that       Targeting the rig...
BUILDINGMEDIARELATIONSHIPSDana GlogerThe power of journalists to make and break brands makes itvital to develop strong, ef...
THE SELECT                     COMMITTEE                     CHALLENGE                     Lara Newman                    ...
I     n July 2011, near the beginning    This growth in profile is, in part,      whether he had ever accepted a     of my...
THE COURT                                                                        OF PUBLIC                                ...
Parties involved in a legal dispute are often subjected to increased public scrutiny —which can impact reputations and the...
THE COMMUNICATOR                     IN CHIEF                     Charles McLean                     A memoriam to General...
G             eneral Norman               spill but had refused. Khafji would       He’d found a polite way of saying     ...
26   PORTLAND QUARTERLY
90 staff70 country experience50 current clients40 years on Fleet Street35 years in Downing Street20 of the world’s top lis...
London1 Red Lion CourtLondonEC4A 3EB+44 (0) 20 7842 0123New YorkThe Chrysler Building405 Lexington Avenue26th FloorNew Yor...
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Portland quarterly issue_9_reputation_management_in_the_digital_age

  1. 1. PortlandQuarterlyIssue 09: Spring 2013Reputation Management in theDigital Age
  2. 2. PORTLAND QUARTERLY
  3. 3. A strategic communicationsconsultancy for the digital age.We help major brands, governments,campaign organisations andhigh-profile individuals tell their storyclearly and successfully.We are trusted by corporate, publicand not-for-profit clients to adviseon strategic communications, publicaffairs and digital engagement.But where we excel is bringing allthese disciplines together for trulyintegrated campaigns.
  4. 4. Contents 06 10 Reputation Management in # The Hashtag Hijack the Digital Age Jamie Silverstein Tim Allan Twitter hash-tags can work for or against The convergence between communications a campaign — but organisations can take disciplines is increasing exponentially year- practical steps to increase the likelihood of on-year — requiring organisations to bring success. together their corporate communications, consumer PR and branding, regulatory engagement and digital campaigns if their 12 message is to be heard most clearly and effectively. Reputation Management on an Olympian Scale 08 Dan Timms The Social Age As one of the largest communications challenges of the decade, the London Mark Flanagan 2012 Games exemplifies how effective structures, coordinated messaging, By giving people the ability to thorough testing — and heaps of ambition continually hold businesses and leaders — come together to deliver extraordinary to account, social media increasingly results. intersects corporate communications and consumer marketing campaigns — putting Dan Timms, former Head of a company’s behaviour at the heart of its Communications for London 2012, explores commercial success. how almost ten years of planning ensured the team were well placed to ride out thePORTLAND QUARTERLY Portland’s Mark Flanagan explores G4S security storm, while also delivering how companies can prepare for a social one of the nations most successful brand media crisis and develop the skills needed campaigns. to handle one.04
  5. 5. 14 20Communicating on a Global The Select CommitteeStage ChallengeJustin Kerr-Stevens Lara NewmanFor multi-national organisations, Giving evidence to a Select Committeeglobal events can make or break a can be a nerve-racking experience:communications campaign. probably the most direct examination of an individuals ability to represent themselves and their organisation, an inquiry should be seen as a test of preparation more than 16 anything else.The New Breed of “BrandJournalist” 22George Pascoe-Watson The Court of Public OpinionWhile newspaper circulations decline,many individual journalists now hold Idil Oymanmore influence than ever — using Twitterand personal blogs to enjoy a greater Parties involved in a legal dispute are oftenreach and diversity of audience than their subjected to increased public scrutiny,newspapers can offer. — which can impact reputations and the bottom line.Portland’s GPW considers the implicationsfor reputation management, and how Portland asked three top City lawyerssocial-media-savvy MPs are applying the (Philip Clifford, Partner at Latham &same techniques to political campaigning. Watkins LLP; Alex Gerbi, Partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP; and Shane Gleghorn, Partner at TaylorWessing) to share their thoughts on how this affects 18 their clients, and the advice they would offer.Building Media RelationshipsDana Gloger 24The power of journalists to make and breakbrands makes it vital to develop strong, The Communicator in Chiefeffective and targeted relationships. Charles McLean A memoriam to General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander of coalition forces during the first Gulf War, and accomplished military communications strategist.
  6. 6. REPUTATION MANAGEMENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE Tim Allan The convergence between communications disciplines is increasing exponentially year-on-year — requiring organisations to bring together their corporate communications, consumer PR and branding, regulatory engagement and digital campaigns if their message is to be heard most clearly and effectively.PORTLAND QUARTERLY Tim Allan is Portlands Managing Director.06
  7. 7. O nly a few years ago, Companies need to equip The final change is that the dividing lines themselves to talk to a much communication campaigns are between the different increasingly global. Brands can be PR disciplines in the wider group of audiences and damaged in one country because of corporate world were to be aware of the interplay their actions in another. Effectivefairly sharply drawn. between them. Their needs global communication campaigns no are more about reputation longer require an endless networkOn one side was financial PR which of offices, but they do need theenabled Chief Executives and CFOs management than traditional involvement of people with expertiseto talk to shareholders, analysts and financial PR targeted at a and knowledge of a wide range ofthe financial journalists. Getting the small number of journalists local media markets. Agencies withcommunication of company strategy and analysts. the right expertise can win businessright could have a significant impact all over the world, wherever they areon the confidence the capital This is a seismic industry shift. based.markets had in the executive team, Business leaders now seek outespecially during a transaction. PR communication consultancies that At Portland we are hugely excitedproved its value and the industry understand finance but can help by these changes. Our work oftenprofessionalised with the best them communicate to a wider range cuts across traditional boundaries offinancial agencies commanding of audiences on issues which affect financial PR, consumer PR and publicpremium fees for a premium service. their reputation. affairs. We find that many large corporations, which previously reliedOn the other side was consumer PR, At the same time, consumers now on traditional financial and consumerusually reporting to the marketing want to know much more about the PR are realising they need helpdirector. The task was to help boost companies behind their favourite which goes beyond these narrowproduct sales by promoting brands brands. The communications disciplines. So they are turning tothrough the editorial side of media. revolution allows them to find this agencies like Portland which canIts success meant that, over time, information instantly, to share provide the integrated support theyconsumer PR captured a larger share their opinions and run campaigns need to manage their reputation inof marketing budgets with creativity in support or against companies the digital and global age.and content, on the agency side, that through their laptop or smartphone.rivalled the best advertising. This edition of the quarterly contains So consumer PR also now has to several articles that showcase ourBut this easy taxonomy of the PR include high quality reputation work in this area.world no longer applies. Powerful management. That is why chiefforces are transforming the marketing officers are turning to We hope you enjoy it.landscape and breaking down agencies that understand brands butdivisions. Even the most fervent can offer broader support.advocates of shareholder capitalismnow accept that any communication Public affairs is another area of thecampaign that focuses solely on industry in flux. Services are movingthe capital markets will fail because away from direct lobbying towardsit does not cover some of the key a broader reputation managementdrivers of company valuation. approach. The companies that are most successful in winningMany different audiences now arguments with politicians will becommunicate about businesses those that can get their case acrossin a way which impacts on their directly and indirectly by mobilisingoperations, their profitability and consumers and other interestedtheir value. parties, on and off line.
  8. 8. THE SOCIAL AGE Mark Flanagan By giving people the ability to continually hold businesses and leaders to account, social media increasingly intersects corporate communications and consumer marketing campaigns — putting a company’s behaviour at the heart of its commercial success. Portland’s Mark Flanagan explores how companies can prepare for a social media crisis and develop the skills needed to handle one.PORTLAND QUARTERLY Mark Flanagan is Portlands Partner for digital communications. Prior to joining Portland, he was Downing Streets Head of Strategic Communications, working for both the Labour and Coalition Governments.08
  9. 9. T here used to be saying, The damage is real and impacts ronandunneo2) took to Twitter to often misattributed to on business. In the heat of the tax engage directly with customers. Mark Twain, which went scandal, Starbucks’ Buzz score, which He helped explain the company’s “never pick a fight with a measures the negative and positive position and limit the reputational man who buys ink by the comments consumers have heard damage.barrel and paper by the ton.” It is a about a brand, plummeted from 0lesson which many politicians who to -25.2 Faced with the prospect of a But companies should not wait untilhave launched an all-out war against consumer backlash, it’s no wonder the crisis breaks before getting plansthe print media only to be forced into that the coffee giant quickly decided in place and their structures aligned.humiliating retreat, have regretted to pay more tax here in the UK evenignoring. if the way they were behaving was To help in this process, Portland has perfectly legal. recently developed a social mediaIn a world in which newspaper sales simulation — Simulo — at whichhave crashed and we get our news This is ‘the age of damage’, attendees learn to handle a mockfrom many different sources, the according to David Jones, the author crisis situation. It is a real roll-up-traditional media is not as important of “Who Cares Wins: Why Good your-sleeves war-gaming exerciseor fearsome as it once was. But its Business Is Better Business”. As he that aims to stress test your existingrole as watchdog is being rapidly says “corporate social responsibility crisis planning in a contained andtaken by a new, more democratic has now been taken out of the silo secure environment.beast which can be even harder and put in the P&L statement byfor leaders, whether political or social media. We are entering an We work to make it as realistic asbusiness, to keep in check. Indeed era in which businesses that are not possible, building digital and socialthe 2013 version of the old adage socially responsible will suffer. And media platforms using your brandmight be “never pick a fight with those that are will do better.” but on a private network. The aima man or woman with more than of the exercise is to test capabilities,twenty thousand Twitter followers”. Whats happening is the convergence surface gaps in plans, and build of corporate reputation and leaders’ abilities to make decisions inThe internet and social media have, consumer behaviour. If your real time when a social media crisisfor the first time, given the ordinary customers suffer a bad experience, breaks.citizen the chance and tools to hold their stories can be shared andleaders to account, to punish them amplified online and easily picked This is a handy way of gauging howand even remove those who behave up the mainstream media, policy- prepared an organisation is. Butin the wrong way. makers and regulators. And, in turn, it should also make organisations if you are seen to behave poorly as understand that they shouldn’t waitJust how quickly the world has a corporate entity, people now have until a reputation crisis to protectchanged can be gauged from the ability to connect and create the most valuable intangible asset onthe fact that more people now mass movements against you. the balance sheet.believe that citizen-consumers Indeed, there is growing evidencecan make an impact on the world that many consumers are routinely Companies should always be inthan government/politicians or checking who is behind a product ‘crisis’ mode even in the good times.corporations do. 1 before buying. This means much closer working between brand and corporate teamsThis has placed new This has significant implications and, most importantly, a better for the way organisations operate. understanding of how to survivedemands on leaders and Traditionally, brand and corporate and win in this fast-moving, sociallytheir organisations. Not reputation were seen as two connected world.long ago CEOs could ration different beasts. Marketing heldtheir public appearances — sway over the brand budget, andmaking occasional and highly the C-suite controlled corporate Simulo is available as a one-offchoreographed interventions reputation with often little evidence exercise or as part of a broader of a common strategy. media training plan.around set-piece moments.Now modern leaders find This no longer works. In a socially For more information, pleasethemselves under permanent connected world, companies must contact mark.flanagan@portland-scrutiny and under pressure take brand marketing and corporate communications.com.constantly to communicate affairs out of their silos and deploy them jointly in pursuit of common Sources:and explain their decisions. objectives. 1. http://www.slideshare.net/Last year saw some of the biggest HavasWorldwide/havas-worldwide- When O2s mobile network went prosumer-report-communities-and-corporate names in the world down last year, the public affairs, citizenshiplearn this the hard way. News press office, marketing and customerInternational, Starbucks, the banks service teams all came together 2. http://www.brandindex.com/article/and the BBC were just some of the to form a centralised war room— starbucks-suffers-more-nikeorganisations to find themselves to ensure a quick response andunder consumer attack. common messaging. The CEO (@
  10. 10. # THE HASHTAG HIJACK Jamie Silverstein Twitter hash-tags can work for or against a campaign — but organisations can take practical steps to increase the likelihood of success. T he opportunity for making themselves known with the the top of his or her page — in this engagement and “#taghijack” which allows a Twitter case, a link to a blog post titled, interaction that user or group of users to protest or ‘4 reasons why Warren Buffett is Twitter presents in air their criticisms. wrong on tax hikes!’ just 140 characters is Over the last year, we have Starbucks also suffered a deeply unprecedented. Its primary method seen strategic and often costly embarrassing #tag hijack. Shortly of delivery, the humble mobile, has social media campaigns provide after it was disclosed that the coffee made it ubiquitous. opportunities for critics to engage firm was paying hardly any tax in In the past 12 months, we have seen in brand bashing. Here are a few the UK, the company rolled out its the Pope join Twitter and gain over examples: #sharethecheer promoted tweets to 1.4 million followers. 123 heads of a less-than enthused Twitterverse Research In Motion’s sponsored state and 100% of US senators use with messages displayed on a Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve 2011 the platform. Portland’s research big screen at the Natural History show and billboard in New Yorks on Global Politics on Twitter, How Museum in London. According to Times Square for its “Lets #BeBold The Middle East Tweets and How the Daily Telegraph, they forgot in 2012” campaign. While the firm Africa Tweets has provided us with to moderate tweets which meant claims to have received more than some insightful data about Twitter that ‘one tweet called Starbucks 35,000 “appropriate” responses, use around the globe. It is where ‘tax dodging MoFos,’ while another brandjackers were able to crowd the influencers gather to engage or opted for a more blunt message: out any positive reactions with simply to monitor the conversation. ‘Hey Starbucks, PAY YOUR ******* wry tweets about the company. TAX.’” For organisations whether One representative tweet, by @ governments, corporates or the not- benihime33 read, “@blackberry You While these incidents illustrate for-profit sector, Twitter has opened are boldly running your company the potential perils of social media up a whole new world. The barriers into the ground #BeBold.” campaigns, they should not put off of the traditional media have been organisations from harnessing the The last year also saw the political removed and a direct and personal great opportunities to learn and to class embrace #tags as a means interaction is possible with each and engage that social platforms afford. to engage constituents around key every citizen, customer or member. After all, 29% of Twitter’s active issues. During the fiscal debate, 100 million users follow a brand and Those of you on Twitter know President Obama urged citizens 64% are more likely to buy from a there are certain conventions to to use the #tag #my2k to tell their brand they are following. follow. The RT means retweet, CC representatives how they would is copy to and the #tag indicates spend their estimated $2,200 in Sacrificing control of messagesPORTLAND QUARTERLY a conversation theme and allows saved taxes if Congress agreed is an inherent risk that any brand people to follow that conversation. to extend tax cuts for the middle must face when it chooses to go Campaigners often create a class. But the Heritage Foundation social. But there are steps that #hashtag so that they can own a purchased the promoted tweet — a organisations can take in planning conversation about a topic in order paid for media option on Twitter and executing their live campaigns for it to trend and to track it. where advertisers pay for a theme to manage and reduce the risk of or a keyword — for the term. The experiencing negative feedback and But the #tag can work for and results was that any Twitter user increase the likelihood of success. against campaigning organisations. who saw the #my2k #tag also saw Adversaries have found ways of the conservative group’s ad at10
  11. 11. Monitor: Knowing who is saying what him or her to imbue a #tag like responding promptly by switchingabout your organisation is not simply #sharethecheer with meaning, to #MeetTheFarmers; negativea strategy effective for pre-empting brands are most successful on conversation subsided withincrises, it is a method of learning Twitter when they direct users’ minutes after the switch.more about what your target creativity or competitive energy So what do these examples tell us?audience wants from you. Pepsi- towards a defined purpose. The risk averse will look at what’sowned Gatorade recently established Virgin America, for example, used gone wrong and continue to steera social marketing Mission Control Promoted Tweets as the sole clear of engagement platforms likecenter in its Chicago headquarters means of announcing the airline’s Twitter. The brave will see the hugeto track online sentiment, as well as expansion into Toronto, offering a opportunities and potential rewardsthe trajectory of conversation on 50%-off promotion for the first 500 and venture out and campaign inGatorade and its product launches travelers who booked flights from new ways.across the Internet. two California airports. The online But the lesson is that mapping-The command centre is a room competition was so successful that out every aspect of monitoring,with six large monitors that feature tickets sold out in three hours and engagement, integration, andreal-time visualisations of the online Virgin America recorded its fifth- response can increase protectionactivities of its sponsored athletes highest sales day in the airline’s against negativity. This means notand social network users who history on the day its Promoted only having a plan but testing itengage with the company. It meant Tweets went live. through simulation. The differencethat when Gatorade launched the In the UK, clothing retailer Uniqlo between a failed Twitter campaignGatorade has Evolved campaign, applied another variation of the and a winning Twitter campaignfeaturing a song by artist David social media competition, creating doesn’t lie in what comes after theBanner, they were able to have a full- a Twitter page called the “Lucky #tag, it’s in what comes before it —length version of the track ready to Counter,” which featured ten clothing the planning.distribute to its Facebook and Twitter items. The more people who tweetedfollowers who expressed interest in about each piece of merchandise,it within 24 hours. Since establishing the cheaper it became on Uniqlo’sthe centre, the company hasmanaged to “increase engagement website. Jamie Silverstein is awith its product education (mostly Respond: Even the most carefully Researcher in Portlandsvideo) by 250% and reduce its thought out campaign and #tagexit rate from 25% to 9%.” Similar use can backfire so it is important New York office, wherecentres have been set up by Nestle, to maintain contingency plans that he provides researchRed Cross and Dell. can be readily deployed to react to negative feedback. Best practice and analysis on strategicEngage: While the 140-characterconfine of this social media platform requires exploiting Twitter not just communications as a communications and marketing,does not lend itself easily to but also a customer service tool. campaigns for clientsexpressions of profound emotion,the platform is extraordinarily useful When McDonalds introduced its including The Rockefellerfor relaying light messages and #McDStories campaign to humanise Foundation and the Unitedsnappy one-liners. Brands that have the brand with personal stories abouttraditionally relied on vague and farmers early last year, the #tag was Nations.open-ended mottos must operate seized by critics who used it to hurtmore deftly in such an environment. the brand. McDonalds’ social mediaInstead of allowing the consumer director Rick Wion is credited withto lead the conversation by asking
  12. 12. W hen the G4S security Government and LOCOG, to the GLA the government’s digital approach staffing story broke and London’s transport and security brought 4.5 million followers across in the days leading chiefs — recognised the importance all its channels. up to London 2012, of working as one. It didn’t matter Testing, Testing, Testing: The year many must have felt whether you were building the before the Games was dedicated that the doubters had called it right venues, running the transport, to testing the agreed structures all along. securing the borders, or staging the and plans to destruction. By the sport, as far as the outside world final, full-scale live exercise in For years, they had been saying that was concerned we were all just spring 2012, around 5,000 people London was not fit to host this kind London 2012. Any failure would across the project were taking part. of event. The venues would never reflect badly on us all, and collective Cabinet ministers tackled scenarios be built on time. Public transport success was the best means of ranging from ash clouds to lost networks would collapse and the securing individual triumph. athletes, drawing on the input of airports would not be able to cope. The right structures: Our priority everyone from the Met Office to the The government was incapable of was simple: remove the barriers to Metropolitan Police. overseeing such a complex project. effective collective communication. I remember Chris Holmes, our most When you considered the scale The structure we put in place successful Paralympic swimmer, of the challenge, it was easy to allowed communications directors talking about his preparations for understand why. from every organisation involved to the Barcelona Games. He said that be on call together at a moment’s Against the backdrop of the worst knowing he had put in something notice, meaning a quick and economic crisis in a generation, like 80,000 lengths of training for coordinated response to any issue and with the Dome and Wembley each individual stroke of his final that arose. By the time the athletes still fresh in the memory, we made him confident that he could were parading through London, needed to deliver Europe’s largest cope with whatever the race would more than 120 of these calls had construction project on time and bring. taken place. on budget. Then, in one of the The years we had spent pinpointing world’s busiest economic capitals, A centralised media operation: potential areas of risk for the we had to stage an event which was The Government’s crisis project and putting contingency equivalent to holding a G20 summit, communications model had plans in place meant that, when the Wimbledon, and the FA Cup final on previously only ever been activated G4S storm hit, we were well placed the same day, every day for three for a few days at a time. Now to ride it out. weeks. the challenge was to stand it up for a whole summer. Winning But there was one other element On the one hand, it was a priceless buy-in from ministers, No 10 that was essential to overall opportunity to showcase the and communications leads at an success: ambition. capabilities of UK plc and promote early stage allowed us to pool brand Britain to the world. On the In such a harsh economic climate, resources across government and other, it was one of the biggest it would perhaps have been bring together press, digital and challenges that the country had understandable if our ambition had strategic communications teams in ever undertaken — a reputational been reined in. But something that a centralised operation over an 18- management operation on an our Sydney counterparts said had week period. Olympian scale. always stuck in our minds: “Don’t A coordinated message: It look back and wish you had done As the Opening Ceremony was vital that all ministers and more.” approached, with around 40,000 spokespeople could speak about journalists already in town and no With eighteen months to go, the London 2012 with a single voice. sport yet to distract them, it was government rolled out its biggest This meant agreeing clear messages inevitable that media scrutiny would ever promotional drive: the around every aspect of the Games reach its peak. ‘GREAT’ campaign. Targeted at — from construction, transport and growth markets worldwide, it was Previous hosts had warned that security, to sporting benefits, social specifically designed to showcase this was the period that could make impact and economic legacy. Each the UK and boost trade, investment or break a Games. For Beijing, it morning we produced a common and tourism off the back of the was concerns around air pollution script, designed to set the tone for Games. So by the time the Queen and human rights that threatened communications that day and allow was parachuting into the Olympic to overshadow the Olympics. Two our spokespeople to respond with Stadium, millions of people across years later, stories about crime confidence to the news agenda. the globe had already begun to see and security dominated the news A trusted online presence: When Britain in a new light.PORTLAND QUARTERLY agenda in the approach to the 2010 a single tweet about transport World Cup in South Africa. Hosting a safe event and emerging problems or airport delays had the with our reputation intact was When the G4S story broke, a potential to trigger an avalanche necessary for success, but it would number of factors proved crucial to of criticism, it was vital that we never fully define it. Instead an our response: could rely on a strong digital and ambitious long-term plan helped Unity of purpose: Right from social media presence. This meant turn one of the country’s biggest the start, all partners involved making sure that it was trusted by ever challenges into one of its in delivering the Games — from journalists and the public alike well greatest triumphs. ahead of the Games. In the end12
  13. 13. REPUTATIONMANAGEMENTON ANOLYMPIANSCALEDan TimmsAs one of the largestcommunications challenges ofthe decade, the London 2012Games exemplifies how effectivestructures, coordinated messaging,thorough testing — and heaps ofambition — come together to deliverextraordinary results.Dan Timms, former Head ofCommunications for London 2012,explores how almost ten years ofplanning ensured the team werewell placed to ride out the G4Ssecurity storm, while also deliveringone of the nations most successfulbrand campaigns.Dan Timms is an Associate Director at Portland, prior to which he was the UKGovernment’s Head of Communications for the London 2012 Olympics.
  14. 14. COMMUNICATING ON A GLOBAL STAGE Justin Kerr-Stevens For multi-national organisations, global events can make or break a communications campaign.PORTLAND QUARTERLY Justin Kerr-Stevens is an Account Director in Portlands International Advisory team. He has extensive experience in government communications and country branding, including projects for the UK and Australian governments.14
  15. 15. T wo days after the volcanic response is key, yet the quality of the right channels and competent eruption on the island of response cannot be compromised. teams empowered to make quick Krakatoa the New York decisions and respond. Times carried a five line Warren Buffett said that a reputation article on the volcano. A takes a lifetime to build and only When the lights went out at thistelegraph line, recently connected five minutes to destroy — in today’s year’s Super Bowl one companyto Batavia in the Dutch East Indies social media environments five seized on the issue as anenabled the news to be transferred minutes could often be considered opportunity. Oreo immediately ralliedvia successive relay stations until it a lifetime. Reputation managers its entire communications staffarrived in New York. need to consider what they would to achieve a single objective: find do in a short window to protect their the opportunity to enhance Oreo’sMost people think that the 1883 companies’ reputation and capitalise reputation and capitalise on it onlineexplosion of Krakatoa was the largest on an opportunity that could be for a fraction of the cost a traditionalvolcanic eruption in the 19th Century; critical to brand positioning and 30/60 second spot.they would be wrong. That honour market share.goes to the Mount Tambora eruption By the time the lights came back onalmost 70 years earlier. They need to start thinking well in New Orleans, the team at Oreo before that five minute clock starts had deployed a new ad that wasThe difference in perception is ticking. Planning for a crisis is the being distributed across multiplepartly due to how the events were most crucial and often overlooked digital channels. Thousands ofcommunicated: aside from the step in reputation management — people on Twitter and Facebookeffect on global climate the Tambora it is now even more critical given shared the new advertisement,eruption went largely unnoticed, every business is visible to global turning the Superbowl audience intomany people only hearing of it two audiences. The three basic rules of Oreo’s broadcasters. Oreo was widelyyears later when Sir Henry Stamford reputation and crisis management praised for ‘nailing the Superbowl’:Raffles the former Governor of Java remain unchanged: knowing where using real time creative techniquespublished his diaries of his time. you want to end up after the event; that most traditional marketers making sure you understand your hadn’t even considered.Contrast this with the impact of target audience; and deployingthe 2011 Japanese Tsunami. Within supporting strategies and tactics to International reputationtwelve hours of the event Twitter was reach your objective. management demands activerecording up to 1200 tsunami related and on-going engagement withtweets per minute in Tokyo; there Whilst most people would scoff at the customers, constituents, peers,had been 500 edits to the Japanese concept of the luxury of time when supporters and critics. It alsoTsunami Wikipedia page, 7000 managing a crisis or reputational requires an awareness of currentrecords entered into Google’s person disaster, it is increasingly the one events that can be used to activelyfinder app and over 16,000 videos thing that cannot be changed and manage and promote your onlineposted to YouTube. can be relied on to diminish in reputation and interact with your traditional campaigns. audiences. This responsibility cannotCommunications around these three just rest with the intern managingnatural disasters offer lessons for Well thought out, brilliantly your Twitter channel; it needs be theanybody considering how to manage executed through-the-line job of every communications teamtheir brands reputation in a digital member and be instilled within theage. campaigns can still achieve culture of your wider organisation. strategic results, but they are Oreo is not the first to pioneer real-Technological development has also competing against agile, time responsiveness but they mayscaled to a point that we face instant real-time marketing and brand well be 2013’s current leader.feedback loops coupled with a low management that quicklycost of entry — making anyone with As communication increasinglya mobile phone and internet access responds to events, crises and moves towards real-time activitya potential commentator on the next opportunities in ways that it will be increasingly importantpositive or, increasingly, negative were a distant dream several for staff to be enabled andevent to hit your company. years ago. empowered to respond quickly to breaking events. Without theAs the global reach of smartphones Where Sir Henry had two years to right teams working together in anand near universal Wi-Fi access craft his definitive account, today’s organisation chances are you willbecome almost a given, traditional narratives are continually contested miss an opportunity to enhance yourreputation management tactics will in traditional media and in the digital international reputation — worse stillneed to be applied to increasingly space. It is more important than ever you could make contribute to a crisisagile environments where speed of that organisations are equipped with instead of solving one.
  16. 16. THE NEW BREED OF “BRAND JOURNALIST” George Pascoe-Watson While newspaper circulations decline, many individual journalists now hold more influence than ever — using Twitter and personal blogs to enjoy a greater reach and diversity of audience than their newspapers can offer. Portland’s GPW considers the gilt-edged opportunity these personal brands offer, and how social-media-savvy MPs are applying the same techniques to political campaigning.PORTLAND QUARTERLY16
  17. 17. T he newspaper industry and brand MP is a crucial audience into an appetite amongst politicians, may be dying – but the for the corporate and NGO world to other journalists and the world of phoenix rising from its understand and to work with. public affairs specialists. ashes is the new breed of “brand journalist”. Professional communicators Waugh, now says: “I could see the shouldn’t turn their backs on the way newspapers were headingPolitical reporters like Paul Waugh, traditional written or broadcast and loved the speed and agility ofEditor of Politics Home, and Ben media. blogging for the Evening Standard soBrogan, now deputy editor of The much that it felt natural to go onlineDaily Telegraph, were the first to spot If anything, we should step up our fulltime.the gilt-edged opportunity offered by engagement as the marketing andTwitter and blogging. advertising budgets are clipped. “Im a frenetic news junkie at the best of times but as a producer andAnd they’ve put jet boosters under But brand journalists, in not just a consumer of news, thetheir careers by turning themselves particular, are a powerful internet is a no-brainer for its reachinto brands in their own right. bunch with enormous reach to to a crucial younger audience and its speed.Other journalists like Caitlin Moran of a wide variety of audiences.The Times have followed suit. They "As for Twitter, I certainly got onhave their own followers in addition They can move fast. They board early on because I knew itto those who read the newspapers can be irreverent. They can would be big precisely because of itsfor whom they work. be flippant or deadly serious. convenience and concision. In the They can get their — or your — early days, it wasnt clear just howIn Moran’s case, she now boasts big its reach would be but as time as375,000 Twitter followers, almost as message out unfiltered. gone on, the UK has proved a hugemany as the entire daily circulation market. At this point, I should admit that Iof her newspaper The Times, was a late developer.officially 384,000 readers. "What makes Twitter blogging so I never once Tweeted in my days as unique is the personal approach, theSavvy MPs have taken a leaf out individual voice. political editor of The Sun. I didn’tof their book and have been quick blog. Indeed, the culture of mostto realise they can build an army “People like to feel they are having a political journalists at the time was toof supporters by blogging and conversation rather than hearing a mock those who were early adopters.Tweeting. corporate message. Which is why the But it was Waugh, at the time the journalist-as-brand has taken off in aTory backbencher Rob Halfon has huge way in recent years. deputy political editor of the Eveningmade huge impact on fuel duty by Standard in London, and Brogan, therunning a one-man blogging and "Often the best corporate use of political editor of the Daily Mail, whoTwitter campaign. a Twitter feed has to have this key were amongst the first to see the personal feel. The NorthernLine andLabour’s Tom Harris and Tom Watson chances. SouthWestTrains for example oftenare other notables to have carved have a named individual Tweeting They embraced the example set byout brands. responses to customer queries and it bloggers like Guido Fawkes when the rest of us saw them as a thorn in the works.And, of course, who could forgetLouise Mensch — now no longer side of conventional journalism. “But online readers can sniff outan MP — but who has a staggering inauthenticity within nanoseconds, Their numbers grew and grew and76,000 followers. which is why a buttoned-up corporate they spewed out rumour, claim and counter claim at a million miles an approach doesnt work."Their numbers are growing, butthese MPs have realised they don’t hour. All had to be checked out, Brand journalists are operating inneed ministerial office to make an diverting we newspaper folk from every sector these days. Brand MPsimpact on legislation, regulation or our own duties. are flexing policy muscle in a waysocial affairs. never before seen. Short-sightedly, we didn’t see themThere’s another benefit, too. as allies, as sources, rather we saw These are the ways IT is changing them as a burden. how we communicateSick and tired of unfair attacks aboutbeing a lazy politician, wining and But Waugh and Brogan spotted thedining in Westminster? opportunity. They wrote frequent blogs, laced with well-sourced andSimply Tweet the details of your daily accurate gossip. George Pascoe-Watsondiary to followers and you neutralise is a Partner at Portland,your critics at a stroke. It’s hard to Most of us knew the material butcondemn an MP when you get the judged it not strong enough to make prior to which he wasboring — but often exhausting — stories in our publications. Political Editor of The Sun.details of their daily routine. But suddenly there was a vehicleThis new breed of brand journalist for the nitty gritty and they tapped
  18. 18. A s a journalist, I saw wrong journalist — something that Targeting the right person is also my fair share of media happens far more than you might key. Round robin emails rarely get relations disasters. imagine. Such examples by big coverage. Journalists can spot them Having always worked brands are plentiful. Just a couple a mile off and if they know a story in open plan offices, of nuggets of PR errors from my has gone out widely, they won’t be the worst of these would quickly time as a journalist include a global inclined to cover it. And blanket work their way around the team, brand sending out a press release emailing 400 journalists leaves you with plenty of ridiculing and jokes to on a supposedly breakthrough wide open to making a mistake – follow. new product that was going to you only need one email to have the revolutionise skincare – but failing wrong name on it and the company That could be embarrassing enough to put the name of the product or and PR person will almost certainly for the unfortunate soul who had brand in the release; to a large car be named and shamed online. made the faux-pas. But it was manufacturer offering an exclusive nothing compared to the instant story — which then appeared in a Instead, target the most appropriate and often global publicity that even rival paper the day before we were writer for the story and tell them the smallest of mistakes will now due to publish. why you have chosen them. This far receive, thanks to social media and diminishes the possibility of making blogs. Most journalists are overworked small mistakes which could have and time-pressed — and they don’t huge consequences, and it builds up While some might think that the suffer fools gladly. and strengthens relationships. digital revolution had diminished journalists’ influence, it has, in fact, And given that ‘exposing bad But, slip ups will happen from time done quite the opposite. practice’ is a cornerstone of to time and in these cases, reacting journalism, most cannot resist quickly is essential. Almost every journalist now the chance to name and shame uses digital platforms and most anyone who has slipped up. And be A wall of silence is the worst have thousands, if not hundreds in no doubt — they will name the possible reaction. If a journalist of thousands of followers. That individual PR, the agency and the has tweeted about a faux-pas, then includes a company’s target company they were working for. they are likely to tweet again if you audience, customers and potential acknowledge the mistake and right investors. One negative comment The smallest mistake can turn the the wrong fast. This is the best from them can bring a company’s PR into the story — which is always possible publicity after a mistake. reputation crashing down in a communications disaster. It will However daunting it may seem in seconds. Journalists are opinion damage the client’s reputation as such situations, it is essential to formers. Readers care what they well as that of the individual who engage with them online. have to say and readers are sold the story in. And of course, the ultimately customers. The potential initial story will be lost. It is also vital to learn how the key influence on a business’ reputation journalists for your clients use is therefore enormous and not The journalistic network is digital platforms. Make sure you to be underestimated. They can, small and tight. It means that follow them on social networking and do, make and break brands. If sites and read their blogs. Be aware the consumer affairs editor on a when a reporter broadcasts of how they use tools such as national newspaper, for example, mistakes, their colleagues Twitter and Facebook and the type rubbishes your client, they have will read this too and will of posts they put up. This is now as instantly tarnished their standing. often get involved in the important as following what they do debate. Before you know it, in the publications they write for. And the digital world, however fleeting it may seem, is in fact a whole host of influential Good reputations take years to rather long-lasting. Anything put on national media journalists are build up and cement, but they Twitter, Facebook or a blog remains criticising the company and can be completely shattered in on the web and could come up in its reputation is decimated. an instant. The digital revolution any online searches that a potential has exacerbated this hugely. customer or investor makes of the So how is this minefield best The influence of journalists has brand at a later date. avoided? Well, primarily, through therefore never been greater, not making such errors. making it more importantPORTLAND QUARTERLY And it is almost always the than ever to manage a client’s small things that will cause The importance of building up online reputation by engaging most reputational damage. strong relationships and trust with with and nurturing strong links Companies will spend months journalists is essential. This means with reporters. They are, more along with millions of pounds on that mistakes are less likely to often than not, the link between big communications projects. happen. And, if you do slip-up, they businesses and their customers But, all this can be ruined in an will likely be more forgiving if they and the public’s main source of instant by one tiny mistake, such already have a strong relationship information about them. as addressing an email to the with you.18
  19. 19. BUILDINGMEDIARELATIONSHIPSDana GlogerThe power of journalists to make and break brands makes itvital to develop strong, effective and targeted relationships.Dana Gloger is a Senior Account Manager at Portland,where she advises clients on best practise in managingthe press and broadcast media.Prior to joining Portland, Dana was Consumer AffairsEditor at the Mail on Sunday, a post she also previouslyheld at the Daily Express.
  20. 20. THE SELECT COMMITTEE CHALLENGE Lara Newman Giving evidence to a Select Committee can be a nerve-racking experience: probably the most direct examination of an individuals ability to represent themselves and their organisation, an inquiry should be seen as a test of preparation more than anything else.PORTLAND QUARTERLY Lara Newman is an Account Executive at Portland, where she provides political communications support for clients including AB InBev and Google.20
  21. 21. I n July 2011, near the beginning This growth in profile is, in part, whether he had ever accepted a of my career in public affairs, down to changes to the committee bribe from a journalist. The session, I found myself just feet away system. Making the position of Chair unsurprisingly, received great media from one of those events elected has allowed an MP to carve a attention, with journalists calling which seeps into the public role, voice and career for themselves. for Hayman to be given a sitcomconsciousness. I was sent along to Chairs looking for re-election will following his “preposterous gurningcover the appearance of Rupert and also make sure their work gets and imbecile catchphrases”.James Murdoch before the Culture, noticed.Media and Sport Select Committee At the end of last year, sparks flew inas they were questioned about This has also meant that the Culture, Media and Sport Selectphone-hacking. membership of the Committees Committee session with BBC Trust has become more attractive to Chairman Lord Patten who cameThe elder Murdoch spoke about this MPs. The Culture, Media and Sport into verbal disagreement with Torybeing the humblest day of his life. Committee’s investigation to hacking MP Philip Davies. Patten’s tetchyIt did not need the intervention of made both Tom Watson and Louise reaction to questions over his day-the demonstrator with the custard Mensch much more visible figures in to-day activity — “Do you want topie to make him seem old and frail Parliament. know my toilet habits?” — provided a(although the only question I get soundbite for the press and let themasked was how close I was to the While most witnesses are probably paint him as a man not in control ofprotest and his wife’s ferocious hoping to escape without any media matters.counter-attack). As journalists wrote attention, Committee membersat the time, the session was rather increasingly take a very different While no amount of preparationlike getting a peep at the Wizard of approach. They want to make the can guarantee a relaxed, uneventfulOz behind the curtain. most of their chance in the media hearing, when we at Portland spotlight, deliberately taking a more work with prospective committeeThe Murdochs’ appearance was a confrontational approach or working witnesses, we stress some simpleperfect example of how even the on a line of questioning or sound- rules. Be clear what you are tryingmost powerful can be made to look bites which they hope will see them to say, don’t lose your temper, don’tsmall in the committee room. A bad featured on TV news bulletins or in grandstand, and make sure youappearance can cause irreparable the newspapers. know what you are talking about.damage to the reputation of And if nobody ever talks about yourcorporates and individuals. As the list of committee victims over appearance again, you have probably the past couple of years indicates, done a good job.Although routinely described many organisations and individualsin the press as ‘an influential are have yet to adapt to this new enviromment. Some still arrive ill-group of MPs’, the average prepared or seem not to take it asselect committee used seriously as they should. Sadly forto be confined to worthy them, the media have not been socomments on government slow, and know the evidence sessionsstrategy and the occasional are nowadays as newsworthy as the final report.cross-examination of aminister. Today, they are quasi In 2011, Andy Hayman, once Britain’scourtrooms in which MPs can most senior counter-terrorismhold just about anyone to officer, was described by members of the Home Affairs Select Committeeaccount. as “more Clouseau than Columbo”. Hayman became angry when asked
  22. 22. THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION PHILIP CLIFFORD as part of managing a companys while the substantive issues and PARTNER — risk and exposure. Publicity is a legal arguments are obviously the LATHAM & WATKINS, LLP strong factor shaping the opinion priority for legal teams, one of the of stakeholders - no more so jobs of the lawyer, particularly in How has your advice to major than when the company is in the very high profile cases, is to be corporations changed since the rise spotlight and engaged in litigation. sensitive to the client’s reputation of social media and other digital and how the presentation of the platforms which quickly move news The post-financial crisis dissection case may play out in the public and information? of the financial services industry arena. The effective management of has brought a surge of litigation such reputational issues can also be In a hyper-connected world, news, around internal investigations, a high priority for the client. views and information — good and corporate fraud and regulatory bad — travel fast and far, raising a matters. How important is the There has been significant criticism myriad of potential reputational court of public opinion to banking of the rise of foreign litigation in and legal considerations. From the industry clients? the English court. What is the future legal perspective, business leaders of foreign litigation in the English and boards are increasingly focused Regardless of sector, businesses courts, particularly with the rise on a range of mitigation strategies, facing criminal investigations or of international legal centres like including the need to monitor for regulatory proceedings should Singapore? the abuse of social media platforms consider the risk of reputational and to guard against risks to damage as well as the potential The English courts have historically confidentiality and data privacy. sanctions. Unfavourable publicity been and remain a very popular When problems do arise they can that damages a reputation or choice for the resolution of disputes give rise to complex jurisdictional brand can be extremely difficult involving one or more foreign issues and practical difficulties in to reverse, even if the subject is persons or entities. On the one enforcement, so prevention is often ultimately cleared. hand, these cases take up valuable far better than cure. time of the English courts, which ALEX GERBI are publicly funded. On the other Do you think the press attention to PARTNER — QUINN EMANUEL hand, such cases bring a lot of a case influences the outcome of a URQUHART & SULLIVAN, LLP valuable business to the UK and case or otherwise impacts it?PORTLAND QUARTERLY also help to raise the profile of the You have been involved in one of UK as a global business centre. Public opinion can be a powerful the biggest disputes to come before force and is often used as a means the High Court. In your experience, Our practice at Quinn Emanuel to apply pressure outside the was the legal approach impacted by concerns many disputes with a legal process. History is the best considerations for the personal and foreign element and I do not foresee judge as to the enduring impact corporate reputation of the parties? that foreign parties will be less likely of publicity, however, it is sound to want to litigate their disputes business practice to coordinate the I cannot comment on specific cases, before the English courts. That0v legal and public relations strategy but generally in my experience22 said, arbitration as an alternative
  23. 23. Parties involved in a legal dispute are often subjected to increased public scrutiny —which can impact reputations and the bottom line. Portlands Idil Oyman asked threetop City lawyers to share their thoughts on how this affects their clients, and theadvice they would offer:Philip Clifford, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLPAlex Gerbi, Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLPShane Gleghorn, Partner, Taylor Wessingform of dispute resolution continues There are two factors relating to and companies. How important doto grow in prominence and also social media that increasingly impact you think public profile is to theforms a major part of our practice. our work: speed and anonymity. outcome of the case?The London Court of InternationalArbitration is increasingly a favoured First, the speed of delivery of It is difficult to measure, but inchoice for foreign businesses. legal advice has to match the high profile court cases media astonishing speed at which coverage can have a dramaticAs a result of public pressure, do you information travels online. Helping impact. This means that protectingthink law firms will be under greater high-net worth individuals stop the clients public profile requirespressure to be more selective the spread of misinformation a subtle approach which is mindfulin representing poorly regarded requires a corresponding speed that, generally speaking, Englishentities or individuals? of response. Legal teams should civil commercial cases (like the accept that online platforms have Abramovich matter) do not involveLaw firms in the UK must meet more freedom than traditional a jury as decision maker. The directstringent professional requirements media to spread information, influence of a positive public profilein taking on any new client and firms but our clients can expect us to is reduced when the decision makerare naturally conscious of their help ensure misinformation will is a judge — they will considerown reputation. At the same time, be corrected on these platforms. evidence and legal submissions toit is a precursor of open justice that In this regard, it is important to determine the case.all parties should be entitled to be keep in mind that users of sociallegally represented and should have media are just as responsible for That said, negative publicity cansuitably qualified counsel available publishing unlawful material as the cause damage to an individuals orto them. A bad reputation should not traditional and mainstream media. companys reputation that can beof itself rule out a party from having So it seems likely that there will be deployed against them by a cleveraccess to justice and suitable legal libel actions relating to social media advocate. For example, although, ofrepresentation. Each firm has to being brought by high-net worth course, honesty and transparencydecide where it draws the line. individuals. in public communications is vital, it is likely to be unhelpful for a clientDo you feel the media play a valuable Allied to this is the importance of to try to boost their public profile byrole when reporting on a legal dealing with anonymous criticism making an apology which containsdispute? on online platforms. The so-called admissions that end up being used Norwich Pharmacal order has against them in the court room.It is a cornerstone of a properly become an increasingly used tactic Similarly, it is unhelpful for a litigantfunctioning justice system that it is to seek information from internet to make an over-reaching criticismtransparent and accessible to the intermediaries in order to bring of their opponent that ends uppublic, and the media plays a key role proceedings against anonymous being played back to them in court.in that, provided that the reporting internet critics; for example for Therefore, while it might be said thatis handled responsibly and in line defamation, breach of privacy or public profile is unlikely, in itself, towith the professional standards copyright infringement. In short, in determine the outcome of a largedemanded of our press corps. order to protect their reputations, commercial action in England, the high-net worth individuals parties simply cannot take the riskSHANE GLEGHORN require legal teams who can of ignoring the impact of negativePARTNER — TAYLOR WESSING cross borders and drive through publicity. anonymity barriers to ensure thatHow has your advice to high-net misinformation is not spread. Idil Oyman is an Associateworth individuals changed sincethe rise of fast moving information Partner, and leads Portlands In 2012, the English High Court sawthrough online platforms like high-profile cases attract immense Disputes Unit.Twitter? media attention to the individuals
  24. 24. THE COMMUNICATOR IN CHIEF Charles McLean A memoriam to General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander of coalition forces during the first Gulf War, and accomplished military communications strategist.PORTLAND QUARTERLY Charles McLean heads Portlands New York office.24
  25. 25. G eneral Norman spill but had refused. Khafji would He’d found a polite way of saying Schwarzkopf’s death certainly be Topic A at the press “bullshit,” and he got a good laugh late last year brought to briefing, but the oil spill story would from the press and his fellow mind my time covering probably also get a mention. officers. He then went on to correct his command of Coalition the record of events in the Gulf, andforces as a reporter for NBC News The night before the General’s press moved on to other questions.during what we now think of as the conference, I got a phone call in my“first” Gulf War. hotel room from Schwarzkopf’s press I thought about our brief exchange attaché, Ron Wildermuth. afterwards and I realised that I’dSchwarzkopf will be been just a small piece in a neat “The General would be very grateful little bit of military communicationsremembered for his brilliance if you’d ask a specific question at strategy. Schwarzkopf was angryas a military Commander-in- tomorrow’s briefing” he said. about a report that criticised — andChief during that conflict, but in his view, misrepresented — thehis skills as a communications I had to figure that he’d already actions of a naval vessel under hisstrategist are probably not as tried and failed to get other, more command, and he wanted to correct honorable journalists to ask the the record. He knew that most,widely known. A few words General’s planted question, so I maybe all of the questions he’d behere to set the record straight. (briefly) searched my conscience. asked at the briefing would be about Khafji — the big story of the day — butBefore the commencement of “OK” I said. “What does he want me he wanted to make sure he’d be ableground operations against Iraqi to ask?” to make his point about the Navy andforces in Kuwait there were a number the oil spill.of air and sea operations that made “The General would like you to asknews. One of these was a firefight him whether the US Navy refused So he got his press attaché to find ain a town called Khafji, just over the a request to help with the oil spill” stooge to ask a question about theIraqi border in Saudi Arabia. Wildermuth said. incident so he would be sure to get his answer on the record. But thenAs I remember the sequence of “No problem” I said. he must have thought, “What if Ievents, Coalition troops who had answer the question, but my answertaken up positions in the town At the press conference the next day, gets cut?” At which point he came upwere ambushed by Iraqi troops in Schwarzkopf put on an impressive with a clever soundbite he knew wea cross-border raid, but the Iraqi performance. He added new details couldn’t resist.advances were then reversed when to what had previously beenthe allies counter-attacked and reported about the Battle of Khafji, Schwarzkopf’s communicationsre-took the town. It was the first and he brought the press corps up to strategy worked perfectly: allreal ground battle of the war, and date on the air war. three networks used the “bovinethe casualties included a number scatology” clip that night (NBC ledof US and Saudi soldiers. With the “I’ve got time for a few questions,” with it), and CNN played it on thewhole world watching developments he said, and pointed (too quickly, I hour for most of the day. Missionin the Middle East, it was big news, thought) at me. Accomplished.and the US military command inRiyadh scheduled a press briefing “General” I said, “As you know, therewith General Schwarzkopf for the have been media reports that thefollowing day. US Navy refused a request to assist with cleanup of that oil spill thatAt about the same time as the Battle took place recently in the Gulf. Anyof Khafji, a Coalition air assault comment?”on an Iraqi oil storage facility hadsucceeded in destroying a strategic Schwarzkopf looked at me as if thistarget, but had also, inadvertently, was the craziest idea he’d ever heard.created an oil spill that was fouling Then he rocked back on his heelsa several-square-mile patch of and said, “That’s the most ridiculousthe Persian Gulf. An American piece of bovine scatology I’ve evernewspaper had picked up the oil spill heard in my life!”story and claimed that the US Navyhad been asked to help manage the
  26. 26. 26 PORTLAND QUARTERLY
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