Friday, July 08, 2005

My bad

From yesterday's post:
But what if a company's truth isn't their best story? There are some famous failures in the headlines lately whose truth, let's just say, didn't so much set them free as set them up.
Robert Scoble or Shel Israel (I'm not sure which) left a comment pointing out that it sounds like I'm recommending a well-crafted lie if the truth doesn't make you look so hot. Well. Hot damn. Sure does look that way, doesn't it. Is it too late to take it back? Honest, that's not what I meant to say.

Here's what I meant to say, which unfortunately, stayed locked in my head in my urgency to get a belated post published. Companies like Adelphia and Enron were the quintessential truth-isn't-their-best-story companies. Their truth set them free, alright. Free to go to a fiery afterlife. But that was only after the truth was finally pried from their cold and greedy, wizened claws. Their truth brought down entire corporations and countless innocents along with them. Their dishonesty was so deep that no blog was going to cure what ailed them.

It was a throw-off line that could have been a marvelous opportunity to discuss the importance of telling the truth especially when it's not pretty. An opportunity I'll take now because blogging is the ideal vehicle for proactively (I just hate that word, but it works here) dealing with problems in a disarmingly public way by owning up to your company's shortcomings in front of God and everybody.

This is counter-intuitive to old-style business models. In fact, one of the traditional functions of pr is to make bad things go away with minimum damage.

But cast your mind into the misty future to contemplate a world where a company screws up and says so on its tell-the-truth blog. How much more would you trust that company than one who avoids confronting mistakes until forced to, or responds with a traditional public relations damage control campaign?

Don't you kind of like them already?

The truth. What a radical idea.

Thanks, Robert or Shel at Naked Conversations. You saved me from myself and gave me a story to tell on myself . . . thankfully before anyone could tell it on me.