Shameless Plug Dept: New Paper on Strategic PR in China

 

Hutong West
The cool before the heat
1855 hrs.

 

Public relations people have a word fetish. We invest the aphorism “words have meaning” with an almost scriptural infallibility. Yet when it comes to terms we use to describe our own capabilities, we become maddeningly imprecise, if not deceptively hyperbolic. The best (or perhaps worst) example of that is the word “strategic,” as in “strategic public relations.” In fact, we use it so much when referring to so many different things that the phrase has almost lost its meaning.

 

In a new paper published last month by Allison+Partners (“Strategic Public Relations in China: Actions, Behavior and Communications”,) I ask the PR industry generally and in China specifically to take a step back. I argue for a definition of strategic public relations that steps completely outside of the communications function: as it was originally intended by the founders of the public relations craft, PR begins with the actions and behaviors of a company, and the obligation of PR counsel to guide them. My point: it is time for all of us to become more strategic, and in no place more so than in China, where so many brands consistently fail to understand, much less live up to, the expectations of their publics.

 

For my fellow PR practitioners and anyone else who oversees a PR function, the paper is available for free download and review on academia.edu. It’s a fairly quick read.

 

 

 

So You Think Apple Should Buy Tesla?

English: Tesla Motors opened its showroom in M...
English: Tesla Motors opened its showroom in Munich in September 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hutong West
Finishing the Table of Contents
1200 hrs., 11 March 2015

So do you think Apple should take some of that massive cash pile and spend it on Tesla? Some shareholders apparently do. And if you did, you might have a point. Who better to finance the disruption of the automobile industry than the largest, most profitable company on the planet?

But for the rest of us, consider this sequence of events that I am betting would take place within 18 months of Apple closing the deal.

Day 1 – Apple buys Tesla

Day 30 – Elon Musk quits, citing creative differences, but attests to his continued faith in Tim Cook and Tesla’s future with Apple. Musk takes his cash hoard and shifts his attention to SpaceX.

Day 60 – Apple hints at major redesign of the sedan by Jony Ive. Tech and automotive media go into spasms of speculation.

Day 120 – Tim Cook takes the stage at the Detroit Auto Show to announce that Apple is dropping the Tesla name. From now on the marque will simply be “Apple.” He then unveils the redesigned sedan, which bears a striking resemblance to the Audi coupe in Will Smith’s “I, Robot.” Except, you know, it’s glossy white. The car will be called the Apple Phaeton, and it will be followed by the Apple Barchetta coupe, and the the Apple Combo crossover SUV.

Day 180 – Apple announces that due to unspecified issues in Fremont, after the first year they will be outsourcing all production to China.

Day 210 – At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Apple announces pricing for the Phaeton and Barchetta, 25% higher than the previous models. They also announce that they are shifting to a proprietary fast-charging system called ePlug. And with the presidents of Exxon-Mobil, Chevron-Texaco, BP, and Valero onstage, announces that all of these chains would begin installing ePlug fast charging systems across their North American units starting that day. Each company agreed to a seven year exclusive with ePlug.

Day 212 – In a class action suit, GM, Ford, and Toyota all sue Apple for violating Sherman Anti-Trust act in gaining a monopoly on electric charging at fueling stations.

Day 300 – The Big Three automakers lose their suits.

Day 350 – Google agrees to buy Ford in an all-cash deal. GM announces that it is being bought by its Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive.

Day 370 – The Apple Phaeton launches, selling 10,000 cars in its first month.

Seem far-fetched?

Trust me. Remember. I’m the guy who predicted the iPad.

Happy motoring.