I’m sure I’m not the only American sick and tired of hearing the phrase “bailout” repeatedly throughout the day. In these harsh economic times, it’s nearly impossible to escape it. For lack of a better way to describe it, I don’t get along with numbers well (I’m a journalism student, I can’t help it). In an effort to better understand the whole “bailout” issue, I went googling and came across an article on PRWeek.com about the automobile industry and the bailout they are trying to convince the government they need. “Big Three can learn from comms mistakes” talks about Ford, GM, and Chrysler and their economic issues.
The issue seems to be that while the “Big Three” is asking for an enormous amount of money to fix the problems they are facing, the companies are lacking in communication with their most important customers, those living in Middle America. Instead of communicating with the public as to what they need the money for and how it will be used to their advantage, the Big Three has avoided communication and instead the CEOs are traveling by private planes to meetings. If you are in such deep economic trouble, why would you choose to fly private instead of commercial like the rest of the country?
For someone who doesn’t understand money in the greatest sense (I’m not naive, I just don’t do economics), this makes less sense than calculating supply and demand curves. If you want to entrust the people of the country as well as the government with saving the financial well-being of your corporation, why would you not communicate those goals? I am a Ford driver, I have heard nothing of the issues they face. I’m not about to support a bailout that is going to drive our economy further into oblivion if I don’t know why it’s happening. I’m usually quite satisfied with Ford, but after reading this article, I’m more than a little annoyed.
I think this is definitely a PR issue considering communication is at the forefront of it. What do you think? Should corporations be asking for help without going into detail about their troubles? Should we just assume that they will be doing the right thing with our money? I find it difficult to believe anyone would think that, but I’m interested to hear what others think.