How PR firms are coping with America’s reputation

The topic of America’s reputation in other parts of the world has become quite popular these days — check out this Newsweek column, for example.

I thought I would search through Scribd and see how companies are coping with these developments. I found the following letter from a Kansas City-based company called MMG Worldwide — you may visit their website here. Anyway, they appear to be a marketing firm that deals in travel and tourism, so obviously American’s reputation would be of concern to them. Here is the letter in Scribd:

And I’ll cite it in full below, for those that don’t use Scribd:

August 10, 2010


To all agents,

America is undergoing an assault on its reputation on a number of fronts. The mainstream media has been particularly nefarious in this regard. Take, for example, this citation from a column from Howard Fineman from Newsweek entitled “Post-Anti-Americanism”:

“European disdain for the United States is centuries old, of course. But over the course of decades of traveling in the U.K. and on the continent, I have never gotten the sense that I got on a recently completed three-week trip to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Black Sea. America is no longer admired, imitated, or feared. We remain—for now—a safe haven for dollars (of which there are too many in the world). But we increasingly are seen less as a model or as an empire than as a cautionary tale of national neglect and decline.”

I urge you all to read the column in full. It should be easily found on Newsweek’s website.

I disagree fundamentally with Mr. Fineman. I have many friends from Europe, and none of them have expresses such disgraceful opinions. Indeed, many of them are looking to America in stark contrast with the currency problems (i.e. the Euro) that they are having at home. Support for President Barack Obama is indeed slipping, but my friends remain optimistic that we will be able to resolve our current problems.

However, I understand that Mr. Fineman is also a careful observer of public opinion, and his column and others like it (there are others, as you no doubt know) must be taken seriously. As a result, we are in the process of putting together a new package of materials that will be designed to counteract such negative publicity.

The working title for this project is “Sailing Back to America”. The idea behind this name is that we wish to remind our clients that America was – and still is – the land of opportunity, and that so many millions of individuals and families literally used to sail to our shores in order to better their living conditions and provide opportunities for their children that were not available at home. Of course, we are a travel company, and are not in the business of promoting immigration, but that is not the point of this exercise. We wish to conjure up images of America that will remind our clients of why this country is so great, and why they would like to visit it to bask in its historical glow.

It will take some time to fully assemble the materials for this project, and we will be launching it with much fanfare. We are hoping to have everything ready for the spring and summer 2011 tourist season.

As for now, if you are experiencing trouble with your clients and their views on America, please contact us immediately. We will provide you with preliminary materials with which to work with in order to correct and clarify such misguided opinions.

Sincerely,

Don Montague
Chairman and CEO, MMG Worldwide

Interesting stuff. I’ll see what similar materials I can find related to this issue.
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