- Assume you are the Senior VP of Marketing at Nike. You have a famous NBA star under contract to market Nike products. In fact, you just “scooped” him away from your rival, Adidas, and are feeling quite good about yourself. Nike’s brand image, as well as your reputation and career prospects at Nike, are tied up with this player.
One fine morning, you wake and find out that the “face of your company” has been charged with raping a young woman. Repeated attempts to get in touch with him or his agent is unsuccessful.
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You are faced with a multitude of questions which need answering right away. What pieces of information do you need? Who are the relevant stakeholders you should consult? What are your options? Do you terminate, wait “until proven guilty,” stop all advertising with the player’s image while the case drags on? And on and on and on.
How would you go about evaluating the situation deciding a course of action?
- How do you go about identifying and dealing with resistance at your work(childcare) place or at your home? How would you apply the Six Layer model?
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What pieces of information do you need?
? You need the perceptions of the relevant people, the real facts whether the star actually committed the rape, the police opinion of the issue, the damage such news will do to the brand equity of the company. The relevant actions you should initiate are: Do an objective assessment of the cause(s) of the crisis.
? Determine whether the rape report will have a long term effect or whether it will be a short term phenomena.
? Project the most likely course of events.
? Focus all the most capable people (including you) on activities that will mitigate or eliminate the damage to Nike’s reputation.
? Look for opportunities – there could be a “silver lining”
? Immediately act to guard fall in sales.
Who are the relevant stakeholders you should consult?
Your superiors, remember, your job is at stake. The perceptions of the customers and potential customers should be considered. The opinion of the board of directors should be considered.
The most fundamental rule in public communications is to know who one’s audience is, and to tailor every message to appeal to that audience.
An “audience” can be a general, nationwide or worldwide audience, but it is more often a segment of a population that is targeted by Nike. Marketers often refer to economy-driven “demographics,” such as “white males 18-49,” but in public relations an audience is more fluid, being whoever the client wants to reach. For example, recent political audiences include “soccer moms” and “NASCAR dads.”
In addition to audiences, there are usually stakeholders, literally people who have a “stake” in a given issue. All audiences are stakeholders (or presumptive stakeholders), but not all stakeholders are audiences.
What are your options? Do you terminate, wait “until proven guilty,” stop all advertising with the player’s image while the case drags …