Vampire squid on the ropes?

Sometimes it’s all in the timing. There’s no love for the bonus-swelled bankers at the moment, with President Obama’s bank-bashing plans hitting the headlines, and Goldman Sachs at the top of the hate list. Before Christmas, in a bid to turn around the PR onslaught, Goldmans agreed to some high-profile (Vanity Fair, Sunday Times magazine) features on CEO Lloyd Blankfein and his key lieutenants. The pieces were fair, but an apparently throwaway comment from Blankfein that the bank was ‘doing God’s work’ was widely circulated and became the subject of particular ridicule.
Two particular lessons from this. First: if you’re going to give good quote, make sure it’s what you want to see on the page. Remarks that may be witty or self-deprecating in conversation can take on a very different hue in print as in this case. Be boring on the things you don’t want the reporter to focus on, and sparkling on the things you do. Second lesson: when you are stuck there in the stocks, with the press, politicians and public throwing rotten fruit at you, it’s too soon to bring out the facecloth. Sometimes you have to bear it – grinning or otherwise and keep a low profile, because nothing whatsoever that you can say is likely to engender sympathy. You have to wait for fresh villains to catch the public eye. Then, after the fuss has died down a bit, is the time to start rebuilding reputation, for instance with an initiative on charitable donations. Of course if the bank was half as clever as it thought it was, it would have gone on its charm offensive long before any sort of crisis hit, when the public might have been a lot more receptive. It’ll be some time yet before the time is right once again.

Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to Reddit