Monday, July 31, 2006

Thoughts on Friday’s Upson, Davis Story

About half of my business is B2G so I pay attention to the industry. Anyone in B2G knows about the Washington Post’s expose of Representative Tom Davis and Don Upson’s relationship, and the insinuated violations this relationship is causing in the B2G tech marketplace.

A few of points of analysis from a PR perspective:

1) These guys go way back, and friends do favor for friends. That’s human nature, and for once I don’t fault a politician for that. So long as Davis is mindful and offers other cos similar treatment, what is the harm in this? I just don’t get the slant in the article

2) Furthermore, Upson used to be Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The guy holds weight and probably very easily can get a meeting, not only with Davis, but Moran as well as some other Congressional Delegation members from Virginia. I think the Post blew it on this aspect of the story.

3) A couple of tech firms tell all about their relations with Upson’s ICG. A big PR mistake. We all know this business happens, but admitting in a national newspaper that you buy influence from government officials is a terrible error, and one that will impact a brand. The PR strategy behind this is seriously flawed. In my opinion, it’s better to simply say we do employ lobbyists and consultants including ICG as part of our federal business efforts AND THAT’S IT. The goal is to minimize damage, and to be quoted paragraph after paragraph in a “Paint It Black” story like this is seppuku.

OK, I said my piece. That being said, my own PR issues, as a spokesperson and strategist for my neighborhood will not go away. They keep asking me to help. I wish I could say no, but I can’t. So many of my neighbors are suffering financially from the natural disaster, and in my opinion, based on continued government attempts to make Huntington go away, PR is desperately needed.

For example, consider the farce at the Fairfax County Board of Governors meeting today: T-Shirts and plaques given out to government officials who helped in the initial disaster recovery... Then there was the block party given to the neighborhood. Hmm, how about using all of that money for financial aid, folks?


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