Friday, August 04, 2006

Can FEMA Ever Rebuild Its Image?

The last comment on my preceding blog really made me think if FEMA did the right thing… The answer in my opinion would be no, though certainly I have a biased opinion. Here’s the thing:

1) MD, DC residents received aid from FEMA, and Huntington was clearly the worst flooded area in the metro region.

2) Fairfax neighborhoods may be well-off, but this one isn’t. I like how we have government agencies that are supposed to help, but instead they tell individuals in counties to spend their own money to help out people they don't know.

3) VA government received FEMA aid for the floods, but individuals can’t because they live in a rich county? Hmmmm.

It seems to me this denial may be punitive, and have more to do with Virginia Governor Kaine’s counter address to Bush’s State of the Union speech than Huntington's (and other Virginia community’s) needs. Maybe “anonymous” is related to this fellow: Sorry I couldn’t resist with Talladega Nights coming out. Anonymous has a right to their opinion, and that’s why the posting is on the site. I only block postings from people trying to sell unrelated product via the blog or the occasional insane ranter.

Seriously now, from a marketing perspective can FEMA ever recover its image after Katrina? Things like this week’s quotes in the paper don’t help. The reality is that FEMA must be considered inept by most Americans. Their brand means nothing other than Failure to Help.

In my opinion the only way out of the brand hole for FEMA is a major public reform initiative followed up by well publicized and continued successes in crisis management. It is only by actual performance backing up a reinvigorated brand promise that FEMA can turn it around. Even then the new luster would still be somewhat tarnished.

It would be interesting to hear from other people on their opinion about FEMA’s brand and if it is salvageable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not with me it can't. My family lives in New Orleans and even if I live to be 100 I will always think of FEMA as the most inept, corrupt and useless government in this country.

5:21 PM  
Blogger George "Loki" Williams said...

FEMA will always be a tarnished name, one synonymous with the death and devastation that has occurred here in New Orleans.

As I go out into the city for work every day I see the evidence of their ineptitude in the devastation around me. I hear of, and have experienced firsthand, the "joys," of dealing with them as each of us has logged at least three full work weeks of time in doing FEMA paperwork.

It is easy to talk of "salvaging their brand," when you have not been on the receiving end of their "heckuva job." FEMA, in New Orleans has become the new curse word. It is a name that defines the lowest point in American history, the summary abandonment of our citizens during a time of national crisis.

Here in the rubble FEMA stands for many things:
Federal Employees Missing Again
Fix Everything My Ass
Federal Emergency Mismanagement Agency
Find Every Mexican Available, etc.
These are a few of the things I have heard myself on the streets.

FEMA will never regain its reputation after the debacle of last August. If you want a close look at why come visit us here. I will personally give you a tour of the rubble.

Please address replies to my site at

3:14 PM  

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