Tony Blair memoir and celebrity fixation!

Former heads of state are increasingly showing their frustration of having the limelight leave them. While all of them would worry over their legacy, the latest breed of former Prime Ministers and Presidents are looking upon themselves as celebrities. While most go onto forming foundations and world peace projects and massive libraries like the US presidents – it seems they all want to continue making world deals. And nothing packs a punch like a tell-all memoir!

Tony Blair’s autobiography, ‘A Journey‘ has had a Facebook campaign on to banish it into the ‘Crime’ shelves of bookshops. Eggs and shoes flung at Blair in Dublin all continue to show that on home-ground his popularity remains low and no amount of candid thoughts on people are going to get him out of having gone to war with Iraq.

The interesting thing here is how politicians are enjoying their celebrity status and like a celebrity memoir would do Blair wants to distance himself from Gordon Brown and even goes on to call his successor a few names. Spice is nice, so throw in a bit of gossip about the Royals and you have a best-seller from which he will not take a penny, no sirree!

Nowadays after national politics all former heads of state look forward to an international career. Well… they know all the leaders everywhere and look forward to continue keeping their career in the limelight. And nothing like a tell-all memoir to settle some old scores and re-launch yourself into active public life.

While celebrity memoirs are usually taken with a pinch of salt, PMs’ and Presidents’ autobiographies are studied at length and Tony Blair seems to have achieved BROWN(ie) points (pun intended) for his candidness even though he seems to have kept to his views on Iraq and Bush.

From a reputation management angle Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’ may well be a start to more candid autobiographies from heads of states; celebrity candidness cleverly merged with legacy management and even a few pot-shots at some old rivals may soon be the norm.  In fact a memoir is a nothing but double winner for both reputation management and PR, really!

Google suggests- Gordon Brown Bigoted Woman

When I began my Gordon Brown post yesterday and typed ‘Gordon Brown’, Google, the ever helpful imp that it is, suggested “Gordon Brown bigoted woman”!!! The news had just broke and there it was picked up and urged by Google for all to see.  In a matter of hours the Labour campaign is shaking under the onslaught of this gaffe. Questions are being raised about the character of the PM who is a week-away from election.

This is a great example of how biased Google can be when it comes to negative  news. To illustrate the damning effect, here are two screen shots of both and when you type ‘Gordon Brown’.

This is the kind of damage a negative news can do to your carefully built reputation. Still grabbing headlines and soaring on social networking sites, Gordon Brown will have to face Google’s suggestion horror for quite a few days and with elections a week away this can be a total disaster.

Now, this brings us to what it can do to affect companies that face serious negative issues. There is Google suggesting your worst nightmare to millions of people around the globe. In short, news in any form directly has an effect on Google’s suggested queries.

This is another reason why negative press always seem to have an effect on Google. It’s a vicious cycle and for now Gordon Brown will have to hope for something really big and positive probably in the debates today to stop this negative effect.

Gordon Brown’s Bigotted Moment of Truth

Certain episodes are moments of truth: they have a damning ring to them that cannot be expunged. The terse, mumbled conversation in the car that led to that bigoted woman comment has finished Gordon Brown  as a political leader. It is the political equivalent of Gerald Ratner’s rubbishing his jewellery. This being politics, on the face of it Gordon Brown survives, but his credentials are gone.

It is not simply what he said, it was the complete theatre which made it a spectacular faux pas. We had also met Gillian Duffy and seen her for a typical middle england worried voter. Not a bigot in any way, but like many voters worried by immigration. His damning of her is akin to a damning of a huge proportion of voters at the same time.

It's a joke right? - Well it is now from Labour Facebook page

This is the real damage to Gordon Brown’s reputation: we know what he really thinks about us. We know that the arm around the shoulder and the slightly satanic smile hide a revulsion for us that destroys Brown’s reputation as a man of the people. Can we trust that look, that behaviour again? That is the real challenge facing Labour strategists today.

Gordon Brown – ‘Bigoted woman’ gaffe & Reputation management

Gordon Brown had to answer to 65-year-old Labour loyalist, Gillian Duffy, during his election campaign, and boy, did she have a thing or two to say about lost Labour glories!!

Wired still with the Sky News microphone, Brown unwittingly made a couple of comments that were promptly caught on tape and re-run all across the media ad nauseam.  And this is what he said…

“That was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? Ridiculous.”
Asked what she had said, he replied: “Everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman.”

On a day when the Labour electioneers were hoping to talk policy, this incident took over. More so, when Ms Duffy was heard saying that Gordon Brown is a very nice man and that she has and will continue to vote for Labour.

So, what did Gordon Brown do for damage control?

  • Dash off to Duffy’s house for a personal apology…speak to the media about it so…

“I am mortified by what has happened,” Brown added. “I have given her my sincere apologies. I misunderstood what she said. She has accepted that there was a misunderstanding, and she has accepted my apology. If you like, I am a penitent sinner.”

  • Continue appearing in the media to show that he is not afraid to meet people after the incident and
  • Have his wife give an interview showing her support to him

From a reputation management view – this was the only thing he could have done to save face. Though grinning from ear to ear may not have been the right expression to show while exiting Duffy’s house.

The words were chosen right and damage control was quick, but, Gordon Brown would look to see this die down quickly, and hope like hell more Labour loyalists don’t get disillusioned with this gaffe.

As for his PR team this is a lesson in the unthinkable happening! They have to remember that there are microphones, cameras and other gadgets out there to pick the most unimaginable things and throw it under the spotlight.

For politicians in particular a reputation crisis is always just around the corner, like the proverbial sword it’s just a matter of ‘when’!

So will Gillian Duffy bring down Gordon Brown? What’s your take?

Related posts:

Gordon Brown’s Reputation Management skills the need of the hour

With elections in the UK only a few weeks away, Reputation management and reputation campaigns have been the hottest buzz words doing the rounds. The speculation of a hung parliament this year might set off  innovative reputation management tactics from both the ruling front and the opposition camps.

The election, which  is the first to be faced by the Labour leader Gordon Brown as Prime Minister will be  a hotly contested affair with many popular names including the opposition party leaders, David Cameron of the Conservatives and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats in the fray. Reputation management will play a  key role in this election for Gordon Brown, as No.10 Downing Street has been abuzz with speculations of the alleged bullying tactics of  the  British PM for quite some time now.

It would mean that the PM and his party workers start working on their online reputation to mend the damage caused by negative comments and bad reviews, which have been influencing the search results. No politician can afford to see his name tagged to something unsavoury during the crucial phase of general elections. Politicians should rope in  campaign managers as well to clean up the mess and to project their ratings in the online media.

Unlike PR , Reputation managemett takes its own time to show the results. The party should embrace Gordon Brown’s reputation as a man of principle who is undeterred by confrontation and willing to bring change, same for David Cameron. Voters are going to bank heavily on what they read online. Gordon Brown and his team has to work out a sure shot reputation management plan that would spell out their policies and preferences apart from making their stand clear in the murkier issues clouding their repute!

Gordon Brown faces fresh bullying claims!

No.10 Downing Street has been abuzz with speculations of the alleged bullying tactics of  the  British PM Gordon Brown. Meanwhile the founder of the National Bullying Charity helpline has told the media that they are receiving fresh calls for help from Downing Street Staff. Though the  Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell came up with a quick denial and brushed aside the concerns with Brown as mere media speculation, a book  has come up with the news that the cabinet secretary had in fact asked Brown to curb his “volcanic temper”. Amidst all the allegations and counter allegations, the public is left wondering.

Well, going by the signs, all is not well at the No.10 Downing Street and it is only a matter of time before these bickering might snowball into a major controversy. Prima facie, the whole episode  appears as a PR mishandling issue and these internal issues might prove a major embarrassment to the Prime Minister’s office if more 10 Downing Street employees choose to take the matter to the media. Mr. Brown has to gather his acts smartly and make sure that the PR practices are in place in the highest office.

What is more worrying about the Gordon Brown revelations is not just the vile temper of the PM but the fact that the National  Bullying Helpline having felt the need to intervene. For many, the alleged outbursts of Mr. Brown might appear childish but the fact that these have come out into the open from within the iron walls of the Downing street in itself is a warning call for the Prime minister’s office  to set out on an urgent damage control and reputation management exercise to stall his rating from plummeting in the public eye.

David Cameron vs Gordon Brown

The race has begun between the Conservatives and the Labour party, with 5 months until the next general, what will be interesting is how much the Internet will play in the two parties campaigns.  As social network sites allow people to find like minded individuals easier than ever before, it can gain momentum and sabotage the message of a politician very easily.

In the past the parties were very focused on spin, nowadays people have had enough of such tactics and will fight back using sites like facebook.  It is very easy now for a party’s manifesto to be hijacked if one or two minor points really trigger a fury of people reacting to them and the bigger picture being lost.

So how it starts is very simple, someone creates a group or page on facebook and starts to invite friends to join, who in turn invite their friends.  Shortly people start bookmarking the page through sites like Digg and attracting even more traffic.  It doesn’t take long for journalists to pick up on the action through things like Google alerts and BINGO you also have the story appearing in the papers etc.

At the moment the Labour and Conservatives seem more determined to pick each others manifesto apart, I wonder how long it will be before more politicians reputations will be tested and what will come out of the closet over the next 5 months.

Unfortunately in today’s world it is often not what you are saying but how you are saying it which counts.