The Impact of Negative Public Relations (PR) (part 1)

Apr 11th, 2010 | By | Category: Israel

negative public relationsIn my first blog I discussed some of the misconceptions of PR. I believe they exist, not just here in Israel, but everywhere. In future discussions I will try and clarify what public relations is, and how it can help everyone and anyone, especially those with international business interests. My next question though is not one of a political nature. I am interested in the business climate in Israel and (based on my first blog) how Israelis view public relations.

Everyone is impacted by the macro environment in which they operate. Israelis are no exception. Do Israelis, as a result of negative portrayal of their country in the media, understand the impact of negative PR more than their global counterparts? Does this negative portrayal encourage positive PR activities in business?

Israel, as a country and nation, suffers much negative perception from the media, in the rest of the world. Many people claim that the Israeli government’s Hasbara efforts are mediocre. As I stated above, I am not here to weigh the pros and cons of the government’s PR efforts or how badly Israel as a country looks in the eyes of the world. Instead, I’m interested in how this impacts Israeli businesses competing globally. Do the Israeli CEOs and executives have a deeper understanding of PR and ‘reputation management’ than their competitors overseas? Does this translate into bigger budgets for PR?

There are thousands of Israelis doing extraordinary things in business, and taking their stories to the world. There are endless conferences, submissions to international industry awards, World Wide Web and social media endeavors. There are missions to Israel like the one the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce is currently leading with a life science delegation from Emory University and the Atlanta Business Leaders. There are even books like “Start-Up Nation”, by Saul Singer and Dan Senor which are making PR headways, landing on the best selling lists of the New York Times and the Wall St. Journal.

Israelis do understand the impact of negative PR, perhaps more so than their overseas counterparts. However, I am not sure this translates into placing a higher emphasis on PR than their global competitors or listing it as more of a priority. As one veteran executive in the Israeli hi-tech sector commented to me; “If they do have a better understanding of PR, they are not doing anything active about it.” Let us hope this starts to change…

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