China and the continuing PR problem

It was an absolutely perfect morning for a run even at 5 a.m. Temperature around 55 with a light breeze. And I wasn’t even thinking about General Petraeus and his remarks before the Senate committee.

As best I can tell, Petraeus is saying that we ain’t ever getting out of Iraq. From that standpoint, it’s becoming like one of the lines at Starbucks. So it goes.

And I really didn’t have much to blog about until I took a quick look at the online version of The New York Times. The story: Monks Disrupt Media Tour in China.

According to the article:

Buddhist monks interrupted a government-managed media tour in Western China on Wednesday, waving a Tibetan flag and protesting that the authorities were depriving them of their human rights.

But here’s the paragraph that got my attention:

The disruption, in the city of Xiahe in Gansu Province, was another unexpected public relations setback for China, and marked the second time that monks have upstaged government efforts to control foreign media tours of Tibetan areas.

Say what? Another unexpected public relations setback? Not quite. A setback to the China government’s marketing activities. Maybe. But not public relations.

Marketing by nature is manipulative. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. Public relations is based on truth, honesty and openness. The government in China is trying to reshape the image of the country — even though the truth is not going to support where they want to be. Public relations techniques — like media tours — can provide a way to gain attention. But those techniques and tactics are not in the long run going to change reality.

It’s going to be a long spring and summer.

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2 responses to “China and the continuing PR problem

  1. You are on the money, my friend. But you know, I’ve been saying this about marketing over on my blog for months, and I’ve made all sorts of enemies — marketing people mostly. Now I learn they’re all just a bunch of commies! Figures.

    For those who want to learn more, I shamelessly insert this link: http://toughsledding.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/why-i-dont-trust-marketing/

  2. I’m old enough to remember when marketing was just sales. Maybe the world was a better place then.

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