The best PR isn’t about fluff, it’s about handling core issues effectively and honestly. Like building a safety culture at General Motors. Businessweek offers a skeptical appraisal of Mary Barra’s safety focus as GM’s chief executive. And, indeed, If she’s not fully focused on safety for the foreseeable future, she’s making a mistake.
That doesn’t mean being exclusively focused on safety, but on weaving safety principles throughout everything GM does, not having to recall another 60,000 cars while the company’s supposed new commitment to safety is still taking hold.
“Instead,” Businessweek warns, “Barra seems eager to put the past nine months behind her and, as she said last week, ‘really talk about the future of the company.’” A shining future won’t dawn, however, until GM fully engages the problems of the past and sticks with them. That’s what resoundingly effective public relations takes. Not magic, just sustained, in-depth attention.