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December 13, 2011
Lowe's Laid Low By Controversy
 
Whatever they do at Lowe's corporate headquarters, it's apparently not much involved with basic PR, communication, and relational principles. For a Lowe's spokesperson to say the home-improvement retailer pulled its ads on the TV show "All-American Muslim" because the show had become "a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives" is ludicrous. What would you expect about stories of Muslims in America in the current war-infected context? You make an informed choice at the beginning and stick with it.

That, at least, is the principled approach to PR. In pulling its commercials from "American Muslim" after the show came under fire from a conservative Christian group, Lowe's doesn't seem to have understood that. If it behooves a corporation to become identified with Muslims or anyone else in its advertising, it ought to be mindful of any potential for controversy and not act surprised if it arises. You ought to know that's likely going in. If you don't, where have you been?

Wasn't it Steven Covey who advised, "Proceed with the end in mind?"

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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