Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Goldman Sachs PR Confusion

Goldman Sachs has changed its public relations strategy once again, notes CNBC's John Carney. Carney writes:

Goldman Sachs has decided to keep a low profile in response to harsh criticism and a subpoena fired at the company by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission yesterday.

On a conference call with reporters following the announcement of the subpoena, the chairman of the commission, Phil Angelides, angrily accused Goldman of “deliberately and disruptively” trying to thwart the commission’s investigation by dumping billions of pages of documents in response to requests for information.

Goldman offered up only the blandest and most tepid denial. "We have been and continue to be committed to providing the FCIC with the information they have requested," Goldman said in a statement.

Goldman is deliberately under-reacting to the public pillorying served up by Angelides, a person familiar with the thinking at Goldman says.
Given that CEO Lloyd Blankfein is tone deaf when it comes to speaking in public, to a degree this new strategy makes sense. There should be no direct challenges to the FCIC. When Blankfein testifies, he should be totally polite and go totally technical. If he doesn't have the skilz to get his point across during testimony, in a manner that will resonate positively with the general public, he should go completely polysyllabic and use as much technical jargon as possible. No one should understand what he is saying. Boring everyone to death should be his goal.

That said, the Goldman PR battle should not be a one front battle. They are still blowing on the other public relations front. While obfuscation should be the name of the game with regulators, they should create a campaign aimed at the general public that  explains all the wonderful things Goldman does for the world in the daily conduct of their business. (Hint to Goldman: This would be almost anything you do when you are not playing footsie with government) For some reason, they don't seem to understand how this game is played. If they knew how it was played, they could have their image turning positively within three months, and the world would view them as saints within six months.

In the mean time the pot shots, investigations and indictments will continue from every corner of the planet.

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