Vicky Ward – The Devil’s Casino – interview – Goldstein on Gelt – Jan. 2010

Vicky Ward – The Devil’s Casino – interview – Goldstein on Gelt – Jan. 2010


The Future of Public Relations in The Modern
World Transcription of interview with Vicky Ward: Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, Financial Planner
& Investment Advisor Vicky Ward is the bestselling author of The
Devil’s Casino. She currently serves as a contributor to Fox
News and Fox Business and has recently joined the MWW group. Douglas Goldstein, financial planner & investment
advisor, interviewed Ward on Arutz Sheva Radio. Vicky Ward: I jumped ship to MWW, where I
am working now as senior vice president for corporate communications. I did this for variety of reasons. I’ve been thinking of making the move into
the sector after some time largely because I’ve been writing about corporations and
about CEOs for nearly twenty years so I’ve come to know them very well. When journalists keep up their relations with
the people they write about, a lot of times they are asked, “What is the general perception
of our company and what is the general perception of me right now?” And I’ve got to tell people … I would
always say it very nicely. It surprised me quite often that they didn’t
see, and it’s not because in any way these are stupid people, these are very brilliant
people, but the stronger your corporate culture is sometimes, the more double your aim particularly,
sometimes if you work for a corporation that doesn’t necessarily rely on consumers. I often found myself almost holding up a mirror,
and a lot of what I see I find extremely helpful and I say “Could you keep talking?” because
honestly I’d like to hear more of this consistently and an active leadership team would like to
hear more of this consistently. When I analyzed it, I realized that Black
Stone, back in the day when it wasn’t doing so well and many years ago was struggling
with it, they in fact brought in a team of journalists to look at a company and see what
was going wrong. More recently, Lynda Robinson left R&M to
do something similar at Black Walk, not that Black Walk was necessarily doing anything
wrong, but it was to really take a good look what they could be doing better. I found this idea fascinating, and luckily
for me Michael Kempner who owns MWW and was the founder of it 20 years ago and sold the
company and recently bought it back, happens to be an outside-of-the-box thinker and he
values having someone like me in an organization who knew a lot of CEOs. But he said, “If you come to me, I don’t
want you to start thinking like a PR person.” I want you to feel valued as a journalist,
which is I think why he was so quite happy for me to write my book on the General Motors
Building, which I’d already signed and to continue to be a contributor to Fox News and
Fox Business. Douglas Goldstein: More than building the
reputation of these companies, one of the ways that MWW described your position was
dealing with crisis management. Vicky Ward: Right, because if you think about
it, my book was about the crisis that brought down the world economy! But the interesting thing is that Lehmann
brothers did have an outside PR team towards the end, but if they had had a corporate communications
team really working with them consistently the whole way through, and you need it from
the outside, not just from the inside, because a lot of these big banks have very strong
internal communications. As you know, my book was very much about how
Lehmann came to be a culture that didn’t tolerate debate at the very top. The question is would they have listened to
anyone who came in from the outside, but ideally there’s a big lesson from all of that that
suddenly took me down this path. I think corporations have realized that they
need to be continually aware of public perception and in the modern age of endless news and
high-speed internet, they have to adapt frighteningly quickly and they need help with that. The only thing that is really difficult, particularly
for big corporations to do, is to stand out among the crowd because it’s no longer enough
to be a trusted brand. MWW have come out with this great phrase that
you have to relevant, and what they mean by that is that you have to sparkle. There’s so much choice out there that consumers
and stakeholders are almost deafened, confused, and blinded by it all, not just people’s
trust, but how do you shine and the things that go into that when you really look at
it might surprise you. There’s a piece written in The New York
Times recently explaining why Starbucks had managed to become an iconic company that does
stand out. The reason for that is not just that it makes
great coffee, and it’s possible that these are reasons to trust it, but it does huge
amount towards helping the American economy. Douglas Goldstein: If some people might accuse
you of switching teams, whereas having been a journalist for all of the top papers and
magazines and certainly a very well-respected business contributor on Fox News, you’ve
been on the side of the shareholders, people who want to know what’s going on inside. Do you feel that maybe this is a switch of
team, the CEOs are going to say, “Hey Vicky, we did something wrong, now you got to spin
it to make it look good”? Vicky Ward: Number one, I think that what
I’m doing creates a new paradigm, and I have Michael Kempner to thank for letting
me do that because we’ll see if this works, but in a way, I’m still a journalist, still
an author. I am still on television commenting about
business, and here I am advising CEOs, but I do see as my role to tell them the truth. I don’t think that you can help anybody
effectively unless they tell you what’s really going on and you are equally really
honest back to them. I
have too many former colleagues and people I respect from the journalist community to
spin them a bunch of rubbish. If I thought someone had something that they
shouldn’t say or wasn’t worth saying in the corporate world, I would tell them not
to say it. This is a new challenge for me. Though you say I’m switching teams, the
world has changed. The publishing world has changed. The nature of journalism has also changed. I don’t know how it’s all going to shake
out. I don’t think anybody knows. I think it’s fascinating that corporations
now tell their stories on Facebook and things like that. I think the two worlds of communication and
journalism have become much closer than they used to be. There used to be a War of Attrition, I just
don’t think it is that anymore. Douglas Goldstein: Could you just tell us
where we’re holding on your book about The General Motors Building that so that people
can follow you? Vicky Ward: If I follow orders, which I will
be, I should have a manuscript in by the end of the year. Douglas Goldstein: How can people follow the
work you’re doing now at MWW? Vicky Ward: You could
go to the MWW website, and very shortly I’m sure I will have Facebook and Twitter accounts,
so they can take a good look at that and I still have my own website which I will
need to update which is www.vickyward.com. Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director
of Profile Investment Services and the host of the Goldstein on Gelt radio show (Monday
nights at 7:00 PM on www.israelnationalradio.com. He is a licensed financial professional both
in the U.S. and Israel. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources
Group, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, NFA, SIFMA. Accounts carried by National Financial Services
LLC. Member NYSE/SIPC, a Fidelity Investments company. His book Building Wealth in Israel is available
in bookstores, on the web, or can be ordered at: www.profile-financial.com (02) 624-2788
or (03) 524-0942. Disclaimer: This document is a transcription
and/or an educational article. While it is believed to be current and accurate,
divergence from the original is to be expected. The original podcast can
be heard at https://sites.google.com/site/goldsteinradioshows/. All information on this website is purely
information and should not be used as the sole basis for making financial decisions. The opinions rendered herein are those of
the guests, and not necessarily those of Douglas Goldstein, Profile Investment Services, Ltd.,
or Israel National News. Readers should consult with a professional
financial advisor before making any financial decisions. Please see the complete disclaimer at https://sites.google.com/site/goldsteinradioshows/.

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