Georgia on Everyone's Mind: The PR Issues with the Governor's Press Conference
Updated: Apr 23
I’m neither a politician nor a medical professional and so I honestly don’t know if Kemp made the right decision in reopening the state this quickly. What I do know is that his press announcement on the state’s reopening was, well, to be frank, awful.
The announcement went against every single thing we counsel our clients on. Had Kemp built credibility, empathy and provided a rallying cry, the message could have and would have been received much better.
Three Key Issues with the Press Announcement Include:
There was zero diversity. Three Southern white guys get up to give a speech…oh wait, there was one black man from the military featured - and his only role was to hold up a sign for an hour. How did no one flag this to the Governor? Many of you might remember my earlier post about Cadence Bank’s lack of diversity in their advertising. No one in this day in age should be so tone deaf about audience, but more than anyone, a Governor should know that their constituents want representation – they are looking for confirmation that decisions are being made by a group that represents "all of us" – across sex, race, religion, and more.
The backdrop was bland and boring. In our early school days, we learn about the importance of setting. In today’s environment fueled by Instagram and TikTok, infographics and graphic novels, we know about the importance of the visual. It sets the mood, provides guidance on what the story is all about, and helps people understand context. Kemp’s announcement was missing everything in terms of setting. If he felt the time for small businesses to open up was right, why didn’t he host the announcement in a local barber shop? Inside a small restaurant?
There were no advocates of the message. We don’t let any clients announce something without additional outside voices – no message should only come from the brand itself. When it comes to being a small business owner, I have a bevy of influencers in my state – why were none of them featured? At a bare minimum, a city mayor should have been featured. Had Kemp amplified his message with support from business leaders, medical professionals, academics, and restaurant owners, we would have felt more comfort in the announcement.
Georgia is a diverse state. Our city, county, and other regional leaders represent a cross-sector of not only political parties but of values, ideas and experience. We are home to best-in-class business leaders ranging from innovative small companies to Fortune 500 leaders. We have some of the top medical facilities in the world and brilliant academic leaders. Before the Governor makes another announcement to the citizens of our state, and the country overall, he needs to get these people united, involved and present.