Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Saving Goldman Sachs


To: Richard Siewert, Global Commmunications Director, Goldman Sachs

Fr: Nightmare Communications

Date: Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Re: The Situation.

Let's look on the bright side, shall we? Things could hardly be worse. This Greg Smith letter is a disaster, but --happily enough -- it's not your disaster. It's everyone else's disaster. You are literally the only person at the firm whose reputation is not in some way damaged by it.

So that's good. You begin untarnished. And there's literally nothing you can do about what has happened. So there's hardly any point in rehashing it or litigating the past. What's done is done. The only question is: what are you going to do now?

Here are four recommendations:

1. Fire your advertising agency and put a review in place for hiring a new one. The current campaign is a complete waste of money. The issue was never: underwriting housing projects in New Orleans. The issue was always (and is today) the integrity of the firm. Address the issue.

2. Fire your PR firm(s). There are, every day, amazing stories going on at Goldman Sachs. People at every level of the firm are helping build extraordinary businesses around the world.

The other day I lost my I-Phone on the train. I called Asurion, the Goldman Sachs-financed insurance company that insures my phone. I go to their website, I fill in the information, it takes like eight minutes all in, two days later an I-Phone 4S arrives via UPS. Fantastic! I had no idea Goldman was involved until a friend told me so. I'm willing to bet that there are literally hundreds of Asurions out there, whose GS pedigree is unknown.

Find a PR firm or PR firms that can help you tell those stories.

3. Coordinate all of the firm's philanthropic and charitable work into a coherent message. Goldman Sachs (the company) and its partners (individually) are huge contributors to philanthropic and charitable enterprises. No one knows that and if they do know it, they don't know the stories behind those involvements. Let them know it.

4. Be a channel. Build your own news site. Build your own TV studio. Do weekly briefings on the economy, on industry verticals, on policy questions, etc. Publish a news summary (every day). Publish analysis and commentary. Cut out the middleman. Be

Here's the best news of all. At this very moment, not even Lloyd Blankfein would dare reject a communications budget request. Whatever you need will be the general idea amongst the senior management. So load up the wish list, lad. Circumstances will never ever be so budget-be-damned favorable again.