Tom Garrity

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Toyota, Tiger and Tylenol

In Crisis Communication on February 23, 2010 at 2:27 am

Toyota, Tiger and Tylenol… I can’t get these images out of my head.  They sit there like a Mount Rushmore of triumph and tragedy.

The triumph, they were the best at their respective crafts, had the best reputations.  The tragedy, all crashed with such velocity that they make the Exxon Valdez public relations fiasco appear to be a communications masterpiece (which it was not).

Toyota perfected Lean Manufacturing to the point that others were mimicked their approach.  But in the name of profit and pride they hung their dealers and customers out to dry over faulty computer programs, brakes and in spite of United States safety regulations.

Tiger was one of the best to ever play sport and business of golf.  His ability to earn trust for his brands was truly unparalleled.  His fault is not in being human, it is for ceding responsibility for his brand to people who didn’t have his well being in mind.  The handling of the mea culpa infomercial was on par with a Bachelor “rose ceremony” and go down in the annals of PR as contrived, staged and just bad theatre.

And Tylenol once set the mark for how to handle crisis communications.  Their handling of the infamous immediate recall, that followed the deaths of seven people from cyanide-laced capsules in 1982, set the industry standard on such events.  Someone must have misplaced the manual because it took the 20-months to make similar recall (granted the situations between 1982 and 2010 are different).

Toyota, Tiger and Tylenol are in some ways like the infamous Jessica Rabbit (from who framed Roger Rabbit)… she wasn’t bad, she was just drawn that way.  Only they weren’t bad, they are now perceived that way because of some gaffs in their checks and balances.

Lessons from a Trade Show

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2010 at 7:11 pm

It was a Saturday that I really didn’t intend to do any work… then my brother-in-law called and then next thing I knew we are enroute to a hunting and fishing trade show.  There were a number of great exhibits.  And I was having a nice time taking it all in until I came across one of the “new” exhibitors, a fishing lodge/conference center located outside of Santa Fe.

The owner told some great stories about the lodge, how it was established in the early 1900’s, how it has stayed in the family through the years, even how it was transformed into a lodge and destination.  I was on the verge of declaring this as the best kept secret in New Mexico, let alone the Southwest United States … when I saw “it”!

Yes, there is Stephen King’s “It”, a great book about a horrifying creature in Maine.  And there is the other “It”, equally as horrifying, the brochure promoting his lodge.

Printed on virtually transparent paper, at the expense of a dozen HP inkjet cartridges, the trifold brochure featured a distorted picture of a fisherman on what appeared to be a very scenic area. Inside, more color images and a panel that provided a brief history.  On the back panel was his contact information, an email address but no website address.

When I asked for a rate card or related information he asked me to visit his website, which he wrote on the brochure.  When I asked him about the name of the website, which bared no resemblance to the name of his lodge, he told me “I have no idea what that website means.”  At that point, I dropped my head and thought… he all of the best intentions, he has a great product just marketing materials that paled in comparison to the quality surroundings of his lodge.

Not wanting to work on this Saturday, I was able to maintain keep my cover as an unassuming customer.  When I left thought, I immediately started to vent about how this view/approach of marketing is going to be the main reason why his only success will be that of word of mouth.

So, yes, I will help.  I will offer a trade for services which he may or may not take me up on.  If he doesn’t, I might call my real estate agent so I can find out when this lodge will go on the market.

Running for a Reason

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 at 3:34 am

Over the course of many rubber chicken lunches, we’ve all heard various presentations about how people are making a small difference to improve our earthly condition.

One such lunch I heard the founder of PF Changs talk about an endurance training program he helped to develop called Team in Training (TNT).  Trainers donate their time to help prepare teams of people for events around the country.  The participants donate money, they would have paid for a personal trainer to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Like you, family and friends have been impacted by cancer.  That, coupled with a personal fitness slide in my 40’s, I committed mentally to participate in TNT when it comes to Albuquerque.

I’ve never really become acquainted with Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma until Megan Vondra, a friend of the family’s, was diagnosed, underwent treatment and is currently in remission from a blood cancer.  It is through Megan that I became aware of TNT in Albuquerque and signed up for the June 6th San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon.

The day before my first training run with the team, I received an e-mail from a high school friend telling me that one of our friends Pete Johnson was diagnosed with multiple myloma.  Interesting that Peter started his chemo treatments the same week that marathon training started.  My training and pain pales in comparison to the chemo treatments and life conversations that Megan and Peter know all too well.

How does this include you?  As a part of the TNT program, participants are asked to raise money and awareness.  Through April 2, 2010 every dollar you donate through my TNT website ( or through checks sent to me (made payable to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) I will match with my personal funds.  Gifts are tax deductable. Here is the best part, since 75% of donations go directly toward research and patient services, with my match, 100% of your gift goes toward supporting programs that help Pete, Megan and others in the midst of fighting this disease.

Thanks in advance for your support.