Tom Garrity

Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Movie Lessons for the CEO

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 at 6:00 am

Dear CEO,

You know your business. You have a passion for what you do and a process for how to accomplish it.

The people you have in place are the “right ones on the bus.” You are well read and can work an iPhone or android better than most people half your age. So what’s keeping you up at night? You go to bed early and wake up early. But it isn’t on purpose. Unresolved issues shake you in the night and tire you throughout the day. It is a vicious cycle that can zap the life out of you and your organization.

You want to connect with your customer in a unique way. You not only want them to buy the product, you want them to feel like their organization and world will be a better place as a result of their partnership with your business. The connection with your customer is where the science of deliberate communication occurs. That point of contact says you understand your client and know how they consume information.  It also relays confidence in your product, messaging, team and how the “collective” integrates with the community to make our world a better place to live.

How do you become that company? Have a team come along side your organization that specializes in message development, customer relationship management, and shaping perception. Public relation firms have a proven track record of helping clients generate business results and goodwill in their respective communities.

Since you’ve seen all of the movies that come on in the middle of the night, here are a few “movie lessons” to consider when bringing on a team to help you:

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Gone With The Wind) Be Rhett Butler. Know who you are and what you want. Having firm goals will set the course for all of your initiatives.

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” (The Godfather) Don Corleone can name his own price, can you? Identify a marketing budget. It will ensure nobody is wasting their time “capisce.”

“I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) Take time to research perception about your company. You might be like Jessica Rabbit, looking good for all of the wrong reasons.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat” (Jaws) That’s chief Martin Brody’s way of saying know when you are in over your head. In “PR” terms: you don’t need a news release, you need a strategic plan.

“You had me at ‘hello’” (Jerry Maguire). There is paralysis in analysis. Dorothy Boyd went with her gut, so should you.

“In this town I’m the leper with the most fingers.” (The Two Jakes) Jake Gittes’ advice is value integrity and be sure you have an ethical communications partner.

My best to you as you become the company that integrates with your community.



This is an excerpt from the eBook “Dear CEO”, a book edited public relations professional and business owner Gini Dietrich.  Get your copy of “Dear CEO”, some unique “c-suite” perspectives from 32 business leaders at

GPS: The Importance of Faith

In Life on April 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm

The conclusion of Easter and Passover, provides a moment for many people to reflect on the importance of faith in their personal lives. 

New Mexico has a very diverse “faith” history.  Native American Spirituality, Spain’s quest to promote the Catholic religion, the rich Jewish history in our state, a growing base of Eastern religions and the long established Christian outreach to people in urban and rural areas is a hint of how important faith is in New Mexico.

Curious about the importance of faith in the lives of New Mexico residents, my public relations firm ask a question on the topic in our recently completed Garrity Perception Survey.

The question was simple, “what is the importance of faith in your personal life?”  It didn’t focus on a specific religion, theology, practice, mantra, belief (or lack there of) or relationship.  The possible responses were very important, fairly important, not very important and don’t know/won’t say.

Overwhelming, New Mexico residents responded that faith is very important (74 percent) in their personal life.

Hispanic’s rely on faith more than Anglo residents and women more so than men.

New Mexico residents in the age ranges of 35-49 years and over 60 years of age rely more on it than other age groups.

Republicans outpace democrats; but democrats rely on faith more than both independent and nonregistered voters.

The connection between income and faith is interesting.  New Mexico residents who are “in the middle” rely on more faith than those with higher and lower incomes.

While it is interesting to see how faith is viewed in different parts of New Mexico, I found it particularly interesting that Albuquerque residents have the lowest reliance on faith in our state.

Cassie Bernall, a victim of the Columbine High School tragedy, relied on her personal faith, choosing death instead of compromising her belief.  As I reflect on the results of this question, I wonder how many of the 74% that replied “very important” would be willing to make the same sacrifice as Cassie. 

Yes, there are some questions that just can’t be answered in a survey.

GPS: Accountants

In Reputation on April 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

This is April 19, 2011… the day after tax day!  In honor of those certified public accountants who helped most of us get from point A to point B for our various 1040, 1099, K-1 and PIT forms, lets see what New Mexico residents think of the time honored profession.

The Garrity Perception Survey queried a random sample of New Mexico residents to gauge their trust of 16 professions.  Sandwiched between judges and lawyers (I know there is a joke in there somewhere), the eighth most trusted profession in the Land of Enchantment is the accountant.

New Mexico residents who earn less than $20,000 a year and those who earn more than $80,000 a year completely trust accountants; putting to rest the myth that the more money you have the more trust you place in accountants.

When it comes to party affiliation, Democrats and Independents completely trust accountants, outpacing Republicans and unregistered voters.  The age-old argument that accounts and republicans are bedfellows to “milk the system” appears to fall short here… at least in New Mexico.

Trust among residents increases with formal education.  Those with a graduate degree have greater trust in Accountants than those with a high school education.  Females also have a higher trust level of Accountants than males.

The greatest area of opportunity to build trust for the Accountant is in the age range of 50-64 years.  This group, which includes some of the highest wage earners, has a lower level of trust than any other age group in New Mexico.  Perhaps the recession coupled with discussion of higher taxes clouds the trust.  Whether or not that is the case, accountants can increase their trust level through “plain speak” about the issues facing this age group and the solutions they might want to consider as they approach retirement.

GPS: Government

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

A writer for the Seattle Times posed the question: “Which can Americans afford to live without: The NFL or Government?” I guess the answer to that question could depend largely upon your NFL team and the prospects for a 2011 Football Season.

The premise of the question is gauged to generate a reaction.  But, the quiet response, muttered under our breath, is based on connection.  Lets face it, the NFL has a greater connection to the American population than the Federal government. 

The 2011 Garrity Perception Survey of New Mexico residents provides a unique take on the perception of government.  Only 18% of residents trust government to do the right thing most of the time.  And 54% feel that Government is trying to do too many things.

In New Mexico, the size of government grew under the previous administration.  The new leadership is cutting the size of government and challenging philosophies concerning government’s role.  According to the GPS survey results, this is a popular theme in New Mexico.

Where are the lines drawn between government’s supporters and detractors?  New Mexico seniors are more likely than others to say government can be trusted most of the time.  Residents in the Albuquerque metro area are more apt to say they can trust the government at least some of the time, while those in the Northwest and North Central regions are more likely than others to say the government can hardly ever or never be trusted.

Click here for more comments on this topic from Brian Sanderoff and me.

GPS: Courts and Justice System

In Reputation on April 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

The courts and the justice system has an image problem in New Mexico.

When you look at recent headlines in our state, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise:  A Judge is accused and pleads guilty to DWI; A Sheriff is caught selling his departments bullet proof vests on eBay; An entire police department is dismantled for running guns to Mexican cartels; An officer involved in a fatal shooting lists his occupation on Facebook as “human waste disposal”.

In the words of the Osmond family, “One Bad Apple don’t spoil the whole darn bunch”… but the bad apples sure give everyone else a black eye.

In the 2011 Garrity Perception Survey, New Mexico residents rated the “courts and the justice system” as the 14th least favorable out of 16 industries, finishing just behind “major business corporations” and just ahead of the “commercial construction industry.”

Residents in the South/Southwestern part of New Mexico give the most favorable rating to the courts and justice system; while those in the Eastern part of the state provide some of the lowest marks, according to the Garrity Perception Survey.  Residents in Albuquerque Metro, Northwest and North Central parts of New Mexico are lukewarm to the courts and justice system.  The strongest advocates for the courts and justice system have a landline telephone, earn less than $20,000 a year and have been lived in New Mexico for 8-20 years.

How can the “Courts and Justice System” increase their favorability?  For starters, the industry, as a whole, can increase favorability by focusing on their respective missions.  There are a number of talented and dedicated officers of the court and law enforcement, in addition to doing their jobs, they need to connect with their communities and show compassion to those they serve.

Often times audiences don’t understand complex and unapproachable systems.  The courts and justice system, through its various entities could connect with advocacy groups, serving as a connection to the “system” they are trying to impact.  That personal connection can be the first step to bridging an understanding of a complicated and sometimes courts and justice system.