Tom Garrity

Archive for the ‘Reputation’ Category

The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: The Law

In Reputation on November 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.35.13 PMNew Mexico’s legal system is ripe with opportunity to gauge public opinion when compared to community conversations.

The Garrity Perception Survey measures four areas related to the New Mexico legal and justice system.  It includes favorability of the courts and justice system as well as measures trust of judges, lawyers and law enforcement officers.

Favorability of the courts and trust of lawyers do well to hover in the lower quarter of favorability.  Based on a seven-year statewide average, the courts system averages 26 percent favorability and lawyers average 21 percent favorability. Geographically, the two areas are hard pressed to find any pockets of significant support in any part of the state. It is safe to say that despite some very good people and qualified professionals, favorability of the court and trust of attorneys is difficult to increase given awareness of high crime rates, drunk drivers and repeat offenders.

Interestingly, while New Mexico residents are not favorable of the courts they are trusting of its officers, the judges.  An 18 percent gap exists between trust of judges and favorability of the courts.  Geographically, judges have higher trust among residents living in the Eastern and South/Southwestern parts of the state.

Police officers and law enforcement officers are the most trusted when compared with their two counterparts, judges and lawyers. However, New Mexico residents didn’t always have this level of trust (a 49 percent average) of police officers.

In 2013 and 2014, a series of high profile incidents captured local, statewide and national attention.

In 2013, the New Mexico State Police pulled over a van carrying the suspect and her five children.  After the second time the driver tried to speed away, officers fired three shots at the van’s tires. The police dash-cam video captured the exchange which made national coverage.  The officers were cleared of the shooting as a judge said they were justified to shoot at the tires.

Also, in 2013, the Deming Police Department and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a full cavity search on a person who was pulled over for allegedly for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign in a Walmart parking lot.

In 2014, the Albuquerque Police Department was involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless man who also suffered from mental disorders. After the shooting, the suspect was found to have knives in each hand.  The incident was one of several officer involved shootings faced by the department in as many months.

The APD shootings captured the media attention and attracted attention of the United States Justice Department.  Police Chief Gordon Eden, an experienced law man and relatively new to his role as police chief, led changes to the force.  With the help of the Mayor and Albuquerque City Council, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency was established.

These actions helped to rebuild trust among Albuquerque residents which in turn increased trust of police offices statewide.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.35.44 PMMore information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

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The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: Healthcare

In Reputation on November 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.33.13 PMFrom 2011-2017, perceptions of healthcare in New Mexico have been impacted at a variety of levels.

Consider these milestones at the Federal and State level.

2010 inaugurated the Affordable Care Act (or ACA), also known as Obamacare.

In 2013, the New Mexico Human Services Department halted funding to 15 behavioral health providers in response to allegations of Medicaid fraud this resulted in coverage interruptions for 30,000 of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Also in 2013, the New Mexico Healthcare Exchange was created by state law to help residents get affordable health care coverage.

In 2014 the Veterans Health Administration was embroiled in a scandal where allegations of negligence were reported in the treatment of United States military veterans.

As if 2013 didn’t have enough activity, New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez expanded healthcare coverage, through the ACA, to include recipients of Medicaid. The expansion provided coverage for residents with household incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal poverty level.

And according to US Census data, the uninsured rate in New Mexico fell from 18.6 percent in 2013 to 9.2 percent in 2016 — a drop of more than 50 percent, versus the national average drop of a little more than 40 percent.

A 2015 report issued by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center shows that New Mexico only has “nineteen hundred” primary care physicians. When compared to the State’s population, at the time, that equaled one primary care physician for every “thousand ninety-nine” New Mexicans in the state.

Politically, in 2016, a unique political showdown developed between the legislature, Attorney General, State Auditor and Office of the Superintendent of Insurance.  At the center of the issue, the release of an audit claiming the Insurance Superintendent failed to collect nearly $200 million in taxes from insurance companies.

The seven-year period also included new hospital construction and improvements as well as the creation of and merger of various insurance and medical groups.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.33.34 PMDespite the changes, New Mexico residents are generally consistent in how they feel about the medical system.  Favorability, hovers just below the 50 percent mark with the most fluctuation occurring in 2013 when it dropped from 49 percent to 46 percent.  Over the past seven years, the medical system has averaged 47 percent favorability among New Mexico residents.

Geographically, residents in the Albuquerque area are the most consistent and generally have the highest levels of trust and favorability regarding doctors and the medical system. Residents in the Northwest have the largest swings in favorability of the medical system with a low of 45 percent in 2015 and high of 75 percent in 2016.  Trust of doctors also saw some extreme swings in North Central New Mexico with a 39 percent favorability in 2014 followed by 70 percent favorability in 2015.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.33.57 PMInterestingly, the oldest and youngest residents have the highest level of trust in physicians. The youngest (18-34 years of age), typically the lightest users of insurance and healthcare, have an average 66 percent trust of physicians compared to residents over the age of 65 years, the most frequent users of insurance and health care, who have a 69 percent average of trust in doctors.

More information and analysis of this information is available online at http://www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: Religion

In Reputation on November 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.31.50 PMFaith and religion are intertwined with New Mexico history and who we are as a society.

Generally, more than 70 percent of New Mexico residents place a high value of faith in their personal life.  Their favorability of religious institutions and trust of religious leaders isn’t far behind.

Sixty five percent of New Mexico residents, on average, have a favorable view of religious institutions.  Sixty one percent of residents, on average, have a favorable view of religious leaders.

However, drilling down into the numbers shows the impacts that scandal can have on perceptions of any industry.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.32.43 PMIn 2013 and 2014, lawsuits against the Catholic Church, alleging abuse by several priests against parishioners, were in the headlines.  The New Mexico lawsuits were filed in 2013 and were reflected, in part, when the 2014 survey was in the field in February/March of that year.

The lowest levels of trust and favorability of religious leaders and institutions were seen in the 2013 and 2014 surveys.  When news started to hit, Statewide trust of religious leaders dropped ten percent and favorability of religious institutions dropped eight percent.

The negative hit was most evident among resident’s trust of priests in areas where there is a high level of catholic residents. Specifically, trust of religious leaders went from a high of 74 percent in 2013 to a low of 41 percent in 2015, a drop of 33 percent over the course of the year.  Trust of religious leaders in that region has still not recovered and trust among North Central residents remains the lowest in the state (an average of 58 percent).

Conversely, areas with high level of protestant membership (Northwest and Eastern New Mexico) saw increases in trust of their religious leaders during that time.  In fact, residents in Northwest New Mexico saw an eleven percent increase in trust from 2013 to 2014.

Paralleling legal settlements was an aggressive effort by the Catholic Church to own the narrative of showing compassion to the victims.  This resulted in a gradual increase of trust and favorability for all pastors and priests as well as churches.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.32.23 PMMore information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: Education

In Reputation on November 27, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.30.10 PMPerceptions of education swing wildly in New Mexico.  Media coverage and controversy tend to be the biggest sway of favorability and trust.  Another motivator of “perception” is political ideology.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.30.38 PMFor example, favorability of universities tends to dip whenever there is controversy or transition in leadership.  Favorability of Universities in Southern New Mexico dipped when New Mexico State University was in the midst of a very hostile leadership transition. The same dip was seen in the Albuquerque area when the University of New Mexico’s sports programs grabbed the headlines.

The scenario for K-12 education is not much different.  While people connect with people and not so much institutions, it should not be surprising about the general differences between the lower favorability of public schools and higher trust of teachers.  However, there are some things to notice in the seven years of perception surveys.

In 2011, Public Schools enjoyed a 47 percent favorability.  The next year, it slipped to 38 percent. The ebb and flow of favorability continued.  Favorability increased for three years to 46 percent in 2015 only to drop again to 39 percent in 2017.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.31.02 PMTrust of Teachers is not as volatile, increasing three percent over the past seven years.  Teachers saw the lowest level of trust in 2013 (63 percent) and the highest level of trust in 2015 (74 percent).

The age groups most vested in K-12 education are the 18-34 and 35-49 year old age group. New Mexico residents in these age groups are the most likely to have children in the public schools. Both of these age demographics place a high level of trust in teachers, both seeing peaks in 2015. The age groups tend to split a little more dramatically when it comes to favorability of public schools. The 18-34 age group, despite an 18 point shift from 2012 to 2015, tends to be more favorable of public schools than the 35-49 age group.

Statewide, residents in Eastern New Mexico are the most favorable of public schools (51 percent average) while residents in Albuquerque have the lowest level of favorability (38 percent average).  Trust of teachers is highest in North Central New Mexico (an average of 70 percent).

More information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: Energy

In Reputation on November 26, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.28.29 PMThe energy industry will singlehandedly shape New Mexico’s future. Oil and gas coupled with “wind and solar” will respectively shape future state budgets and could become the state’s largest export to the west coast over the next 20 years.

According to the Legislative Finance Committee, “New Mexico typically receives about $2 billion in direct revenue from oil and gas production through severance and property taxes and royalty and rental income. Additional indirect income is generated by sales and income taxes on “oil and gas” drilling and service, which generate about $300 million. The State of New Mexico’s 2018 budget is $6.3 billion.”

According to the Wind Energy Foundation: “New Mexico stands out as an emerging windScreen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.29.15 PM.png powerhouse, adding wind power capacity at a faster rate than any other state in 2017. Wind farms supplied over 13 percent of the state’s electricity generation last year, enough to power over 422,000 average homes. New Mexico is now ranked 15th in the nation with installed capacity. A wave of new wind investment will soon advance the state’s leadership” in this arena.

Over the past seven years, favorability of the two industries traditionally has had stark differences.  On average, 60 percent of state residents are favorable of the “solar and wind” industry versus 44 percent favorability of the “oil and gas” industry.

Politically, those who identify themselves as republican are favorable of oil/gas while those who identify as democrat are just as favorable of solar/wind.

Breaking down favorability of the industries by age reveals the 35-49 demographic is the most favorable of solar/wind while the 50+ demographic is most favorable of oil/gas.  Interestingly, the 65+ age group is least favorable of solar/wind compared to the 35-49 age group which is least favorable of oil/gas.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.29.42 PMGeographically, residents in North Central New Mexico are the most favorable of solar/wind  versus residents in Eastern New Mexico are the most favorable of oil/gas.

Gender and ethnicity don’t really come into play as a differentiator for the solar/wind industry.  Male/Female and residents who identify themselves as Hispanic or Anglo are, on average, favorable of the renewable industry.

The oil and gas industry is viewed with greater favorability among males versus females as well as residents who identify themselves as Anglo versus Hispanic.

Post Script – August 26, 2018 – Since the 2018 Garrity Perception Survey was printed, the State of New Mexico announced a 1.2 billion dollar surplus… the result of increased revenues from the oil and gas industry.

More information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

Resetting the customer experience

In Messaging, Reputation on January 30, 2018 at 5:12 pm

IMG_8027A client of mine tells his staff “everyone is going to make mistakes, its how you respond to those times that matter.”

In essence, it is a primer for crisis communications 101.

Putting a twist on my client’s words, when things go wrong, and they will, every organization has a chance to reset the customer experience.

The airline industry is a place where you see customer expectations fall short on a regular basis.  It just happens.  We’ve all seen how airlines have, and have not, done a good job resetting the customer experience.

When twitter was in its infancy, I groused about the Delta Airlines boarding process and how their many different “zones” reminded me of Dante’s Inferno.  The person who handled the airline social media account reached out and said my tweet was making the rounds.  That’s nice. But, for the most part, nothing has changed.

United Airlines flight attendants just looked at me with puppy dog eyes when someone who really needed two seats was doing what he could to fit into one seat.  I raised the arm rest and commented “come on in the water is fine.” I then sat through the next two and a half hours contorted in my seat trying to do my best to give my seat mate “space”.

On another United flight, I gave up my window seat so a family could sit together.  The attendants rewarded me with an emergency exit row to myself.  That was nice.

American Airlines… don’t get me started.

But Southwest Airlines, in the spirit of full disclosure I was an A-List member, has found a way to master resetting customer expectations. My flight yesterday (documented on Instagram Stories) was scheduled to be five and a half hours.  Because of mechanical issues with the airplane, it ended up being closer to a ten hour trip.

It was just one of those days that the word “delay” was in play… all day!

The apologies from the pilot and flight attendants were nice.  Lord knows they also wanted to have the never-ending flight end.

But, this morning, at the top of my email was a message from “Allison” with the Proactive Customer Communications team.  Her message went like this… I’m so sorry for the delay you experienced in Phoenix yesterday due to an unexpected maintenance issue.  [yada yada yada] We would like to invite you back for a more pleasant travel experience.  In this spirit I’m sending you a LUV Voucher that can be applied as a form of payment toward a new Southwest reservation.  We look forward to welcoming you onboard another flight in the near future.

In the words of Emeril John Lagasse III “BAM!”

That is how you reset the customer experience.  It wasn’t the voucher, don’t get me wrong, that’s nice.  It was the follow through.

Some #PR insight for my second cousin, James Comey

In Crisis Communication, Life, Messaging, Reputation, Uncategorized on May 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm

 

The second most polarizing figure in America today is the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey.  Yes, at one point, he was number one, no doubt.

Mr. Comey’s grandmother on his mom’s side and my grandmother on my dad’s side are sisters.  I always knew his grandmother as Aunt Irene.  Mary and Irene Broderick grew up in New York and got along tremendously well. Ensuring that future generations were connected was not on their watch, just a casualty of the nuclear family.

Despite the distance, I am proud of the bloodline that connects our lineage. Yes, I had thought about giving him a call at the office; the potential thought of discussing public relation approaches with my second cousin sounded kind of cool. But in lieu of the awkward telephone handoffs of explaining the family relation for a dozen or so times with federal agents, only to leave a message with a very capable civilian, I opted to put a few of my thoughts on this blog.

As a public relations practitioner for the past 24 years, what insight could I possibly someone who has “been there and done that” in the gauntlet of public opinion?

First, I’d give former FBI Director three quick recaps:

  • The New Yorker story and 60 minutes interview resulted in solid media coverage to share who you are as a person. This is key to creating credibility and likeability.
  • The multiple news announcements about the Clinton e-mail server could have been handled better. While I am convinced that in your mind you were doing the right thing, it came across as disjointed and politically motivated.
  • Conducting an overview briefing to discuss the process for the respective Flynn and Trump/Russia investigations would have helped to shape future media coverage and conversations without giving away any of the investigative findings.

Then I’d ask, “ok, what’s next for you?”  And follow some of these questions (which would surely spur other questions):

  1. What does a win look like? Why?
  2. Where do you want to be professionally three years from now?
  3. How do you want the news headlines to read six months from now, or a year (if you care)?
  4. Are there any pressing issues or public activities taking place within the next 48-72 hours? List them and explain how they might impact the responses to any of the first three questions.

Based on his answers, we’d develop message and a strategy. As a result of that conversation, some exclusive one on one media interviews would be proposed unique to print (New York Times), radio (Michael Smerconish) and television (60 minutes).

Last question that I would ask: tell me about Aunt Irene!

A Political Divide as Scenic as The Taos Gorge

In Reputation, Uncategorized on May 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm

TGG Taos GorgeThe divide in the Republican party is not quite as prominent as the Taos Gorge, but it is close.

In the headlines, the Republican split is playing itself out on the national level with the presidential primary.  On a state level the split has manifested itself with the election of a new national committeeman.

The 2016 Garrity Perception Survey tells a somewhat more in-depth story, highlighting a fundamental rift among New Mexico residents who consider themselves “somewhat conservative” or “conservative.”

The philosophical split surfaced as a part of a scientific, statewide, third party survey commissioned by The Garrity Group and conducted by Albuquerque’s Research & Polling.  The survey focused on gauging favorability of industries, trust of professions among other topics related to perceptions of government and business.  The demographic data, also known as the “cross-tabs” is where some of the disparities between those who consider themselves to be “somewhat conservative” or “conservative” surfaced.

Favorability of…

Somewhat Conservative

Conservative

Oil & Gas Industry

51%

79%

Solar & Wind Industry

55%

33%

National Banks

44%

35%

Public Schools

33%

47%

Medical System

39%

50%

State Universities

73%

60%

National Laboratories

62%

71%

Church & Religious Institutions

63%

82%

The above chart highlights disparities of greater than 10 percent between those who identify themselves as “somewhat conservative” or “conservative.”  The survey, conducted at the end of February 2016 has a 95 percent level of confidence.

The survey shows clear splits in favorability of the oil/gas, solar/wind and  church/religious institutions.  Come voting time, it will be interesting to know if these split ideologies will are reflected on the primary and general election ballot.

Finally, responses to the question “what do you feel causes more problems in government?” highlights an additional rift between the traditionally Republican factions. Those who identify themselves as somewhat conservative are more likely to blame problems in government on “elected officials who are not willing to compromise” opposed to conservatives who blame “elected officials who are not willing to stand up for their principles.”

What do you feel causes more problems in government?

Somewhat Conservative

Conservative

Elected Officials who are not willing to stand up for their principles

33%

50%

Elected officials who are not willing to compromise

48%

29%

Both

14%

17%

Don’t Know/Won’t Say

5%

4%

TGG Taos Gorge Bridge

One final insight on the split related to favorability of industries and institutions; in the areas of the greatest differences, those who identify themselves as “somewhat conservative” align more with registered Democrats than registered Republicans.

A copy of the topline results can be secured through http://garrityperceptionsurvey.com

Duran’s Sentence Provides #PR Opportunity

In Messaging, Reputation on December 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm

The sentencing phase of ex-New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran over campaign finance violations captured the attention of media, elected officials and key opinion leaders around our state.   It also captured the attention of The Garrity Group Public Relations team.

The sentence includes the things that often go with finance related crimes: restitution, fines and certain prohibitions. But this sentence, because the person is a statewide elected official, also includes a mandated submission of letters to the editor, public speeches and outreach to acknowledge her wrongdoing and to help others from going down the same path.

While the crime she is potentially guilty of committing (as of this writing there are some legal maneuvers that could vacate the sentence) pales in comparison to other elected officials, the District Court Judge handed down a sentence that is ripe with public relation opportunities to restore her reputation.

Discussions with our team, after the live television coverage ended, included the following observations for how ex-Secretary of State Dianna Duran could use the sentence to her benefit:

  • Use the letters to the editor to show remorse for the victims who donated to her campaign and to raise awareness about the issue of gaming addictions.
  • Use the public appearances to acknowledge her crime as a way to introduce solutions on how to keep this from happening to others by proposing changes to the laws she was charged to uphold (she is also a former State Senator).
  • After her rehabilitation, aligning with anti-gaming groups as a spokesperson
  • Start an affinity group to address the issues of rebuilding trust in government

The ingredients of rebuilding trust include clear, consistent and transparent information. Trust is an issue that has plagued State Government Officials.; according to the annual 2015 Garrity Perception Survey, only 20 percent of New Mexico residents trust State Government Officials. But the elephant in the room (and donkey, to be fair) is that nearly half of New Mexico residents distrust state government officials.

The proposed sentence handed down by District Court Judge Glenn Ellington to the ex-Secretary of State should be a rally cry for all elected officials to rebuild trust with the electorate by leveraging the same tactics to promote (and enact) meaningful change to win back trust of the residents and electorate.

GPS Trust of State Government Officials 2011 2015.001

Understanding the East (ern Part of New Mexico)

In Messaging, Reputation on April 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Roswell2Eastern New Mexico has a complex.

It is misunderstood and stereotyped by people who live along the Rio Grande corridor of central New Mexico.

Politically diverse, the 2012 Presidential election provided a significant wakeup call for Republicans.  Their votes, for Republican Mitt Romney, in the seven counties that border Texas were off-set in Santa Fe County, by Democrats who were voting for President Barak Obama.

Tourism in Eastern New Mexico is defined by Carlsbad Caverns and the UFO phenomenon.  But it is accented by the Norman & Vi Petty Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum and roadside attractions like the windmill farm in Portales.

Economically, the region relies upon agriculture, fossil fuels and renewable energy for jobs.  As a result, the region sees significant domestic and foreign immigrant traffic.  The area also has a strong federal and state government presence.

When we look at the 2012 Garrity Perception Survey, we learn a little bit about who residents trust, which industries are viewed as favorable as well as how Eastern New Mexico residents access news and information.

Residents living on the Eastern plains have a very favorable impression of the farm and ranch industry, organized religion and the oil and gas industry.  They favor local banks over national banks by a 2:1 margin, and have the same level of favorability in K-12, higher education and the solar/wind industry.

Blood is thicker than water as Eastern New Mexico residents trust family members twice as much as doctors, teachers or police officers. While Eastern residents access news and information in similar ways to those around New Mexico, they have a very low level of trust in journalists.

When it comes to New Mexico’s signature events, residents in Eastern New Mexico like the Balloon Fiesta at a rate that is three times higher than the annual UFO Festival that takes place in their own back yard.

The late and great Buddy Holly once said “I’m not trying to stump anybody… it’s the beauty of the language that I’m interested in.”  Perhaps, in a way, he was referring to Eastern New Mexico, where he recorded many of his “pop” hits.  Eastern New Mexico isn’t trying to stump anyone, it is just a unique place that can’t be easily placed in the New Mexico “box.”

Image from one of the original UFO themed marketing campaigns for the City of Roswell (circa 1997)