Tom Garrity

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The Garrity Perception Survey 2018

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2018 at 8:22 pm

GPS_Cover_FanIntroduction

In 1997, The Garrity Group embarked on its a journey to be a firm that shares its trusted public relation skills and unique New Mexico insights generously with its clients.

In 2011, the firm stepped up its offering pursuing thought leadership through our annual Garrity Perception Survey.

Over the past seven years’ the firm has commissioned Albuquerque-based Research & Polling to conduct the annual survey.

Each year, survey participants are interviewed by telephone (both landlines and cell phones) in the February/March timeframe. The scientific, statewide survey uses the current United States Census as its guide, to ensure there is no “over” or “under representation” of geographic or demographic populations. Each year, the survey features responses of approximately 405 New Mexico residents, consistently providing a 95 percent level of confidence.

As you will see on the printed version of this year’s overview, The cover of the 2018 Garrity Perception Survey features the iconic bridge crossing of the Rio Grande.2018 GPS Cover

Whether you are driving north on Highway 68 watching the gorge reveal itself, rafting on the Rio Grande, fishing the confluence with the Red River or reflecting from the bridge, there is something for everyone here.

The Taos Gorge represents a great divide in New Mexico, appropriate of our seven year look at how “different” residents view issues in our state.  Many of these differences are based in large part on their location, demographics and position in life. These unique perspectives shape how residents view industries, professions and consume media.

We will be exploring all three of those areas as well as how “news of the day” shapes perceptions of New Mexico industries and professions.  We will also take a look at how resident access news and information has changed, or not, over the past seven years.  The results may surprise you.

Overview – Providing Perspective on Perception

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.17.24 PMMy Sophomore year in high school marked a final venture in scouting. One of the things I tried to do during my final years in Troup 685 was celestial navigation. Separate from daylight or clouds, I’ve learned it is quite simple as long as you find the North Star.  Two of the easiest ways to find that beacon is by using aspects of the Big Dipper or Cassiopeia constellations.  Roaming the “hill country” of Texas, I was thankful for a clear night sky and a guide who helped me find those key Stars.

There are some similarities with the Garrity Perception Survey. Each year of the survey provides a snapshot in time showing who residents “trust” and revealing “favored” industries (think of those single stars). Connect those data points over seven years (2011 through 2017) and you can identify a baseline and as well as possible trends (a constellation). Add insight about how current events impact their responses and you have a basis of understanding “perception” (North Star).

The 2018 Garrity Perception Survey will highlight some of the seven-year trends for “favorability” of industries/institutions, “trust” of people/professions and how New Mexico residents get “news and information”. Specifically, we will focus on trends in the energy, education, healthcare, legal and media arenas.  We hope you will enjoy this new form of “celestial navigation” with us!

How We Use the Garrity Perception Survey

Providing insight and a voice for Fortune 500 companies that have a presence in New Mexico, The Garrity Group uses the data to demonstrate how New Mexico is not a “one size fits all” state.

For example, how residents in Northwest New Mexico view the oil and gas industry varies differently than those in the North Central part of the state. We use the information with our “instate” clients as a basis for understanding the best way to approach unique communities throughout the Land of Enchantment.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.17.52 PM

The Garrity Group (R to L: Lucia, Andie, Gayle, Amanda, Tom)

In the rapidly changing news industry, we use the information to shape our earned media plan. For example, if you want to use digital media to inform those who are favorable towards media, you will want to focus first on social media and then on bloggers.  If you are trying to decide whether print or radio is the best option to reach Farm & Ranch Industry advocates, the research skews toward newspaper. And if you are trying to chart ways to reach millennials, you will want to focus on “niche” digital campaigns.

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

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Crankshaft

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2018 at 5:10 pm

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My dad enjoys reading the newspaper.  It is part of his morning ritual.

Thumbing through the news of the day he heads to the sports page. Soon there after he will grouse about the success or failure of his Notre Dame Irish and whichever Houston sports franchise is playing.

Then, he gets quiet.  Occasionally a chuckle, other times outright laughter.  He reads through the comics like a bookie studies a racing form.  The frames of humorous wisdom helps dad make sense of the world.

IMG_8228Once, a long time ago, after I graduated from TCU. I commented about the Crankshaft cartoons. According to Wikipedia, “Crankshaft is an eponymous comic strip about an elderly, curmudgeonly school bus driver which debuted on June 8, 1987.”

I must have been an early adopter because I’ve been reading the comic strip since 1987.  But, I’ve never purchased a newspaper with Crankshaft on its pages.  My dad, remembering the comic strip comment has made saving the daily muse a part of his morning ritual.

As a result, whenever I head to Houston to visit, I have a stack of comic strips to catch up IMG_8226on when I get back to Albuquerque.

Funny, I let my dad know that he didn’t need to clip those out for me.  Gosh, it has been 20 years now?  He says he doesn’t mind.

And now in my later years, I “get it.” Clipping the comics provides a way for him to connect with me each day, even though I am not in his immediate presence.

Today, I went through another collection of Crankshaft comics.  A stack that was procured during my last trip to Houston.

He wasn’t with me in Albuquerque, but I could sure hear his laugh as I read through the comics.

Swim Bike & Sling

In Life, Uncategorized on August 8, 2017 at 11:42 pm

Spoiler alert! Despite how the finishing photo looked, my recent Ironman 70.3 Boulder triathlon ended with a finish and a personal best time for that distance when I raced in the 2016 Toughman event in New Mexico.

The fact I could even get close to a personal best with only 41 days of training and an unstable shoulder for most of the 13.1-mile run are two of many positive takeaways from a long day on a beautiful course!

FullSizeRender 6

via Elli Martindale

The first three hundred yards of the swim was from buoy to buoy. Having difficulty catching my breath among the other 50-something age group swimmers, I let the pack thin out and finally regained composure to salvage a decent swim. The final 400 yards of the swim was filled with my brain calling out orders to the rest of the body how transitioning from swimming to standing to walking is supposed to take place. Getting out of the water, I did my best impersonation of an evolutionary tetrapod. No falling.

FullSizeRender 5The 56-mile bike effort was the best of the three disciplines. My brief training for this aspect of the race, paid off. The course was “fast”, which I really do not understand because there were points where I felt anything but fast. My time was nearly 30 minutes faster than my last race at this distance. It was fun flying by other cyclists on the downhill segments.

Then there was the run.

Throughout training, my transition to the run was the weakest element.  For the race, I set low expectations and failed to meet the minimum standards.  Yes, it was a $#!& Show that was about to go into hyper-drive in the wrong direction.

To understand what happens next, you need to know a little bit about my family medical history. Here is a recap:

  • Brother – three shoulder surgeries
  • Sister – three shoulder surgeries
  • Me – two shoulder surgeries

At mile two, my foot tripped on something and I staggered my step, some would call it a trip without a fall. The jarring nature of the event caused my shoulder to become unstable and the socket and rising out of the right socket only to capture a nerve and other things on its way back into place.  How did it feel? Think of hitting your funny bone and the sensation resonating throughout your entire arm. Welcome to my world.

It turns out the running action was causing my elbow to drop, pulling my shoulder nearly out of socket. For the next five miles I adapted by clutching my shirt, below the collar. It helped temporarily but caused some to think I might be having a heart attack or other medical event. Not so good. Then at mile eight, I hailed a motorcycle medic and explained what was happening with the shoulder. The medic fashioned a triangle bandage into a sling and wrapped it tight to stabilize my elbow. Relief. It worked! I could now run with confidence, and I did.

FullSizeRender 3About three miles from the finish it occurred to me that a new personal best might be within reach. The 2016 Toughman time to beat was 6:57:19. Honestly, I did not remember the time, only thought it was about 6:56 and change. My final time was 6:57:08, something I did not fully realize until putting this blog together.

Time to go celebrate #Cheers!

May 2017

In Life, Uncategorized on June 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm

If you have a bucket list item of traveling to all seven continents in one month, I will try to discourage you. Today, it is June 1, 2017 and I am at my home in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. The month of May 2017 was a whirlwind of travel that had me on the road more than at home.

Spending time with the Worldcom Public Relations Group at our Annual General Meeting started off my travel with five days in Hong Kong. It was my first time visiting the islands of Kowloon and Hong Kong, second time in Asia.

ProfessiTG HongKongonally, the networking and conversations exceeded expectations. It took the form of exploring parts of the city from the longest series of escalators in the world to betting on horses at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Personally, I was able to get in a few runs through Kowloon and look to the skyline each night at 8:10 when the horizon lit up with a lazer light show on Hong Kong Island.

The food… well, let me just say there General Tso’s Chicken isn’t on the menu. But, every part of the chicken is available for consumption. The sweet and savory is more my speed. It was a great culinary experience.

Then it was off to Seattle for the annual Counselors Academy Spring ConfeTG Seattlerence. Having chaired the event many years ago in Key West provided the opportunity to lead the organization this calendar year. The area’s food and coffee were on par with the programming of this year’s event (the reading list derived from this event is quite impressive, more in a future post). I was able to get in some nice runs around the area (always a great way to explore and acclimate) and finished up the event at the iconic Space Needle for dinner.

After a bTG Irelandrief reset, it was off on a personal trip to Ireland with my two daughters. It was my first time there. Flew in and out of Dublin, spent nearly all of our time on the west coast. We meandered from Killarney to Newport, seeing the sights on and off the beaten path. While there were so many personal highlight of this trip, I shared those stories to provide business insight from my visit to the Guinness Storehouse factory.
When Arthur Guinness started the brewery in 1759, he signed a 9,000 year lease the four acre factory site at the St. James Gate, in Dublin. The business decision of signing a long (LONG)-term lease for a start-up company would be laughed at today. However, the leadership, persistence, excellence and commitment to bring the “Guinness” vision to life is nothing short of impressive and awe-inspiring.

TG GuinnessAlso, in the “for what it is worth” department, here is information about the status of the 9,000 year lease via Wikipedia:The 9,000-year lease signed in 1759 was for a 4 acre brewery site. Today, the brewery covers over 50 acres, which grew up over the past 200 years around the original 4 acre site. The 1759 lease is no longer valid as the Company purchased the lands outright many years ago.

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!

Navigating the Conservative Divide

In Messaging, Uncategorized on March 27, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Foothills

The congressional stalemate over repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the inauguration of the American Health Care Act should not have come as a surprise if perspectives of New Mexico conservatives were taken into consideration.

The increasing split among traditional “republican” institutions like the oil and gas industry or the church and religious organizations are testament to the changing tide of conservatives, akin to Moses’ parting of the Red Sea.

This split, identified in the 2016 Garrity Perception Survey, served not only as a precursor of the national presidential election but also as a guide for what is playing out during the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

While I touched on some of these splits in this May 2016 blog post “A Political Divide as Scenic as the Taos Gorge” , it is important to revisit some of the key items that have surfaced and will surface in some form or fashion.

Medical System – Conservatives are more favorable than those who identify themselves as “somewhat conservative” (SW/C).  Interestingly, according to this quantitative study, liberals and conservatives are aligned in one group just as moderates and somewhat conservatives are aligned.  Insight: National healthcare policy should play to the middle if politicians want to win popular opinion.

Solar/Wind – Conservatives are not favorable toward renewable energy; only 37 percent of residents are favorable toward the industry.  This is in stark contrast to those who identify themselves as SW/C, 55 percent of whom are favorable toward the solar and wind industry. That 18 point divide is significant.  Also, the SW/C and moderates are more aligned than those right of center. Insight: The Trump Administration’s unraveling of the Obama Administration’s Clean Energy Plan should focus on the political middle ground of those favorable toward the solar and wind industry if there is desire of winning public approval.

Church/Religious Institutions – The 19 percentage point split between conservatives (82 percent) and SW/C (63 percent) should be a red flare for how some social issues and belief systems are perceived by New Mexico residents.  Recently, the Catholic Church, under its new papal leadership, has been reaching more towards the middle ground on some hot button language; even if it has just been in its message and tone.  In contrast, some other belief groups have been pushing more to the fringe.  Insight: Public opinion over current and future Republican Supreme Court Nominees, and their ability to successfully navigate the confirmation process, will need to find a way to mimic the tone being exhibited by the Catholic Church when trying to reach the middle ground.

These are interesting times, indeed.  While research provides only a snapshot in time, the glimpse can help elected and appointed officials navigate difficult terrain.

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

Understanding New Mexico’s Trust Deficit in our Legal System

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2015 at 4:51 am

The slaying of Rio Rancho Police Officer Gregg Benner has generated significant criticism of the courts and justice system. Based on media reports, and admissions by various agencies, the suspect, Andrew Romero, slipped through and took advantage of “the system” to go on his crime spree, which resulted in the death of Officer Benner.

Public outrage toward the entities responsible for Romero’s release is intense. Flaws throughout the system all seemed to manifest in this one case. There were apparent issues with crime scene evidence, a judge was reportedly on leave for a time, the district attorney lacked experience, and the driver for a halfway house never showed up to pick up Romero.

Since 2011, New Mexico residents have been losing trust in judges, police officers, and lawyers, as well as losing favor with the courts and justice system. According to the Garrity Perception Survey, a scientific report conducted by Research & Polling, nearly all of the professions and institutions connected to the justice system have also seen an increase in distrust and unfavorable perceptions.

New Mexico residents’ favorability of the courts and justice system has dropped two points to 34 percent (2011-2015). During that same timeframe, the percentage of residents with an unfavorable perception has increased four points to 33 percent. Police officers, although gaining a lot of the trust lost in previous years, has seen trust slip by a point since 2011 to 54 percent; however, dis-trust among New Mexico residents has increased seven points to 26 percent in 2015. One of the largest increases of distrust among all professions surveyed.

Based on the research, only one of the institutions or professions are favored or trusted by New Mexico residents (meaning they failed to pass the 50 percent mark).

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, “when a company is distrusted, 57 percent of people will believe negative information after hearing it just one or two times. Conversely, when companies are trusted, 51 percent of people believe positive information about the company after hearing it just one or two times.”

It will take increased transparency coupled with an explanation of how “the system” operates for the courts and justice system to stem the tide of unfavorable perceptions and increased dis-trust among New Mexico residents. Often, providing insight about why things are the way they are provides peace of mind and starts to neutralize negativity.

CU Gibberish

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

Ol MacDonald Credit Union

When picking up a race packet for a weekend 10K, I noticed a variety of things. A nice pen/stylus with the name of the event sponsor, a map of the course as well as promotions for a local restaurant and health club. Oh, there was also a brochure for Kasasa.

Kasa what?

Evidently, this is a trend for banks and credit unions. Instead of increasing relevance the old fashioned way by earning the customer’s trust, at least 230 credit unions across the United States (according to the ABQJournal) decided it would be best to confuse their customer by changing their institutions’ names to made up words.

What is a made up word? It is the letter version of “word salad”, gibberish. The kind of word that is not allowed in “Words with Friends.“

This article in The Financial Brand outlines a few of the gibberish heros. Comstar changed their name to an anagram of money, NYMEO. Another was Wynadotte FCU (which is one of the more challenging to spell) that changed to NuPath.

Recently, a credit union I use, changed their name from New Mexico Educators FCU to NUSENDA Credit Union. I first heard about the change through twitter then called my commercial banker to find out what the name change was all about. Was it a merger or acquisition? Are there any new services or member benefits? Does it mean that new branches are going to open near me? Is the artificial sweetener Splenda at play? Or was it a computer hack and all a bad dream?

The answer, “it was just a name change.” Really? A name change brought to us by the same industry that took years to depart from neck ties to open collared shirts because it was concerned the move might be seen as “radical” decides to change their name to a made up word?

It was either a so-called “branding expert” or a focus group gone wild that resulted in names like Kasasa, Nusenda and Nymeo.

Here is some free advice for any CEO considering a name change to either a made up or existing word: first focus on improving customer service and increasing relevance to your community. If things don’t turn around change your name or sell the business.

Will New Mexico’s Empty Churches Go on Sale?

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2015 at 6:17 pm

An article in the Wall Street Journal this morning caught my attention and held it (yes sometimes I am a headline scanner): Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale.

The article by Naftali Bendavid provided insight on the flight of worshipers, resulting in the closure of churches around Europe.

Here is one paragraph from the story that jumped out to me: The Church of England closes about 20 churches a year. Roughly 200 Danish churches have been deemed nonviable or underused. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has shut about 515 churches in the past decade.

The article is worth a read; the paragraph doesn’t do it justice. A copy of the full article is here (subscription required): http://www.wsj.com/articles/europes-empty-churches-go-on-sale-1420245359

The article ends with a quote from an overseer of a vacant church: “But there are not worshipers anymore.”

The article prompted me to see how the favorability of church/organized religion and trust of religious leaders are faring in the eyes of New Mexico residents. Those are two of the institutions and professions tracked annually in the Garrity Perception Survey.

Based on third party surveys of New Mexico residents, with a 95 percent confidence level, the church/organized religion and religious leaders have pause for concern.

In 2011, 69 percent of New Mexico residents had a favorable view of the “Church or Organized Religion.” That is a good thing for those attached to the institution. Since then, it has all been downhill. According to the 2014 survey, only 59 percent of residents are favorable toward the “Church or Organized Religion.” A drop of 10 percent.

Meanwhile trust of “Pastors, Priests or Other Religious Leaders.” Has seen an even larger decline than favorability of the Church.

In 2011, 67 percent of New Mexico residents trusted “Pastors, Priests or Other Religious Leaders.” In 2014, that number is 52 percent. New Mexico residents’ trust of religious leaders has dropped 15 percent over the last four years.

Breaking down the four year numbers by region reveals that residents Southwest (-23%) and North Central (-21%) are losing trust of “Pastors, Priests or Other Religious Leaders” at a faster rate than those in other parts of New Mexico.

What does all of this mean? New Mexico religions institutions need to heed what is happening overseas and find ways to be relevant or face a possible similar fate as their brethren Europe.