Friday, May 12, 2006

Edelman and his Bloggers

Here are some of the bloggers that Edelman has hired. Three of them have PR experience and one of them is just a famous (infamous?) conservative blogger.

Mike Krempasky

Sorry, I didn't mean to leave out Erin Caldwell (Now she doesn't need to shop at Wal-Mart anymore)

Steve Rubel

Phil Gomes

Guillaume du Gardier

Ol Guillaume and Steve were two of the first commenters on Richard Edelman's first blog post. Steve even threw in a link to his PR blog (something that many bloggers find to be not so cool). Jeremy Pepper got into the sucking up too. Is that how you get jobs in the PR industry? Just kidding guys, going against a huge retailer is one thing, but you want to keep on the good side of the largest independent PR firm in the world.

Mr. Edelman says What do we hope to achieve together? In short, we want to persuade our corporate clients to commit to the blogosphere.

I guess that's probably how 'Working Families for Wal-Mart' got started. Mr. Edelman seems to be a firm believer that blogs are the future of the PR business. Edelman even has his own blog with a comment section here (BTW, I also believe the farmer and the cowman should be friends). From reading Mr. Edelman's blog, he seems to be an ethical person, so maybe the PR business is just misunderstood. And, reading the blog of the CEO of a major company is interesting.

Mr. Edelman believes in the power of the 'average person' as a trusted source of information about a company. Thus the need for a 'grass roots' organization like Working Families for Wal-Mart.

For a real grassroots pro-Wal-Mart website go here. Oh wait, you can't - Wal-Mart shut that website down (you can decide for yourself whether Wal-Mart played a role in shutting down 'AlwaysLowPrices' or not).

Mr. Edelman writes The average person like me is demanding a seat at the table, the true democratization of the purchasing process. Smart companies will recognize that ceding control is a central aspect in earning trust.

Mr. Edelman also believes that The need is for companies to do more than sell products. They must be responsible employers, assure that their supply chains reflect best practice in environment and put ethical behavior at top of list for executives. Hopefully that also includes treating their employees ethically.

I don't know which of these guys is the one that visits this little blog a few times a week (4 times today so far). I'd suggest that maybe a couple of you guys visit our little village to see how a 121,000 sq ft Wal-Mart Supercenter might fit into our community.

Thanks for the corrections MK.

Wal-Mart Suppliers Encouraged to Join WFFW

Wal-Mart started it's own 'grassroots' advocacy group called "Working Families for Wal-Mart" a few months ago. Now it appears it is 'encouraging' it's suppliers to join the organization.

As a result of the close relationship between the company and the Working Families for Wal-Mart, some current and former suppliers say, the advocacy group's membership drive amounts to Wal-Mart's leaning on its suppliers to help burnish the company's image — a request many said would be hard to turn down, given the company's importance to their business.

...Wal-Mart has helped with the recruitment of its suppliers by Working Families for Wal-Mart, even distributing a letter to thousands of suppliers, ostensibly from the group, that began "Wal-Mart is under attack and Wal-Mart and Sam's Club suppliers have the power to do something about it and help protect their businesses."

Another executive, who sits on the board of several Wal-Mart suppliers, said that given Wal-Mart's size, a company faces "implicit pressure to join" the group if asked. The executive spoke only after receiving anonymity, saying he was not authorized to speak publicly about Wal-Mart.

Of course Wal-Mart denies any ties between a supplier joining Working Families for Wal-Mart and it's ability to do business with Wal-Mart. One member of the national steering committee for WFFW claims not to know if Wal-Mart provided any start-up funds for the organization.

Also involved with WFFW is Terry Nelson, a middleman in the money-laundering indictment involving former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the supervisor of convicted felon James Tobin of the 2002 New Hampshire phone jamming scandal and senior advisor to John McCain.

Wal-Mart's answer to a poor public image is to hire, Edelman, the largest public relations firm in the world.

Edelman has reportedly set up a 'war room' to deal with Wal-Mart's poor public relations. Edelman is very upfront about enlisting pro-Wal-Mart bloggers as means of improving Wal-Mart's image.

Let me get the disclosure out of the way. Edelman is the PR firm working with bloggers as part of a Wal-Mart corporate image campaign. Edelman is transparent about its relationship with Wal-Mart in our communications to bloggers. It's clear who we represent.

I wonder if Terry Nelson or Richard Edelman shop at Wal-Mart?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why We Should Get a Wal-Mart by Randolf Stanley

In todays ADE an open letter to the mayor and village board of Saranac Lake and the residents of the Tri-Lakes by Randolf Stanley (Or please help me to become a millionaire).

How odd that Mr. Stanley supports having a Wal-Mart locate to Saranac Lake. Mr. Stanley, owner of bankrupt Stanley Chevrolet, believes he offers a level of credibility to my observations and opinions on this subject. Afterall, it's not like he will get a few million dollars from Wal-Mart for his property....oh wait...yes he will.

(1) Forty years ago the village made a mistake by not by not keeping municipal electricity, thus the village board always makes terrible decisions. Does that mean if the village board helps Wal-Mart build on your property it will be another terrible decision?

(2) Transportation. No other retailer will come to SL because only Wal-Mart has a 'delivery loop' with stores in Ti, Plattsburgh, Malone, Canton-Potsdam and Saranac Lake. Oh wait, they don't have stores in Malone, Canton-Potsdam and Saranac Lake.

(3) Downtown location. A downtown location won't work. Besides if they build in downtown SL I won't get my millions.

(4) Wal-Mart is willing to invest 'millions' in SL. Having a Wal-Mart will provide the money to build a parking structure in the downtown area, although who will there be to park in it?

(5) Location, location. Look at how poorly the 'Industrial Park' in Lake Clear has done. Let the businessmen decide where to build. Besides, I still want my millions of dollars.

PS I lost my business because people shopped out of town.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

When is Losing a Win?

Easy. When you are the 2nd worse company in America. Of course it's no where near an 'official' poll, but the readers of the 'Consumerist' think that Halliburton is the worse company in America. Wal-Mart comes in 2nd (or 3rd). Wal-Mart vs Target was 1529 v 85.