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13 Jan 2009

Crafting the corporate message - pessimistic optimism

Wayne Burns

The New York Times columnist David Brooks has been analysing the tone of language and messages from Barack Obama noting that he has become highly skilled in December and January in the art of 'pessimistic optimism'.

Pessimistic optimism involves communicating that things are very tough, and are likely to get tougher, but there is a way out, though it will be difficult, and all elements of the community will need to share the burden of recovery.

Pessimistic optimism can be a good tool for corporations and governments also.

Straight talking to stakeholders, including employees, about the difficulties of the economic crisis, but framing that with organisational sights set firmly on recovery, is not only realistic, but appeals also to the community's desire to be told the good, the bad and the ugly, but to know also that recovery will come.

Pessimistic optimism is indeed message management.

But rather than spin, this is the way it is in many companies, organisations, sectors, industries and economies. And this type of messaging is most likely also to best manage community confidence in companies, and the economy.

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