President Trump Provides a Learning Moment For the Alcohol Beverage Industry
Duplicity. Hypocrisy. Lying.
These are things of which every company, and certainly every beverage company, ought to try to avoid being accused.
The recent revelation that President Donald Trump told a reporter one thing about the COVID-19 threat to Americans and told the public another thing about the potential impact of COVID19 on Americans brings to light the importance of consistency in messaging that every beverage company ought to keep in mind.
Today, wineries, brewers, distillers, retailers, importers and wholesalers communicate far more frequently than they did just a decade ago. Whether in the form of social media communications, press releases, interviews, podcasts, emails or newsletters, beverage companies are consistently revealing their perspective and positions on any number of both mundane and important issues. Here’s the rule for business communications:
First, consistency in messaging is necessary no matter with whom you are communicating. A winery, for example, does not want to say one thing about the quality of a vintage to the media, while saying something different when communicating with customers. It’s not only confusing, but it’s also probably unethical. And in this day and age, unethical dispositions are likely to be called out in fairly quick fashion. And let’s go out on a limb here and suggest that unethical actions are bad for business.
Second, consistency in messaging makes your life easier and making life easier is a very good thing. Consistency in messaging, particularly consistency in messaging to different constituencies, means never having to spend time with justifications and it makes messaging a relatively simpler process. This is another way of reminding that it’s very difficult to keep track of lies.
Finally, the potential for ruining the trust a company may have built up with customers, media and partners when you are inconsistent in your messaging is great. If there is a more important currency than trust when it comes to doing business and particularly when it comes to selling, I don’t know what that currency looks like.
All of this advice probably seems very elementary and appears to be something that ought to go without saying. Being consistent in your messaging (ie: not lying) is something we all hopefully learn at a very young age.
But the recent revelation that President Trump lied to someone (a reporter or the American people) reveals that some folks need a refresher course on this basic principle.
On a final note, the recently uncovered inconsistencies in what President Trump told a reporter and what he told Americans is a reminder to us all that when you speak to the media you are also speaking to the public. If you aren’t willing to tell the public what you tell a reporter then you probably don’t have any business telling anything to either. In such cases, you are a liability to yourself, to the public, and to the media. I think we are about to be reminded that this sort of thing ends badly.