THE BLOG

Rebranding Conrad Black -- From Lord to Local?

08/17/2012 08:14 EDT | Updated 10/17/2012 05:12 EDT
HuffPost Canada

My dream client? Conrad Black -- the good Lord Black. LB as it were...

You fascinate me, your Lordship, that much is for sure and my ultimate professional challenge would be to be part of the LB Reputation Recovery dream team. Your personal brand has taken a bit of a beating lately, but I want you to know that there is hope for recovery, if you really want it badly.

The art of reputation recovery is very specialised and is practised by a good many PR folks -- the steps don't vary much from person to person. And, there is much need for this discipline these days what with the Anthony Weiners, John Edwards and Kristin Stewarts of the world!

Having served your time for fraud and pomposity, you deserve a shot at redemption in the media and public mindset. Whether or not you care is up to you, but I can only imagine that at some point soon, you will want to re-enter the private sector and one's partners generally like to be associated with those who's personal brands are at least somewhat scrubbed.

Or not. But, for arguments sake, let's say that you are game for a Rebrand and so, I will set out to formulate a reputation recovery strategy for you that will ease you back into public life. Three steps. that's it, three little steps.

First step -- take responsibility

Admit to the crime and own it from top to bottom. No, no, not the fraud bit -- we already know that you are guilty of that and for the most part, folks will forgive and forget that one after a short period of time.

The crime that I am referring to is the crime of insufferable pomposity in the first degree, with the added misdemeanour, second degree of "throwing Canada out with the bathwater" during your quest to become Lord Black of something or other.

Now, that's the real crime here and one that needs to be admitted to with full fanfare and a certain gravitas. "A la Tiger Woods" so to speak, with full media in attendance and no sign of Barbara please -- she has her own reputation recovery strategy to attend to -- that Vanity Fair photo of her, at your knee, gazing adoringly up at you is still a head scratcher in my books!

Perhaps if you take responsibility for your actions and offer an apology, Canadians might be inclined to give you your passport back for good -- I said MIGHT -- don't get ahead of yourself!

Step two -- restitution

In thinking this through, the one act that may have some effect on the public perception of your brand assets is a promise. A promise to speak (and write) in plain English from here on in. This showing off and using words that most people really can't make any sense of is silly LB -- it does not make you look smarter, it merely causes people to look at you and wonder how you got to be this strange.

Now, there is a time and place for erudite prose and conversation, but you take it to the max -- a therapist would have a field day with your mind. Smart yes, out of touch, also yes!

Step three -- repair

Much like a recovering alcoholic, you will need to spend some time in the weeds acually getting down with those ordinary Canadians that often wonder if you are actually a real guy or just an android with a very large language chip!

Three repair tasks should do it and you could be on your way.

1. Volunteer to mentor impressionable trustafarians at UCC on good business behaviour -- after all, you know what it is like to get turfed from there, perhaps you could set a good example and present yourself as the bad boy repented.

2. Teach ESL at an inner city school in Toronto -- didn't you work closely with your fellow inmates while in the big house to elevate their reading and writing skill sets? Give something back -- 'nuff said.

3. Do something worthwhile that benefits Canadian culture, enhances the quality of life here and demontrates that you have realised that throwing over this country for a Lordship was a self serving, selfish act -- after all, you have much to be grateful for, the least of which, is a place to actually come home to.

If, and only if, you manage to project some semblance of a person who actually cares for this country, Canadians might think that you deserve to carry a Canadian passport.

Reputation recovered. Brand equity somewhat restored. You'll have to keep working on that but this is great start!

Three steps -- simple really

Apologize.

Speak plain English from here on in.

Do something worthwhile with your life and for this country.

Well, that's all I got on the reputation recovery front, but trust me, it could work!