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What if all this show of Putin's disappearance was anything but botched? What if this mess was exactly what he wanted it to be, a useful distraction from a series of other issues he would rather we not pay as much attention to, like the mysterious murder of his primary opposition critic just outside the Kremlin walls? In other words, careful what you wish for people. In the final analysis, we may still be witnessing the end of Vladimir Putin. Alternatively, it may simply be Putin's wag the dog communications strategy.
LeBron's masterful handling of his return to Cleveland offers a case study in public relations far beyond sports. The lesson is simple: humility is powerful. For successful business leaders, being humble doesn't always come naturally. And it isn't a quality that you can easily fake, and those who try and fail get punished even more.
Beijing 2008 is a case study on how to leverage hosting an Olympics to redefine a nation's image. By all accounts, China earned marketing gold. Russia would be lucky to finish the race at this point. From a communications perspective, it seems clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin is more interested in using the Sochi games to solidify his brand inside Russia rather than engaging with the world. His constant and unbridled attacks against Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LBGT) rights are certainly aimed at a Russian audience. So far he is not showing any remorse at alienating himself from the rest of the world.
The fact is, bad stuff happens. Today, more than ever, the general public does not immediately judge a person or a company when things go sideways. However, they WILL and DO judge the response. Rob Ford is a real time case study on how to take a bad situation and make it a million times worse.