Private Sector Takes On Public Diplomacy

As the US slips in international opinion polls, some private sector imagemakers think its time to bolster Washington's public diplomacy efforts, PR Week's Douglas Quenqua reports. "Keith Reinhard, chairman of Omnicom ad firm DDB Worldwide, announced the formation of the Task Force to Mobilize American Business for Public Diplomacy, a collection of marketing and PR experts who've come together to help American corporations improve America's image in foreign lands." Reinhard's initial research showed that "the world overwhelmingly shares the same four negative perceptions about US companies: they exploit workers; they're a corrupting influence, promoting values that are in conflict with local customs; they're grossly insensitive and arrogant; and the practice hyper-consumerism, increasing profits it the only priority." "I looked at the data and I said, 'They're talking about companies and brands that mean business to me. ... All these big multinational companies, these are our clients,'" Reinhard told PR Week. "Our own company gets 61% of our revenue from outside the US. So I thought we could organize and address some of these perceptions."