Monday, October 26, 2009

American Chamber of Commerce shows how NOT to handle the press and members

The American Chamber of Commerce has not been having a good time of late ... and below you will find the video to prove it.

First of all, they've taken a position on climate change that is at odds with a number of their bigger members. This has caused a fairly public stoush with some members including Apple (who resigned their board position and membership as a result of the issue). On October 9 the Enterprise IT website published "What's in a Membership?" talking about the chamber position and the issues being cause by their stance. In the meantime the chamber insisted that they were simply representing the views of their 3 million members.

Then on October 13 Mother Jones exposed the fact that the chambers' membership numbers were closer to 200,000 in The Numbers Game. Things weren't looking great.

By the next day the Mother Jones reported that the US Chamber Reduced Numbers 90% immediately following publication of the article - despite not making any comment to address the allegations. While an argument could be made to say that the chamber represented the local chambers and their members, this argument was damaged when local chamber members were quoted saying that the American Chamber doesn't represent their interests and they have no membership connection with them.

Then, to top off an amazingly bad run, corporate pranksters "The Yes Men" held a fake newsconference where they claimed to be from the American Chamber. In that news conference they announced that their stance on climate change had changed. However halfway through that newsconference someone from the chamber runs into the room. This is all captured on video. What I find astounding is the way in which the American Chamber representative handles the situation. In terms of the guy impersonating the chamber he doesn't do too badly. But he lets himself down at the end when reporters start asking for his card - and he refuses to hand out cards until they tell him where they are from. Did he intend refusing a card to a media outlet that he doesn't like? Click here to read the article. Click here to watch the video.

Wow ... this organisation seriously needs an intervention! Or at least some training on how to better manage the media and communications with stakeholders!

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