When the Nobel committee announced winners of its prize for economics this year, people were left scratching their head. Aren’t Nobel Prizes supposed to honor advancement in our knowledge of how things really work? To get us closer to the Truth?
Doesn’t seem so. Which speaks volumes about how we perceive and interact with the world.
Two of the three winners are polar opposites. Eugene Fama of the conservative Chicago School preaches that asset markets are always rational because buyers and sellers weigh all available information all the time. Robert Shiller of Yale teaches the antithesis: That markets are driven by psychology and emotions, resulting in “irrational exuberance.”
It’s no different with economics than it is with politics, religion or social issues. Ultimately everything you believe traces to a single root: Your fundamental worldview. People embrace what supports their beliefs and reject anything else as flawed. “Facts” are skewed to support desired goals.
Take any hot-button issue. For instance, the recent federal government shutdown. Who was to blame? Depends on your politics. Enormous energy was expended to point fingers and sway public opinion, but it was only noise to reassure those who already agreed. The question was never really open for discussion.
Some issues are fuzzier. An executive accused of skimming funds. Or sexually harassing a subordinate. A legal fight between businesses. A labor dispute. A government agency investigating alleged wrongdoing, or itself being investigated for allegedly bungling its duties.
This is where Crisis & Reputation Management has the greatest impact and can do the most to color perception.
At the end of the day, there is no Truth with a capital “T.” There is only perception. Whether it’s favorable depends on the story that’s most plausible and that you’re most comfortable with.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Los Angeles-based public relations firm that specializes in high-stakes Crisis & Reputation Management. If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog Insights on High-Stakes PR. You can reach Roger Gillott directly at 310-826-8696.