With all negative news Detroit has received (and really, since 1967!) it is a wonder how any of us could have built a career or a business here in the Motor City. But we did.
Yes, Detroit has been a victim of the “kick-a-city-when-it’s-down” syndrome, and it may feel like bad things happen all the time here. But bad things happen to cities, communities and citizens everywhere. And they all generally survive, as I firmly believe will Detroit.
I began my working career around the time Detroit’s issue gained widespread attention in the late 1960s. Based on all the negative news the city and region received then and continue to now, to be a success, perhaps I should have moved to another city. Continue reading →
The following is a portion of Chapter 6, “My Stroh Years,” from my book. Stroh remains an iconic name in Detroit, and I had the good fortune to counsel the brand during its growth years. I highlight this particular selection as I feel it is important that, as a public relations professional, you must stand by your client and the community it serves through thick and thin. For many of you, this will be a revealing look into a lively tale of Detroit’s economic legacy, as well as the “why” and “how” of communicating news on behalf of a company in a responsible manner.
In 1985 the company closed its iconic Stroh brewing facility located in downtown Detroit near Interstate I-75 and Gratiot Avenue. This was a huge blow to the local economy and image of the Detroit community. The old brewing facility built in 1912 with some of the earliest buildings on the site dating to the 1860s was the most expensive brewing facility to operate in the country and was land-locked and could not expand. Our challenges at AMF, Inc. were:
To deliver the message that Stroh was not leaving Detroit or Michigan and would remain a major player and employer in Detroit for years to come, even though the plant was closing. The plant had been there since 1912 but the first cellars were located on the site in the early 1850s though the first Stroh brewery, then named Lion, was not completed until 1867 on the site. The brewery had been expanded many times over the years. But the facility had become the least efficient brewing plant of all brewing companies in the country. And the Stroh acquisitions had given them several newer and more efficient brewing facilities and lower production costs.
To minimize negative responses from business and government leaders and if possible, have these leaders say something positive about Stroh.
To communicate that The Stroh Brewery Company would do everything in its power to help workers find new career paths, if not another job.
In one planning meeting regarding the details of the plant closing, about twenty of us were sitting in the huge boardroom at Stroh with company officers, lawyers, investment counselors, and other senior consultants. I was the least important person in the room—I know I made the least money. They were talking about closing the plant on February 14, 1985. I got up my nerve to say… you can’t close it that day. They all looked at me like I was from outer space. What could this lowly public relations idiot be thinking… we are in charge… I could read this on their faces.
Friday is here, the weekend is near, and spring has sprung. What a great day! As you push yourselves to make this Friday the best yet of the work week, I wanted to take this opportunity to “THANK YOU!” for all of your kind words and support.
The book launch is a few shorts weeks away, and already I have received numerous comments and compliments from former clients and colleagues, friends and new followers. It feels wonderful to know that many of you want to know more about the book. With that in mind, here are answers to some of your recent questions:
When will the book be out, and where can I buy it? “The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business” is scheduled to go on sale on Amazon.com on (or shortly after) June 1. I will post, blog and tweet the Amazon link, believe you me!
Will the book be available for Kindle or in some other digital format? According to the publisher, a Kindle edition should be available on or around June 1, the same date the hardcopy launches. I will keep you posted as I learn more about this.
So, Mr. PR Guy, how else are you promoting your book? I already was fortunate enough to speak with Leadership Oakland last month. In the coming days, I will appear in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press, and also can be heard this Monday morning at 7:20 a.m. on Paul W. Smith‘s show on WJR/760-AM in Detroit. The continued media interest in the book is quite humbling! And, I will post links to audio and video whenever I can.
Are you on social media? In addition to this blog, “The Power of Ownership” has its own Facebook page. You can find me on Twitter as @JohnJBailey. More to come, and thanks for sharing, liking, retweeting, etc.!
How much is the book? The book will go on sale for $14.95 on Amazon. On or after June 1, as previously mentioned.
That’s all for now. Thank Goodness It’s Friday, and enjoy your weekends!