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Introduction This article provides a primer on basic public relations and both internal and external communications strategy for wholesaler-distributors We review key elements of an effective communications strategy and discuss best practices that can be used by both large and small distributors The bottom line All distributors should have a strategy to preserve investor supplier and employee confidence Publicly traded distributors need to go farther and build a professional corporate communications department to deal with all external and internal stakeholders Trying economic times and shaken investor confidence demands wholesale distribution executives communicate effectively to preserve credibility Corporate and personal reputations are under siege and the era of the beloved rock-star CEO may have ended Financial accounting scandals shareholder lawsuits and questionable industry practices abound Sadly the wholesale distribution industry has not been immune from these stories Allegations of channel stuffing misrepresenting financial performance and the bankruptcies of dozens of failed roll-ups are just a few stories to grace the headlines in recent months In some cases whom you supply or partner with may also drag you kicking and screaming into the limelight While many allegations have yet to be proven in a court of law the court of public opinion has reached its final verdict The fall-out is affecting private companies too A recent Gallup poll found that only 44 percent of all US employees believe their corporate leaders are doing what is best for their employees Whos minding your message Effective communications means more than just spin you put out to the press Your corporate communications must reflect genuine actions practices and commitment to ethics The old adage of public relations still rings true today You cant polish BS It only makes a bigger mess The acts of an organization coupled with the interpretation of those acts by the public forms the opinion of your company Your communications program is integrally important in helping to shape the opinions of your key audiences and
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