LPGA - Effective Communications, Ineffectively Communicated

It's ironic that a policy called "Effective Communications" should have been communicated so ineffectively by an organization like the LPGA.

Little more than a week after news first broke of the penalties attached to what came to be known as the "LPGA's English only" policy, those penalties have been rescinded. Today LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens issued a statement that promised, "a revised approach, absent playing penalties, by the end of 2008".

So the discussion continues, with some applauding the decision to rescind, while others suggest that criticism of the policy may have been to swift and too severe. Sadly, there's little doubt that the reputation of the LPGA has been damaged, particularly for new, occasional and international fans. I heard from dozens of these fans, loud and clear on the social networking sites, and they were stunned, confused and/or disgusted by the whole mess.

As I said in the beginning, this monumental mess, is essentially about PR & Communications...or lack thereof. Internally and externally, the Effective Communications policy seems to have been crafted and communicated ineffectively,insensitively, all levels, thus disenchanting not only fans, but also players, sponsors and media outlets. This is all the more frustrating because the mission of the policy was actually so positive. A win/win/win conceived to empower players, please sponsors and boost the marketability of tour ...was ultimately seen as an exclusionary, sponsor suck-up by a self interested organization. A textbook case of Public Relations mismanagement.

The silver lining of course, would be a reevaluation of PR & Communications at the LPGA, because I don't think anyone can deny that in the case of the Effective Communication's policy there was an epic fail.

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