Jul 24 2011
When the soap operas start getting a tad boring on the telly, one can always tap into developments at the KWV. Once an icon of the South African wine industry, the companyΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s brand has been wrecked by a recent series of boardroom squabbles and shareholder posturing. The latest turn of events saw CEO Thys Loubser abruptly cleaning his desk and leaving office last Friday afternoon.
This not uneventful occurrence once again showed one of the KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s main problems Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ poor communication.
The KWVΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s communication department did not see it fit to communicate the surprising Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║resignationΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ and hasty departure of its high-profile executive who had been doing quite a good job in managing a more focused approach to the KWV wine brand. But media calls to head-office about LoubserΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s departure were treated with disdainful silence and that typical fob-off approach.
The companyΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s Johannesburg-based PR agency did not even seem to know who Loubser was, never mind the fact that he had resigned. A promise to Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║get back to youΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ five days ago has still not materialised.
If media feel done-in by the paucity of communication skill and will, imagine what the poor shareholders must experience on an on-going basis?
It is quite offensive to treat media Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ and the public to whom it communicates – like this seeing the generally positive attitude hacks showed towards HCI and new chairman Marcel Golding when they fended off the Pioneer GroupΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s ambitions to take control of the KWV a few months ago.
Now when answers to tricky questions are sought the media are suddenly deemed as pesky?
The problem with all this is that the reputation of the KWV brand covers both corporate and production spheres. Refusing to communicate on a corporate level and in the same breath attempting to generate media coverage on its products is like asking the captain of a sinking ship to promote the benefits of sea-travel.
But the Merlot’s not bad, mind you.