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Know the five rhetorics to repair your public image

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10 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


  • Currently the scandals go viral and, like a snowball, increase in size at an unusual speed.
  • If you are guilty and people believe you are innocent, you will continue to be considered innocent: the people preferred Barabbas to Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Professor Benoit identified five strategies: denial, avoidance of responsibility, reduction of the offense, corrective action, and mortification.

Rare is the day when a scandal doesn’t appear on the news and we think the world is going to get worse. With or without reason, the reputations of organizations and public figures are in doubt and harshly judged. Fortunately, there is no shortage of communication experts to help with image crises. And, although technology has changed, the basis of his advice has been maintained for years.

Halfway between rhetoric and persuasive narrative, today I present a classification developed by Professor William M. Benoit in 1997. His article ” Image Repair Discourse and Crisis Communication ” is still valid. In fact, the SCOPUS database says 550 subsequent scholarly articles took it as a reference. Plus, just watch the news to find out that those arguments still work.

Do you want to help a politician accused of corruption?

I’m going to be mean and ironic. I’m going to make up a hypothetical case to illustrate my point. Imagine a public figure who is accused of having benefited from something that did not belong to him. For example: committing a traffic offense, getting vaccinated against COVID before its time, evading taxes or handwriting a contract to a family member.

It does not matter if the fact of which he is accused is true or not. The important thing is that a newspaper discovers and publishes the news. A few later, the story jumps to television and internet portals. And soon, networks like Twitter or Reddit are already viralizing the scandal.

Something that you must take into account in this case is that social perception is as or more important than reality itself . That means that, unfortunately, if you are guilty and people believe you are innocent, you will still be considered innocent. The reverse: if you are innocent, but people believe you guilty, you will be seen as such. That’s how it was all his life: the people preferred Barabbas over Jesus (Gospel of Saint John, 18:40).

So our defendant – legitimately or not – summons the press to give explanations. How can we help you clean up your image?

Image: Depositphotos.com.

The five arguments

Professor Benoit studied those who obtained the best communication results after an image crisis and published a list of five discursive strategies: denial, avoidance of responsibility, reduction of the offense, corrective action and mortification.

It does not matter if you are a soccer player, director of a multinational, mayor or public personality: if you have to justify yourself in the face of a scandal, these strategies can help you:

1. Denial . It is the most elementary form. But, to add depth to the analysis, we will say that it has two versions:

  • Simple denial: the person denies the fact completely. For example: ” the accusation is false, because I never exceeded the speed with my car” .
  • Transfer of blame: where responsibility is transferred to another. To summarize: ” if what they say is true, I did not go: my cousin was driving .”

2. The evasion of responsibility . It’s a slightly more sophisticated argument. Here the fact is not denied, but the responsibility of the person is. Benoit defined four modalities:

  • Provocation: the accused admits his relationship with the offensive act, but not by his own will, but by an external factor that “caused” that relationship. For example: “ Yes, I was vaccinated against COVID (ahead of time), but I was visiting a hospital and the doctors told me that they had extra vaccines that were going to spoil. And, of course, I listened to the doctors ”.
  • Lack of information: the person acknowledges having participated in the offense, but hides behind the lack of prior knowledge. For example: ” Yes, it is true that there was a secret bank account in a foreign country, but I inherited it from my grandmother and did not know of its existence until she died.”
  • Accident: The person admits to having made the mistake, but hides himself in a setback beyond his control. For example: “It is true that aid was granted to my cousin’s company, but it was due to an accident when I clicked a button on the computer …”.
  • Good intention: the person admits participation in the onerous act but appeals to good faith. For example: “ I admit that I was wrong. I believed that COVID was a bad passenger and did not take steps to force people to wear masks. I am sorry for the thousands of deaths, but do not look for bad intention in my decision ”.

3. The reduction of the offense . This strategy aims to downplay the consequences of a negative act. The person does not deny the fact or his participation in it, but wants to dissolve the perception of negativity. It is equivalent to “ there is no such thing as” and it has six variants:

  • Reaffirmation of positive attributes: the person reinforces the positive feelings that the public may have about him, and thus makes the bad feelings more acceptable. For example: “ I know that I have disappointed you today, but you know that up to now I have had more successes than mistakes. Give me a new chance and I will not let you down ” .
  • Minimization: similar to the previous one, here we try to reduce the impact of negative feelings. For example: “it is true that in my government there has been corruption, but thanks to the fact that we have discovered it in time we will prevent the problem from growing. You can be calm ”.
  • Differentiation: the person places the act of which he is accused in the context of other acts that could be worse. For example: “I admit that I did wrong, but think that the ruler before me did even worse things.”
  • Significance: the accused person tries to create a frame (or frame ) that places the offensive act in a broader and more favorable context. For example: “the concession of public works to the company of my first cousin was intended to create employment and wealth for the benefit of the whole country.”
  • Attack on the accuser: already going on the offensive, the person tries to discredit his accuser, showing arguments that suggest the illegitimacy of the complaint. For example: ” this journalist, and his newspaper, have always criticized us because they are at the service of my political enemies … What else can they say about me, if it is not evil?”
  • Compensation: the defendant focuses his speech on presenting compensation for the act committed, but does not give greater importance to the act itself. For example: ” from tomorrow we will give free masks to everyone” , or “we will give to poor people all the money from the bank account that my grandmother left me in that country .”

4. Corrective actions . Linked to the previous strategy, here the accused agrees to correct the problem by restoring the status quo prior to the offense. It usually does this by establishing a corrective action plan, which you want to be evaluated afterwards. For example: “today we are going to create a clear law and a protocol so that, from now on, such a situation can never occur again .”

5. Mortification . It is the ultimate image strategy. The accused, whether or not he is at fault, takes responsibility for the offensive act and apologizes for it. In Japan and Germany, political officials involved in scandals are often held responsible for the events, whether they committed them or not. They resign. And then when there is a trial, they are proven innocent or guilty. In other countries, however, resignation is a very rare phenomenon.

Epilogue

They say that a falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest. I believe it. The fact that so many cases of corruption are known should not lead us to think of public life as a series of scandals. Fortunately, for every criminal, there are a hundred thousand decent people. Even in politics.

In addition, unlike other times, today we all have a profile on social networks and what we say, even without thinking, has its impact. So today the scandals go viral and, like a snowball, grow in size at an unusual speed. This is why William Benoit’s studies are so useful. Whether it is the cheater or the one who is not guilty of anything, everyone has the right to the presumption of innocence.

Finally, be clear that Benoit did not invent those strategies, nor did he propose them to justify corruption. He only took note of what the best did. And trust me, his work helps more to unmask than to hide hoaxes.

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Gifts for mom: 4 ideas that you can buy from WhatsApp for this May 10

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Why not give him a different gift and at the same time support Mexican entrepreneurs who make local products?


3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.


This Monday, May 10, we celebrate Mother’s Day in various Latin American countries and, as every year, it is time to think of a gift that can make the celebration different for Mom and remind her how much you love her.

Why not give him a different gift and at the same time support Mexican entrepreneurs who make local products? WhatsApp gave us some recommendations for you to consent to the queen of your house.

1. Choose something for your personal care

Image: MyCoffee Box via Instagram

We have all turned to flowers for Mother’s Day, but this year we will live again on May 10 amid restrictions due to the health emergency due to COVID-19. That is why you can choose to give mom a different gift so that she can pamper herself at home. For example, the Panalli brand offers products made from honey. On their website you can find everything from skin care kits to scented candles. On the other hand, the Mexican brand MyCoffee Box , offers organic coffee scrubs with a touch of honey and grapefruit to renew the skin.

Get to know the catalog of both businesses through WhatsApp Business:

2. Something that is useful and stylish

Image: Tashi Cerámica via Instagram

Crafts Think about the style that Mom uses both to dress and to decorate her house. Cheél is a brand of reusable fabric bags, while Tashi Cerámica offers handicrafts in a wide variety of colors, designs and shapes.

Check their WhatsApp offers here:

3. Surprise her without spending

Image: Depositphotos.com

We know that financial circumstances this year are still complex, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell Mom how much you love her. You can congratulate him with the WhatsApp tools with photos and videos.

To do it you must:

  1. Select the chat
  2. Click on the camera icon
  3. Select a photo from your gallery or take one right now
  4. Once you are comfortable with the image, use the icons at the top of the screen to add emojis or stickers, text, and use the stylus to make free strokes.

Use your imagination and support local businesses to remind the woman who saw you grow up how much you love her and thank her for her effort.


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Tesla vs. Geely: Which Electric Vehicle Manufacturer is a Better Buy?

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4 min read


This story originally appeared on StockNews

The electric vehicle industry is growing at a rapid pace and as such is attracting the entrance of established manufacturers, such as the China-based Geely (GELYY). But are these new entrants in general, and Geely specifically, be able to threaten Tesla’s (TSLA) leadership position?.

One of the hottest industries in which to invest currently is electric vehicles (EVs). As the globe inches towards clean energy production and consumption, companies within the EV space are  poised to grow at an accelerating pace. 

While 2020 was a breakthrough year for EV stocks, several EV companies have underperformed the market this year, allowing investors to buy growth stocks at more attractive valuations.

Here we compare two popular EV stocks. One is a market leader, Tesla (TSLA), and the other is Geely (GELYY), a company that is domiciled in the country with the world’s largest  EV market—China.

Click here to checkout our Electric Vehicle Industry Report for 2021

Let’s see which stock is a better EV buy right now:

Tesla continues to surprise Wall Street

In the first quarter, Tesla sales were up 74% year over year, driven primarily by a  109% increase  in vehicle deliveries. Its net income also surged to record highs on the back of regulatory credits.

In Q1, Tesla increased deliveries of its low-cost Model 3 and Y by an impressive 140% year over year to 182,338 units. However, deliveries of its  higher-priced Model S and X vehicles were down 83%, at 2,030 units,  in Q1 because Tesla put the production of these vehicles on hold and aims to launch newer versions of the models in coming months.

Tesla reported $438 million in  net income, or $0.93 per share, in the first quarter. This  included a $101 million gain associated with its  sale of Bitcoin. It also reported $518 million in sales of regulatory credits. Tesla bought $1.5 billion worth of digital assets in the quarter. Absent the  above-referenced sales, Tesla would have reported a $181 million loss in  Q1.

Tesla has pumped in $1.35 billion in capital expenditures and began construction in two new factories in Berlin and Texas. Once these projects are complete the company should benefit from positive free cash flows over time.

Even though  Tesla continues to use   unconventional methods to boost  its bottom-line, it remains one of the best stocks in the EV sector. It is on track to increase its vehicle deliveries by more than  50% year over year in 2021. The company’s management also confirmed it has sufficient liquidity to fund its expansion plans without having to raise additional capital.

Geely stock is down 42% from 52-week highs

An investment holding company, Geely operates as an automobile manufacturer in China. It develops , produces, markets, and sells automobiles and  automobile parts and related components. Geely manufacturers sedans, wagons, and sport utility cars.

Geely is an established  automobile manufacturer that  is now eyeing the  lucrative EV space. Earlier this year, China’s tech giant Baidu disclosed that it will partner with Geely Automobiles to manufacture smart EVs. Baidu will provide intelligent driving capabilities while Geely will leverage its design and manufacturing expertise.

But while Tesla is growing its top line at an enviable pace, Geely has seen its sales decline to RMB 92 billion in 2020 from RMB 106.59 billion in 2018. Its EBITDA has also fallen, to RMB 11.83 billion in this period from RMB 17.24 billion.  And Geely’s EBITDA margin has fallen to 12.8% in 2020  from 16.2% in 2018.Geely has attributed the sales decline to China’s weak passenger vehicle market. While its sales volume was down 10% year over year in 2019, it fell by another 6% in 2020. This is in-part why its stock is trading 42% below its 52-week high.

The final takeaway

While Tesla is the largest EV manufacturer in the world, Geely is still trying to gain a foothold in this nascent industry. In terms of valuation, Tesla is trading at a far higher multiple than  Geely. For example, Tesla’s trailing price to sales multiple stands at 20.5x, while Geely is valued at less than two times trailing sales.

But Tesla’s robust revenue forecast and expanding profit margins can support this lofty valuation, making it a better investment bet right now.


TSLA shares . Year-to-date, TSLA has declined -5.97%, versus a 12.45% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


About the Author: Aditya Raghunath

Aditya Raghunath is a financial journalist who writes about business, public equities, and personal finance. His work has been published on several digital platforms in the U.S. and Canada, including The Motley Fool, Finscreener, and Market Realist.

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The post Tesla vs. Geely: Which Electric Vehicle Manufacturer is a Better Buy? appeared first on StockNews.com

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Former Olympic Boxer Felix Verdejo-Sanchez Arrested for Kidnapping and Killing Pregnant Woman

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“I commend our partners in the FBI, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice for their dedicated and tireless efforts that led to the charges and arrest of the defendant,” said United States Attorney Muldrow in a written statement. “We will continue working towards the ending of gender-based violence, and we offer our deepest condolences to the family of the victim.”

Verdejo-Sanchez was arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging him with: (1) kidnapping resulting in death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1201; (2) carjacking resulting in death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2119(3); and (3) intentionally killing an unborn child, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1841, also known as the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004” or “Laci and Conner’s Law.” The penalties for the kidnapping and carjacking statutes include life in prison or the death penalty, and life in prison for the intentional killing of an unborn child.

“Puerto Rico mourns Keishla Rodríguez’s death. Our deepest condolences to her family and friends. The Puerto Rico Police Bureau and the federal agencies have worked long hours collaborating as a team to solve this cold murder expeditiously. Our police officers’ dedication, passion, and experience were essential in solving this murder in 48 hours. It demonstrates how the collaboration of efforts is essential for our public safety. We’ll keep on working together and we will seek justice for Keishla,” said Alexis Torres, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

“I congratulate the policemen, prosecutors, and forensic sciences personnel, who, as a single team, tirelessly and with the greatest of commitments, put their hearts to solve Keishla’s case in an agile and precise way. Our commitment to her family, from day one, was to do justice to Keishla and we have already begun to do so,” said Antonio López, Puerto Rico Police Bureau Commissioner.


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