San Miguel’s name is safe
NO ONE has to teach San Miguel Corp. about reputation management.
As a leading manufacturing firm and a prestigious name in many overseas markets, San Miguel knows a great deal about how to protect one’s name and turf. Public relations practitioners in the country acknowledge the company as a pioneer of many of the PR practices that are considered as models for the Philippine and international contexts.
Despite an occasional wrinkle in the public domain that was readily addressed and solved, the company’s reputation remains rock solid.
That’s why this recent incident involving the volatile Petron Blaze import Renaldo Balkman, is just one of those things that happens in sports.
San Miguel announced that it wanted to reevaluate its participation in the league given the incident and the subsequent fine and ban imposed by PBA commissioner Chito Salud.
Balkman, no matter how reckless his hardcourt antics were chasing referees and choking teammate Arwind Santos in that losing battle against Alaska, will not overturn what San Miguel has invested in through the years.
There is a horrifying feel when a curious fan unspools the video clip on YouTube, but the whole incident happens in a sporting event where tempers can come unglued and where competitive fires can run amok.
When viewed by hundreds, a PR person can find this damaging but should know that this is a sports contest which cannot be managed like an unfurling communications plan.
This does not justify Balkman’s actions which were horrible bad examples not only for the young audience segment but the entire PBA viewing spectrum.
Commissioner Salud did the right thing to fine Balkman and subsequently ban him. Balkman just had a fuse that, when lit, would ignite his bad basketball side.
This is perhaps similar to the NBA player once known as Ron Artest, who now plays for the Lakers as Metta World Peace (notice how the American sportscasters are respectful of players names that they don’t even dare mess around with Artest’s new name?).
World Peace had a history of anger outbursts, including one that involved fans in the stands. He has settled in of late and has not had any major flare-up.
Balkman had a history of losing it in different leagues over time and this helped form Salud’s eventual decision.
San Miguel Corp., which has Petron, Ginebra and San Mig Coffee in the PBA, will remain unscathed in the long run.
Other PBA teams have had difficult imports in the past like ballhogs, nocturnal avengers, crybabies and head cases but these could not shackle the corporations of the league and the PBA itself.
San Miguel Corp. and the PBA will stay together for a long time. Their reputations are secure and are so much a part of Pinoy life.
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