Today I saw David Cameron on the evening news, criticising comedian Jimmy Carr for not paying as much tax as he should. I don’t have much sympathy for Jimmy Carr.
I actually believe in paying tax. It might hurt when I see my payslip, but I appreciate schools, ‘free’ healthcare, the police etc.
So tax avoidance is not high on my list of virtues.
But the real story here is not Jimmy Carr. The real story is tax avoidance.
Reading through a global FMCG brand’s social media crisis communications guidelines this week I noted first that this mighty tome ran to 30 odd pages. Next that practically every other page exhorted the reader to ‘be real’.
In the old days of PR, before social, we media trained our executives to stay on message. We drafted up soundbites that pithily encapsulated our corporate story. We drilled the classic Paxman-facing-politician’s techniques of ‘managing’ a question, bridging back to the core point they wanted to deliver, no matter what the question (or how often they were asked it). “Of course you’re right that XYZ is important but not as important as the key corporate message I need to deliver here,” etc.