January 29, 2018
McCrory Ready to Reinvent His Brand
Sometimes politics is the pinnacle. Other times, you can reach the top of the political game and find an entirely new mountain to climb. Such is the case for former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
After one win in three tries for CEO of North Carolina, McCrory is tossing his hat into yet another ring, having launched 74Leadership Inc. and starting his own radio show in Charlotte. While no one is quite sure exactly what 74Leadership will be about, the idea that it will have something to do with leadership coaching is, apparently, not too far off.
And, given the controversy that comes with his current brand, it’s not too surprising he didn’t find the posh consulting jobs other former top politicians had when they left office. McCrory’s star is still a bit radioactive for some since he was the governor who signed the uber-controversial transgender bathroom law, a ruling which made national headlines and turned North Carolina into a litmus test for people on either side of the political spectrum.
Even many in North Carolina, especially businesses felt the law was unnecessary or went too far, and the ruling cost the state a good deal in revenue from brands pulling out over the controversy.
McCrory, for his own part, has put a positive spin on the “what will you do now” questions, saying he has “accepted several opportunities in business to do work that I’d done prior to becoming governor in consulting and advising…”
When pressed on that, McCrory also said he’s “exploring opportunities in academia, nonprofits, and government…” So, could yet another run for governor be in the cards, or is McCrory hoping to find his way into the House or Senate? No one is quite sure at this point of much but that the brand is still stinging from the political to-do over the bathroom bill.
No matter what he does next, McCrory has to do something to separate himself from that decision, regardless of how he personally feels about it. The issue is simply too politically radioactive for many businesses to want to touch.
Then there’s the other controversy that has dogged him and may have cost him the 2016 election. McCrory worked for nearly three decades at Duke Energy before running for governor the first time. And, on his watch, one of Duke’s coal ash ponds spilled into and contaminated the Dan River. NC residents may like their politicians conservative, but they like their rivers clean even more than that, and McCrory took a beating, narrowly losing his re-election bid to Roy Cooper.
So, what will McCrory really do and be next? The jury’s still out on that one, but his brand needs some tweaking, no matter what that might be.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.