Denton Brand Reputations
Rick Perry is trying to communicate with Texas voters in the relatively liberal town of Denton. However, he did it across the street from democratic opponent Bill White’s headquarters, seemingly underestimating the passion of the liberal vote in the area. Perry needs to be careful not to alienate moderate voters in the North Texas area by bullying liberal voters.
Rick Perry would be better off trying to arrange an event at one of the college campuses in Denton. These speeches draw both students and older voters, and they generate a lot of buzz. It would provide Perry a scholastic platform to address liberal and conservative candidates without looking underhanded. This way, he could reach Bill White supporters who may be suspicious of Perry’s campaign tactics.
Less than 2 weeks after a suspect was acquitted in a gay-bashing assault that occurred on a busy Denton street in 2005, Mable Peabody’s was vandalized, robbed, and burned. It was ruled arson because of the multiple points the fire was started. The bar had opened in 1979 but closed for several years after.
Denton has been a pretty gay-friendly town. Many UNT students are attracted to the school for this reason. A gay hate crime was not only bad for the image of the bar, it was bad for the image of the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University. And hate crimes are bad for the image of the entire city.
There were two articles I found about the event. On one, comments were disabled, probably due to the controversial nature of the story. I would approach comments in this same way. It’s never fun to manage comments when making a biased post about anything involving politics, especially something that involved a hate crime.
When the bar reopened, the image of the hate crime stuck with the bar. Public relations could have been handled better when the event happened.
On the initial article from the incident in the Dallas Morning News, comments were allowed. If I had been the owner of the bar or working for the bar, I would have left uplifting comments on the page. I would have put together an anti-hate peace rally and advertised it on the article. There is always many ways to turn something negative into something positive. For one, the bar got a lot of attention. Adding positive media could have created a better image for the bar and attracted more patrons. I would have had everyone I knew leaving positive and affirming comments on the article, especially in case someone posted something negative. This way, people could see that there is more peace than violence.
Gay people have to worry about violence. Incoming gay students worry about the safety of the school they choose. If I were UNT or TWU, I would reply to the articles reminding future and current students of the positive programs for gay students and give expressions of safety and acceptance.
The University of North Texas recently fired head football coach Todd Dodge. Since then, there has been a never-ending amount of ridicule and disappointment campus wide, not with just Dodge but with the entire football department.
I think UNT has done a good job of handling the situation and the loss of one of the community’s most respectable members, but I don’t think they should have stopped there. While Dodge might not have been a good choice for our college football team, I don’t think UNT is looking elsewhere to find additional problems. I previously worked for the athletic department for four years (and under full disclosure) saw firsthand the entire athletic department and the people who run it. As a PR student and as a PR professional, I ask that UNT look at where they are distributing their money and size up the overpaid positions.
A new football stadium is great and a chance for a new football head coach is even better, but these people are right, let’s wait until our players are healthy, and in the mean time let’s do some in-house cleaning. We have a chance to become something great, and I believe people understand that – they are just tired of waiting around.