For the last six months, I have had one of the most difficult assignments of my PR career. We were commissioned to get PR for RELM Wireless, a land mobile radio manufacturer. The radios are used by first responders: EMS, fire, police.
RELM is a 65-year old public company that only manufactures in the U.S. All of its competition manufactures offshore. Everything about the company is American: its products, its quality control, its manufacturing facilities, its company offices. RELM has excellent quality and is extremely competitively priced.
Does anyone care? We are all screaming that we need more jobs in the United States and our own government is giving foreign companies the contracts for LMRs. These are the radios that first responders use to protect all of us from terrorists, fires, and disastrous events. Just the other day, the U.S. State Department gave a $50 million order to Kenwood. When RELM asked why they chose Kenwood instead of them, the answer was “Oh, we have been doing business with them for years.”
Our client became unglued. The CEO of RELM wrote a very aggressive letter to the State Department ridiculing their out-of-touch, out-of-date business practices. No answer. I tried to get the story in the press about how we all say we need more jobs in America, yet our own government hands over the $50 million order to an Asian company. So far, very little coverage.
It all comes down to bureaucracy. No one wants to make a change. If predecessors at government agencies bought Asian, the new buyers want to do the same. It all sounds so ridiculous, but that is exactly what happens.
How do you feel about this? Shed some light.