macdonald (1)

Make no mistake about it -- Robert MacDonald, the President's choice to head the Veteran's Affairs department -- is a marketing expert.

While the announcement of his appointment plays up the fact than MacDonald graduated from West Point (no small accomplishment) it doesn't exactly give as much attention to the fact that he served only 3 years (1975-1978) in the military before going to the University of Utah to get his MBA.

But an MBA is good, right?  It would be useful to have a businessman trying to fix the problems of the VA.

It would -- if his business experience was relevant.  MacDonald was an executive at Proctor  Gamble.  While it would be useful to have an executive with experience in insurance or health care, MacDonald's core experience is with the business of P&G.

What business is P&G in?  MARKETING.

While P&G is a large corporation with a lot of product lines, these are mostly commodity products.  Many of them are repackaged versions of other products with no formula difference (a product sold as a laundry detergent can be also sold as a floor cleaner).  What allows you do differentiate?  MARKETING.

So it appears what the President believes the problem at the VA is doesn't come to organization or providing services to America's military Veterans.  The problem is one of MARKETING and messages. 

In other words, it's a PR problem.

So don't expect substantive changes at the VA.  Expect better spin.

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