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The idea of scaling the business, I get it's about business - what minimizes cost while maximizing profits. That's why people want to buy an 'automation' solution, a one-time expenditure they can set and forget while counting the money that piles up. It does not exist.

Every enterprise will have moving parts of some kind. Every business endeavor or construct, it's gonna need resources, humans – salary sucking, lunch room stinking up, jamming the copier w/out fixing it humans - are the life blood of doing, of things getting done. 

Now I'll argue that PR is more than publicity and pitching; Public Relations is much more than persuasion and reputation and then turn around and TOTALLY agree with you while stating it (sometimes) doesn't matter. I can put my mind to its best use, come up with fantabulous ideas and execute to a tee - been there done that and am revamping my career to do something else. 

Why? If what I do doesn't also serve in making a better widget, better service, better employees, a better business, I'm not doing my job. If TPTB only care about promotion, as quickly and cheaply as automation allows, if their end game is that news story or that blogger's impression or some 'like' on SM instead of the actual business or service that's being promoted, it's all for not. That's my mind, that's where I am and no, it cannot be done by programming and algorithms. This is where I refer everyone to Despair's raison d'etre: aka when it can be automated, we're all out of jobs. FWIW. 

6 days, 8 hours ago on The Art of Persuasion, or PR, Cannot Be Automated


my comment was really long, and really gobbled up. grrr...

I liked the 'bliss' filter - it's what I do when I curate experiences for others (I'm a go to for F&F on that kind of thing). Laughed when I got trips I'd never afford. I'm not the target demo, so it's hard to say. My biggest thoughts as a PR and a cruiser - a website won't make people like cruising; a great cruise experience will. 

And the other, my dislike of crowdsourcing bias towards the Ambassadors. I've been a TripAdvisor for a while, b/c I benefit from the other reviews, the community. (That typed, TA has asked and I've thought YES there should be greater rewards.. hard to do w/ such an extensive community.) Links for a non travel blogger, 'discounts' on 'sales' off of brochure rates no one ever pays.. not for me. IDK seems like your PR, marketing, content, SEO, SM .. that's a ton of real work from the community, for the site to reap all the benefit. FWIW. 

1 week ago on Building a New Kind of Cruise Community


Agreeing w/ other comments re: right set of tools, of goals and strategies and working the plan through checks and balances, adapting as needed. My biggest concern is that this limits what's being measured vis a vis what's on the other side of the equation. Even from a strictly 'marketing' standpoint, If all you're watching is the "sales funnel" you could miss out on the bigger picture. There is so much more to business that's what they make and market, so many other things that impact the bottom line than retaining customers and making sales. As you mention, it's looking for the true value of the returns, not just the stats and numbers. FWIW.

1 week, 5 days ago on Conversation @


Good points all, w/ big hat tips to @Howie Goldfarb and @KristenDaukas. This is something I discovered long ago and have written off to 'talking the talk' in the name of marketing, sales and/or the so icky to me 'personal branding.' It's all tell, zero show .. See to be seen, be at that conference, have that badge on the website, have that line on the resume. Doesn't matter that the 'book' you've 'authored' was self-published, unread junk .. you still promote yourself as such. This approach to social media, to PR and communications, to BUSINESS this 'always on, except we never really are' movement, it's reduced everything to appearances, transactions.

WYSIWYG that's an easy one, talking about perception. Of course I don't share everything, but what you do see, what is there - it's not programmed, it's not robotically blindly broadcast - it's very much me.

As to brands doing this - b/c some hack agency convinced them the 'need' to be 'on' social media b/c it's a 'broadcast channel' to 'sell sell SELL' ahem - saw a post the other day that annoyed the crap out of me. A 'reputable' SM authority suggesting that if you can't afford the time to do SM, outsource it to a firm that'll program updates for $100/month. Which is one of the many reasons I'm trying to shift my career to the side that gets true PR, that understands business runs on effective communications - not the mere perception of. FWIW. 

2 weeks, 3 days ago on The Dark Side of Social Media


I've had that happen to - writers and editors come back to me why a 'OUAT you mentioned X, do you still know?' type query, all starting w/ a good HARO pitch. It's media (and blogger) relations 101 and what HARO is about: HELP. If you have a legit story, something newsworthy to the media outlet's target audience, or a great expert that can speak on topic to the reporter's beat, by all means - pitch away. 

Another shelf life aspect that I like: data mining for ideas. Content, marketing, brand, hot trends .. reading the queries can help you w/ other media pitches, blog posts, much more. One thing I wish I did a better job of (I too filter/sort) is tracking after the pitch: did the story run? did they use my submission? If not, read to figure out why? FWIW.

3 weeks, 5 days ago on HARO: Good PR Pitches have a Long Shelf Life


One of my hats IS creative; best thing I bring to the table is balance and integration. Tips from personal, professional experience: 

-Taste levels will vary, so be sure that the 'creative' has access to and input from the final decision makers. It'll save a lot of edits and revamps and headaches. 

- Creatives work better when they're part of process, not merely executing deliverables. We can do more to achieve business, communications goals when we can create and design per audience, per medium, per message. 

- You mentioned respect, which is huge .. creatives do more than type clever words or photoshop a pretty poster. It's work, hard work. It's intellectual and time-consuming work. If you want something fast w/ zero feedback or direction, don't expect top quality; if you're not providing the resources, don't except something cheap. Keep expectations realistic. 

As to specifics, see also WOW Factor. FWIW. 

1 month ago on The PR Pro’s Guide to Working with Creatives


The rare time I'll share a link to my own post, b/c this is spot-on what I was trying to say. Many of the comments reference these 'shamings' in the face of mistakes when in fact no one is 'perfect.' And that's it: we expect perfection, feel justified in judging others.

Per some other comments - there's a big difference in discourse, discussion, disagree vs. bullying that's targeted, that's attacks for no reason other than to flame, ridicule like it's a blood sport. See also: YouTube comments. I can be critical, I can not like something - and say so - without it being unprofessional or bullying. As you say, there's a line we learn not to cross so if you think you feel it coming, slow down, back up and think again. 

As to the anonymity - great convo w/ you and @Danny Brown - I see both sides. I have a few 'handles' on some forum sites, FB G+ LI is all me. IDK this is a weird one; I'm much more likely to share something riskier on Twitter than FB, different audience different stickiness. But then I've also got my 'play' Twitter for the "off message" fun or anything controversial, which these days is almost anything. There's freedom there, to not be judged by others for watching too much TV vs working, for a certain viewpoint being a deal breaker for potential job. When everyone is watching and judging, little seems "safe." Probably why IG is all puppies, trees and food porn. FWIW. 

1 month ago on The Social Media Mob Needs to Go


"It’s technology, folks! It’s going to break and get fixed." That's so very true and a hard sell to many businesses on various budgets. And while I totally agree that we need to do a better job of educating clients about the necessity of such things - cough investment not expense cough - IDK if that's always practical. Guess I put this under the 'no one wants to know how X gets made' heading; clients want the reward, they want the upside and not get bogged down in details (esp. tech which they don't understand). Perhaps a better way is to show them the bounces, the sales carts left empty? or better, show the other rewards and benefits they will earn when they do.. that whole 'get what you pay for' thing?

Bookmarking these questions. And FWIW 'client insists on IE' is a red flag deal breaker for me. ;-)

1 month, 1 week ago on Why Responsive Design Is Marketing’s Greatest Challenge


I'll add two: based on the spam left unchecked in these comments, 1) not protecting your community. and per #5, 2) even if you don't make every update a sales pitch in disguise, if you limit your SM strategy to the sales/ROI equation, that leaves tremendous value on the table b/c it ignores so many other things SM can do to improve and build a brand. FWIW. 

1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @


@Shonali no worries, it takes me months sometimes to even publish anything! :-)

2 months, 1 week ago on Critical Thinking and Thinking Critically


@RobBiesenbach @Howie Goldfarb @ginidietrich Grree.. editing zapped my reply! Anyhoodle...

I read that piece, it's queued up in my buffer. I don't think there shouldn't be consequences. It's that some of these 'punishments' seem much harsher than the 'crimes,' in part, b/c it played out online. I've seen worse, sure you all have too - incompetence, poor judgment, offensive jokes - yet nothing comes of it. Why? Because it's management, leadership (or their favorites) and they just... get away with it. 

It's an easy out b/c it's true: everyone makes mistakes, even a career killing 'one bad tweet' or scathing internet comment. Trying to circle back to the post, guess it's something to keep in mind when dealing w/ critics. 

2 months, 1 week ago on Seven Steps to Dealing with Critics


For #5, I take you mean 'think twice before deleting posts.' Which - yeah! People will be 'negative' nothing is perfect or wonderful and TEHO will always, always apply. There are no absolutes and 'it depends' is NOT a copout. The CEO story pretty much nails it and exemplifies why social IS customer service, why HR is more than listing jobs on LinkedIN, why SM and FB need to be about SO much more than sales, marketing; and why all of this integrated communications IS Public Relations as I sing my favorite tune. 

This is part of a theme I've been considering a while now, all having to deal with judgement and opinions. We critique and criticize; we judge and misjudge; some troll, flame, insult and fuel the fire while others will rubberneck or just look away. It's human nature, often played out online and in social media for the world to see. It's one reason I've been less 'social' lately, trying to find a balance and temper my judge-y opinions. More than offering thoughts and ideas, I want to better answer the 'and? why does that matter? how does that happen?' questions. FWIW.

2 months, 1 week ago on Seven Steps to Dealing with Critics


Number 3 cracks me up b/c I remember The West Wing did several 'take out the trash' bits. Makes sense to wait until something else big is dominating the news cycle, if you're doing your 'due diligence' but really want to keep a lid on a negative story. And the Yelp thing.. there is something to be said about using your own product. It makes a point and FWIW people notice if your Coke rep drinks Pepsi. 

4 months, 3 weeks ago on 4 Creative PR Ideas for Crisis Communications


"here's a banal and tedious post about how we are all people and need rainbows and puppies and free ice cream in the world. we must do more, be better, while buying overpriced coffee and never actually considering the lives of those who clean our floors, serve our food and oh, is that MK bag on sale? ahem. remember we are the change of the channel we want to be in our world of me where I am the most open-minded, in touch with humanity person. Please do not share.. COPY AND PASTE this epically awesome update." FWIW, think you missed this one. :-)

4 months, 3 weeks ago on 27 Things You Should Never Post on Facebook. #15 Will Amaze You!


Yikes, LF just ate my comment. :-( To sum up: if calling is faster, easier, more effective – for me and them – then that's the way to go. It's really about what you're doing, why, the deadlines and particulars, if it's too complex or simple for a call vs. email; if it's got time to sit in the inbox or requires immediate approval. As always, it'll depend. FWIW.

5 months, 1 week ago on Is the phone call completely dead in PR?


Depends on who you're calling, what for and why. FWIW:

- Media: I've had success pitching writers when I've gotten them on the phone, had something worth sharing. Per @AlisonKenney sometimes you call, leave messages – worth sharing, on their beat – but you get nada. 

- Clients and other trade partners, it's a little different. Small business clients, some of mine are off doing/running the business, so no time to talk. They only manage to get to emails late or super early in the morning. Other times, the calls are very helpful, yet then things get missed or the client doesn't remember where things were left. So I still find myself emailing to summarize, make sure what I heard is what was discussed. Even then it's the nature of the project; if it's significant wording changes or design edits that require client approval, I require that be in writing so I'm covered. 

- Situations. There are opportunities that can't wait for email or projects on deadline. Sometimes all you need is a quick answer, so a call may be better; other times the details are too complex to explain via email. IDK m not that much a caller, mostly b/c of the time so that's my rule of thumb: what's gonna be the clearest, most effective and most efficient? 

5 months, 1 week ago on Is the phone call completely dead in PR?


Gonna save this one Danny .. for future blog and my ideas of 'proofs' in business. Was just at Gini's blog on this, saw this link. 

I'm not a cab customer, never used Uber and based on the negative stories I've read, won't. I'm also not a big NFL fan, though I do cheer for college football and believe you me -- the NCAA has it's fair share of horror stories, ethical lapses and the like. 

The proofs - marketing proof, crisis proof, etc. - it's an idea that if ever I write a PR, Communications .. ahem, Business book .. this would be the second one. ;-) 

No seriously the idea that location can trump bad service, that size and scale can trump social injustices, that price and convenience can cover other sins. You've nailed it - we rationalize our choices and decisions and it is all about the WHY and WIIFM. 

We say one thing 'oh this place is always so slow' but our actions speak louder, ergo 'always' coming back anyway. We don't give up what we enjoy b/c we don't want to judge the whole based on a 'few' rotten apples. We rant and rave and unlike.. but divesting our portfolios, that's something else isn't it? 

I'm as guilty as the next. I should probably pay closer attention to who makes my toilet paper and what dark, twisted political or nefarious social enterprises they support w/ my money. Alas.. I don't care enough to look, there's nothing much in it for me so I bought the Sam's brand. It was cheaper. FWIW. 

5 months, 1 week ago on When Does Convenience of Service Overcome Lack of Ethics?


Gonna tip my hat to @TaraFriedlundGeissinger - this is a media hyped "PR problem" in part b/c it's a media driven story; this 'collab economy' start up being a 'media darling' kind of brand. See also: I'm not a cab user, why I've never understood the hype around Uber. 

That typed. People who don't truly understand public relations - insert my pro integration, communications means business ramble here  - they see the bad business being portrayed in the news and think bad press equals 'bad PR.' Wrong. In a way it reminds me a bit of the Tinder lawsuit, of other brands that have gotten into a pickle then turned to PR and social media to get them out of it. It's become part of every cover letter I send, something along the lines of: "I'm PR and social media and branding. The job isn't about fixing bad reviews or a better Facebook page; it's about building a better brand, making X a better company."

You're exactly right, this is not PR. It's culture, it's leadership, it's bad business. For all the buzz and hype I've read about this company, as much or more has been the poor ways they treat their employees and drivers, bad service stories and the like. This latest shows how dangerous it is and how far, wide, deep and high this culture problem goes in the company. As you say, good PR strategy – even IF they'd listen to it – won't fix that; being a better business, top to bottom, is that only thing that will.  FWIW. 

5 months, 1 week ago on The Uber Issues Cannot Be Fixed by PR


I tweeted the universe my permission to smack me upside the head with a pan or heavy object should I ever consider applying for a position w/ guru or ninja in the job listing. ;-) I get the job titles are a web of code speak and what not for establishing a pecking order of function and salary. The reality is they do a poor job of defining and describing what we do, so yeah the desire to embellish and stand out -- that I get. I just don't want to use this kind of hyperbolic buzz words either. FWIW.

5 months, 1 week ago on Guru, ninja or wizard. Are all tech and social media people Dumbledores?


You have a PLAN for the result of the meeting. You send the agenda (#2) in advance, so that everyone shows up one time (TY!) and prepared to WORK. You define the goal for the outcome of the meeting - we're looking at this, reviewing and discussing, then making a decision. Meetings should be about doing and getting done, achieving an actual outcome vs. just inching towards some intangible progress. FWIW.

6 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @


Gonna make that appointment with myself Gini, to go through some of these full-bodied cabernet style trainings to hone my skills. It's not a matter of insights, as consultants we all wear an 'analyst' hat at some point; it's really a case of learning it better to get faster (and yes you're right.. when you get good, things change). 

The need for speed - that's part market driven as we have to be able to adjust, adapt, improvise at a much quicker pace these days. And in terms of small business, speed is born from necessity aka limited time, budget. Downstream the comments nailed it about how if you don't measure you waste time and money and yet so many businesses, big and esp. small, don't commit the time and resources to it. FWIW.

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Analytics Resources and Data for Communications Pros


I knew TweetDeck had those filters, didn't know about the Chrome extension.. will have to check that out. The best way is to stay off line, to not search or discuss. Even then, it's hard especially if it's one of the few blockbuster water cooler things -- i.e. a show as popular as Game of Thrones, even radio and news aren't safe it seems almost everyone is chatting latest developments. 

And yes, in our binge watch and catch up world, there is debate over what's 'spoiler' or not, everything from leaking book vs show plot points to casting notices. IDK I guess my thing is .. if a movie is in theaters, spoiler; if it's book vs show, don't post it w/out warning; but if it's a past season of a show, I'm w/ you -- that's 'watch at your own risk' and anything you discover isn't a spoiler. FWIW.

6 months, 2 weeks ago on 6 tips to avoid social media spoilers during the Fall TV season.


I needs to do more of this.. big all caps HIRE ME kinds of things. That is all. :-)

6 months, 3 weeks ago on It’s Planning Season! Plan to Work With Us!


It's the open door, the non threat that can make it work.. employees feel freer, have casual (productive) conversations. It's not the tool, it's that a 'social' mode of comms is better. What happens to often is that the bigger the organization, the more closed those doors are. There's so much communication going on TPTB make the mistake of making it all too formal via incident actions and memos and TPS reports. All those layers, all that bureaucratic structure doesn't just close doors - it closes minds. People keep their issues and concerns, and more tellingly their good ideas, to themselves .. until they move on to a better job at a more open company. FWIW.

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Social Media for Internal Communications


Interesting and I agree. Per comments by @Howie Goldfarb @ClayMorgan and everyone else, you can't be a one-trick pony, not in any profession. Perhaps why I wear a minimum of 3 hats on any given day? ;-) 

I also kind of flip things around. We have to adapt.. and so do others. I've spent a lot of time learning and learning; know I need convince others of that, that I know more and that PR can do more, that INTEGRATED (thank you TY for that) communications is good biz. 

Alongside learning there's teaching. I need to learn how to teach, how to be more patient - which is a tall task for me when dealing with poor communicators on the other side of the table. Technology challenged, digitally naive and narrow minded in terms of brand and business, hard to teach outside the walls of tunnel vision that has eyes on one prize. No hard guess, it's 'sales for our premium priced New Coke, NOW.' 

So there, teaching and patience two other tricks to add to the bag. FWIW. 

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Three Skills Every Communicator Must Have


@Frank_Strong heh.. no the shock was supposed to be about the human answering an 800 support line, I set the joke up wrong. my bad. :-)

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Good Customer Service is Good Marketing


Long ago in a blog post I never finished, I wrote about the 'Watch ABC' app and it had a help button with an 800 number. I called .. a live human answered and talked like a person, sans script and helped me out.  I'll wait and let you recover from the shock. ;-)

Wrote a similar story about a local restaurant who messed up the right way. There was a commitment there, from the server to the chef you just don't see or feel elsewhere. I'm convinced it's not about being a small business or global superpower and market share and buzz; lots of businesses have good products, competitive prices, good locations, great service. It's about PR and a culture of doing more, being better – for your customers and investors, your service teams and employees, your community. FWIW.

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Good Customer Service is Good Marketing


Who's doing the asking - that's very different. Like others, I'll make time for a student doing research or a real friend needing guidance, as often they're the ones I turn to when I need a 2nd opinion. And that is where I draw the line, build a wall and say no. Someone who doesn't respect that, doesn't value that? I was just saying the other day, a real friend would never ask for value, time, expertise - esp. that which they'll then use to make money - for nothing. That's not a friend, just a bad not-for-me client. 

"Your time is yours. Your time is valuable. Don’t be guilted into not valuing it." So true - and I'll push it further so to consider the quantity of time AND more importantly, the quality. 

Something I've realized - a la that oft quoted Forbes piece - my brain is always ON. Someone can't afford this big name or that name, well guess what? I'm not them but unlike the brain picker, I've done my homework I've read those people and many others, I know what I know. When not working billable hours, I work very hard to develop my brain, my skills, my expertise. What that means - EVERY call or meeting with me, virtually all emails I write amount to brain pickings. There's a treasure trove of insights and ideas there, almost always. Doesn't matter if it takes me only 20 minutes to come up with THE idea, that is the value. 

It's about time I revisit my 'coffee consult' rules again .. this is a good reminder, thanks. FWIW. 

7 months ago on Dear Amy: The #SMEtiquette of Brain-Picking


"Post less, respond more." THIS! I've never understood the logic of 'you must blog or post daily' when it's almost always paired with 'I don't have time to respond.' It takes minutes to see who RT'd you during the day, type one TY reply. It's a gift, someone taking the time to give a meaningful comment - it shouldn't be ignored. Back before social was 'social media' one of the first lessons I learned: if you're going to ask for someone else's time and attention, give them the courtesy and respect of yours.

Then there's the GOLD you mention, what you learn when you actually pay attention to what someone posts. More than who's following or liking, sometimes digging into the comments opens up all new ways of seeing and thinking about your biz, your brand. Obvious catch: that's something that can't be automated, it'll take an analytical human - but for the gold, could be worth it. FWIW. 

7 months, 1 week ago on The Importance of REALLY Reading Social Media Comments


Not sure what it is but when you share these kind of stories, I feel the uncontrollable urge to confess all. So without further ado:

- I too started at 30, not because I wanted to but b/c I had to as I'd been fired (skips rant) and I couldn't find a job. Knowing what I know now, I would have done anything, everything else to keep looking and find more work.

- I didn't have a plan or rather, didn't work the plan cc @belllindsay. It never occurred to me until it was too late, all the non-work work that goes into building a career, be it corporate or in business for yourself. Too busy with work and school and getting by to invest the time in networking, all the other things you need to succeed.

- As a not so pretty female, I was overlooked. It's an ugly truth, the double standards regarding women and their appearance; pretty you get dismissed, but then the cute, thin blondes were the ones I saw getting ahead. Vs. me.. if you're overweight and not so pretty, you're dismissed as lazy and less organized.. less 'attractive' in bad for business. /end rant

- I've read, I've networked, I've learned - and realized, the business-running is not for me. I've confused a lifestyle and work style w/ thinking it meant my own firm. Times have evolved and I think I've reached that point where I'm ready to 1) admit my mistakes, accept failure and move on and 2) business has changed that via technology, I can work the way I work best.

So that's that, I need a new evil plan - and my advice to anyone looking to do anything. Plan. Plan. Think about what and how and where you really want to work, what you like to do, what you're actually good at. Then match that vs. what you can do really well, what people will pay you to do. Plan the work, work the plan.. and enjoy the ride? ;-) FWIW.

7 months, 1 week ago on Advice to Those Who Want to Build a PR Firm


Congrats on the infographic. One thought: you don't need all 40 reasons; some of these come from quite different places, so it's important to show that even just a few of these means you have that need. Call it message mapping, call it PR, I consider it all corporate communications which is to say essential business. To wit, this will probably get a link back someday on my "I Can't Help" post, should it ever get published. It's many of these same reasons, though not stated quite so nicely. For example: the last one .. if your stuff is that hard to explain, my [PR, social media, comms, messaging, BUSINESS] advice: make better stuff. FWIW.

7 months, 1 week ago on Message Mapping: 40 Reasons Why #Infographic


I started lurking in 2008, commenting in 2009. Watching, reading, learning from other blogs has helped me so much as I grow as a communications and business professional. Congrats on the anniversary .. and you're welcome. :-)

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Happy Birthday, Spin Sucks!


Hadn't tried several of these, Zendesk's ticket approach to planning and prioritizing looks very helpful. I do think these gravitate towards larger brands vs. small business; i.e. the bulk scheduler is a nice option, but not all SMBs can use the paid services. Another thing - 'scheduling a week's worth of content' - needs to come with a plan for listening, engagement so it's social and not just broadcasting. FWIW.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on 10 Essential Social Media Tools for Social Media Managers


Engaging audiences, fixing problems before they even start, real traction takes more than scheduled push a key times. SM is a big job, always 'on' no matter what. All this strategy has to be about more than likes and clicks and cat gifs, it's about driving overall communications and business goals. To be successful, this has to circle back to some type of positive outcome like an increase in newsletter subscription or better job applicants or smoother customer service. FWIW. 

7 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


Rule 4 is my fave; think the same w/ texts.. if it's that much back and forth, then a call is best. And if necessary, one tip to make sure everyone is confirmed: sum up the call in a bulleted email later. Another tip, ala rule 3 - don't feel compelled to reply immediately to every email. Manage those expectations, set those boundaries so that clients know an email coming in on a Friday before a holiday weekend may not be acted upon until after. FWIW.  

8 months ago on 6 golden rules to responding to client emails


@Soulati | Hybrid PR wasn't so much about mapping exactly, more the mixed messages I was seeing from various comments, social media sources, etc. and how to frame unpopular changes. But it's kinda on point:

Happy to see you too, back blogging. I make myself do it - plan to go again in earnest if and when I finally revamp my whole site to WP. 

8 months ago on Message Mapping The Philip Morris E-Cigarette


@ginidietrich if I had a dollar for every "research? how long?! can't you just hit the ground running?" And then another five bucks for every 'why didn't it work?' after I wasn't afforded the time, given the access and insights to do my job, b/c how dare I the 'PR lady' make suggestions on pricing or labor, then ... grr.  I mean I still get this; this is why I can't get coverage b/c clients won't share news, won't respond, won't engage; yet expect earned media. 

It's a deal breaker for me now; I either get the intel and access or they can get someone else. It's a partnership, only way it works. 

8 months ago on The 10 Percent of Communicators Who Get it


There are risks and dangers w/ many products, personal responsibility vs. addictiveness vs. corporate lies. Not gonna get into that. FTR I'm not a smoker, know people who do.. I can deal w/ the bars and clubs up to a point. The issue that's hardest is it's not just a risk or inconvenience to those who smoke but others around them who don't. That's why car companies have big fines - cleaning the cars gets expensive, it devalues them for resale, etc. 

Hell I just blogged about Carnival - and the failures in their message mapping - when they adopted a stricter non-balcony smoking policy. Several messages came out - 1) by overwhelming customer request, which the unhappy smokers seems to shout over questioning the demand for the change; and 2) it's more in line w/ industry standards and it's 3) a safety issue. IDK it was a well received change by some, hated by others. From what I've seen on ships (and years in food service) smokers drink and gamble, two big profit margin centers so I'm not sure if there wasn't some middle ground there. In the end though, they're still the biggest most value oriented option, so 'never' may not be as long as they think... some smokers will return; some smoke-haters will go now that they know their balcony won't be next to smoking?? 

Anyway, you're right about mapping and strategy.. making sure that's solid throughout the organization. Mixed signals, conflicting messages are about the worst way to start. FWIW.

8 months ago on Message Mapping The Philip Morris E-Cigarette


Gonna put it back on the other side and argue it's also the companies that don't 'get' it. 

Can't tell you how many times I've been told not to talk to customers, not to go to that meeting, that I could go to X event if I wanted .. being it's my own time, dime and they wouldn't pay for it. Why? Because I'm "just PR." Because they'll pay for outcomes, not all the steps it takes to earn them; they want to hire PUBLICITY and walk away.. get media hits and then poof, sales magic would happen. Or they could send out one newsletter and presto, the franchisees or employees would 'get' it and step to. And not for nothing, often b/c the people doing the hiring are in the marketing silo and IME are equally 1) misguided about what PR (and now social) can or 'should' do and 2) cautious about turning over the keys (aka budget) to anyone but them. YMMV.

Had a little debate not too long ago about sales not being the only, sole, lone driving force to business. Of course it's a key metric; yes money matters. Maybe I'm naive, I rank profit above sales; I put efficiency, sustainability, growth potential up there as well. Sales are what you're doing today; and what are they costing you? How about 10 years from now, what are we doing then? That's when the strategy comes in, that's why you need to have no barriers between silos, so that R&D can talk to customer support, so that PR can work w/ HR about recruiting and retaining the best talent, so that PR can do some IR, keep vendors happy, investors interested and execs all focused on the bottom line. Growing a successful business, building a reputation is not accomplished by sales alone. It's not either or; both PR and sales drive business success. That's my 'new Coke' always been the hardest sell; the consensus I can't seem to make others 'get' is that improved, integrated communications across the board is an investment in their business, not just an expense. FWIW.

8 months ago on The 10 Percent of Communicators Who Get it


Hmm... I think this is actually several different, very good rants in one.

First, the lack of communication is as highlighted in the comments, very bad business. Being 'busy' is zero excuse for never returning calls, not replying to emails, taking longer than what's reasonable to respond. It's a matter of priorities, and clearly the persons on the other end of things have no respect for anyone else's. Seriously if I'd flown across the country for a meeting - and someone was a no show -Damn the punishments I'd devise for that.. ahem.

Second it's the 'badge' thing, the symbol of being busy as some honorific. (Another one I HATE is the 'no time for TV' whilst looking down on anyone who does, as if that is so so special or they don't have their own time sucks.) You mentioned technology being a way to help. I just ranted about poor cell phone etiquette b/c I've dealt w/ a lot of 'too much work, not enough time, so busy' - from people constantly on their personal cell phones at work, not using them to work. Then there is the work and time management itself. I've always thought 'looking' busy was a sign of a bad employee. It's one of the few things I like about setting my own work schedule - most people only get X hours of real work done a day anyway.. so let me do that and get done. Cut out the busy work, the filler, the idle nonsense. 

Lastly is @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes and true story or no, I've been there. I've had those kind of clients whose priorities are themselves. But what's worse or more telling is that entitlement; their job, their title, their payday puts them above others, makes their time more valuable. To themselves and everyone else as far as they're concerned. THAT I've handled from a client that I just could not take, the lack of respect for my talent, expertise and time; coupled w/ the idea that I always had to work miracles w/ no time and no budget, and should feel grateful for what little time I got. as if?!

As you write, we're all doing more w/ less. We're all busy. We all have lives outside of work, things to do and get done; less judging, more respect. FWIW.

8 months ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride


I captured a listing for a job, read like a mid-level PR meets SM manager extraordinaire type and you can guess the punchline.. it was for an unpaid intern. Sigh.. they're there to learn on the job, to be trained by the professionals you've hired and I'm gonna stop typing before I start sharing the first things that come in my mind. Anyhoodle I'll save this for later.. gotta a blog rant that'll run someday. FWIW.

8 months, 1 week ago on Hiring An Intern Is Not A Social Media Strategy


Hmmm.. gonna save this one Danny as it gets me thinking about 'marketing proof' that 70/30 Jeff mentioned about investing in delivering better, being better. 

It irks when as a long-time 'loyal' customer I don't get the deals at the bank or w/ the cable company; but not so much that I'm willing to endure the hassle of switching every year. I'm 'loyal' to one airline over another, when they waive bag fees and offer cheaper fares. I'm a Kool-aid sipping Apple fan, loyal yes but not so naive as to think they can't or shouldn't do better. To wit, I like the competition, I like when it drives them not to presume loyalty - something they've always enjoyed - and to work harder.

Therein as you pointed out was the mistake RIM made; the mistake a restaurant makes ignoring bad Yelp reviews when there are 20 more place in a 2 mile radius, frankly the same mistake the 'local' stores make when they promote 'small business' shopping w/out really trying to compete w/ the big.

Presuming I'm going to be 'loyal' to anyone or anything isn't a safe bet; the lesson to be learned by a lot of businesses -- answer the 'what have you done for me lately, what will you keep doing?' I'm like a lot of consumers I know – most loyal to me: my convenience, my time, my benefit, my experience (yes! h/t Danny) and most of all, my wallet. FWIW.

8 months, 1 week ago on Loyalty Is Not a Given – Like Trust, It Needs to be Earned


This this this. Saving this one, for another draft languishing in Evernote, on brands caught doing it right. Even when they make mistakes, especially when they make mistakes b/c that shows who you are, what you'll do to make things right. FWIW.

8 months, 1 week ago on Bad Reviews: A Crisis or a Blessing?


@Erin F. THIS! which is why I've stopped with the job/sales pitch at networking meetings and usually quip - "travel, drink wine, nap when I can." It's a good ice breaker and a better way to stand out when everyone is looking for or being looked at for a job or a lead. 

Plus I don't like that 'what I do' – and the perceived success or failure of such – that it defines me; it doesn't. I'm smart and good at what I do, even if I've always struggled ya know? And those struggles or lack of success don't make me any less smart or talented, less capable of doing the really big job. At least that's what I'm telling myself as I go after some positions that on paper at least seem out of my league. Now to convince those doing the hiring. Whew, that was a lot. ;-) 

8 months, 2 weeks ago on Is Writing Something You Do or Something You Are?


I write for me, I have hobby stuff I write that no one reads and I don't care. I write for work b/c it's what I do and if I could, I'd write all the time. Sometimes it's good - I send friends crazy long email rambles that amuse and entertain, keeps us more in touch. Sometimes it's bad - I've been known to type like a crazy person, a rant email to a boss or manager or colleague that maybe shoulda been a little less wordy and official, as what's written down has that kind of influence, can't ever be taken back. 

IDK about the label. Sometimes I'll come up with a clever quip and everyone looks at me funny and I'm like, 'duh, writer!' Other times I struggle - to find time, the inspiration, the words, the point. It's me, it's what I do but it's not all that I am if that makes any sense. FWIW. 

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Is Writing Something You Do or Something You Are?


@ginidietrich  if I could get away with blogging about the wine, what pairs best with various grilled cheese creations, I might do better. BTW I 'captured' a few ideas yesterday, the trick will be if they make it out of Evernote and out onto the Internet. :)

8 months, 3 weeks ago on How to Capture Blog Post Ideas


@Frank_Strong that's why 'maybe someday' - how to measure these is the trick, something I haven't figured out yet. 

Take sentiment - it's got value but only in context; it's not enough to know the sentiment, it's how strongly they feel it in context of their decisions. A lot of sentimental noise may surround this 'bad tweet' or that political view, but until it impacts jobs and sales and market cap, it doesn't matter. For example, I may not care for a certain biz organization, but if a subsidiary had a good manager offering me a great job.. in all fairness, I'd put sentiment aside and take it. :)

8 months, 3 weeks ago on 5 Categories of PR Metrics Pros Should Measure


I use a hybrid of these - minus the St. Bernard, plus the wine sometimes - with mixed success. 

I'm often walking or driving around somewhere, and my brain will do on a little rant and I'll think 'this would make a good post' but alas, when I get to the keyboard - mind has gone blank. Then there's Evernote and WP, Readability and Pocket, my iToys; sometimes I do capture and draft posts, other times it ends up in Erika's digital purgatory. 

Inspiration - that's reading, watching, listening; really almost anything can be fodder. The trick is making it work for the blog, that balance of writing for myself, my biz, the readers I have and the ones I want. FWIW. 

8 months, 3 weeks ago on How to Capture Blog Post Ideas


@Frank_Strong I'll get back to you on the compare and contrast, maybe a rebuttal post some day. :) In that argument, PR metrics would include qualitative measures like sentiment, value and reputation. 

You mentioned marketing not setting price anymore; I'd also offer that PR has little influence on Employee Relations in some orgs, as HR has taken over. Thinking retention, recruitment, employer reputation in the community, employee advocacy in SM. Internal comms is important, I'd always advocate HR work with PR vs. silos we see. 

I do get what you're saying about share, about pricing.. in that is control of the narrative. P&G may tell great stories but they're dumping a lot of brands b/c consumers no longer believe in their value. IDK -- I guess I'm saying that brand, organization reputation play their part; so even if a biz doesn't make profit exactly, they have convinced investors they have the share, the potential and strength of brand to do so. Ergo they're worth more than what's on the balance sheet. 

Apple's stock seems to underperform, b/c of the high expectations of the 'next big thing' vs. where they're already winning, losing, market share, etc. Some start-ups; they manage cash flow via VC investment - often earned b/c of the reputation of the players involved as much as the business model they're selling. But eventually, I think someone's gonna want some performance -- and yes sales! -- an earnings report that shows them in the black, a healthy return for their investment. 

Which I type totally wishing I'd had the money to buy stock in Facebook and Twitter when their IPOs struggled and the sharks smelled blood in the water. FWIW. 

8 months, 3 weeks ago on 5 Categories of PR Metrics Pros Should Measure


Hmm.. IDK Frank, this is smart stuff but I'd argue these are marketing metrics, not PR. As you alluded, the scope of PR goes well beyond - it's about business. Which is why I'd say the ultimate metric is not sales, it's profit and sustainability. If the goal isn't longevity, then the life cycle has to be planned to cash out at max value before shutting the doors. Remember the "You Got Mail" movie; all the shares and support and leads did nothing to help Meg Ryan's sales, she lost. To a Borders-like book store who, b/c they neglected other means for leads and discounted at the expense of profits, would today also have gone out of business. 

That typed.. "Often business problems can be solved through more effective communications, and that more than mere appearances, ought to be the specialty of PR professionals." I totally and completely agree with that statement, across all silos and departments. Communications is I think one skill all professionals need yet is taken for granted, underdeveloped as a discipline throughout many companies - and not for nothing, 'poor communication' is often cited as the greatest fault line. While I know PR is more than 'just' communications, that's at its core, yet many comms objectives that drive business success don't include PR. You call it the glue; if ever I go completely nuts and try to write a PR book, I'd argue something along those lines. FWIW. 

8 months, 3 weeks ago on 5 Categories of PR Metrics Pros Should Measure