August 29, 2011
by Roger Pynn
Allow me a moment of personal privilege to note the life and career of a truly fine guy and an outstanding television journalist. My friend and college classmate, Vince McGough, was known by the air name Scott Harris, passed away today. More importantly he was known for qualities aspiring broadcast news people should emulate … the willingness to listen, curiosity and the determination to find answers without becoming abusive or disrespectful, and a twinkle in his eye that earned him countless friends in and out of the media.
Scottie had a laugh you could hear all across the territory he covered. If you heard that laugh across a crowded room, you knew instantly who it was and it always made you smile.
He couldn’t laugh when I sat at his bedside Saturday. But his many, many friends who came to be with him shared laughs and stories about Scott and his devotion to the news business and the young people in it … he always wanted to help grow young journalists as if tending a garden of roses.
Nothing said more to me about the man we will miss so much as the team of colleagues from the 24 hour news channel he helped to launch and build … the lobby at Hospice of The Comforter looked more like a branch of Central Florida News 13. Throughout his final days, reporters, producers and meteorologists were there, welcoming visitors from among a long, long list of Central Floridians they had reached out to – old news friends, political leaders and college classmates – to be sure they would have one last moment with him.
Scott Harris would cover anything … but he loved politics and the NASA space program more than anything. I can imagine him moderating debates in Heaven and how I envy the seat he’ll have for future launches.
August 26, 2011
by Roger Pynn
This item from LeadingBlog about Diana Smith’s new book “The Elephant in the Room” reinforces the role public relations can play in building mutually productive relationships and achieving consensus … particularly in stressful times. If, as Smith describes, two egos as large as Roosevelt and Churchill could learn to accept each other by looking beyond their personal opinions to understand the other’s perspective, it would seem there are very few who can’t.
In a world so complex and full of messaging, however, isn’t that what public relations people really ought to focus on … bridging misunderstanding as opposed to simple promotion? Whether you are trying to build understanding of a brand, position a product for sale or overcome misperceptions of an individual’s positions, what we really do is create an environment in which negotiation can take place without tension.
In the end, what I think isn’t nearly as important as what the person I am negotiating with perceives. If I can see the world through their lens I’m far more likely to understand the barriers to them adopting my position.
That’s the first step in leadership.
August 26, 2011
by Kerry Martin
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes we as communicators don’t always get the right message across the first time. And as the saying goes, you never get another chance to make a first impression.
So when we have the opportunity to bring in a new team member to Curley & Pynn, we certainly want to show her a warm welcome and demonstrate what our company is all about. But instead of a big group meeting where we can all talk to our new employee, sharing with her our company culture and giving her an orientation—on her first day, most of the team is hard at work on client projects of their own. After a short introduction to our ongoing projects, we give her assignments and push her in head first. Her plate is filled with writing press releases, compiling media lists and conducting research—and that’s all before 10 a.m.
If agency culture is fast-paced and client driven, what would have been the best way to transition a new employee to the firm? What messages were we sending by giving a new team member a crash course on how we operate before cutting them loose to learn by doing?
To me, showing a new employee steps one and two and having her jump into step three on her own seemed like a better introduction to what we do than sitting her in front of a training video and walking through the company handbook. Her ability to hit the ground running on client work that was completely new was just what we needed—and what’s more, it proved her mettle within the first couple hours.
While her first day may have been a flurry of activity, it was actually a pretty accurate depiction of the day-to-day events at Curley & Pynn, and if most communicators shoot for transparency in their messaging, we may have gotten it right after all.
So please welcome our newest communications specialist, Brittany Englert, to the Curley & Pynn team. We’re sure you’ll see her contribute to Taking Aim very soon (as she seems to be getting her feet wet with every other project here).
August 25, 2011
by Julie Primrose
Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it is removing Facebook Places from its mobile apps. While many Facebook features have come and gone over the years (Can we all agree that poking should be the next thing to go?), it’s interesting to see the demise of Facebook Places since there’s always been a lot of discussion on the future of location-based social networking.
At the same time Facebook Places has seemingly failed, Foursquare has continued to grow, reaching 10 million users for the first time last month. So what has made Foursquare succeed, while Facebook rethinks its approach to location sharing services?
On Foursquare it’s common for businesses to offer check-in deals, but I haven’t seen much of the same on Facebook Places. When you decide to engage with customers using social media, you need to offer something for the customer once they’re there.
Telling your customers to check-in isn’t enough. You must give them a reason to do so, whether that’s a special offer, exclusive content … whatever they would value enough to continue checking-in and engaging with your brand.
August 19, 2011
by Roger Pynn
Rarely do public relations people gather that the question doesn’t arise. “Can newspapers survive?”
A GIGaom report by Mathew Ingram turned my head today and made me wonder if the question really ought to be “What is a newspaper?” Ingram is reporting on the opinions of Joy Mayer who some are calling the “queen of engagement” because she’s preaching that the future of media is a two-way street where journalists have to engage and interact with their readers/followers/friends.
I agree with Mayer on many things. But her guide to for the newsroom of the future has some interesting tips, including the need for “value statements” like “we continually alter what we cover, and how, based on what the audience responds to.”
To which I say, that isn’t a newspaper, Ms. Mayer, it is a highly commercial approach to delivering the news people want to hear rather than what journalists determine they need to hear through careful and thoughtful reportage.
If you follow that “value” to a logical end, newspapers of the future could expect to be manipulated by activists who bombard them every time they publish something they don’t like. Imagine how easy it would be to redirect your local newspaper by “liking” them into not covering your blemishes.
In Ms. Mayer’s world the answer to the question “can newspapers survive?” is very simply a great big “NO,” because they won’t be newspapers they’ll be fulfillment services responding to our every whim rather than doing what newspapers are supposed to do … inform and educate us by employing journalists who will ask the questions we would ask if we could be on the scene when news is breaking.
August 11, 2011
by Kim Taylor
This week, two new campaigns caught my eye.
The first: a promotion from Domino’s Pizza reviving the ever-popular Noid character from the 80s in a game on their Facebook page. Players of The Noid’s Super Pizza Shootout compete to win coupons for one of more than 10,000 free pizzas.
Why this works:
Even though the game launched during a week when all ‘the world seems to be bashing remakes of “Dirty Dancing” and “Footloose,” Domino’s proves that putting a new twist on an old campaign can work. The Noid is fun, light-hearted and celebrating his fictional 25th birthday.
The second: Gap’s new food truck, “Pico de Gap.” Presumably piggybacking on the food truck craze, which, while relatively new to Orlando, has been fairly active in California (the Gap’s home state) for some time now.
Pico de Gap is promoting the brand’s ‘1969: L.A. and Beyond’ campaign, literally taking their campaign to the streets. Tacos are $1.69 and come with a coupon for Gap’s denim.
What do you think? Did the Gap nail it on this one?
Even though I think it’s clever, I don’t get the connection. When I think of “mi amigos,” my first thought isn’t exactly pre-washed denim. Nor have I ever been walking through the Gap and had a sudden urge for a taco.
So, what do you think? What are some examples of promotions you’ve seen recently that work or don’t work?
August 5, 2011
by Dan Ward
My two partners re-tweeted this today about double-dip recession worries. Let’s face it, after the debt ceiling mess, the stock market tumble and the worrisome signs on job creation, we’re all worried.
The question is: what are you doing about it?
No, I’m not asking whether you’re saving more or dining out less. Rather, what are you doing in your profession to deal with this anxiety? If you’re worried, doesn’t it make sense that your bosses and your clients are worried, too?
We have a saying here, “Focus on what keeps the client awake at night.” What are you doing to address the financial worries that are keeping your companies and your clients awake right now? What are you doing, now more than ever, to make yourself an essential part of their success, an essential part of their ability to survive and thrive in a struggling economy? What are you doing to identify new opportunities for them to grow their business? What are you doing to help them connect with and preserve beneficial relationships with their customers?
If you want to put your mind at ease, it’s their worries that you should be worried about.