Hopefully you read that headline in the voice of the legendary Soup Nazi from “Seinfeld,” because standing at the counter last night at Chipotle reminded me of the famous episode. Only, instead of yelling about soup, Chipotle was preempting orders for its delicious guacamole with this in-your-face sign.
I love everything about this approach to customer service. It’s blunt and to the point, but then you read below the boldface print and you get a warm fuzzy feeling about their rationale for not serving lousy guacamole. Frankly, it’s possible their GM just forgot to order avocados, but I don’t care. The message is consistent with Chipotle’s brand and image of serving only the freshest ingredients (remember this Super Bowl commercial?), and even though their guac is my No. 1 reason for going in the first place, I decided to stay in line and order my salad sans avocado.
Customer service that’s authentic is sometimes as effortless as taping a sign to the glass.
The brave patriots in the town of Thurman, NY, are discovering that the black-hatted Committee’s (er, Committees) members have declared war on the apostrophe, coldly deciding that a soon to be renamed mountain will never carry the name Jimmy’s Peak (or Jimmie’s Peak or James’ Peak, for that matter).
You might think the culprits are merely low-level functionaries, but the Journal report uncovers an uncomfortable and scandalous truth. According to the Board on Geographic Names, some 250,000 apostrophes have been “scrubbed” from federal maps since 1890.
I find it shocking that no publication aside from the Journal has dared to cover this breaking story. Surely, the Today’s News Herald of Lake Havasu, the Investor’s Business Daily or the Coeur d’Alene Press should jump on this story.
For the public relations industry there are no doubt dozens of lessons to be learned from the Boston Bomber tragedy … from crisis communications to media relations to the use of social media … it’s a communicator’s dream or nightmare scenario depending on which story you reference.
But, in perhaps the most unexpected twist, instead of issuing a fine to Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, aka, Big Papi, the FCC is standing behind the player’s heartfelt—albeit less than eloquent— message to Bostonians.
If you haven’t seen it, cover your kids’ ears and push play.
By all means, insurance company Zurich should celebrate its 100th anniversary today. It’s an impressive milestone for a solid company.
But let’s not celebrate the failure to edit banner ad copy in the wake of Friday’s tragic mass shooting in Newtown, CT.
Nearly every news site in America is leading with stories and photos from Newtown, so “Today we celebrate” is not the best message to send at the top of a news home page. In the case of The Wall Street Journal, the banner ad ran above a photo of a hearse. The image is jarring, and certainly does not send the message that Zurich intended.
As communicators and marketers, our job is not just to sell products and services, but also to protect the reputation of the companies and clients we serve. Sometimes that means making last-minute changes to advertising and communications plans based on events that are outside of our control.
A story on the “Today” show this morning indicated that Americans aren’t taking all of their vacation time. According to Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation Study, Americans only take 10 to 12 days compared to 30 days taken by our European counterparts. And, if we’re lagging behind the rest of the civilized world, the real story is in Japan where workers only average about five days a year. (Gasp!)
We’re pretty proud of the fact that we offer our team three weeks paid vacation each year—a benefit that ensures they have time to relax and regroup after many more weeks of hard work. But what I’m most proud of is that we have nearly 100 percent utilization of time year after year. Perhaps that makes our staff un-American, but hey, at least they’re well rested.
When families gather over a Thanksgiving meal, expressions of thankfulness are often followed by gluttony-fueled arguments over seemingly meaningless topics. That certainly is true with our work family, as a brawl nearly broke out during the Curley & Pynn Thanksgiving potluck over the correct usage of the terms “stuffing” and “dressing.”
Roger argued that the difference is whether the side dish is used to stuff the bird. Kim and I responded that it had more to do with geography (I never heard the word “dressing” until I moved from Michigan to Florida). The rest of the team argued that we should shut up and eat.
For the sake of lunchtime peace and team unity, we agreed to table the discussion, but I have since conducted extensive online research (looking at an entire page of Google results) and have found that the disagreement extends far beyond the walls of C&P.
As professional communicators, we have a duty to solve this issue. If we don’t lead, no one will. Nature abhors a vacuum (as do cats), and without clear and decisive action to fill this particular vacuum of knowledge, more and more families will be forced to fend for themselves when it comes to naming that bowl of moistened bread and herbs, and more arguments will ensue.
There is perhaps no better way to reach consensus on such a topic than to conduct a thoroughly unscientific poll. Please help us solve this pressing issue.
From what I was reading on twitter and Facebook, Wednesday’s Presidential Debate was the worst ever, and Jim Lehrer was to blame for letting the candidates walk all over him.
Don’t get me wrong. Lehrer was awful. His performance reminded me of an old Robin Williams joke about London cops who carried no firearms: “Stop! Or I’ll say Stop again!”
It was like he wasn’t there, but that’s what made it an actual debate. The candidates actually addressed each other, they asked questions of the other, they leveled accusations and (gasp) answered them instead of repeating sound bites.
Worst debate in years? No, we just witnessed the FIRST debate in years.
As a lifelong learner, I look for inspiration and information everywhere from books to blogs to social networking sites and everywhere in between.
While I continue to ponder whether I’ll return to school for an MBA, I’ve been exploring some of the Web’s free learning alternatives like iTunes U, Coursera, and Ted.
Want to brush up on your writing skills? Check out Stanford University’s ‘How I Write’ podcast on ITunes U which “brings faculty and advanced writers from across the disciplines to explore the nuts and bolts, pleasures and pains, of all types of writing.”
Maybe you’ve always hoped to be better at statistics. You’re in luck, Princeton is offering its Statistics One course on Coursera—hurry, it starts next week!
Or, perhaps you just need some daily inspiration for generating that next big idea. Ted is perfect for that. You can pick a talk based on the amount of time you have to watch and the type of content you’re looking for—from jaw-dropping to funny or even inspirational or ingenious.
As public relations counsel to two highly celebratededucational institutions, this post isn’t meant to dissuade you from a traditional degree-earning education, but sometimes it pays to look beyond the four walls.
Virtually every reporter will be admonished by an editor to “follow the money.” And if you’re a business reporter you’d better darned well be able to find the money in any story. So when you see a story that says “but no money is expected to change hands between the two companies, according to The New York Times,” you have to conclude that the times are changing.