April 23, 2013
by Kim Taylor
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.
Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken.
April 2, 2013
by Kim Taylor
When I was younger, “Where’s Waldo?” was hugely popular. I was probably a smidge older than the typical demographic, but I had every book and would spend hours thumbing through the pages looking for the red-and-white-striped character.
Save for the red and white, I felt an instant feeling of nostalgia when I opened OrlandoSentinel.com today.
I get it; ads pay the bills, but where’s the news?
October 4, 2012
by Dan Ward
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.
October 2, 2012
by Roger Pynn
This great blog post by Ken Mueller at Inkling Media struck a chord with me and I hope it does with you. (Thanks to the always great Gini Dietrich – whose blog I love – for sharing this on Twitter.)
Nearly 30 years ago my founding business partner and I created a document we hoped would become the foundation for the culture of our little enterprise. We called them Curley & Pynn’s Four Steps to Professional Success. In fact, it worked quite well and over time our steps became a badge of honor … a brand statement, if you will, to tell clients what they could expect from C&P.
Some years later I added a fifth step … Accept total responsibility and be accountable for everything you do.
Our commitment to these five steps is so deep it is even printed on the back of all business cards.
When was the last time you said “I’m wrong” or confessed before your peers “I really screwed up”? Eating crow or, perhaps even worse, burned oatmeal is really unpleasant. The best way I know to avoid the aftertaste of a mistake is to avoid them. Making a commitment like our fifth step is a step in the right direction.
August 27, 2012
by Dan Ward
When I learned this weekend of Neil Armstrong’s passing, my first thought was not of his legendary achievement of being the first to walk on the moon, but of a long-ago class assignment on the message he broadcast to the world July 21, 1969.
Our teacher issued what at first seemed a simple challenge: re-write Armstrong’s “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” message in our own words.
But after struggling for what seemed like hours, I came up with nothing. I walked up to the teacher and said, “I can’t do it. What he wrote was perfect.”
As a professional communicator, I’ve always prided myself on the ability to edit. There are always words that can be revised or removed to convey a stronger, more concise message. But I still see no way to edit what Armstrong said that day.
He was not only the first human being to walk on the moon. He was perhaps also the first human being to craft the perfect message.
August 24, 2012
by Roger Pynn
It takes time to build a brand. In fact, I question whether you can build one. Rather, product lines become brands because they have been adopted by satisfied and loyal customers who have come to believe they can count on them.
This article from CNNMoney is just another example of the continuing misunderstanding of what we have come to refer to as the “branding” process. AT&T’s Global Marketing Officer Cathy Coughlin is doing some pretty creative things that are sustaining a brand that evolved over the last century as America’s telephone monopoly became ingrained in our culture.
But I’d imagine even she would argue with the headline that suggests you can “build a superbrand – superfast.”
The whole concept of “branding” as a marketing verb amuses me … and that many marketers have convinced their senior management that they are somehow creating brands deludes executives into thinking they can force themselves into market dominance. This article only begs further confusion. Next thing we know CEOs could by calling us in to demand “I want you to build this brand and I want it tomorrow.”
Only one thing creates a brand … living up to your customers’ expectations. And you have to do it over and over and over again until they are calling you or purchasing your product habitually because there’s no doubt in their mind that you’ll deliver as promised.
Geoff Colvin’s Q&A with Ms. Coughlin was really about the importance of having a nimble marketing communications capability … something AT&T proved deftly during the Olympics by producing overnight some outstanding vignette-style commercials that celebrated winning performances.
Advertising, public relations and promotions programs reinforce the beliefs of satisfied customers that you will continue to make them happy. They are critically important to building market share, establishing credibility in the financial community and capitalizing on brand satisfaction when you launch new products.
“Branding” is not a verb. It is a buzz word. Branding is for cattle. Brand building is for the long haul.
August 22, 2012
by Roger Pynn
Making a presentation on ethics in public relations last week to the Pensacola Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, we got into a healthy discussion of what to do when your employer or client simply doesn’t see an ethical dilemma and puts you in a compromising situation.
One very bright young woman who holds an important job said “I always want to do the right thing, but I’m young and I can’t afford to lose my job.”
“Au contraire,” I said, “you can’t afford to lose your reputation. If you are ever compromised you have to be willing to give it up or be fired, and I promise you that you will become a hot property to the kind of employers you want to work for.”
I like to talk about the moral simplicity of ethical behavior because as ethicists over the ages have said, ethical behavior is about the constructs of character. We intuitively know what is right or wrong and take the right action, seek the advice of others when we are unsure or we don’t sweat the “small stuff,” and do whatever it takes to please the person who could fire us.
At the end of the talk, I gave each member of the chapter a small envelope emblazoned with the words “Public Relations Ethics Toolkit.” It contained a couple of reference tools for use when facing an ethical dilemma:
- A copy of the Code of Ethics of the Florida Public Relations Association; and,
- A pocket mirror … because most of us can just look in the mirror and know right from wrong instantly.
Hopefully, when they look in the mirror the next day they’ll like what they see.
August 20, 2012
by Roger Pynn
A reminder that in the end we in public relations are storytellers came from Seth Godin the other day when he offered insight on slogans.
What’s your brand’s story? How much time do you take crafting and telling it?
Beyond what your public relations and branding team does to tell the story, how much attention do you pay to keeping the promise of your brand story?
That’s the essence of the term brand. Beyond the buzzword it has become in marketing, brand management is as much about managing your culture as it is communicating your story.
Live up to the story’s promise and you’ll become known for it. Stutter or stumble and your promise will become your curse. You have to live it every day.
July 11, 2012
by Kim Taylor
Maybe the fireworks will have to wait until our fifth anniversary, but today marks our fourth year blogging at Taking Aim.
When we began this journey four years ago, we hoped to enable our team as thought leaders—to give them a voice in the industry they’ve chosen for their careers. Sometimes we get off topic, but we find our way back to issues of targeted communication, social media, things that inspire us creatively, and topics vital to the success of public relations.
We’ve even been awarded by our peers with a Grand Image Award, Image Award and Judge’s Award.
And, although I’m most proud of the content our team has contributed, I’m pretty tickled by the stats, as well:
We’ve written 564 Posts and received 545 Comments. More than 41,350 eyeballs have read the pages of Taking Aim, but this was the most-read post of all time (congrats, Heather!). Most of you find our blog through Twitter and Facebook, and Taking Aim is still the No. 1 driver of traffic to our website.
Thanks to you, Mr. and Mrs. 41,350. I hope you continue to read (and comment) for years to come.
March 8, 2012
by Kim Taylor
Over the holidays, the team at Curley & Pynn added a few extra items to their shopping lists—toys for a very special charity, Jarrett’s Joy Cart.
Named for Jarrett Mynear, a six-time cancer sufferer whose life was taken by the disease at age 13, the charity aims to provide joyous moments and experiences for children in crisis.
We’re proud to be led by the team at OrLANtech – who are both our friends and the leaders of the Orlando Chapter – in a toy delivery at Florida Hospital for Children in what promised to be a joyful afternoon.
Want in on the joy? Find out how you can help here, or join in the conversation on the Jarrett’s Joy Cart Facebook page.