Toronto Mayor Robert Ford did some terrible things. He smoked crack, drank heavily in public, cavorted with shady characters, and lied to reporters and voters repeatedly about it all. And yet, to the surprise of many, he is still immensely popular. The rules of politics and public relations don’t appear to apply to him. That enduring popularity is what I would like to speculate on with this post. Read the rest of this entry »
It seems The Montreal, Main and Atlantic Railway is trying to improve its PR performance on the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. Some things the company did today were a marked improvement. Burkhardt actually showed up at the site of the derailment and inferno. He spoke frankly and directly with reporters, rather than relying on telephone. He anticipated and effectively answered many of the questions thrown at him. That was a step forward, though one taken too late, as many of his critics have pointed out.
Other aspects of the day did not go so well. Read the rest of this entry »
Recent and very sad events in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec will have many important lessons for railway operators, government regulators, and municipal planners. I suspect the shipping of oil by rail in Canada will never be quite the same. In addition, there will be less important but nonetheless valuable lessons for public relations professionals as well. Many mistakes have been made by executives and politicians alike in their early response to the tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »
Many people have written about the PR lessons learned from the manner in which the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has handled the Senate scandal. Clearly, many mistakes were made. It occurred to me, though, that the events of the past three months have also created an opportunity to better understand advertising, branding, and public relations: three concepts that are often misunderstood or even used interchangeably. They’re vastly different and often, as in this case, interwoven in complex ways. Read the rest of this entry »
Once again, this year, I spent the last week of December reflecting on the year that was in public relations, persuasion and politics. I’ve compiled a very subjective list of what I feel were the best PR practices of 2012 and the worst. I’ve also tried to keep a Canadian focus on the companies and people I profile, if for no other reason than to narrow down the very long list of examples of very good and very bad PR practices. Read the rest of this entry »
Rosser Reeves put it best: success comes from articulating a strong, clear and memorable Unique Sales Proposition. The more you have to compete for attention, the more you need to have a clear USP and articulate it consistently.
After 27 years in PR, I have to admit there is a certain rush that comes with successfully getting a message out. Pushing words, sounds and images to an audience and seeing your efforts generate impact among that audience seems like magic at times. As modern technology makes it easier and faster to push messages and achieve that rush, the risk of making significant mistakes that cause long-term damage grows. Recent events in Canadian politics have made this point all too clear. Read the rest of this entry »
As I look back at 2011 in Canada, a number of public relations highs and lows come to mind. Among those, there was a clear winner of the best public relations effort of the year and, yes, one effort that clearly stood out as the worst. There are also, of course, a number of runners up who made 2011 an interesting year filled with PR lessons. Read the rest of this entry »
Herman Cain and Rob Ford have both experienced weeks of PR misery in recent months. During these times, each new story seemed to pile upon the others. They experienced the negative momentum that so often happens in media coverage. Kanye West has had his share of negative momentum but was able to put an end to his. In the process, he offered two important lessons for PR practitioners. Read the rest of this entry »
By now, it has been widely recognized that the co-CEOs of Research in Motion received bad PR advice and mishandled the four-day outage of services by essentially hiding from the news media and from consumers for too long. In a pattern we have seen in other CEOs, they failed to get on top of the coverage wave and got swamped by it instead.
That’s not what this posting is about, however. Rather, what struck me about the four-day outage and the response of BlackBerry users around the world, was how it revealed that the relationship between consumers and brands has evolved in very important ways. When CEOs fail to grasp the nature of this new relationship, trouble ensues. Read the rest of this entry »