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 »
I’ll begin by admitting that I am a big fan of RIM and the BlackBerry. That little black device has been among the most reliable, useful, rugged and enjoyable pieces of technology I have ever owned. So I was particularly excited to see RIM move into the tablet market and, like many, sorely disappointed with the product launch that followed. Billed as perhaps the most important launch in the company’s history, I had some expectations of excitement and impact. There was none of those things. There were important lessons, though. That’s what this blog posting is about. Read the rest of this entry »
If the first week of this campaign was all about the “reckless coalition,” the last week is all about the “NDP surge.” That the NDP should be solidly in second place and, according to some, closing the gap on the leading Conservatives is certainly surprising. Yet the reasons for this boost in popularity are clear and have, it seems to me, at least as much to do with image as with policy. Read the rest of this entry »
As I prepared to sit on a panel on CTV News Channel’s PowerPlay, I was asked by a producer what kind of advertising strategy I would recommend for the major political parties. We both agreed that the personal, negative attack ads of both the Conservatives and Liberals are tired, divisive and utterly lacking in creativity. We’re sick of them and the election hasn’t even been called yet. What’s worst, the ads all essentially look and sound the same: scary music, unflattering images of the other party’s leader, rapid-fire editing of unrelated images and quotes taken out of context. Ho hum.
I have to admit, I didn’t have an answer for her at that moment. I’ve thought it over since then and have something to propose: a new advertising strategy for the next federal election that just might serve to inform, engage and empower voters. Read the rest of this entry »
My trusty old PC laptop is, sadly, on its last legs. I say “sadly” not because I cling to this machine any more than need be but, frankly, because the task of shopping for a new laptop computer has become far too complex and convoluted. The net result is that I’m discouraged from even shopping. Read the rest of this entry »