Originally posted on CityAM.com.
Urgent memo to executives everywhere: please stop saying things like “failure is not an option.” Continue Reading →
Originally posted on Adweek.
Good riddance, 2016. For many of us, it was 12 long months full of bad news, fake news and surreal news, the most controversial election anyone can remember, plus too many other highlights and lowlights to mention. Continue Reading →
Originally posted on Forbes.com.
PR sometimes gets a bad rap for being a spin cycle. I like to look at it a different way. Public relations, like all communications disciplines, has been marked by standards, strategies and tactics that roll along and change over time. Sometimes they even spin full circle, taking us on circuitous detours on the way to ending up back where we were.
[Originally posted by the National Retail Federation.]
Can I tell you a secret?
There are no secrets. Not anymore. We’re living in a time when, within four years, Snapchat went from a private, self-detonating sexting/texting app to the latest platform for brands and influencers to engage their followings and followers.
Health Care Marketers Missing Local Search Ad Opportunities
Health care marketers are missing an opportunity to connect through search engines–Bing, Google and Yahoo–with local residents and visitors looking for services. Industry marketers will spend more than $10.7 billion on local advertising in 2015, representing 7.8% of the $137.9 billion total local advertising market — but only a small portion goes to local search ads.
Consumers: Patients and Virtues
(Medical Marketing & Media, 03.03.15)
Pharma, historically, has had a somewhat-¬tenuous relationship with patients. It’s under¬standable, given the regulatory shackles on the industry, and it’s absurd, given that patients are pharma’s end customers. Patients are looking for help managing their health and, like physicians, they would welcome it from manufacturers.
Why Healthcare Is (Finally) in for Big Changes
Like many good stories in my life, this one starts with large quantities of beer.
Parents Misled by Marketing of ‘Healthy’ Drinks, Study Says
(UConn Today, 11.03.15)
Despite public health messages about the importance of reducing consumption of sugary drinks, many parents believe that some beverages with high amounts of added sugar—especially fruit drinks, sports drinks, and flavored water – are healthy options for children, according to a new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut published today in Public Health Nutrition.
“Digital health feels like the PC industry in the early ’80s.” —John Sculley
[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.]
The Super Bowl is coming soon to big screens everywhere. I’ll still watch the big game (being in advertising and marketing for three decades, I have to at least see the ads), but my mind is more and more on the minds of the players. The recent news of the suicide of an Ohio State player apparently because of confusion from concussions only makes me more resolute in my views about the sport in its current incarnation.
[Originally posted by The Economic Times.]
As we start the countdown toward another new year, trendspotters like me go into overdrive. We hold our ears to the ground to pick up what’s new and what’s next, to feel the cultural vibrations spreading around the world. I like to call them Future Headlines, and marketer Seth Godin calls them “idea viruses.” They’re a bit like epidemics: They happen only when large numbers of people are in close contact and things are changing fast.
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
Startup culture is on the rise, the old gatekeeper system is in a downward spiral, and the importance and meaning of traditional holidays is dwindling. With the convergence of all those trends, we’re seeing an upsurge in newly created holidays that honor the recently deceased and their great traits.
And we’re not talking soccer. Havas PR recently joined forces with FilmBrazil and Brasil Design to showcase the country as a production hub for design and advertising projects. We developed targeted materials, then our team worked across the globe to reach out to journalists and invite them to a huge event at Pierre Cardin’s Palais Bulles (Bubble House) during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. We arranged for key journalists to interview leaders of FilmBrazil and Brasil Design on the days before, of and after the party—and invited them to the bash, which featured traditional Brazilian food and drink, plus live performances by Viva la Fête and DJ João Brazil. Our efforts resulted in 350 people from 13 countries attending (also including creative directors, marketing directors, executive producers, heads of production, CEOs and CMOs) and will lead to stories about Brazil’s creative industry reaching mass audiences worldwide.
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
After a long, hard winter, we’re all especially looking forward to Memorial Day this weekend. Let’s face it: For many people today, Memorial Day is a holiday because it’s the official start of summer. It is its own reason to celebrate, and lots of Americans do, even without thinking about the holiday’s origins.
Continue Reading →
[Originally published by O’Dwyer’s.]
When O’Dwyer’s asked me to write up my thoughts on the state of public relations trends and the challenges of managing a PR agency in 2014, my first response was, well, ambivalence. Why? In short, my outlook is both bleak and upbeat.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve read that PR is dead, dying or—at the very least—mortally wounded, I’d be banking a lot of coin rolls. So, though I think the rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, I do think that public relations is in the midst of massive disruptions, upheavals, transitions and identity crises. We’ve all known for years that the old models of communication no longer work in this always-on age of social media, with a completely connected, insanely empowered consumer—and I mean “insanely empowered” as a good thing. But now when I say the old models no longer work, I mean the models we had in place just a few months ago.
Change is coming constantly—and fast. The industry needs to do more to keep up, and we PR professionals need to get over the traditional hang-ups that have held us back for far too long. My hope is that we can guide the industry through a true metamorphosis. And I’m optimistic that we can—if we aren’t afraid of some serious reinvention (it’s one of the trends I’ve been seeing for the general population, so doesn’t it make sense that PR should jump in, too?).
Having spent much of my career in advertising, I still can’t help comparing it with PR. Sometimes I miss the macho swagger of advertising, and I’ve long felt that public relations suffers from excessive femaleness. I don’t mean the number of X chromosomes in a given office (though a case could be made for that, too). I mean the attitude. PR can often be demure, polite and afraid to make too aggressive a grab on anyone’s attention. It’s an industry, unfortunately, that has been too willing to play it safe and follow the rules.
Last summer I wrote an opinion piece decrying an industry that was too feminized and politically correct. PC strictures have made too many people in PR timid, afraid to challenge the boundaries, and too willing to stay in a place where the risks are low—but (good to keep in mind) so are the rewards. When the Drum and Business Insider picked up the piece, the comments surprised me. Among them: “So men are better liars? That’s the message?”
That’s not the message. PR professionals should not lie—especially now, when they’re guaranteed to get caught (remember those insanely empowered consumers)—and neither should ad people. But we need to adopt some of the ad world’s confidence, swagger and, I will even say, ballsiness, which is by definition a masculine descriptor.
We need to get over any inferiority complex we have about our relation to the ad side of the equation. What we do is different but no less valuable. We need to know that, even when clients don’t always get it and procurement is threatening to turn us into purveyors of widgets.
The good news for now is that PR has a tremendous opportunity to flourish. Some of the major PR trends of the day can be viewed in a positive light:
All these changes mean we must stick with straight talk. There’s no longer any interest in people who speak in jargon. What matters is communicating directly with one another—and with our audiences.
Direct communication, courage and passion … those sound like the hallmarks of a healthy future for PR to me. Do you agree?