Starbucks Race Together. Not

The coverup is worse than the crime. That is one of the foundational principles of reputation management. Starbuck’s “Race Together” campaign came to an abrupt end on Sunday – a few days after it was savaged in the Twitter-verse – to the point that the company’s Chief of Global Communications quit Twitter – temporarily. Howard Schultz said […]

Michael Bay – Lessons Learned

I face potential problems like the one experienced by Michael Bay constantly both doing brand-centric corporate video as a sideline gig, and as a public affairs talk show as a full time job. So as a media consultant and video producer, I am CONSTANTLY pitched on the idea of having the CEO or the big […]

Seattle Times’ “Research”

During my several years of graduate school, I was “fortunate” enough to take a bunch of classes that all focused on statistical analysis and research design. This of course was the prep work required to complete a thesis, and go onto a PhD and become a diligent researcher in the social sciences – namely media […]

All in on sunburns

If you want to make a story go away, own your mistake – or at least throw somebody else under the bus if you are rendered unable to act intelligently. It’s that simple. Really, it is. Despite that, institutional ego and a misplaced sense of self-protection is so, so very strong – organizations frequently impale […]

Clean Cloud Campaign: Wrong target

Finding a way to be offended is the tried-and-true pathway to nurturing a parasitic message. If you can claim offense, you are blessed with the mantle of ”cause” and can thrash the world with your righteous indignation without concern about unintended consequences or having to bother with those pesky policy questions. Greenpeace taps into this […]

Leadership, Tribes & Journalism

There is a TED talk done by Seth Godin that discusses leadership, marketing and messaging, and how humankind now drives change and innovation. I think it’s worth watching.  When I watched this, I thought about (surprise, surprise) the mass media and journalism. What does this say about how media outlets market themselves and manage their […]

Messing with my mind: Chrysler & America

I knew the Chrysler commercial featuring Clint Eastwood struck a chord when my youngest son instantly hit me with a text that simply read, “America!” What does that tell me? That the emotional drivers associated with a brand are far more important than the facts. Does he not realize that Clint’s tough guy voice […]

What are they THINKING?

Chris Daniels at KING5 did a nice story about local football officials running afoul of the Pacific Northwest Football Officials Association because they chose to blow pink whistles at games to help raise money for breast cancer research – without permission!  Association Chair Todd Stordahl actually went on the air trying to defend the indefensible. […]

Phone books gone bust

I will mention none of the too many phone books by name – because I know what a sore subject this is having a couple of friends who toil long and hard selling very expensive space in the things.  While I’m sure the books can produce a pile of research that will show us what […]

Part 26: What the &#@% is Microsoft thinking?

Don’t think of blue elephants. The next person who makes that sound in this bus will be sent to the office!  Don’t even think about texting or Tweeting from this meeting. Microsoft’s “no texting” edict at its annual employee meeting is so dumb, I would like to think it was a massive reverse-psychology viral communications […]

The gifts that keep on giving

Part of my gig includes some brand management and communications consulting. And I have to tell you, for years I’ve thought that the field of crisis communications and situational brand management would eventually fizzle-out because a new generation of corporate leaders would come into their jobs “getting it” when it comes to public relations and […]

BP-Beyond PR

It takes years to build a reputation, and a minute to destroy one. BP is seeing how this works first hand.  The company just launched an image campaign featuring a TV ad with the CEO talking about how he’ll make it right. He’s well coached and the spot touches on all the stock points – […]

Tiger Tech: FAIL

Nice apology – he owned it – it was heartfelt and it will satisfy those who can be satisfied.  The media wanted a dogpile press conference, but they still wouldn’t have been satisfied, so there’s really no loss associated with not doing a Q-and-A. There is however a loss associated with having 50% of the […]

Hooter’s solution is PR

Good God. Did anybody watch Hooters CEO Coby Brooks humiliate himself on TV last night? And do we really buy this crap?  Undercover Boss is a Olympics counter-programming hit, but it serves up plastic souls on paper plates and I hope the viewing public can see through it. Brooks thought a sexually abusive manager’s problems […]

Seattle Times & Pre-roll spots

Running no-option pre-roll spots in front of online video content appears to be the best way to make money at this time. Research shows it’s the model best tolerated by viewers.  The Seattle Times is doing this, but it making several awkward mistakes. I’m sure they are not alone – I just happened to catch […]

Seattle Schools Yipes!

It’s about effective communications, not the protocol.  The imbroglio with the teacher’s union in the Seattle school district is the latest in a series of communications snafus – several of which star local school districts. The days of communicating with stakeholders first, as a matter of “courtesy” or “respect” and then filling in the gaps […]