Thursday, July 28, 2005

The points critics don't want to make about public relations

There's been an awful lot of mud thrown at people who do public relations lately, including critics raising scurrilous questions about the value of hiring ghostwriters to help scientists and other technical professionals prepare articles for mainstream publications. Deborah Radman, chairwoman of PRSA's Counselors Academy, responded effectively to this criticism in today's New York Times.

Friday, July 15, 2005

GM Vice Chair Bob Lutz is doing good PR for himself, but watch those hyperlinks!

The Financial Times  noticed Bob Lutz at General Motors doing something most of the rest of us bloggers also do. We all promote our other articles and activities.
A short item in the FT today notes that "General Motors' vice-chairman and blogger-in-chief Bob Lutz devotes the latest entry on his FastLane blog to three reading suggestions for the summer holidays."
One is a first-person piece in Information Week describing his experience as an executive blogger.
Another is in AutoWeek, which I only found by reading one of the comments on Lutz's blog, and then linking to a related article in AutoWeek that had a referral link to the Lutz piece, but the direct link on the GM FastLane Blog doesn't work.
The third one is a link to that doesn't work either, unless you copy and paste it.
So even though the FT found it necessary to take a tartly worded parting shot, "No prizes for guessing who is in charge of designing GM's new vehicles,"
I say, "Go Bob!"
But here's a tip to the people supporting every blog, including Bob Lutz's blog: Please make sure to have reprints of the articles PDFed and linked to your blog because these things are frequently only available to subscribers at the publications' websites, or, more commonly, they go offline completely. Two of the three links Lutz provided yesterday are already not working correctly from the GM Blog.
Dynamically published websites like magazines and news services don't make it easy for bloggers to publish links that remain active, but we need to be careful that the links we send our readers out to scarf up remain active.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Boston Herald is listening...

Thanks to Jay Fitzgerald, author of the Boston Herald EconoBlog, who liked what I said about Arends column (see below).

Boston Herald Columnist has PR folks circling the wagons, but this time, gang, the reporter is onto something

Memo to the PR industry:

Let's all calm down about the Boston Herald column by Brett Arends slamming corporate PR people for not returning calls and not having the ability to answer simple questions.

Many PR people are rising up in anger with war stories about "when I was in corporate communications this reporter did that to me..." and all the grievances about reporters that you can think of. The column has been widely blogged. And here too.

But whoa, kiddies. Arends is right!

Strange words coming from someone who sits on the PRSA Board, I know. But let's stop being emotional and look at this objectively.

Let's take a minute and think about the underlying trend that Arends' observation hints at.

Corporations, large ones like the big financial institution that gobbled up my employer last year and sent me off into severance land, are drastically reducing their dependence on in-house PR people.

Corporate PR practitioners with lots of experience command decent salaries.

Big companies like to reduce decent salaries whenever possible, so when it's time to reduce headcount, seasoned PR people are often among those heads whose count gets reduced.

The same day I got tossed overboard, they also tossed a guy who had been handling media relations crises for the company for nearly three decades.

How do you let that much institutional memory and expertise walk out the door? And if you do make a decision to cut expenses in that way, how can you be surprised when reporters notice that the level of service has declined dramatically?

Reporters are, in a sense, customers of the PR department. And if the way you serve those customers gets changed dramatically, why are we shooting the messenger who's writing about how things have changed?

I've talked to lots of reporters recently who have complained about how big companies don't return calls, don't tell them anything useful on the rare occasions when they do return calls, and frankly don't seem to care if the reporters write about the company at all.

This is not going to pay off in great good will for these companies when they need community support for some initiative. If you only deal with reporters when you want something from them, you will be very sorry.

I know of one company in the financial sector that used to have a national team of media relations professionals representing its interests at a ratio of nearly one person for every state in which this company operated.

Know how many people handle regional media for them now?

One, with occasional help from very junior people who don't know the reporters, don't understand the issues. These junior people are paid a fraction of what the expert, senior practitioners used to earn, and all they can do is read from a script, if they are even given that much to say.

The bottom line is not that reporters are being unfair.

The true story is that large companies have made a conscious, cost-cutting decision that having expert counsel from veteran media relations people is NOT something they want to pay for right now.

And so a lot of very young, very junior/inexperienced people are answering calls from reporters they don't know and don't know how to handle.

The few, more-seasoned PR people tend to be at a distant headquarters, and generally their job is to shield executives from press inquiries by barking orders to those very junior people, who only are allowed to answer the phone, but don't have the authority to do or say anything.

As PR leaders, that's what we should be concerned about.

Brett Arends is telling our profession that it smells like something is burning. We should not be criticizing him for noticing the smoke!

We should be figuring out how to get corporate senior executives to understand that they are stoking the fire, and it will singe their eyebrows eventually.

Reserving the idea for a new reality TV Show

You want your kids to marry royalty? How about this for a reality show? (Dog the Bounty Hunter, please step aside.)

The father's a prince, the mother's a former actress. They reign over a tiny kingdom that has gambling as its primary industry.

The kids, well, the youngest daughter has children with three different men, the middle daughter has been married, er, several times, and the eldest son and heir is a member of the "mile-high club."

The title: "Those Wacky Grimaldis."

Just want to stake out my legal claim when this one debuts on MTV later this year.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Middle Chamber Books at Lubetkin & Co. Offers Cherry Hill Summer Reading List Books for Sale

All of the books in the Cherry Hill High School East Summer Reading List are available through Middle Chamber Books.

Follow the link above to to order your summer reading books.

We are an Associate bookstore.

Monday, July 04, 2005

We comment on George Steinbrenner's PR Moves in NJ's most influential newspaper

Steve is quoted in "Experts: Steinbrenner guilty of bad PR." in the July 4 Star Ledger. Story available free for 14 days. After that, email me.

Friday, July 01, 2005

LOBP #7: PRSA Philadelphia Panel "Tuning into Diversity-Best Practices in Multicultural Marketing"

This podcast is a recording of a PRSA/Philadelphia panel held on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 at the Union League Club in Center City Philadelphia. This program focuses on the growing importance of multicultural markets and their enormous buying power - more than $900 billion annually in the U.S. - represented by African-American, Hispanic, and Asian consumers. Diversity is a key strategic goal of the Public Relations Society of America.

Nationally recognized panelists will explore some of the "best practices" for developing brand building initiatives aimed at multicultural audiences, offering a summary of best practices in multicultural marketing, and discussing the applicability of these best
practices and other factors important in their use and suggestions on how to integrate multicultural marketing as a core brand-building

Moderator is: David W. Brown, President/Principal, Brown Partners, Philadelphia, PA

Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Principal & Partner, Communique Group/Rise
Strategies, Coral Gables, FL; Rosanna is a member of the PRSA National Board of Directors and national chairperson for PRSA’s Diversity initiatives.
Marc Curtis Little, Partner, BrooksLittle Communications, Jacksonville, FL
Kenneth Wong, Principal, CIG Asia Ltd/Combined Insurance Group, Philadelphia, PA