Red Square Agency Website – A Winning Site & Having Fun Building It


Do you remember when working at an advertising agency was fun? Maybe you are having that experience right now. If you haven’t checked out the 2009 winner for Agency Website presented by the Web Marketing Association, check it out. While you’re at it, have you seen an impressive business website? Send me a link!

I enjoyed the copy for ‘House Rules’ and ‘Contact.’ Congrats Red Square

Red Square Agency wins 2009 WebAward for Red Square Agency Website.

Hearst Corporation, Helen Thomas & Casting Stones


I received a phone call from the Hearst Corporation today. I asked the person, a leading executive with Hearst if I could ask a straight-forward question. This person and I met briefly during a visit to D.C. when I visited Helen Thomas at her office…or should I say cubicle. I was amazed that Helen Thomas worked from a small cubicle. Anyway, the Hearst executive knew who my father was and I wondered if I could ask him a straight-forward question. My question was simply this; why did Hearst make the decision it did to ‘help’ or to force Helen to retire as one of its opinion columnists? After all, Helen did state an opinion. The stammering and uhms and uhs were heard on the other end of the line.

What. No opinion? I have one.

As inappropriate and disrespectful as the comment was, it was an opinion. Each of us knows someone who has fought for our country in some way or another. These men and women have fought for our freedoms, one of which is the freedom of speech. I am underwhelmed at the many who have elected to scatter away to distance themselves – many who were her ‘friends’ for years and even some who claimed a close relationship with Helen throughout their own lives.

Next, we’ll find out The Society of Professional Journalists is considering to rename its Helen Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement. Oh, that’s right. FoxNews.com states the society is considering this and will make its decision in July.

‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’
John 8:7

BP Oil Spill: PR At Its Worst?


I’m not quite sure if any of my colleagues would want to be a part of the public relations team currently involved in ‘handling’ the BP Oil Crisis. I do not know how many people BP has on staff who are a part of its public relations team. I do not know what type of crisis communications plan is currently in place. For now, I think it’s fair to say that it isn’t working. In fact, the company seems to be putting its proverbial foot in its mouth on an ongoing basis with nothing to cap this poor communications problem anytime soon. For instance:

EXAMPLE #1

BP CEO Tony Hayward Comments On Current Situation (L.A. Times)

  • “I’m sorry. We’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused their lives. There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I’d like my life back.”

BP Tries To Mop Up PR Mess (CBS News.com)

  • The Financial Times quoted Tony Hayward as saying it was “an entirely fair criticism” that the company wasn’t fully ready. “What is undoubtedly true is that we did not have the tools you would want in your tool kit,” Hayward was quoted as saying. However, Hayward said BP had been successful so far in keeping most of the oil away from the southeastern U.S. coast. “Considering how big this has been, very little has got away from us,” Hayward was quoted as saying. Hayward said the April 20 explosion on an oil rig that caused the leak was a “one in a million chance,” but that risk needed to be cut to one in a billion or even one in a trillion. BP’s latest attempted to stop the leak stalled Wednesday when a diamond-tipped saw became stuck while trying to cut the pipe. The company plans another attempt with giant shears, but said that even if that works it will be less satisfactory than if the saw had completed a clean cut.
  • The brother of one of the deceased who lost his life from the blast of the oil rig sent the BP’s CEO his own message, “I want my brother’s life back.” (CNN TV News)

EXAMPLE #2

BP Response to Gulf Coast Business Claims

  • BP claims paying out $48 million so far

BP Oil Spill: The Impact On Just One Business (CNN TV report)

Bourgeois Charter Fishing Business:

  • The company has had to let its employees go
  • The company is broke and fears losing its home
  • The small business has filed claims via fax to BP for 30 days in a row
  • Business owners say without financial help soon (within the next 30 days) this husband and wife may lose their home
  • This couple says businesses that are their neighbors have not received any money from BP yet either.

Social Media – A New Way to Improve or Damage Your Business


Social media has a lot to offer businesses. But it can sure provide your company with a big black eye if you don’t take the time to think through how to use it. For instance, if in marketing our goal is to focus on the brand image and speak clear and concise key messages, why would you:

  • Allow your Facebook page to have misspellings and poor grammar?
  • Have a clever and interesting Facebook page and not offer a ‘next step’ or a connection to interest your target to contact you for business?
  • Even begin a Facebook page without thinking things through, like what you want to say or how often you plan to update your page?

Ready to get started? Let me know.

By the way, a good place to get familiar with social media is through the site,
Social Media Examiner. I encourage you to check it out to become more social!

Helen Thomas – More Than A Video Clip



I believe that everyone has a purpose. Today I heard that an amazing lady and a family friend decided to retire after decades of amazing and extraordinary service to our country. Her name is Helen Thomas. Helen has a fire in her belly that has burned bright throughout her career as Dean of the White House Press Corps and then as a columnist for The Hearst Corporation.

Helen is a woman who has and continues to wonder why our military must lose their lives without any idea of when, how or if the war these men and women are fighting will ever come to an end. She deeply cares about people in general and loathes the loss of life.

I spent a few days with her last year on two separate occasions. What a privilege, indeed. With all of the pain the recession has caused in my own life and the millions of others across our country, she offered me experienced and caring advice on focusing efforts to write a book and to look at ways to make a contribution to society and toward my own well-being.

So, this is what I am doing. As of this posting, I am finished with Chapter 2.

Do I judge all the good that Helen Thomas has done on behalf of women who wanted to be taken seriously in the workplace by one comment made a few days ago? No. What right do I have to judge anybody regarding any matter? She made a comment that was videotaped. It hurt many. She deeply regrets making the comment. She has said she is sorry. She has always hated the loss of life and would not intend to communicate otherwise.

In this case, I recommend we all consider a tried and true solution:
Judge not lest ye be judged.

Helen Thomas deserves more respect than becoming fodder for water cooler chatter.

Effective PR Can Do More Than You Think


With close to twenty years in the radio, TV, Public Relations and Communications industries, I can offer up some tid bits you may want to consider before you even think about picking up that phone to call a media contact. Here’s just one example of how successful a strategically-based public relations campaign can do more than gain editorial coverage.

Situation
When Levolor Home Fashions was forced to reduce its marketing budget from $4 million to less than $200,000, public relations was the recommended marketing tactic.

Results
Provided national and even international media coverage from TV and print and helped increase key product sales close to 40 percent in less than six months.

The Good Stuff


In every area of my 20 years working in radio, TV, public relations, new business and communications both internal and external, it’s ‘the good stuff’ that matters. It’s not only understanding the human element but being able to speak all of the various languages each of us, and in business, each of your target markets understands.

If you truly want to succeed in public relations, communications, new business or simply in the business world, you’re going to need to embrace ‘the good stuff.’

Get ready to re-consider what you’re doing to reach your target market, find out how to develop simple ways to increase new business opportunities, communicate effectively in a way your target market wants to hear from you and last but not least…fill your own bag full of ‘The Good Stuff.’