Your Challenge: Think Big, Act Bigger

Time to Think Big | David PRIf marketing whiz Jeff Hayzlett ruled the world, one of the first orders of business would be to outlaw the words “I can’t.”

A former chief marketing officer at Kodak, turned consultant and entrepreneur, Hayzlett stands firm that nearly anything can be accomplished in the business world if you put your mind to it.  I interviewed Hayzlett recently and found his take on marketing to be both motivating and thought provoking.

Hayzlett’s book Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless could vie for shelf space somewhere in between self-help and autobiography, but it belongs in the business section.  He offers a glimpse into the blueprint that led him from growing up in South Dakota, to Kodak and to hosting a show on Bloomberg TV, which he then moved to an online platform as the C-Suite Network.  He’s built a little empire and isn’t shy about telling us how he did it – not because he’s bragging, but because he believes the rest of us can do it too.Read More

Five Questions about Newsjacking with David Meerman Scott

NewsjackingA few weeks back, I interviewed David Meerman Scott about his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, and one area I promised to revisit is known as newsjacking. Scott describes it as the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate media coverage, get sales leads, and grow one’s business.

Following are five key questions and answers about the subject.

John P. David (JPD): Has your definition of newsjacking changed since you first coined/started using the term?

David Meerman Scott (DMS): Yes, the definition has changed. When I first invented newsjacking, I focused on the idea of getting your ideas into news stories. My main consideration was to teach the technique of getting you quoted in the stories being written by mainstream media reporters at newspapers, magazines, and in broadcast stories on radio and television.

But as I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who have successfully implemented my ideas, I’ve realized that many of them were generating sales leads, adding new customers, selling products and services, and growing their business — all from newsjacking!

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Intimate Brands Explained

Intimate brands David PR GroupWe all have emotional connections to brands, whether we care to admit it or not.  If you always buy a certain brand of toothpaste, religiously order a call brand at a bar or ritualistically check the same app every day to get your sports scores, then you have an emotional connection of some depth.  And some brands are more intimate than others.

Think of folks who go to Starbucks every morning, only use Apple devices, drink Coke products exclusively, only drive Hondas, or who can’t imagine their lives without Amazon.  These represent some of the most intimate brands in America.  If you discuss this with Mario Natarelli of brand agency MBLM (“emblem,” get it?), he will tell you that such relationships are measurable, achievable, and produce quantifiable benefits for companies.

For the past five years, his company has been researching brand intimacy and sharing some of the results, typically with an annual listing of the most intimate brands.  I spoke with him about the most recent study and why this is important for marketers, business owners, and reputation managers alike.Read More

Communications Strategy 101: Get your GAME on

Communications Strategy from David PR GroupOne thing that I often hear from executives is that they want to improve their corporate communications, marketing and public relations, but they don’t know where to start. Perhaps the conversation begins with an executive saying they want a presence on social media, or they want to blog, or they just want to “get their name out there.” How do you do it? How do you develop a communications strategy?

The answer: Get your GAME on.

While developing a complete communications strategy takes research and in-depth planning, one can make the first moves fairly easily and can quickly point the ship in the right direction. This process, which can take a few hours for a cursory approach or several weeks for a deep dive, focuses on four areas: Goals, Audiences, Messaging (and tactics) and Evaluation. “GAME,” get it? (Don’t feel the need to be snarky about the “T” in “tactics.” It’s my process, so I’m calling it “GAME.”)Read More

Preeminent Book on Marketing and PR Gets an Update

David PR Group PR and Marketing book gets an updateIf I’m being honest, I have never had much use for books about public relations.  When I was studying marketing and PR in college, much of the information in textbooks was dated and offered in a rote, dull manner.  As time passed and new books were written, few could capture what I was experiencing firsthand as a professional PR guy, particularly as the industry had shifted dramatically in recent years.

Yet there’s one book which caught and kept my attention; it also happens to have been recently released in its fifth edition.  The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, first published in 2007, remains one of the top books about the industry.

When offered an opportunity to speak with Scott about his book, I jumped at it for a number of reasons.  As I mentioned, I think his book is the preeminent authority on PR out there. But he’s also a pioneer of “newsjacking.”Read More

Is Customer Experience the Next Killer App?

design is artEveryone in service businesses talk about it. Amazon.com lists more than 100,000 titles on the topic. Sometimes it seems like it’s a quest that challenges every business owner in America. I’m talking about the concept of “exceptional customer service.” If I had a nickel for every business owner who ever said that they wanted to emulate how Apple engages customers or how Disney treats its guests or how Ritz-Carlton does anything and everything, then I would be able to spend the rest of my days fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with the singular care of bagging a bonefish. We all talk about improving the customer experience, but it remains incredibly elusive as many businesses continue to struggle with maintaining consistent service. Oftentimes, acquisition and retention efforts trump the ability to even consider such a nebulous concept as “customer delight.”

I recently attended a presentation by author Brian Solis, skeptically wondering what mysticism I might get on this topic.  According to Solis, not only are most businesses failing at the customer experience, but they are failing by design. As an analyst and anthropologist, he has researched the problem and offers an interesting and credible perspective. His book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, not only details why Apple and Disney kick ass in the experience department but also explains how the key to their success is understanding their customers on multiple levels. Thankfully, Solis isn’t a consultant trying to push a particular system on customer engagement and whatnot. Instead, he outlines how customer experience is the new differentiator and how every business can make meaningful changes. To date, Apple, Disney and the Ritz are ahead because they have designed their products around the customer experience. But fear not. The rest of us are not yet out of the race; we can all catch up.Read More

PR Problems and Legal Muscle Don’t Always Mix 

tug of war | David PR GroupIt baffles me when companies hire lawyers to manhandle public relations issues.  Don’t get me wrong; I love lawyers — literally. My father and both of my brothers are lawyers, as are several of my dearest friends. I also have represented attorneys for decades in all manners of PR matters. Yet sometimes I just want to give a good shake to attorneys who try to overpower PR problems with legal muscle. Two recent examples come to mind.

First, for-profit Dade Medical College has been embroiled in a PR and legal battle with the Miami Herald for the past two years. The Herald ran a series called “Higher-Ed Hustle” that chronicled how predatory practices, political dealings and low test scores are prevalent among some for-profit colleges. Dade Medical College was a regular target of these articles. (Note: Dade Medical College has no affiliation with the public Miami Dade College.)

Dade Medical College sued the newspaper for defamation, though the lawsuit was later dropped. But wait, there’s more: Last week, as the college shuttered its six campuses, news broke that attorneys for Dade Medical College hired a private investigator last year to tail Herald reporter Michael Vasquez. Lawyer Juan Carlos Antorcha with the law firm Rasco Klock Perez Nieto signed an agreement with the would-be Magnum, P.I., to follow and presumably dig up dirt on Vasquez. The contract, which became public for reasons I will explain in a moment, actually had a hand-written note that said “Target: Michael Vasquez/Herald Reporter.” You can’t make this stuff up.Read More

The Politics of Authentic PR and Communications

Leading presidential candidatesThough I enjoy following politics and have had many lively conversations about the presidential campaign, I have hesitated to write about it given the polarizing nature of such things – and the fact that one person’s non-partisan observation can quickly be perceived by another as a partisan insult.

Yet as a public relations professional, it’s difficult to ignore what Stephen Colbert called “the big orange elephant in the room,” meaning Donald Trump.  He’s turned one side of the political landscape on its head, and while you may think he’s soon to flame out, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that he has brought a level of authenticity to the race that hasn’t been seen before.  Therefore, it’s time for me to weigh in.

Part of a classic strategy to win the White House in recent decades has included the following:Read More

What’s the Deal With Book Deals?

john p. david book artThe book publishing world has been in tremendous flux in recent years, but I had no idea how much so until I began researching options for my own book about how to defend your reputation online. I have included a link for anyone who wants to read the first chapter. But first, here’s what I have learned so far about the current state of publishing.

For decades, a limited number of publishing houses that distributed books through brick and mortar retailers controlled the book business. If you wanted to publish a book, you had to go through the traditional system. This meant finding an agent to shop your book to the publishing houses on your behalf. If they selected your manuscript, enlightened editors would massage it (at least that’s how I envisioned it) and carefully market it—including arranging a cover design, reviews, bookstore windows, signings, and maybe even a book tour.

The system worked for a long time, but a number of factors have contributed to recent erosion. Read More

5 Reasons to Start a CEO Blog

5 reasons to Start a CEO BlogPublish or perish!  We hear about it in the context of academia all the time.  In order for would-be professors to be considered for tenured positions, they need to regularly showcase their brilliance through publishing relevant scholarly works.  I would argue that CEOs should follow the same advice though they need not regularly publish doctoral-thesis-worthy communications but rather compelling blog content which can advance their business and personal interests.  Below are five reasons why companies should embrace the CEO blog:

Puts a face to your organization.  A CEO is almost always the best single human asset that a company has, particularly start-ups and smaller companies.  Yet many businesses hide their top asset behind a marketing curtain.  A short website bio, usually without contact information, makes most CEOs appear inaccessible.  If your goal is to be a customer-facing and customer-focused organization, a CEO blog can create a public face for a company.  Showcasing your company’s personality can go a long way to defining your values.Read More