If I Were LeBron’s PR Guy…


The winds of backlash are again brewing near the shores of Lake Erie as Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans await “The Decision” part two. Rumors are flying that basketball superstar LeBron James may part ways with the Miami Heat and play for Cleveland. The idea that the Akron native might return to Ohio is not outside the realm of possibility. Read More

Disruptive Technology Merits Disruptive PR


One of the big stories of the summer is the rise of ridesharing services. You may have heard of the major players (companies Uber and Lyft) or seen one of the Lyft cars — distinguishably marked with a rather undistinguished-looking pink mustache.

For the uninitiated, ridesharing offers an alternative to traditional taxis. Read More

Three Reasons to Apply for Business Awards


At some point in the recent past, it became popular to include one’s awards and accolades in your e-mail signature.  It’s now common to finish reading an e-mail and then notice that the sender’s company is a “Great Place to Work” or a member of the (insert trade magazine here) “Top 100.”  While I don’t like to see e-mail monikers overwhelmed by such plaudits, I must admit that I’m a fan of awards.  I think they make good business sense for a number of reasons, and here are my top three.Read More

Super Bowl Ads Ahead of the Game

While I don’t know who will win next week’s Super Bowl game between the Seahawks and the Broncos, I can say with certainty that, for many, the best part of the game will be the commercials.  Advertisers have a lot at stake, paying nearly $4 million for the average 30-second spot, and they are leaving little to chance.  They don’t just pick their best commercial and hope it catches our eye on Super Sunday – they start promoting the spots online and on television in advance.  Yes, that’s right, we now have commercials promoting the commercials.Read More

Steps to Remove Defamatory Blog Posts


Online reputation management takes on many forms. When negative information is posted online about a person or business, a number of strategies can be employed. A business can respond to the criticism on review sites, like TripAdvisor or Yelp, by replying to a negative comment. One can also reply to an offending blog post. Some companies employ online reputation management companies to push down (suppress) negative content.Read More

Lessons from an Online Lynch Mob


Last Friday night, I took a peek at my Twitter feed and noticed that a marketing guy who I follow named Peter Shankman was pleading for some Internet sanity regarding a woman named Justine Sacco.  Said Peter: “Yes [Sacco’s] tweet was awful.  But she’s landing to death threats.  Come on, Twitter, let’s be better than that.”Read More

Marketing by Ron Burgundy


One day soon (it was supposed to be tonight), fictional newsman Ron Burgundy will guest host ESPN’s signature newscast “Sportscenter.”  If you don’t like sports and haven’t seen the 2004 classic comedy “Anchorman,” then you may not know what I’m talking about.  I can guarantee this will change over the next two weeks as the publicity machine for Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman 2” hits full stride in ways that movie marketing has never seen before.  In advance of the movie’s December 18 release, Ferrell and “Anchorman 2” are changing the way movies are publicized by going far beyond action-packed trailers and media tours.Read More

Crank-Up the Content in ‘14


Saw my first “perfect gift for Dad” holiday commercial this week.  For the man who has everything, you can buy “super-grip” pliers that serve a multitude of macho functions including, this was my favorite, “safely hold materials when you weld and grind.”  Does it get manlier than that?

I figure if they can start advertising the holiday season before Thanksgiving (and, alas, even before Halloween), then we can begin discussing marketing for 2014 now.  Here are a few things to think about as you plan for ‘14:Read More

Catastrophic Success at Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s opened in my neighborhood, and I’m told the grocery chain has some great products at reasonable prices.  Sadly, when I tried to shop there, I couldn’t find a parking spot.

The new location opened last week with much fanfare.  However most of the early reviews didn’t discuss the great food but rather how tough it was to park one’s car. Read More

Customer Service Sets You Apart – Especially When Things Go Wrong


In the past two days, my perception of two brands changed for the better, even though things went wrong with both of them.

This week we are rapidly closing-in on two coincidental yet important events: Father’s Day and my annual family vacation.  Usually before we leave for a week in the Carolinas, I stock up on a few things and invariably order items online.  And with Father’s Day on the horizon, a lot of guy stuff is on sale.  So here’s what I shopped for and why my perceptions changed.

One of my clients gave me a gift card from Dick’s Sporting Goods.  I had never shopped there before as the nearest location is about an hour away, and I have literally no brand perception of Dick’s beyond hearing the company’s ads on sports radio.  I decided to use the gift card to order a new tackle box.  It arrived yesterday, in time for my trip, but it was missing some pieces (not sure why).  I called Dick’s and without any fuss, the company agreed to send me another tackle box via overnight delivery.  (I have to ship the incomplete one back but on Dick’s dime).  Despite the fact that someone didn’t properly check my original order, Dick’s created a favorable impression with me because when I complained, they treated me right.  I didn’t have to beg, raise my voice, ask to speak with a supervisor or otherwise “escalate” it to a higher authority.  So guess what?  Even though there isn’t a Dick’s Sporting Goods store within 30 miles of me, the next time I want to order golf equipment or other fishing gear, Dick’s will get the nod.

Also in advance of the trip, I made my annual “kicking and screaming” pilgrimage to buy “menswear” for work and off-days when I’m supposed to be presentable.  Again, everything is on sale in advance of Father’s Day, and I have been regularly bombarded with ads from the oddly punctuated clothier JoS. A. Bank (turns out Joseph A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. is a NASDAQ-traded company that has been around since 1905 and has more than 600 locations.  I had no idea).  So I went to the store near my house and bought several dress shirts and a few pairs of pants.  Said trousers were supposed to be hemmed before I left on vacation, but the store called a couple days ago and said the tailor had been sick and it would take a few extra days.  I called them back and politely told the store manager that the delay was unacceptable as I would be leaving town in a few days and needed to wear pants.  When pressed about the pants (ha), he agreed to have them done for me on time.  When I stopped in to pick them up (they were ready with no further hassles), the manager was so nice and apologetic that I decided to do some additional shopping.  Amazingly, I found a blue blazer that fit me right off the rack (which has never happened, ever – ever).  The price was right and I bought it, but when the clerk took the coat into the back room to pack it up, he noticed a tiny hole where the shoulder met the sleeve of the coat – and he wouldn’t sell it to me.  Frankly, I would have never noticed the itsy bitsy hole had he not pointed it out – Mrs. David would have, but not me.  I tried-on another blazer but I couldn’t find one that fit as well as the original, pin-holed version.  The charge was reversed and I left the store without a new coat, but with a whole new appreciation for JoS. A. Bank.  I still don’t understand the name and how they abbreviate it, but I like the brand.

Muhammad Ali once said: “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”  How we handle adversity in customer service has as much to do with our brand’s success as the quality of our product and the nature of our message.  I imagine the “The Greatest” would agree.

I wish everyone a great summer and a Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there.  And if you are still looking for a last-minute gift, might I suggest Dick’s Sporting Goods or JoS. A. Bank

Have you ever had a similar experience, when good customer service trumped a bad experience?  Let me know.



Author: John P. David