Making Sure the Cobbler’s Kids Don’t Go Without Shoes

PR consultancies are notorious for not applying their craft to building their own brands.

I’d like to think we’re an exception to the rule.

Equally important, we strive to bring the art of storytelling to our own communications as well as our clients.

As a result, we’ve enjoyed attention in publications ranging from the New York Times to CFO Magazine to USA Today and one my favorite passages (related to conducting business in China):

“It took us a good two years to get our WOFE in place in China. The twists and turns to the finish line were Kafkaesque. As part of the application, they ask for three potential names for the WOFE. Of course, the government ends up selecting a completely different name (from what we submitted) that sounds like a dim sum restaurant. Fortunately, with the right connections behind the scenes we were able to secure the right name.”

Thanks to the rise of digital media, the corresponding demand for content opens the door to more opportunities for contributed pieces.

Toward this end, today’s BusinessWeek (of the digital variety) features my op-ed entitled, “Small Biz to Washington: About Those Promises…”.

I discussed the importance of storytelling in an op-ed using AIG’s contribution to the Washington Post as an example. I’m a big believer in keeping the narrative conversational and having fun with language which hopefully comes out in the BusinessWeek op-ed with phrases such as the following:

“President Obama campaigned on an I-Will-Help-Main-Street platform”

“… to borrow from Shakespeare, here’s the rub on the $15 billion package.”

“If we learned anything from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) last year – never a good sign when an acronym rhymes with carp – it’s that pumping large sums of money into the banks by itself is not the answer to the credit crunch.”

“If someone wants to take on the burger chains with yet another beef-between-bun venture I can appreciate taking a pass on funding.”

“… regain the black on the balance sheet.”

I wanted to work in “Brother can you spare a dime” but decided it fell under the category of “cheap parlor tricks” so took a pass.

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2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Dude April 26th, 2009 10:24 pm

    I’m wondering whether your kidz will have goalie pads, skates, baseball cleats smf stage shoes (and for one, a propped up bustier [throw popcorn at the performer] and/or either leather shoes OR slippers (see below).

    It’s clear that the “industry” has changed. As a devout admirer and proponent (and admittedly, a former client of yours), I’ve marveled at how you’ve worked to keep your team encouraged, engaged and up on recent trends. In comparison, for example, one global Chicago-based (now much diminished) agency had a perspective: “Your annual bonus is that you get to keep your job. Any new market “training” is what we tell you to do.”

    How nice.

    And so non-customer centric. But such is the way of the large agencies.

    More people are working from home and casually. Rightly so. I think they still wear suits in NY to do their jobs – and “work” for technology companies. Hey, if someone’s good and they want to work from Nome, Alaska, who cares/

    You should be applauded for your ongoing efforts. It’s no longer, “Blocking and tackling.” Now it’s zone-blocking and the spread offense. You know that. You coach that.

    As Dylan said:
    In the dime stores and bus stations,
    People talk of situations,
    Read books, repeat quotations,
    Draw conclusions on the wall.
    Some speak of the future,
    My love she speaks softly,
    She knows there’s no success like failure
    And that failure’s no success at all.
    (Love Minus Zero/No Limit http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/love-minus-zerono-limit)

    You have said — perhaps in the one-person-operation-overloaded-with-well-purveyed-Electronic News-and-CRN-issues-next-to-the-downtown-Fire Station, that every employee you ever hired was one more than you ever thought you would hire. Well, the fact is that you exceptionally give back and encourage these people to me masters of a craft. (Sending emails is not “pitching a story,” no matter what young professionals think).

    It is, as Bill Belichick proposes, teaching. patience and preparation. Period. You are in that realm as a communications purveyor – perhaps learning from your Marken days of how NOT to treat people.

    Too bad the other pompous “heads” of local and national agencies just don’t get it. Or . . . maybe it isn’t?

  2. Lou Hoffman April 27th, 2009 1:36 pm

    Thanks for weighing in.

    Although I do have say it’s our team that keeps me engaged and up on the recent trends.

    For example, one of our account folks nudged me to connect with Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester over lunch a couple months ago which proved to be an eye opener and got me to take the plunge into Twitter.

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