Archive: September 2012


Starbucks Communications Reminiscent of Netflix Debacle

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since Netflix’s storytelling went astray in rationalizing the separation of the DVD business from the streaming video business. The primary issue wasn’t the decision as much as how it was communicated. At the time I wrote: Just be honest and open with people.   No …more

An Open Letter to the PR Community to Help Restore the Credibility of Journalists

September 24, 2012 Dear PR Pro, Admit it. You probably did a fist pump after reading David Carr’s column last week, “The Puppetry Of Quotation Approval.” According to Carr, journalists are increasingly acquiescing to PR requests to be manipulated, often in the form of approving quotes. In exchange for access, the journalist agrees to the …more

The Periodic PR Agency Plea, “Help Me Help You”

Every agency person has experienced a client who adds what we’ll call “extra obstacles” to achieving success. It’s not personal (usually). Sometimes, it’s simply a byproduct of the company’s culture. I’m reminded of a client whose management required report after report to the point that the reporting cost exceeded the doing-PR cost. Even after showing …more

Why Great Storytelling in a News Release Can Hurt Your Cause

Journalists do not want to regurgitate a news release that by definition sits in the public domain. If the news release encapsulates the complete story with anecdotes, texture and a touch of drama, you leave no room for a journalist to navigate. IBM’s recent announcement of a mainframe illustrates how good content – not great …more

Pitch Shaped by Storytelling Techniques Opens Door at Major Business Publication

I’ve been waiting months to share this exchange with a journalist at a major business publication. I love this example because it shows a journalist’s reaction to the same core content: one based on the typical bulldoze pitch, and the second reflecting storytelling techniques. Here’s the first volley. Me Journalist This was probably my worse …more

Tapping Google Search for Discovery and Storytelling

Research underpins many terrific novels. Novelist Tom Clancy attributes his success to “equal parts persistence and dogged research.” For “The Hunt for Red October,” he raked the likes of “The World’s Missile Systems, Guide to the Soviet Navy and Combat Fleets of the World.” It’s not on my nightstand either. But a similar mentality can …more