ishmaels corner

Storytelling Through a Business Prism


Building Bridges in the Year of the Dog

I’m convinced that the secret sauce for global PR campaigns is collaboration. It stands to the reason that the better folks know each other — even those halfway across the world — the better the collaboration. That’s why we invest in a program called “Building Bridges,” allowing staff members to travel overseas and work out …more

Translating the News Release on the Merger of Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe

The two agencies pen literally thousands of news releases for their clients each year, many addressing M&A. How tough can it be to apply this expertise to their own announcement? Of course, what the news release states doesn’t necessarily align with reality. As a public service, I’ve addressed the news release distributed over Business Wire …more

Journalist Compares a Bad Media Pitch with One That Has a Fighting Chance

For those who toil on the front lines of media relations, it’s easy to drift into a Jim Carrey-like optimism. . PR: “What are the chances that you’ll write about this pitch?” Journalist: “Not good” PR: “You mean not good like one out of a hundred?” Journalist: “I’d say more like one out of a …more

Will the Communications Industry Change Because of President Trump?

Before addressing the question, let’s consider the high-level objectives of the typical communications campaign. Increase awareness, often in the form of media coverage. Strive to fortify the brand. Of course, the ultimate goal is to win people over to your way of thinking so they “buy.” By this definition, Trump’s unconventional approach to communications has …more

Channeling “Jerry Maguire” in the Client/Agency Relationship

Every person in a consultancy — and not just a PR agency … could be any type of professional services firm — 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. Sometimes, the client’s boss finds comfort …more

Lessons from Warren Buffett’s Gift for Language and Storytelling

It’s not enough that Warren Buffett has become one of the richest men in the world. He’s also a world-class storyteller. If it’s any consolation, he seems to struggle with this Twitter thing, flinging out nine missives since 2013.   . Stumbling across Buffett’s Wikipedia profile, which happens to include a citation from one of …more

How Sundance Helped Me Realize Communications IS Art

Based on back-of-the-envelope math, I figure I’ve worked with more than 1,000 client contacts over my career. That’s a lot of people, especially when you factor in that I’m a closet introvert (“solitude, where can I find a slice of solitude?”). Yet, I don’t need a calculator to tell me that Wendy Zajack lands in …more