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Kevin Durant Airballs Brand-building Moment

Today’s professional athletes cultivate their brands with attention to detail that would make a product manager at P&G proud. Certainly Kevin Durant fits into this category. That’s why his “Thank You to Everyone” ad published in the San Francisco Chronicle last week was disappointing. The creative could have come from a summer advertising workshop for …more

Business Insider Is OK with Flawed Dot-connecting in the Name of Click Bait

People gravitate toward extremes. Extremes make for interesting reads, which is why the media devotes so much energy to skyrocketing darlings and train wrecks. Of course, the best story is the skyrocketing darling that becomes a train wreck. Meet Theranos. The media spent months building up the startup as the best thing since sliced rye.Then, …more

Micro Moments in Brand Building: The Good, the Bad and the Unattractive

Companies underestimate the power of micro moments in brand building. As the world and specifically business communications increasingly tilt toward the digital sphere, . This holds true for all companies, whether B2B or consumer. Starting with “the bad and unattractive,” an interaction with LinkedIn last week reminded me of this point. I think I’m on …more

What Happens to Journalism When It’s All About the “Bass”

A “turn-the-crank” mentality to generate a relentless stream of articles shapes journalism at many media properties. Of course quality suffers. While you can find a slew of articles in which journalists lament the issue in theoretical terms, here’s an example from a major publication that makes it all too real. Check out “How Chick-fil-A’s Restaurants …more

Sifting Through Journalists’ Gripes and Grumbles for PR Lessons

Since I embarked on my PR adventure in 1983, everything has changed. Except one dynamic. Journalists griped about PR folks back in 1983, and they’re still griping today. To be objective, the bad behavior of a select few cultivates “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (yes, I did take away a few more morsels …more

How a Personal Touch in Communications Failed Big Time

I have this theory that as our world increasingly tilts toward the digital side, the human touch, the personal touch, becomes more valuable. It’s only a matter of time before a newly minted Stanford MBA makes the rounds on Sand Hill Road trying to raise venture capital for the radical idea of bringing back the …more

J. C. Penney Apology Ad: How Not to Fall on Your Sword

Americans love a good apology. Show even a modicum of sincerity, and all is forgiven. J. C. Penney and its apology ad is certainly banking on this dynamic. Unfortunately, the strategy is flawed, and the execution is worse. We’ve simplified the chain of events in the aerial view below: Did I miss something? I thought …more

TV Report Triggers Burger Crisis at McDonalds in China

Chris Tang, our Asia Pacific managing director based in Beijing, has years of experience in advising clients during times of crisis. The crisis a few months ago involving McDonald’s caught her attention. Here, she shares a mini case study on the episode and what McDonald’s did right to avoid a long-term disaster. By Chris Tang …more