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Category: Business Communications

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A Communications Train Wreck for the Ages

  I collect examples of dreadful communications. Every large company at some point drives off the communications road of common sense and ends up as a piñata on social media. When United Airlines baggage handlers “mishandled” a guitar back in 2008 and United refused to reimburse the passenger, the company had no clue that the …more

Advertising Gets This Storytelling Stuff

  Human beings gravitate to “train wrecks.” How else can you explain the popularity of “Breaking Bad”? Or people flocking to watch “Shrek”? Even though advertising has limited real estate — often 60 seconds of video or one static print page — the discipline finds a way to set the stage, surface the “bad stuff” …more

“Thought Leadership” vs “Thought Followship”

Commenting on an industry issue by itself does not constitute thought leadership. It’s simply a comment on an industry issue. Before going further, I should acknowledge that this remark still has value. If the executive’s comment gains traction in social channels or appears in a publication, that helps to raise the visibility of the company, …more

Reaching Today’s 35 and Under Crowd

Every generation — boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and beyond — brings its values and frames of mind to the world. For communicators and marketing pros with deep experience, say 20+ years, that experience isn’t necessarily an advantage when you’re targeting millennials. We don’t think like them. We don’t talk like them. Because we’re not them. …more

A PR Announcement That Defies “Elvis Has Left the Building”

Every company experiences a key employee leaving for the proverbial greener pasture. It happens. Boards have been known to kick CEOs to the curb. Think GE’s announcement last year that it was parting ways with John Flannery with the obligatory “we thank John for his significant contributions and long service to GE,” code for he …more

Game of Thrones Depicts the Best of Persuasive Language

I’m not talking about our friend Lord Baelish who discovered that chaos wasn’t exactly a ladder. I simply like the line. With the last season of “Game of Thrones” soon to kick off, it’s a good time to dust off a lesson in persuasive language from the show. Let’s turn our attention to Tyrion’s plea …more

I Wrote 1,000 PR Blog Posts and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Writing feeds my soul, so producing 1,000 blog posts on public relations, storytelling and everything in between hasn’t exactly been combat duty. Still, there’s something about a round number with three zeroes that causes one to pause, to consider what went into this corporate blogging journey. Even though the destination was unknown, my anxiety was …more

I Still Believe Levity Is the Killer App for Business Storytelling

I wrote about Zappos using levity as the killer app in its communications a few years ago. Before going further, it’s worth noting that levity has a lower bar than humor. We’re not trying to channel Jon Stewart or Conan O’Brian. Levity delivers a smile, a grin (bigger smile) or, at its best, a low-decibel …more