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Using Owned Media as a Catapult to Fling Warning Shots

Owned media has come a long way since serving as the platform of choice to highlight the availability of vegan options at the corporate café. Google’s decision to communicate its exit from the China market was a turning point. When Google published a blog post with the no-frills headline, “A New Approach to China,” on …more

Still Believe Uber Should Tap PR Exec Ranks for the New A Team

Back in March when Uber shared it was searching for an exec to ride shotgun with Travis Kalanick in hopes of modulating the CEO’s behavior, I suggested that the recruiters should take a look at the talent pool of PR executives. My point was that critical areas like brand management, the relationship with drivers and …more

What Happens When the Cobbler’s Kids Wear Someone Else’s Shoes?

Most PR consultancies implement some type of PR program for themselves. Few PR consultancies embrace advertising as part of their outbound arsenal to raise awareness and build their brands. In our quest to punch above our weight when it comes to the world order of PR companies, we believe advertising has place in the mix. …more

Dusting Off the Best of Storytelling, Branding and PR

Hey, if Bono can assemble some of his favorites into “U2’s Greatest Hits,” why can’t I do the same with blog posts? Exactly. Tapping posts published between 2012 and 2014, here’s the latest version of Ishmael’s Greatest Hits (minus the tinted shades and tattoos). The Worst Customer Service Narrative in the History of Branding United …more

United Airlines’ Latest Customer Letter Hits the Right Notes

It’s easy to pile on United. More than the mistakes, it’s the type of mistakes, lacking that quality known as common sense. I’ve certainly taken my shots at United over the years with posts ranging from “The Worst Customer Service Narrative in the History of Branding” to the recent “United Enters Third Stage of a …more

United Enters the Third Stage of a PR Grieving: the Shake Down

It’s been a rough week for United Airlines. When my mom — who is still getting the hang of this thing called the internet — asks if I’ll continue flying on United, you know the PR debacle has reached the masses. I have this theory that a PR crisis typically breaks down into five stages: …more

Breaking Down the Failure of Thought Leadership

Communicators have picked up the thought leadership religion. With demand for product news similar to Vote-Hillary T-shirts, many have figured out that thought leadership can bring salvation, a door opener to media coverage.Yet, for all the talk about thought leadership, there can be a huge gap between the theory and what happens on the execution …more

Risk-taking and Starting a Company Don’t Always Go Together

The Agency celebrates its 30th anniversary later this year. Drawing attention to this milestone, I plan to periodically write about the adventure — journey is such a calm noun — starting with the launch of the Agency. Most people tend to think of those who start a company as risk-takers. So what does it mean …more

Leadership and Zigging When Everyone Else is Zagging

I will always remember November 14, 2014, and it has nothing to do with my birthday. That was the day that Mike Sottak called to say he was accepting our job offer to run our European operation. Since we entered the European market in the late 1990s, the Agency’s experience had resembled a roller-coaster ride …more