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When PR Becomes the Hammer

The vast majority of companies invest in public relations to raise their public profiles — and with a little luck, fortify the corporate brand. Then, there are the situations in which PR becomes a blunt instrument in a public spat, and the objective becomes exerting as much pain on your opponent as possible. That’s what …more

Don’t skimp on strategy

By Mark Pinsent, Managing Director Europe, The Hoffman Agency . . Breakfast: the most important meal of the day (they say). But often the easiest one to skip as a shortcut to the goal of weight loss. Too many marketers treat a proper investment in strategic development in the same way. But as skipping breakfast …more

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

One Action That Automatically Makes You a Better Listener

I recognize the value of multi-tasking. In today’s business environment, the staccato nature of incoming requests requires one to toggle back and forth across many tasks at once. Maybe the Boy Scouts should offer a merit badge for handling Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram while cooking freeze-dried mashed potatoes. Yet, one of the inevitable downsides of …more

A Case for Uber’s No. 2 Executive Coming from the PR Ranks

Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, posted on the company’s website last week that the hunt is on for a No. 2 executive: “We’re actively looking for a Chief Operating Officer: a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey.” While hiring a No. 2 doesn’t guarantee a change in a …more

CliffsNotes on the Silicon Valley Index

The Silicon Valley Index from Joint Venture Silicon Valley leaves no byte unturned. For those who don’t have the time to wade through 100 action-packed pages, I offer the CliffsNotes, filtered by 25+ years of living in Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is Larger Than Rhode Island Taking in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, Fremont, …more

Is $4 Toast and the Tech Industry Still Ruining San Francisco?

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary since VentureBeat and Jolie O’Dell’s focus group of one correlated expensive toast to the decline of San Francisco. The O’Dell discourse came with jagged edges, damning the tech industry for a cycle that goes something like this: Someone creates a business for consumers with too much money and pretensions of …more

Showmanship Trumps Expertise in A PR Agency Review Process That’s Broken

The typical process that guides a company in evaluating PR agencies and ultimately choosing a winner is broken. It was broken when I participated in my first new-biz meeting — wicker furniture, of all things; we did not win — in 1983. It’s still broken today. In the vast majority of PR agency reviews, the …more