In the Game of Public Relations, Segmentation Has Become a Must

Jeremy BamideleBy Jeremy Bamidele

In the past, the goal of marketing was to remain in the center, where most consumers are. Today, the name of the game is individualism, uniqueness, and the attainment of niche consumers, which are becoming increasingly more important economically, due to the ability to purchase many products via the web and the expansion of large businesses, which are able to place their products globally.

Segmentation, or the breaking up of consumer bases, has becoming increasingly more important, as the branding needed to appeal to one demographic differs from the branding needed to appeal to another. Marketers and communications specialists must make sure not to serve steak to vegetarians, especially when there are so many other options for individuals to pursue if they feel ill catered to.

This article will discuss the segmentation of customer bases, and how companies use it to rebrand similar products to different demographics. Two case studies will be used Toyota, a global car conglomerate, and Ray Ban, an internationally recognized accessories line. Both companies specialize in the sale of products with similar functionality, and consequently focus on differentiation by means of public relations initiatives.

Case Studies


Toyota manufactures several car brands including Lexus, Scion, Toyota, and Daihatsu. Each product line has different features, physical characteristics, associated marketing, beginning price points, and other features. By differentiating their products from one another Toyota can appeal to several different demographics with different priorities and increase their total market share in the automobile industry.

Lexus is widely considered Toyota’s most luxurious brand, with its cars featuring additional standard features not found its other models: extra leg room, GPS capabilities, artificial intelligence parking technology, seat warmers, and other features typical of the luxury car class, which includes non-Toyota brands such as Mercedes and BMW. It is also differentiated by a higher starting price, lower sales, and a more exclusive status than Toyota’s other brands.

The difference in the product is reflected in its marketing efforts, which target a more affluent demographic with a focus on “the good life,” or as Brian Bolain, a Lexus Marketing Manager, states “Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and Lexus all mentioned in the same breath.” Lexus’s demographic in addition to being wealthier is also more consumeristic and less environmentally concerned than the demographics of say the Toyota Prius, which the United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rate as among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States based on smog-forming emissions.

While Toyota differentiates its products by both functionality and branding, Ray Ban differentiates its products by branding alone.

Ray Ban

In 2014, Ray Ban initiated eight different campaigns in Asia, marketing eight styles of sunglasses to eight different customer archetypes. The company differentiated by creating eight distinct styles and by branding the different styles as being particularly desirable to different personas. Rather the focus on the functionality of the product, appealing to all consumer of glasses, they focused on character archetypes that characterized the wearers’ of different styles of sunglasses as having different personas. This engaged niche markets, who see themselves not just as consumers of products, but more importantly as consumers of brands and ideologies. Targeting niche markets is nothing new to Ray Ban, which launched the campaigned Never Hide in 2007 and which has since become synonymous with the brand.

According to a press release by Luxottica, Ray Ban’s umbrella corporation, “Real trendsetters, real opinion leaders, real individuals believe the most fashionable thing you can be is yourself; to be authentic, real, bold and stylish. So to reclaim its rightful place as the legitimate leader of sunglasses, Ray-Ban has to only speak and act like their maverick selves.” Such branding is indicative of Ray Ban, which has managed to become one of Luxottica’s most successful glasses lines by identifying segments in their customer base and tailoring their messages accordingly.


In the past the options available to people were more limited those who could not fit the traditional mold of things were often left out in the cold and disadvantaged by their peculiarities. Today, the amount of options available are exponentially greater, and people have taken pride in their differences, wishing to express these differences in everything they do from the books they read, to clothes they wear and the cars they drive. The modern individual is an individual first and they wished to be respected and perceived as such by brands. The more bespoke you can make your public relations efforts, and the more you can communicate the perception of viewing your client as unique the more able you will be to attract niche viewers, who through modernization have become the majority.

About the Author: Jeremy Bamidele is a publicist and professor based in Los Angeles, California. He has been published in Forbes, PR Week, Cision, and Huffington Post. 

Obama Scores in State of the Union Finale: Analysis of His Communications Style

virgil.featuredBy Virgil Scudder, President, Virgil Scudder & Associates

President Obama’s final State of the Union message was arguably his finest.  It should go into history as one of the best written and best delivered.

Obama on the SOTU

(Source: Twitter)

The president was relaxed, cordial, and persuasive.  He backed up his points with facts and figures, many of them obviously intended to counter claims of leading Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.  An excellent example was his citing 10,000 U. S. air strikes against ISIS, accompanied by a statement that his policy was far better than calls to carpet bomb civilians.  Presidential candidates’ demands for more and indiscriminate bombing might “work as a TV sound bite,” he said, “but doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.”  “A smarter approach,” he declared, “is a patient and disciplined strategy.”

He also discretely did some score settling.  With a stone-faced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell looking on, Obama declared that solar energy employs more people at better average wages than coal.  McConnell, from the coal-heavy state of Kentucky, has been instrumental in thwarting many of the president’s environmental initiatives, especially those impacting the coal industry.

The president threw in a catchy sound bite or two, referring to “political hot air” and “peddling fiction,” an obvious reference to statements by Trump, Cruz, and other GOP presidential candidates on issues such as the economy and Obamacare.  Then he backed up his characterization with some solid and impressive statistics.

One thing he didn’t mention was the ten U.S. sailors being held by Iran.  He was criticized by some, fairly in my view, for that omission.

Looking at delivery techniques, Obama has never been better.  His gestures, timing, pauses, eye contact, and vocal variety were superb, giving the presentation a feeling of spontaneity.  This speech was a model for students of the oratorical art.

Unlike last year, the Republicans provided an effective response to the president’s talk.  The 2015 performance by freshman Senator Jodi Ernst of Iowa was awful; she was clearly in over her head.  This time, the GOP selected South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and the result was an intelligent, articulate presentation of the party’s views.

Haley was warm, gracious, and thoughtful.  She drew on her background as a minority growing   in her state (her parents both emigrated here from India) in calling for tolerance of people who are different.  She struck a blow for compassion, citing the response of South Carolinians to the Charleston church murders.  And she gained credibility by humbly saying that Republicans share some responsibility with Democrats for the state of the country today.

If the GOP feels it needs it needs a woman on its ticket as vice president, they should forget about the divisive and fact-challenged Carly Fiorina.  Haley is a far better choice and, I believe, someone who would greatly strengthen the ticket no matter who gets the nomination.  She’s quite a performer.

About the Author: Veteran media trainer and author of World Class Communication: How great CEOs win with the public, shareholders, employees, and the media. President of Virgil Scudder & Associates since 1990 after heading media training units at Hill & Knowlton and Carl Byoir & Associates following a career in New York and network broadcasting.

Three Big Media Marketplace Changes You Should Keep An Eye On In 2016

Jim Porçarelli-headshotBy Jim Porçarelli, Chief Strategy Officer,  Active International

As media companies and brands boost their efforts to adjust to digitally savvy consumers in 2016, our industry will undergo significant transformation. As a result, new advertising services and partnerships will emerge and we will see a shift to creativity as advertisers focus on delivering more innovative content to consumers.

While it’s been well documented that the media and advertisers have for years lagged behind consumers when it comes to digital sophistication, 2016 will be the year that media companies and brands begin to close the gap. Here are three trends that will shape the new media landscape in 2016:

The bundling of media buying and measurement services will cause a wave of analytics company M&A

As digital advertising becomes a larger portion of the overall media strategy and spend for brands, we will see the emergence of bundled services that manage the full life cycle of the ad, from placement and tracking to impact measurement. As media buyers rush to establish greater analytics capabilities, many will seek out proven solutions for acquisition rather than build the capability themselves.

Quality digital advertising measurement is the next major goal for the media industry. Essentially, the more accurate media buyers can be in measuring the outcomes of their purchases, the more highly valued their services will be. Consequently, improving analytics capabilities will be a major focus for media buyers in 2016.

“Odd couple” brand partnerships will increase as the industry adjusts to new consumer behaviors

Non-traditional partnerships between brands, celebrities and media companies will rapidly grow in 2016. Brands are beginning to understand that a big part of capturing a digital audience’s attention is delivering meaningful experiences in a non-commercial sense. Thus, brands will prioritize creating these experiences over delivering taglines to engage consumers and secure brand loyalty.

An example of this kind of partnership can be seen with outerwear company Moncler’s sponsorship of Italian explorer Michele Pontrandolfo‘s trek to the South Pole, which is being done as part of its program to promote its winter collection this year. Another good example of this type of partnership is GoPro Workouts, which allows users to follow professional athletes’ daily workout routines. In the year ahead we will see several more of these creative partnerships that will deliver something new and engaging to the market.

Ad agencies will refocus on creativity as programmatic technology and fee scrutiny squeeze buying margins

The rise of programmatic technology and scrutiny over agency media buying fees will shift agency focus back to campaign creativity and strategy. Though media buying has become more commoditized and channels have grown exponentially, the challenge of engaging and retaining audience is at an all-time high. Agencies and marketers will look to return to creative strategy, partnerships and integrated cross-channel tactics to break through the noise and impact consumers.

For a number of years marketers have based agency value by their ability to buy media efficiently. An agency’s media buying strength often determined whether or not they won client business. With the rise of digital media, however, that is changing. Marketers are now fighting harder than ever before for relevance, and consensus is emerging that agency capabilities that add most value to the brand long-term are creative thinking and sharp strategy. In the year ahead, we will see marketers shifting their priorities and seeking to work with the most innovative thinkers in the agency world.

 About the Author: Jim Porçarelli brings more than 25 years of strategic marketing and advertising experience to Active International, the largest global independent corporate trade company. He is responsible for leading the company’s global strategic initiatives and chairs the Executive Leadership Team. 



Former Communications Staffer for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Joins Education-focused Communications Firm

Collaborative Communications Group Welcomes Cameron Brenchley as Vice President

Collaborative Communications Group, Inc., the nation’s premier communications firm focused solely on education, welcomed Cameron Brenchley as Vice President today. Brenchley will lead the firm in positioning education organizations as thought leaders in the field and helping them accomplish their goals to improve learning for students.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Cameron to the Collaborative team and network,” said Kris Kurtenbach, Founding Partner of Collaborative Communications Group, Inc. “Cameron will help to expand our footprint in education policy as well as bring new ideas and strategies in digital and strategic communications to ensure our clients’ messages are positioned effectively in ways that help change the dialogue on certain issues.”

In his new role, Cameron will provide strategic communications support to significant national conversations on assessment, time and learning and teacher preparation, including those for such education leaders as Northwest Evaluation Association,The C.S. Mott Foundation and Urban Teachers. Brenchley will focus his attention on creating and implementing new approaches to reach and influence a variety of stakeholder groups in innovative ways.

Before joining Collaborative, Brenchley was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications at the U.S. Department of Education, where he oversaw the development and release of all public-facing communications materials for the department and former Secretary Arne Duncan. Brenchley also created high-profile initiatives that received local, regional and national press coverage, and became worldwide trending topics on Twitter.

Brenchley has also served as the Department of Education’s first Director of Digital Strategy, where he conceptualized and implemented the agency’s strategic digital media plan. In this role he launched the Department on Vine, one of the first federal agencies using the digital video platform, and helped the Secretary reach more than 250,000 Twitter followers—becoming one of the most active and engaging cabinet officials on Twitter.

Brenchley also brings a wealth of political communications experience to the position. He previously worked as a Press Secretary and New Media specialist in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as a Senior Digital Strategist at the White House. He holds a master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Valdosta State University and is an Air Force veteran who served four of his six years in the military overseas.


Crisis PR – Cologne’s Top Cop Caught in Scandal Backlash

By David Milberg, Author and Entrepreneur

While domestic politics continue to revolve around the all but endless presidential race, international PR has been riveted to particularly horrible allegations coming out of the German city of Cologne. According to various German and international media reports, a “small group of Arab or North African men” brutally attacked and sexually threatened women on New Year’s Eve.

When news that the assaults went unmentioned in early police reports on January 1, people were outraged. Cologne’s police chief, Wolfgang Albers initially made matters worse by misjudging the outcry, and largely dismissing the accusation that local officers were slow to respond to the need to protect the women.

Cologne protests

(Source: Twitter)

German media reported a police description of events: women having to run, terrified, through “mobs” of drunken men just outside one of Cologne’s main train stations. Afterward, even Cologne’s mayor, Henriette Reker, piled on, saying police withheld information from her, stating, “…trust in the Cologne police leadership is significantly shaken…”

Now, in the aftermath of the event, Albers, has been forced into early retirement. While it’s impossible to lay these crimes at his feet, he was “in charge” when they happened, and a raging international public wants blood. According to the Associated Press, the state’s interior minister, Ralf Jaeger, said the move was “necessary to restore public trust and the Cologne police’s ability to act, with a view to upcoming major events.”

The lesson here? Primarily, that you are only as good – and just as responsible – as the members of your team. It’s very likely Albers’ attitude about events was created entirely by reports he received from his officers. After all, the chief was likely nowhere near this event. He had to build his understanding of the situation entirely from the reports and responses of his team, who, obviously, did not handle the scenario well at any level.

Secondarily, message control is vital. Early on in this scandal, many media outlets reported sexual assaults as part of events. Now, a week later, it’s come out that no sexual assaults occurred in this situation. Too late now. When local police failed to quickly and deftly gain control of the narrative, they lost it for good. Now, from a PR perspective, it doesn’t matter what actually happened. The die is cast, and too many people already “know”. Remember, if you are too slow to act when a narrative begins, it’s often as if you did not act at all.



GOP Candidates On Social Media: Trump Winning, Carson Doing Well

Ronn Torossian featuredBy Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5W PR

The 2016 Election is fast approaching, and the GOP field is still duking it out.

With the first primaries in Iowa fast approaching, a candidate’s appeal can be measured by the popularity of their social media platforms. While Donald Trump is out in front with his “Let’s Make America Great Again” campaign that has overshadowed all of the other campaigns in all forms of media, there are some making stronger cases than others in social media.

Donald Trump

Twitter: 5.56M Followers (30.2K Tweets)

Facebook: 5.19M Likes

Instagram: 828K Followers 

The “Hemingway of 140 Characters,” Donald Trump invests a lot into his social media platforms. He uses the platforms to attack rivals across all aisles, highlight favorable poll numbers, and make the case that he can make America great again. The message is focused and full of a single concept: winning. Trump’s current status is indeed that of a candidate that’s winning. At 35.3%, his national poll averages are 15.3% higher than his closest competitor Ted Cruz. In the Social Media stratosphere, he’s similarly unrivaled, with his only competitor being Ben Carson’s 5.03M likes on Facebook, which almost reaches Trump’s 5.19M.

The appeal to Trump’s candidacy and social media is wrapped in a public engaged with Trump’s celebrity outsider status and hyperbolic rhetoric that make waves on daily news cycles. He is also clearly very hands-on with his twitter handle that is trademarked with Trump’s brash opinions and disregard for political correctness or party platforms.   Trump’ uses Twitter extensively – He updates every couple of minutes with biting responses to rivals and news stories, announcements of public appearances, boasts of favorable poll numbers, and to thank his supporters. Trump’s twitter account is the life pulse of his digital campaign, and news stories are written daily about his every comment.

GOP Candidates On Social Media-Trump Winning, Carson Doing WellTed Cruz

Twitter: 693K Followers (12.5K Tweets)

Facebook: 1.76M Likes

Instagram: 61.1K Followers

Trailing Trump in the average polls nationally by 15 points, Ted Cruz does however currently have a 4-point lead on Trump in the crucial first caucus in Iowa. He brands himself as an “outsider”, albeit the family-friendly alternative to Trump.  Cruz’s Twitter handle has been giving a day to day update of the Cruz campaign on the ground in Iowa. Unlike Trump, Cruz uses social media more as an advertisement to announce stops on the campaign trail. He also posts videos of successful rallies and town hall meetings in Iowa. Occasionally, Cruz’s voice comes through to thank his family and supporters or to respond to a trending news story.

Marco Rubio

Twitter: 1.05M Followers (4,270 Tweets)

Facebook: 1.17M

Likes Instagram: 62K Followers

Marco Rubio is running as the candidate who claims he can unite the party. With a firm stance on immigration and gun control, Rubio is currently polling in 3rd place with 11%. Rubio strikes a balance between personal and advertisement in the world of social.  A lot of the personal voice takes aim at Hillary Clinton, while the advertisements reassert party platforms. On occasion, Rubio will multi-tweet a long statement to specific trending political stories – like a five-part tweet in response to nuclear activity in North Korea. Additionally, the twitter plugs tv ads, contests, and keeps to his campaign’s core message.   

Ben Carson

Twitter: 1.08M Followers (2,339 Tweets)

Facebook: 5.03M Likes

Instagram: 234K Followers

Ben Carson’s campaign is seeing a recent downturn for the last few months with his national numbers at 9.7%. Despite that, he’s one of the most successful candidates in the social media universe with over 5 million likes on Facebook and 1 million on Twitter.  The Carson campaign’s social media casts him as a Washington outsider who seeks to sell himself as a healer with his campaign slogan being “These Hands Heal”. This results in a much softer twitter campaign, with a lot of the more personal statements stressing love and camaraderie on the campaign trail. Rare is there a direct attack on any opponent, with “warm and fuzzy” being apt descriptors.

Chris Christie

Twitter: 78.1K Followers (2,366 Tweets)

Facebook: 198K Likes

Instagram: 22.9K Followers

Chris Christie is seeing a revived interest in his campaign after an impressive undercard debate. Polling nationally at 4.7%, he’s currently running neck and neck for third place in the early primary state of New Hampshire with 11.4%. Christie’s twitter handle is updated regularly and sees Christie advertising campaign slogans and taking shots at Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. In some instances, there’s a “personal voice” that takes short but divisive rebuttals against the current administration, but even those are restating things that Christie has said in other sound bites. It’s effective, but not “personal” in the same way that Trump is personal.

GOP Candidates On Social MediaJeb Bush

 Twitter: 413K Followers (3,298 Tweets)

Facebook: 310K Likes

Instagram: 47.9K Followers

Casting himself as the establishment figure to take on Donald Trump, Jeb Bush uses twitter to both be openly critical of the leader of the race, and to reassert party platforms. Bush uses his twitter handle to go on the offensive against the Obama administration and to remind people that he’s a Bush. Recent personalized tweets have seen him congratulating his parents on their anniversary and pictures of him and his brothers and parents when they were younger. Like the other candidates there are advertisements of his popularity in early states, New Hampshire in particular.

Rand Paul

Twitter: 43K Followers (8,243 Tweets)

Facebook: 2.09M Likes

Instagram: 57K Followers

The sole isolationist in the race, Rand Paul is struggling to stay on the main stage in the next Republican Debate. Paul’s twitter focuses on raising money, his appearances on television, and polling. Like Jeb Bush, he is also on the offensive with Trump, taking every chance to cast him as the chaos candidate. He also uses twitter to dismiss unfavorable polls as inaccurate.

Carly Fiorina

Twitter: 645K Followers (3,755 Tweets)

Facebook: 538K Likes

Instagram: 5.1K Followers

As the only woman in the GOP field, Carly Fiorina looks to be the Republican’s response to Hillary Clinton. Fiorina’s twitter feed pits her against Hillary more frequently than any other in a general matchup. It also has personal messages about her opinion on many of the Republican platforms. After Trump, Fiorina’s twitter feed feels the most personal and engaging as she brands a constant appeal to Republican women.

John Kasich

Twitter: 149K Followers (6,087 Tweets)

Facebook: 154K Likes

Instagram: 9.29K Followers 

The Governor from Ohio, John Kasich is just barely making the national polling, but like Christie sees a chance for a strong showing in New Hampshire. Kasich uses his twitter to inform voters of his upcoming television spots, and to tote rising poll numbers in New Hampshire. It also showcases clips of town hall meetings and round tables in the early states. Most of the twitter feed are retweets and rarely does a personal voice come through.

Social media is where it’s at. All polls numbers are taken from Real Clear Politics.

 About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a top 20 independent PR agency. He is author of “For Immediate Release”, and has been named PR Executive of the Year by the American Business Awards. 

How Media & Public Relations Researchers Can Confront Fake News

kyle-wackrowBy Kyle Wackrow, PRIME Research

Media chatter about fake news is nearly inescapable. The topic has dominated international news cycles following the American presidential election and continues to pop up in unexpected ways (see the Pizzagate incident). This recent impact of fake news has called the role and influence of mainstream media outlets further into question and is the latest headache for the gatekeepers of media and public relations.

While fake news isn’t anything, well, new, the growing social media amplification of active misinformation presents extra obstacles for media and PR practitioners. Online content reinforcing falsehoods subverts the media’s aim of mass information and public relations’ aim of mass persuasion.

Jonathan Albright, assistant professor of communications at Elon University, North Carolina, has emerged as an expert on this topic. His research has shown fake news sites are relying on methods of search engine optimization to strengthen their influence by linking to one another and mainstream news sources. Albright has also mapped a “vast satellite system that is encroaching on the mainstream news system.”

When compounded with trust in the media at an all-time low, media professionals and PR practitioners have their work cut out for them, but also have an opportunity to prove their value. Charlie Beckett, a journalist and LSE media professor, has suggested three solutions for media practitioners.

How Media, Public Relations Researchers Can Confront Fake News1.) News journalism must be explicit about whether the statements they report are evidence-based. “The excellent fact-checking that we are seeing has to be incorporated into the first paragraph and headlines, not just left for a side column or footnote.”

2.) Industry leaders need to leverage “algorithms, data-mining and network analysis like this to identify not just the sources of fake news such as those famous Macedonian teenagers, but also the way that platforms and other networks allow them to spread.”

3.) MSM needs to improve the level of transparency about its own work. It “should start to embrace what Frederic Filou calls the ‘signals of quality.’ The hope is that building a quality-scoring apparatus for news content can give a kind of embedded kitemark of editorial value.”

But all these solutions won’t cut false information from the media landscape – the internet is too vast and people tend to gravitate to content that confirms their views. The fragmentation of society along ideological lines poses one such challenge PR practitioners trying to reach a wide audience.

Robert Wynne of Wynne Communications said this fragmentation means the ‘end of mass persuasion‘ for PR professionals and entrepreneurs using media to promote their products and services. “Because of the self-segregation by groups, each with its own beliefs and facts, we’ve entered a new era … the age of Micro-Persuasion or Tribal Persuasion.”

Communicators should then tailor their messages to different groups if not doing so already. Though more on the advertising side, the Trump campaign used Cambridge Analytica, a data mining company, to build psychological profiles representing some 230 million adult Americans based on Facebook data. Individually tailored digital ads were then tested and matched to these personality profiles.

No data point is informative on its own but access to tools to process a vast amount of data is one part of generating insights, such as knowing one’s audience. The other two parts require subject matter expertise, and critical thinking with applied statistics. These three aspects for insights will cut through the new obstacles fake news presents.


 About the Author: Kyle Wackrow manages client accounts and social media for PRIME Research. He tweets as @kyle_wackrow and can also be reached at To read more, please visit the PRIME Research blog at  


Millennials Love Digital, But They Also Love Print, Despite Rumors To The Contrary

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Naomi Baron, Executive Director, Center for Teaching, Research and Learning, World Languages and Cultures, American University

“Now if you ask over 400 students from 5 different countries if costs were the same, and we’re talking about reading materials for schoolwork; would you prefer to read in hard copy or digital, if costs were the same, overall for schoolwork 87% said I’d rather read hard copy.” Naomi Baron

“What’s the easiest medium for them (students) to concentrate on, and they had a choice of hard copy, computer, tablets, or e-readers or mobile phones. And 92% said it was easiest for them to concentrate when they read on hard copy. And to me that’s an astounding figure from this generation.” Naomi Baron

Naomi BaronAre critical thinking and comprehension and retention impaired when we or our children read onscreen? Are we doing them and ourselves a disservice by encouraging digital devices when it comes to actually reading and doing their schoolwork or their for-pleasure entertainment online?

These are questions that Dr. Naomi Baron, Executive Director, Center for Teaching, Research and Learning, World Languages and Cultures, American University, asked and answered in her latest book “Words Onscreen.”

Naomi is interested in electronically-mediated communication, writing and technology, the history of English, and higher education. A former Guggenheim Fellow and Fulbright Fellow, she has published seven books. Her book, Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World, won the English-Speaking Union’s Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Award for 2008. Her latest book, Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World came out in early 2015.

I spoke with Naomi recently and we talked about the pros and cons of both print and digital and about the opportunities both offer our children and ourselves today. As an educator, Naomi has many concerns about the cost of print versus digital, especially when her research has shown that other than the cost, overall students would prefer their reading both for school and pleasure to be in print. It was a highly informative and eye-opening discussion.

Just don’t believe everything you hear about what millennials prefer and don’t prefer when it comes to their choice for media consumption.

So, without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dr. Naomi Baron.

But first the sound-bites:

On what she based the alarm on that she has sounded about the detriments to comprehension and critical thinking when it comes to reading online: Based on over 400 university student responses from five countries to a questionnaire that I administered. And the results surprised me enormously in terms of their understanding of what works well for them in print and what works well for them about digital media.

On why media companies are missing the boat and focusing only on digital when trying to reach millennials: What we see happening, and I talk a little bit about this at the end of my book, and it’s become increasingly true, is that people would like to be able to choose their medium depending upon their needs of the moment; depending upon their interests in particular genres, so there are enough people who are saying I want both digital and print. I’ll use my son for example. He’s in economics. So, he wants the hard copy, the book, for studying, reading, whatever, but when he goes to class he wants the digital version because he has his computer with him. And that’s true of a lot of people even reading novels. While I’m on the road I’m happy to read and willing to read on my portable device, but when I get home I want to curl up with a good book.

On whether she’s worried about our younger generation and the future in general when it comes to reading comprehension and retention: Every once in a while I get hopeful that, at least in some places, that’s not quite the case. I do have a lot of concerns about, instead of faculty members teaching to the test, faculty members are increasingly teaching to what they think students will do. So the project that I’m just about to launch is to look at the kinds of assignments that faculty members are making now, as opposed to what they made five or ten years ago. And in part our college population is changing. I understand that it’s not one simple variable.

On whether a new media project proposed by a major media company today could survive without a print component: What is relevant is what do people do in their spare time? If I read magazines in my spare time, I can read them in print or I can read them on a screen. But my question is, what is that age cohort reading, and obviously it’s a broad range. You look at the enormous growth in comic books and in graphic novels. To my knowledge, in the United States those are heavily done in print. In Japan, as you may well know, the growth in E-reading is overwhelmingly from comics. Not for books. So, there are some cultural issues as to what one accesses how.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly to her house: The first thing that you’d see, and this is largely due to my husband, is probably about 30,000 books in the house. You would probably see me sitting at my computer and either working on the computer itself or reading from print. I do an awful lot of my writing by hand; “Words Onscreen is probably half written by hand and the other half on the computer, it depends on my mood and what I have handy.

On what keeps her up at night: Regarding my research, that educators from K through graduate school are sufficiently naïve about the consequences of their well-meaning actions in terms of what they’re recommending to students and in terms of the medium for reading and what to do with what they read, that are causing harm to the next generation. And that does keep me up at night.

Naomi Baron - Words OnscreenAnd now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Naomi Baron, Executive Director, Center for Teaching, Research and Learning, World Languages and Cultures, American University.

Samir Husni: Do you think that you’re too late in sounding the alarm about online reading and comprehension, that not only is it hurting our ability to retain information and utilize critical thinking, but we also may be pushing our audiences, whether they’re students or readers of magazines or books, in the wrong direction? What are we doing wrong when it comes to reading online and why are you sounding the alarm now and based on what?

Naomi Baron: Based on over 400 university student responses from five countries to a questionnaire that I administered. And the results surprised me enormously in terms of their understanding of what works well for them in print and what works well for them about digital media.

We tend to assume that because these are university-aged students – 18 to 26, and I now have more countries included than were in my book; we’ve added Slovakia and India, to the United States, Germany and Japan, but you see how much this age cohort is on digital media. They sit in our classes with computers; they’re taking notes right? Wrong. They’re purchasing items; they’re checking out Facebook posts; they’re just doing many things. They’re texting on their phones in our classrooms; we know this because they admit this to us if you ask them not in front of the professor whose class it is.

And they run out of power on their phones from being on them all day and what do universities do; they have power stations everywhere so they can recharge their devices. So, you would assume that they are really interested in doing as much as possible digitally.

But what my surveys show and the interviews that I’ve done and the class lectures, guest lectures and so forth; what they all show is an understanding as to what it is people find really useful about reading on digital media and what it is they find less so.

For example, the major attraction on digital media is cost. That by and large, if you’re talking about new materials, cost is lower for the kinds of course materials that you use in an university course or that you buy for pleasure reading; it’s lower for digital than it is for print. So, we’re not talking about secondhand print; we’re not talking about three people going in and buying the book together; we’re talking about buying individual copies.

And there are a lot of students, especially in the United States, for whom money is a very major issue. We’re working very hard in the United States to make universities open to a broader cohort economically, that has been the case. And whether it’s a community college, where textbooks cost more than your tuition does, or a medium-sized private university, such as American University, where there are students who say I wait until the middle of the semester to see if I really have to buy a book because if I don’t have to, I don’t have the money to buy it. Or if I have the money, we don’t even use the book enough to buy it; I’m going to use my money for something else.

So, finances are the major stumbling block as far as I can see, in terms of the future of print versus digital. And I think we have to be aware of that in a way that we haven’t been before.

Now if you ask over 400 students from 5 different countries if costs were the same, and we’re talking about reading materials for schoolwork; would you prefer to read in hard copy or digital, if costs were the same, overall for schoolwork 87% said I’d rather read hard copy.

Samir Husni: Wow.

Naomi Baron: And if costs were the same when it comes to reading for pleasure, 81% said they’d rather read hard copy. These are millennials. And this is what they’re telling us.

Samir Husni: So why do you think all of these media people, supposedly some of the most creative people on the face of the earth, are missing the boat when they’re focusing on digital when it comes to reaching millennials? And free digital, at that. There’s no cost.

Naomi Baron: I’ll answer that in just a moment, but let me give you one more statistic and this is the other major finding from my research as far as I’m concerned. And this number didn’t change when they added in more countries. The question was: what is the medium on which it is the easiest for you to concentrate when you read? And I did not separate out reading for pleasure versus reading for school. What’s the easiest medium for them to concentrate on, and they had a choice of hard copy, computer, tablets, or e-readers or mobile phones. And 92% said it was easiest for them to concentrate when they read on hard copy. And to me that’s an astounding figure from this generation.

So, going back to your question; what do I think is going on with the media companies? A couple of strands, first the Internet became easily accessible, relatively speaking not expensive and readily searchable. So, they began to put a lot of stuff onto the Internet, this is back in the old fashioned days when, at least in the United States, we were doing most of our work on computers.

Then in late 2007 the Kindle comes along. And because Bezos is a real marketer, he priced the books as loss leaders, almost everything with a digital book was a loss leader for him; he was paying the publishers more than he was taking in for sale. It was all $9.95. It’s the same thing that happens at the grocery store when you want to bring people in and you say, oh by the way, you can also buy some of this or that while you’re here. It’s a marketing tool, right?

Then what happens is the iPad comes along in 2010; Smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous, so I think the statistics are two-thirds of adults in the United States have Smartphones. And billions are selling internationally.

We now have lots and lots of devices that are increasingly mobile and that make it easy to access stuff. And stuff is from soup to nuts; the entire range of things, whether it’s information or amusement or work-related; it’s all because of the device in your hands. So, media producers are attempting to figure out how they follow a revenue stream. And if sales are going down on newspapers, well maybe they’ll ready digitally. When you look at the transition for how many people are reading digitally versus how many people are reading print newspapers, there is a shift.

And part of the shift isn’t because of people who like print; it’s your standing in line and you’re waiting for the bus or whatever, and I read The New York Times on my phone; I get the paper medium at home and I love it, but if I’m standing and waiting for something or at an airport, I want to use my time in a way that’s meaningful for me. And once I can do that; how are you going to keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Gay Paree as the song used to go. It becomes harder to say that you’re going to wait until you get home to read the print.

I can do it online; I can print it out; I can save it. When I do research, it’s funny. I save my article in a newspaper in print, or in a magazine in print. I go to my computer; I look it up online because I want to save it for research purposes or I want to send it to somebody. And the digital component becomes convenient. What we see happening, and I talk a little bit about this at the end of my book, and it’s become increasingly true, is that people would like to be able to choose their medium depending upon their needs of the moment; depending upon their interests in particular genres, so there are enough people who are saying I want both digital and print.

I’ll use my son for example. He’s in economics. So, he wants the hard copy, the book, for studying, reading, whatever, but when he goes to class he wants the digital version because he has his computer with him.

And that’s true of a lot of people even reading novels. While I’m on the road I’m happy to read and willing to read on my portable device, but when I get home I want to curl up with a good book. And that’s why a lot of the marketing now is charging just a smidge more and you get both.

And it’s the same thing with audio books. People are not saying that it has to be audio; I think the recent statistics that came out from the Association of American Publishers in Washington; they came out with sales for 2015 and audio books went down this year. They really shot up in 2014, but they fell comparatively speaking in 2015. And that probably depends on what’s the bestseller. Print sales went up because of Harper Lee’s books; digital sales went up because of 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight. So these numbers are not always reflections of the complexity that goes into people’s decision-making.

Samir Husni: Are you worried about our future as a country, as a young generation that the more we dive into digital; the more we may suffer in the areas of comprehension and retention? Our education system from the very beginning trains our children to answer the questions, don’t think. Just give me the answers.

Naomi Baron: Every once in a while I get hopeful that, at least in some places, that’s not quite the case. I do have a lot of concerns about, instead of faculty members teaching to the test, faculty members are increasingly teaching to what they think students will do. So the project that I’m just about to launch is to look at the kinds of assignments that faculty members are making now, as opposed to what they made five or ten years ago. And in part our college population is changing. I understand that it’s not one simple variable.

In part, the students are changing not just in terms of what their aspirations are, but also in what kinds of other extracurricular activities that they have. When I was in college a million years ago, people didn’t have internships. We weren’t supposed to do volunteer work; we were supposed to go and study. And we studied a lot of hours per week.

The students at those same institutions now have fewer hours available to devote to what they’re doing; we didn’t have a job 10 hours a week. We didn’t have a job 30 or 40 hours per week, plus go to school full time as many students do now.

So, what’s pretty clear to me anecdotally, but I’m looking to document it, is that we’re changing the sorts of things that we’re asking of students because students weren’t doing the things we were asking when we were asking more. We now have opportunities to, instead of them having a written research paper, to have a video. If there’s a lot of research with the video and you do the writing somewhere else, that may be OK. But we’re assigning articles and chapters, rather than full books because people weren’t reading them.

At my university we were encouraged to put as much material as we could online in case we had to close the university, we and Cambridge closed for the plague way back when. (Laughs) And it was not clear whether we would have to close the university from month to month; were we still going to have education, whereas if you put materials online, you could do that.

To some extent we’ve changed our patterns, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes because we knew our students weren’t doing the work anyway, maybe through no fault of their own, maybe their fault, and as a result we change our goal structure. I don’t think we’re looking to make students dumb; I think we haven’t figured out what we want to accomplish and how to make it happen.

And the same I’m sure goes for K-12, in particular, attempts to figure out three things. First, how do you have enough money when the state legislatures are not funding public schools? Or the county legislatures aren’t funding public schools? How do you have enough money to buy course materials? And if digital materials are less expensive than print texts; guess what’s going to happen? Arnold Schwarzenegger started this in California back in 2007 at the beginning of the Great Recession because it hit California first in some ways. Finances are real and you can’t deny them.

The second issue is with the attempts to build a Common Core curriculum, which makes a certain amount of sense if you know what should go into it. People are trying to figure out how to get students engaged and one of the ways that you get them engaged is by not having to read whole books apparently. (Laughs) That’s part of the plan with the Common Core from what I have seen.

The third issue is parents and teachers should ask themselves what kind of skills their children have and how much is knowing something digital going to be important to them? Should they know everything digital or just some things digital? The really smart teachers, and there are bunches of them, are writing books on such things as a book called “Connected Reading” by Kristen Hawley Turner from Fordham University.

And what she’s looking at doing as a co-author is asking how do we intelligently mix digital and print? And I’ve read most of the book now and I met her at a conference a few months ago. She’s a smart woman. And she herself has been a teacher in the middle school level, I believe. And she lays out a number of really intelligent ways to take advantage of the good things that digital can do that print doesn’t and the good things that print can do that digital doesn’t.

The reason that I haven’t totally despaired is there are at least some people who are seriously asking the question: how do we learn best and how do we learn what’s best? One of the discussions that hasn’t taken place yet seriously; the research has not been done, is to ask are there some subjects and some materials that are best done in print? Or are there some things that can work very well digitally?

If I wanted to show you how the double helix works, to see that move; that’s something that you can’t do in print. If I want to look at meaningful videos of ecological disasters; a video is actually a good thing to have and to be able to embed that in textual material is not a dumb idea. But we haven’t figured out what is best learned how. We haven’t done research on this and we haven’t even asked ourselves the question to sit and ponder over. That’s what I’m meaning to do in my coming research.

Samir Husni: That’s what I think even the industry is starting to discover, that they saw what I call this beautiful seductive mistress named digital walk up onto the scene and they jumped in for a one night stand that ended up being a love affair and then they discovered that our faithful spouse print was and is still making the money. And now we’re trying to get our spouse and our mistress to talk to each other.

Naomi Baron: Right.

Samir Husni: My question to you is, if you were to be hired by a media company, whether it’s Time Inc. or Hearst Magazines or Meredith, and they tell you they have this idea for a new media project, whether it’s a magazine or something else, and the age group is 18 to 30 years old. Can I survive without print or do I still need that print component, if the costs are the same whether it’s print or digital?

Naomi Baron: That is a big issue. For example, I can now go into The New York Times digitally and get their full archives without paying a penny, once I know how to do it. I have a print subscription and on one of my devices, with that subscription, I can get unlimited articles and on another I get five a month, or whatever it is. But I can give anyone in my family my login information, or my friends, or a thousand different people. Take The Atlantic, Harper’s; I don’t need a subscription to get everything from them.

So money actually is an issue because I just wrote my check for renewing my Harper’s and Atlantic; it’s not a huge amount of money, but I paid for it. I don’t think money is going to go away as an issue and it’s not going to go away as an issue in students’ minds in the 18 to 35 range.

What is relevant is what do people do in their spare time? If I read magazines in my spare time, I can read them in print or I can read them on a screen. But my question is, what is that age cohort reading, and obviously it’s a broad range. You look at the enormous growth in comic books and in graphic novels. To my knowledge, in the United States those are heavily done in print. In Japan, as you may well know, the growth in E-reading is overwhelmingly from comics. Not for books. So, there are some cultural issues as to what one accesses how.

If you were to ask me what’s happening on your campus; do you see people reading magazines; I don’t see them reading magazines, either digitally or in print. And our campus store has shrunk the number of magazines that it has available just because they don’t sell.

But we have to figure out what are the things that people would read. And I’m not the expert on that. I’m really interested to learn what people are reading. What I do know is that sometimes we get surprised as to media habits. I don’t have the data now, but I heard probably two years ago that a fairly large number of teenagers or young adults listen to the radio. Who knew?

Samir Husni: That’s one reason my latest book was called “Audience First.” Before you determine whether it’s going to be digital or print or TV or radio, you have to know who your audience is. Who are those people and what do you know about them? And I think that’s why your statistics are so important and essential for the media industry to understand. When you tell me that 87% or 91% can concentrate more when they’re reading print that’s important. And if we really want to take people off of that Welfare Information Society that we put them on, it’s a good argument. I read your book “Words Onscreen” and I read the part about nobody wants to be reading tea leaves about the future of print, but you give the example of Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post.

Naomi Baron: You have to read the tea leaves if you want to plan. (Laughs) It’s as dangerous as it’s always been, but that doesn’t make it unnecessary. What is my own take on all of this? Digital is not going away anytime soon and there is a lot of encounter. You can call it reading, and sometimes it actually is, but sometimes it’s just an encounter to get information or to check sports scores or restaurant reviews. And to me reading those five-line restaurant reviews does not count as reading.

But that’s not going to die away. Therefore, the smart thing as far as I’m concerned is for us to figure out what kind of people do we want to be? How do we want to educate people; what kinds of values do we want them to have; are contemplation and analysis among those values? And we have to ask: what’s the best way to accomplish this today? There are all sorts of technologies, print is a technology. We have all sorts of technologies; what are the best ones?

One of the reasons, and I think I spoke a little bit about this in a chapter of the book; one of the reasons in Japan that people don’t read a lot of novels on phones is the books themselves are small enough to carry around and they have discreet covers that doesn’t tell everyone what the person is reading. So there is already a cultural artifact, namely a small book that makes it unnecessary to take some of the affordances of a digital device and read digitally on it. It’s all of these things that we have to think about.

The French have had livre du poche for over a century, probably more. But they’re small books. And they’re easy to carry around. And that’s probably one of the reasons, in addition to other aspects of books in France and prices of books, all the pieces of the book culture being small and portable contributes to reading habits. I’m guessing, but to me it’s worth asking.

Samir Husni: If I show up unexpectedly at your house and I knock on your door, what will I find you doing? Reading a magazine? Your iPad? Watching television?

Naomi Baron: The first thing that you’d see, and this is largely due to my husband, is probably about 30,000 books in the house. You would probably see me sitting at my computer and either working on the computer itself or reading from print. I do an awful lot of my writing by hand; “Words Onscreen is probably half written by hand and the other half on the computer, it depends on my mood and what I have handy. You’d see me printing a lot of stuff off and reading from hard copy if it’s something that I actually want to be serious about. And you’d see me shuffling stuff back and forth.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Naomi Baron: Regarding my research, that educators from K through graduate school are sufficiently naïve about the consequences of their well-meaning actions in terms of what they’re recommending to students and in terms of the medium for reading and what to do with what they read, that are causing harm to the next generation. And that does keep me up at night.

Samir Husni: Thank you.


4 Ways Experts Can Help Your 2016 Content Marketing Plan

4 Ways Experts Can Help Your 2016 Content Marketing Plan

Beyond the normal stumbling blocks of content planning, the pressure is on for brands to take their creativity up a notch as more companies experiment with different storytelling techniques, formats and cutting-edge platforms.

Long gone are the days of relying on the expertise of one or two star bloggers to drive your content marketing success.

Partnering with both internal and third-party subject matter experts can help you meet your content quality and quantity needs. Here are four ways experts can be a boon to your 2016 content efforts.

Experts can help you prepare for changes to come.  

Technology and consumer behavior are two things that never remain the same from beginning to end of year but impact almost every type of business. For example, in 2015 mobile devices caused dramatic shifts in how consumers shop and even receive healthcare.

Experts who forecast trends can provide critical insight to help businesses not only prepare for change, but also create content that establishes them as a forward-thinking industry leader.

Experts can help breathe new life into outdated content.

The new year doesn’t have to mean your content planning has to start from scratch. Refreshing older content with new research and insights from experts is a great way to make the most of limited resources while staying on top of new trends.

Content Marketing is marketing your content

Continue reading here on BEYOND PR.





Gary Vaynerchuk on 4 Common Company Problems and Solutions That Demand Attention

As we go into this New Year, I wanted to round up four problems you may face as a company leader in 2016 and offer my solutions to those problems. Whether you’re a small start up or a Fortune 500, these four pieces of advice have always helped me in growing and maintaining my businesses.


Everybody is motivated by different things. We all have our own dreams, aspirations and beliefs that drive us. Never think for a second that money drives all motivation. It’s simply not true.
People are in the game for multiple reasons and the only way for you to understand that is to listen. Once you understand then you can set them up to be in a place for them to deliver on it. And that gives them incentive to always work their hardest for you, because you did it for them. Get it?

So you need to use your ears and listen to your employees. You need to sit down with them and understand where they want to take their careers. What’s their ambition? What do they want to do with their life? By sitting down with people and actually listening, you’ll be able to set up your employees for success while also motivating them to work hard and fast.

Also, it makes you a good boss. So there’s that.



When I have an angry customer, the very first thing I want to know is if they are right. I talk to the parties involved, and I get all the information possible that I can. In the end, someone has to make a call, and as the boss, that is probably going to have to be you.

Nobody likes a boss who passes the buck.

If the customer is 100% right, you apply something that everyone in sales or customer service needs: empathy. You come in with nothing but empathy. I ask questions and I listen before trying to fix it. I’ve talked in the past about how great leaders are listeners. This applies just as much to this situation as well.



As I’ve been building my agency VaynerMedia over the last six years, there is something I often hear from clients, which is this: “Well, you do social, not digital. So we are going to go with _____.”

I believe that the top seven people are what make any company tick. Now if those top people picked up and went to a new company, that new company would start to like the place they all came from. Think about it. What about sports teams? There is no “The Lakers are great.” It’s Kobe and Jack playing on a team, so the Lakers become good. It’s not the Knicks winning when the Knicks have Willis Reed and Clyde Frasier. It’s the people who make up the team.

Get where I am going with this?

If you’re a decision maker at an agency, or running a company yourself, and you’re disappointed because you’re not as good as some other company, or you’re jealous that they are doing something you’re not…stop it. Stop being jealous of their capabilities and go out and hire for your client’s needs. Find the people that are doing it and make them part of your team.



I’ve talked a lot about how everything stems from the top when it comes to company culture. The way you act and behave in your company dictates a huge amount of how the culture will be.

Don’t like how some of your leadership is acting? It’s on you. Talk to them. Set an example.

Want to establish a casual dress code? It starts with you.

Think the company needs to have less meetings? Once again, you need to start having less meetings.

Everyone will be looking to you to dictate the situation. Don’t forget that in your day to day around the office.



Article originally appeared here.





10 Body Language Tricks to Power Up Your Career in 2016

carol.featuredBy Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D

Body language can be your greatest career asset. Here are ten simple and powerful tips to help you have a super successful 2016.

1) To make a great first impression, begin before you enter the room.

In business interactions, first impressions are crucial. Once someone mentally labels you as “likeable” or “untrustworthy, ”powerful” or “ineffectual,” everything else you do will be viewed through that filter. If someone likes you, she’ll look for the best in you. If she mistrusts you, she’ll suspect devious motives in all your actions.

A study at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging that discovered it takes the brain just 200 milliseconds to gather most of the information it needs from a facial expression to determine a person’s emotional state. That’s why you can’t wait until you’re in the meeting room to “warm up.” You’ve got to walk in, already expressing the emotions you want to project.

2) To dramatically increase your professional impact, make eye contact like Goldilocks.

Too much eye contact is instinctively felt to be rude, hostile and condescending; and in a business context, it may also be perceived as a deliberate intent to dominate, intimidate, belittle, or make the other person feel at a disadvantage.

Too little, on the other hand, can make you appear uneasy, insincere, or uninterested. In its analysis of patients’ complaints, for example, one large county hospital found, that 9-out-of-10 letters included mention of poor doctor-patient eye contact; a failure which was generally interpreted as “lack of caring.” (To improve your “too little” eye contact, make a practice of noticing the eye color of everyone you meet.)

“Just the right” amount of eye contact – the amount that produces a feeling of mutual likability and trustworthiness – will vary with situations, settings, personality types, gender and cultural differences. As a general rule, though, direct eye contact of about 60% of the time during a conversation – more when you are listening, less when you are speaking – makes you seem attentive, interested and informed.

3) To boost your self-confidence, ditch your cell phone and buy a newspaper.

You may be familiar with research from Harvard and Columbia Business Schools about the effects of expansive physical poses — feet wide apart, body erect, hands on hips (think “Superman” or “Wonder Woman”). Studies show that holding this kind of “power pose” for just two minutes raises testosterone levels (the hormone linked to power and self-confidence) and lowers the level of cortisol, a stress hormone.

But did you know that this hormonal effect is actually reversed when you tuck your chin in, round your shoulders and contract yourself physically? In that posture, you lower your testosterone level – and its corresponding feelings of confidence – while increasing cortisol.

So, instead of hunching over your smart phone, try leaving it in your purse or briefcase while you wait in the lobby for an upcoming meeting. Instead, take out a newspaper, and read it sitting up straight with your feet firmly on the floor, and your arms spread wide to hold the paper open. By putting your body into this expansive posture, you will not only feel more confident and certain when the meeting starts, you will also be perceived that way.

Body Language Tips for 20164) To build instant and lasting rapport, touch someone while saying “the magic word.”

Touch is the most primitive and powerful nonverbal cue. In the workplace, physical touch and warmth are established through the handshaking tradition, and this tactile contact makes a lasting and positive impression. A study on handshakes by the Income Center for Trade Shows showed that people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them. The trade-show researchers also found that people react to those with whom they shake hands by being more open and friendly.

You can, however, go beyond the handshake and create a lasting, positive impact by adding a single word to a brief touch, because touching someone on the arm, hand, or shoulder for as little as 1/40 of a second is enough to create a human bond. Here’s how to do it: When you meet someone and they tell you their name, find a way to repeat that name later in the conversation. And as you do, touch the person lightly on the forearm.

The impact of this combination comes from the fact that you have aroused positive feelings in an individual by remembering and using her name (the magic word for all of us), and as you touch her arm, those positive emotions get linked to your touch. Then at subsequent meetings you can reactivate that initial favorable impression by once again lightly touching your acquaintance’s arm.

5) To reduce resistance, don’t allow people to double-cross you.

People who are defensive, guarded or resistant may protectively fold their arms across their chests. And when you see that gesture coupled with crossed legs (what I call the “double cross”) you can be fairly sure that (a) you aren’t making a very positive impression, and that (b) what you’re saying isn’t being listened to very closely.

In fact, in one study, groups of volunteers were invited to attend a series of lectures. While doing so, the first group was instructed to keep legs and arms uncrossed – and to take a casual, relaxed sitting position. Volunteers in the second group were asked to attend the same lectures, but to keep their arms tightly folded across their chests. The result showed the folded arms group learned and retained 38 percent less than the uncrossed arms group.

To neutralize this physically expressed resistance in a one-on-one encounter, you could extend your hand for a handshake. You could offer the person a cup of tea or coffee, or give them your business card, brochure or product sample. (When I address large audiences, I often ask questions that invite people to raise their hands or rise to their feet.) It doesn’t matter which strategy you choose, just as long as people are obliged to change their postures, to uncross their arms and legs, in order to respond to you. Because body positions influence attitude, the mere act of unwinding a resistant posture will begin to subvert the resistance, itself.

6) To power up your thinking, talk with your hands – but watch what they say.

Brain imaging has shown that a region called Broca’s area, which is important for speech production, is active not only when we’re talking, but also when we wave our hands. Since gesture is integrally linked to speech, gesturing as you talk can actually power up your thinking. Whenever I coach clients to incorporate gestures into their deliveries, I find that their verbal content improves, their speech is less hesitant, and their use of fillers (“ums” and “uhs”) decreases. Experiment with this and you’ll find that the physical act of gesturing helps you form clearer thoughts and speak in tighter sentences with more declarative language.

Remember also to keep your movements relaxed and to use open arm gestures showing the palms of your hands — the ultimate “see, I have nothing to hide” gesture. In addition, if you hold your arms between your waist and shoulders, and gesture within that plane, most audiences will perceive you as assured and credible.

What you want to avoid (or at least minimize) are the nonverbal behaviors that make you look unsure or incompetent. We all do it. When we’re nervous or stressed, we tend to pacify ourselves with some form of self-touching: We rub our foreheads, massage our temples, wring our hands, touch our lips, play with our jewelry, twirl our hair, etc. — and when we do these things, we immediately rob our statements of credibility. If you catch yourself indulging in any pacifying behavior, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and steady yourself by placing your feet firmly on the floor and your hands palm down in your lap or by your side, or flat on the desk or conference table.

7) To communicate effectively, stop talking.

Stillness sends a message that you’re calm and confident. When you are giving a presentation, don’t be concerned with filling every moment with words. Every so often, try pausing. It might feel like you are waiting for an eternity, but it won’t seem long to your listeners. Try it. It’s unexpected, it’s attention getting, it’s effective . . . very effective.

8) To raise your salary, lower your voice.

An acoustic scientist at UCLA studied the characteristics of charismatic voices and found that lower-pitched male CEOs made up to $187,000 a year more than higher-pitched peers.

In the workplace, the quality of your voice can be a deciding factor in how you are perceived. Speakers with higher-pitched voices are judged to be less empathic, less powerful and more nervous than speakers with lower pitched voices. One easy technique I learned from a speech therapist was to put your lips together and say “Um hum, um hum, um hum.” Doing so relaxes your voice into its optimal pitch. This is especially helpful before you get on an important phone call – where the sound of your voice is so critical.

And watch that your voice doesn’t rise at the ends of sentences, which makes you sound as if you are asking a question or seeking approval. Instead, when stating your opinion, use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end.

9) To power up your body language savvy, start with your feet.

When most people think about improving their body language, they focus primarily on facial expressions, posture, and hand gestures. Because feet go “unrehearsed,” they often tell more than you realize.

For example, if we were sitting and talking and your legs were stretched forward with your feet pointing at me – or If the toe of the leg that you crossed on top was pointing at me — I’d be pretty sure that we were relating well. But if you pulled your feet away in a tight ankle lock or wrapped them around the legs of your chair, I’d suspect that you were upset or uncomfortable.

And do you know that you often bounce your feet when you’re happy or excited? Bouncing or tapping feet are what professional poker players refer to as “happy feet” — a high-confidence tell signaling that a player’s hand is strong. You may be sending the same signal in a business negotiation when you feel you’re getting a good deal. But if your bouncing feet suddenly go still, it could be a sign that you’re unsure or waiting to see what will happen next – the equivalent of holding your breath.

It’s also fascinating to watch how people’s feet turn away from situations they want to avoid, and point in the direction they’d prefer to be. So, if you are speaking with a co-worker when you would rather be somewhere else, your upper body may be angled toward him, but your feet will most probably be turned toward the door.

Feet also have a lot to say about your self-confidence. When you feel insecure or anxious you may stand with your feet close together or with your legs crossed — or you might shift your weight from foot to foot. But when you widen your stance, and evenly distribute your weight on both feet, you look more “solid” and sure of yourself.

10)  To keep your New Year’s resolutions, get a grip.

Research at the National University of Singapore and the University of Chicago found that participants who tightened their muscles – gripping their hands, fingers, calves or biceps – were able to increase their self-control. It was, however, also found that muscle tightening only helped with willpower when the choices the participants faced aligned with their stated goals. So make sure you know what you really want – then get a grip  to help achieve it!

About the Author: Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. is the author of The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead.” The impact of body language on leadership effectiveness is a topic she addresses in keynote speeches and seminars on “The Power of Collaborative Leadership.” She can be reached at


10 Habits Every Content Marketer Needs to Break in 2016

10 Un-Resolutions for your content marketing

In both our professional and personal lives, the new year offers a fresh start, a time to take stock and identify opportunities for improvement.

Of course, that also means it’s time for the inescapable tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. It’s time to promise to exercise more, put down our phones more, and focus more on our families.

Although I know that all of these are important resolutions to make, I find the urge to do more and more and more absolutely paralyzing.

That’s why I’ve decided 2016 is the year I’m not making resolutions of things I need to start doing.

Instead, I’m making “un-resolutions” — promises to eliminate habits that hold me back.

If you want to join me in this, I’ve compiled the following list of 10 behaviors content marketers should resolve to stop in 2016. For good measure, I’ve also included resources that will help you with the un-resolution of your choice.

1. STOP serving only your brand.

I know: Every piece of brand content — whether it’s rooted in PR, advertising, or content marketing — is created to ultimately benefit the brand. However, the content that goes viral or – even better – has long-term success earns those triumphs because it isn’t self-serving.

That means thinking about your audience first and planning content that answers their needs. That also means providing content that educates, entertains, or both.

It may be a hard truth to swallow (and even harder to sell to company leaders who are used to the old way); however, it’s what today’s customers value.

Read The Buyer 2.0 Content Strategy Checklist to get started with this un-resolution.

2. STOP marketing without a plan.

Although it’s important to quickly make adjustments when needed, your overall marketing approach needs to be proactive, not reactive.

Today’s content marketers don’t have the luxury of flying by the seat of their pants. If you’ve been operating without a content plan, stop.

Document your content strategy and how your marketing channels fit within it. Then create an editorial calendar that will keep those channels on track throughout the year ahead.

Read The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your 2016 Editorial Calendar to get started with this un-resolution.

3. STOP guessing who your audience is.

At one time or another, we all fall into the trap of viewing our audiences in oversimplified terms. For instance, there are many different subsets of “consumers,” “B2B decision makers,” and “the media” you need to consider when honing your content creation and promotion.

Take the time to revisit your brand’s buyer personas and remove the guesswork from your marketing.

Read 9 Audience Segments to Target for Content Marketing Success to get started with this un-resolution.

4. STOP ignoring data.

Marketing reports are much more than a pretty thing to show off to the C-Suite.

Deciphering this data is essential to making smart decisions. Analytics can help you optimize individual content pieces and overall communications programs, fine-tune budgets, and increase revenue. Make sure your 2016 strategy includes regular analysis of your marketing’s output, outtakes, and outcomes.

Read Attribution Modeling’s Pivotal Role in Your Marketing Mix to get started with this un-resolution.

5. STOP boring your audience.

You can’t risk producing “so-so” content. That’s the type of content flooding your audience’s inboxes and newsfeeds each day. Rise above the din by only producing content that excites.

If you have to pick between content quantity or quality, pick quality.

Get visual and interactive, diversify the voices contributing to your content, tell stories. Offer variety not just in narrative, but also format. Turn expectations on their heads.

Read 77 Types of Content to Feed Your Audience to get started with this un-resolution.

s & Issues: Keys to Monitoring Traditional & Social Media to get started with this un-resolution.

Continue reading here on BEYOND PR.





Helping Investors Stay Calm in a Volatile Market

Nati KatzBy Nati Katz, Manager, Technology Practice, Burson-Marsteller

Senior and longtime market experts claim that what happens during the first few days of January dictates the year’s overall stock market performance. If that’s true, and considering the opening trading day of 2016, investors have a lot to worry about.

The first day of trading in 2016 brought the Dow Jones industrial average down 470 points below 17,000, representing the largest percent decline on the first trading day of the year since 1932. At the same time, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index saw its sixth worst opening day ever. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which is home to many regularly high-performing stocks, saw the worst start to the year since 2001, falling below 5,000 and settling at a 2.1 percent loss.

These numbers are undoubtedly worrying investors, which leaves communications executives at publicly traded companies in a challenging position. Their job is to maintain a sense of stability, growth and confidence among respective stakeholders.

The good news is that at its core, investor anxiety is partly derived from silence – and the natural antidote is communication. Following are a few best practices.

Don’t get stuck playing defense

One thing you should avoid is being pushed to the corner when it’s already too late. If you find yourself explaining why there’s no need to panic – you are most likely playing defense. Instead, have an ongoing program that conveys the values and benefits of the company, its services, products and solutions.

One of the most effective programs year round is a thought leadership plan that is implemented through your spokespeople. An effective executive communications initiative includes key messaging from different divisions of the company – communicated throughout the year by a pre-determined list of key executives serving as experts in their respective fields. Ultimately, the goal is to have no month go by without positive news being published.

‘Diversity’ isn’t just for good investments

Communications with stakeholders and key audiences shouldn’t take place exclusively in that comfort zone of your friendly “home publication.” I know several companies that maintain cozy relationships with certain broadcast networks, a particular financial show or an individual host. The tendency is to work with those networks exclusively in the hopes of seeing positive coverage. But it also leads to infrequent media appearances, as even your “besties” can’t host you every month.

Instead, supplement business media outreach with outreach to industry verticals: e.g. retail, transportation, hospitality, food & beverage, IT, cybersecurity. All play a valuable role and can help to convey your company’s messaging throughout the year.

‘High-frequency comms’: Hashtags, cashtags and #TBTs

The media today and its 24/7 cycle is no longer affected merely by what’s in the mornings’ papers (or sites) but by what’s being posted, tweeted and shared in a flash on social channels. The markets have already shown their volatility and sensitivity to breaking news on social media, not only by companies themselves, but also by individuals, fraudulent sources or hacked accounts.

Don’t let external influencers fill a content vacuum when you can be a reliable and credible source yourself. Although it can be difficult for public companies to maintain the pace content consumers are accustomed to on social media, attempt to be consistent and proactive. Ideally, your social media team should be given the latitude to generate, capture or leverage existing content from within the organization and re-purpose it for an ongoing, proactive social media campaign. Content can reflect the thought leadership plan mentioned above, include formal company news – under the SEC guidelines for social media – or even be creative, for example participating in #TBTs (Throwback Thursdays) – to engage your current stakeholders and attract new ones.

While communications professionals clearly cannot control stock performance any more than they can control China’s trading woes or oil prices, you can have a significant impact in building trust with investors and stakeholders and showing the bigger picture encompassing a company’s momentary dips. By being proactive and consistent in communications across media and social media, you can grant a sense of stability to stakeholders and stockholders.

About the Author: Nati Katz serves as a manager in the technology practice at global PR agency Burson- Marsteller, a Young & Rubicam Group company. He owns none of the above mentioned stocks, and does not have a professional relationship with the companies included in this piece. You can follow him at on twitter and LinkedIn  


The True Secret to Success: What If Martin Luther King, Jr., Had Compared Himself to Others?

Steven GaffneySteven Gaffney, CEO & President, Steven Gaffney Company

Imagine a world in which Martin Luther King, Jr., had been nothing more than a preacher with a sizeable congregation, Bill Gates was nothing more than an effective manager at an IT firm, and Oprah Winfrey just a newscaster at a Baltimore television station. Suppose Warren Buffet was nothing more than a man who managed his money well in order to provide a nice life for his family. We probably wouldn’t know their names, yet by most standards they would still be deemed successful.

Yet I believe that true success is the degree to which we reach our full potential. By that standard, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet could not be called successful if they did not achieve what we all now know they were capable of.  If they had been satisfied with comparing themselves favorably with others, they may have not been inspired to achieve what they achieved. Where would our society be without the contributions they have made? What would the landscape of twenty-first-century America look like without them?

Fortunately, they did not suffer what many people suffer from–Comparison Success Obstructer ™(CSO). [QUERY: I suggest you consider using the word “obstruction” rather than obstructer.] People with this affliction compare themselves with others to gauge their own success. Those comparisons can sadly set us up for mediocrity. If Warren Buffet suffered from CSO, he could have taken a look at his neighbor and been satisfied with the idea of building a bigger house, purchasing a nicer car, and sending his children to better schools. Oprah Winfrey could have landed her job as a Baltimore newscaster, compared herself to friends and colleagues, and decided she was doing quite well just where she was.

Many organizations suffer from CSO. They even go so far as to benchmark their achievements against other organizations. Perhaps yours does this too. While benchmarking can produce some good results, it can also chain your organization to the common results of others—restraining you from catapulting beyond the competition and producing breakthrough results.

Comparing ourselves to the competition begs the question — so what? So what if you can move widgets faster than Widget Movers Express? So what if you are the leader in a certain technology? So what if you are the highest in retention? Are those reasons to be content? So what?

Maybe your organization has untold “Martin Luther King, Jr.,” potential. Maybe there is a life-changing discovery or invention lurking within your organization — within the minds of your employees. Maybe it is within you! But this is unlikely to happen as long as you or others around you suffer from CSO.

I once heard an interview with John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach who won seven straight NCAA titles and nine titles in eleven years. The interviewer asked Wooden for his keys to success, and Wooden said that after each game – regardless of the score — he asked his players, did you play your best?  Think about this. In professional sports, team dynasties result from an effective coach and a few outstanding players who are with the team year after year. But the make-up of teams in college basketball is constantly changing as new students join the team and others move on to graduate. But the changing roster didn’t hinder Coach Wooden. He built a dynasty in part by asking the ever-changing faces on his team, did you play your best?

Imagine if we were asked that on a daily basis. What would your answer be? Is it time to step it up, push ourselves, regardless of what others say? I think so. Not because we have to, not because there is something wrong, but because we can. After all, isn’t that what true success is all about?

That is why I believe we need to drop the judgments and comparisons with others. We need to stop looking behind us to see who is chasing us. Instead we need to run fast regardless of the others in the race and push ourselves to see what is possible.

This is what striving for true success is all about.

Are you playing your best, or are you settling for what you think you can get rather than going for what you truly want? What are you willing to do about it? After all, the only person you can control is yourself. You cannot necessarily control what others do, but you are fully responsible for the way you respond and the actions you take to achieve the results you really want. Attaining perfection may be hard, but making progress is easy.

WARNING: If you choose to stop suffering from CSO and strive for what you can become, brace yourself and make sure you enjoy the ride, because there is an ironic twist that will come your way. The twist is that successful people often don’t think of themselves as particularly successful. If fact, the more successful they are, the more they recognize the gap between where they are and what they can become.

A while back, I saw a documentary about the incredible life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr.  One of the many things that shocked me was that he was plagued by the thought that he had not yet done enough. Imagine that. As successful and accomplished as he was, he was not satisfied—not even close.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was chasing down a dream. He knew that there was always more to do. There was always more that he could expect of himself. He had a vision for the future, and that vision was not limited by comparisons or others’ expectations. True success is not about how we compare with others, but how we compare with what we truly can become.


 About the Author: Would you believe that the most common obstacle holding businesses back from their true potential is open, effective honest communication? No one knows this better than Steven Gaffney, who, for two decades, has been one of the most recognized experts on the subject of Honesty, specializing in managing change to drive team performance, collaboration, and revenue through honest communication. Mr. Gaffney’s inability to speak due to hearing impairments as a child forced him to learn at a very early age the importance of effective communication. This problem stimulated Steven’s desire to help individuals transform the quality of their professional and personal lives through honest and open communication, and is what drove the foundation of The Steven Gaffney Company. Steven is the author of three books, “Just Be Honest” “Honesty Works!” and “Honesty Sells,” and an expert on getting the unsaid said. Steven’s signature “Notice vs. Imagine” technique helps us to eradicate false assumptions and tackle issues with velocity. By giving people a common language, Steven’s expert advice give clients a baseline to help eliminate misunderstandings in their organizations and elicit open and honest communication. Steven Gaffney is a highly respected member of the National Speakers Association, and his programs consistently receive high ratings with attendees and participants reporting immediate, sustainable results. He is also a former adjunct faculty member of The Johns Hopkins University, as well as former board member of the Washington, D.C. chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives International. 



Crisis in the NFL (Commentaries & Recap-UPDATED)

By Nicole Giovia, Contributing Editor,

Throughout the past year, it seems that every week there is a new crisis occurring in the National Football League.  Spousal abuse, child abuse, illegal fire works causing the loss of digits; with problem after problem, the NFL is facing a real PR nightmare.  All the while, Changes have been made behind the scenes in hopes to change the public’s view of the NFL, and its players.

The disaster started with Ray Rice and continued to spiral downward.  Beyond Ray Rice, the NFL faced Adrian Peterson and his child abuse scandal, and Greg Hardy’s domestic violence.  These were just the beginning in a string of domestic violence charges for NFL players.

The latest in the list of seemingly never-ending NFL Crises was #Deflategate.  Turns out, this year’s Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots let air out of nearly all of their footballs, giving them an unfair advantage in the AFC Championship Game. The NFL’s “Golden Boy” Tom Brady was suspended for four games for his part in the scandal, a decision that was overturned by a judge today.

The NFL is in desperate need of some positive PR.  As they face criticism from fans, players and sponsors, the NFL must figure out a way out of the crisis and back into the public’s good graces.  The big question is, what is next? What can the NFL do?  If something doesn’t change fast will the NFL every get back to where they once were?

With this page we will dig deeper into the issues that arise from the most recent developments. You are invited to contribute your comments and opinions.


david-johnson-featuredDeflategate Ruling – Tom Brady & Roger Goodell Need to Score in the Court of Public Opinion

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

One can win in the court of law but still lose in the court of public opinion.  We have just seen this with New England Quarterback Tom Brady.  Click here to read the full post.





#DeflateGate Crisis Management - The NFL's Next Steps#DeflateGate Crisis Management – Next Moves by the NFL & Tom Brady?

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

For the NFL, 2014 was a year of crisis after crisis.  The League and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came under heavy scrutiny and criticism for failing to punish key NFL players guilty of domestic violence. Click here to read the full post.





WTwitter-Chat-Recapill the Patriots Make it to The Superbowl?

Twitter Chat Recap

Welcome to our chat, what will the real PR and marketing successes and crisis be surrounding @SuperBowl 49?  Click Here to read the recap.




nfl-logoWhere is the NFL’s Crisis Communications Plan?

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

Super Bowl Sunday is less then a week away.  Yet rather then discussing the particulars of the game, the sporting world has been arguing about findings that 11 footballs confiscated from the New England Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game were found to be underinflated by two pounds of air each. Click here to read the full post.




deflategate#Deflate Gate Holds Our Attention More than the Game

By Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services

Yes, we’re still talking about Deflate Gate, #DeflateGate, and Super Bowl 49 is less than a week away. What more can be said on this topic? Nothing. But from an image perspective, my company has looked at the past media exposure for most sports and found one common thread. Click here to read the full post.




#Deflategate: Managing the NFL’s Latest Scandal

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

The NFL is facing yet another scandal.  No, it doesn’t concern players and domestic violence. This latest scandal involves the New England Patriots and findings that 11 footballs confiscated from the team’s win over the Colts in the AFC title game were found to be underinflated.  Click here to read the full post.




Robin-Cohn-headshotWhen The Public Cries Foul

By Robin Cohn, Author, The PR Crisis Bible

One has to wonder.  If some man brutally hit and knocked-out the daughter or wife of an NFL team owner or commissioner, do you think they’d let the man go with a slap on the wrist? I don’t think so—or at least I hope not. But it hasn’t happened to them and that emotional distance has let NFL teams focus on business as usual. Like any best selling product, why would anyone want to pull it off the shelf, or in this case the game —until there’s a public out cry?  Click here to read the full post.




Constance-Peak-headshotThe NFL and Respondabilty

By Constance J. Peak is Co-Founder, CFO and Coach at IMPACT Leadership 21

The NFL loves being on the minds of a nation, just not like this.  I’m sure heads are shaking, saying, “Where did it all go wrong?”  There were several missteps made by Roger Goodell in reaction to the Ray Rice incident.  Therein lies the key, he reacted. Click here to read the full post.






Roger Goodell

NFL: An Insult to Women Everywhere

By Steven Fink, President and CEO, Lexicon Communications Corp.

In the face of the worst crisis to confront the NFL in its 94 years of existence, commissioner Roger Goodell held a much-anticipated news conference last Friday and for 45-minutes…said nothing. While the media and women’s organizations and right-minded people everywhere were angered by this performance, some people actually applauded Goodell’s complete lack of substance.  Click here to read the full post.





susan-telllem-headshotThe Spiraling Violence in the NFL

By Susan Tellem, Partner, Tellem Grody PR

Ah. My husband is right in so many ways, including what he calls the over the top worship of football as “the religion of sports.”  Church on Sunday…maybe not.  Football on Sunday TV…most definitely.  If football is about violence, why are we surprised when violence moves from the field to the home?  Click here to read the full post.





susan-young-headshotSaving Face at the NFL: What’s the Cost?

By Susan Young, CEO,  Get in Front Communications, Inc.

I’d like to thank the NFL for bringing the horrific issue of domestic violence to the forefront of our social conversations and values. Maybe lives will be saved. I’d also like to vomit on the NFL for downplaying (actually ignoring) this horrific issue of domestic violence. Maybe the NFL’s face can be saved. But at what expense?  Click here to read the full post.





David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLCimagesNFL Sponsors: What’s their Crisis Management Role?

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

Another day has passed and another NFL player has been arrested with domestic violence charges – Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer.  This comes as the NFL is still reeling from the public relations damage of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, and the admission in court documents that nearly a third of its players could end up with brain damage.  Click here to read the full post.



steven.fink.featuredNFL in Crisis: Where are the X’s and O’s?

By Steven Fink, President and CEO, Lexicon Communications Corp.

The crisis that is engulfing the NFL is so predictable that it barely holds my professional interest as a crisis manager, and yet, like a large segment of America, I watch it the way you slow down on the highway and watch the mangled wreck of a fatal car crash pushed to the shoulder: horrifying, but riveting nevertheless. Click here to read the full post.





nfl-logoNFL Crisis Management: Losing in the Court of Public Opinion

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

The NFL continues to be battered in the court of public opinion.  Last week it was the Ray Rice saga and the “what did NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell know and when did he know it questions.’  This week it is outrage over Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson who is facing criminal charges for spanking his four-year old son with a wooden stick that left welts. Click here to read the full post.





NFL-crisis-managementThe NFL: Game Plan To Improve Future “Performance

By Brian Braudis, Executive Coach & Leadership Consultant 

The near term is likely to get bumpy as the NFL begins to implement its new domestic violence policy.  Prevention is typically easier than rebuilding but nonetheless; the NFL finds itself facing unwanted attention and pressure to make changes. It is sure to get even more unpleasant. As one of my college professors would say, “If you fail to initiate change yourself, a change much harder and much uglier will be thrust upon you.” Click here to read the full post.





Ray Rice scandalThe Ray Rice Scandal: A Crisis Communications Analysis

Editor’s Note: The Ray Rice Scandal was handled poorly on all fronts: from the way the team reacted and blamed the victim, to the seemingly soft punishment by the NFL to Ray Rice himself briefly apologizing then quickly moving on. Not only is his image inevitably tarnished, but the NFL, Team and even “supporters” will be left to pick up the pieces. With this page we will dig deeper into the issues that now arise from the most recent developments. You are invited to contribute your comments and opinions.  Click here to read the full post.






Tom Brady Deflate-Gate: Federal Judge Throws Out NFL Star’s Suspension

Another Twist in the “Deflate-Gate” Scandal as the NFL Look Set to Appeal Brady’s Ban Being Quashed

Tom Brady Wins the Long Game

Greg Cote: Tom Brady Wins Big; NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell Lose Even More

How Roger Goodell Became the Most Powerful Man in American Sports

P.R. Chief Paul Hicks Leaves the NFL

Roger Goodell Isn’t Going Anywhere, But A Changing of Guard is Underway


Before The Decision:

Deflategate: 10 Things to Know About Latest Patriots Controversy/Scandal

Effects Of Inflation: Once Again, We’re Talking About Football

Deflategate Fallout: Lack of Candor Could End Up Biting Patriots, Belichick

#Deflategate: Blame it on the Rain, Or Is There No Defense for Bill Belichick and the Patriots This Time?

Deflategate: What NFL Players Are Saying About Patriots’ Controversy

Time for Patriots to Embrace Deflategate, Hate



Making Changes in the NFL:




NFL Owner Admits League’s New Domestic Violence Policy Is A Public Relations Ploy

Angry NFL Fans Flock to Product

Drew Brees Questions NFL’s Knee-Jerk Policy Changes and Fear of PR Hits

Roger Goodell Shows He Hasn’t Changed With New Personal Conduct Policy

NFLPA Criticizes “Unilateral” Imposition of Personal Conduct Policy

TEXAS VIEW: Goodell Must Go for NFL to Move Ahead

Why So Serious, Roger Goodell?


The Crisis Escalates:


NFL in Crisis – A Lack of Leadership in Raising Star Athletes

WATCH: NFL Crisis Mocked In Saturday Night Live Cold Open

NFL Executives Insist Roger Goodell’s Job is Safe Despite Crisis, Chaos

Jameis Winston Suspension Increased By Florida State After Vulgar, Misogynistic Outburst

Roger Goodell Press Conference: ‘I Got It Wrong’ about Ray Rice Domestic Violence Incident

Hundreds of Baltimore Ravens Fans Form HALF-MILE Long Line to Swap Their Ray Rice Jerseys

White House: NFL Needs ‘To Get A Handle On’ Domestic Violence Issues

Assault Charges Add to N.F.L.’s Off-Field Turmoil NFL Crises

Adrian Peterson Crisis Threatens NFL’s Lifeblood

Adrian Peterson Child Abuse Case Is Latest NFL Crisis

Cris Carter In Tears: Adrian Peterson Mustn’t Play After Child Abuse

NFL’s Next Ray Rice Crisis is Already Here with Greg Hardy, Panthers–panthers-033425803.html

Greg Hardy Inactive for Panthers Against Lions, Defensive Lineman Found Guilty of Domestic Assault Will Still Be Paid

If There Were a Greg Hardy Video…
Jonathan Dwyer Arrested, Deactivated





The League and it’s Leaders…




Packers CEO Mark Murphy Talks About Current NFL Crisis

NFL Crisis Could Hinder Growth of Female Fan Base to NFL: Fix Your Domestic Abuse Problem. Now. and Homophobia in the NFL: Is America’s Crisis of Masculinity Playing Out in Its Favorite Sport? Mike Lupica on NFL’s PR Crisis: Credibility of the League is Suffering Review: NFL PR Effort Is as Laughable as Its Morals Day Reports: Off-the-Field Violence
NFL Bungles Crisis Management in Ray Rice Case
The Management Style Of The NFL Has Turned Into A Grease Fire Bad: The Economics, Sociology, And Psychology Of Law-Breaking Behavior By NFL Players on Peterson Could Hurt Commissioner More than Rice Case NFL Scandal Shows Why You Shouldn’t Get Your News from the PR Dept. The Elite NFL Media Still Be Stooges After The Ray Rice Scandal? Brand Takes a Battering But Remains ‘Unbreakable’: Experts

The NFL is Scrambling for Some Good-News Daylight Like a Frantic Quarterback

Marian Salzman, Global Trendspotter – Four Lessons To Be A Great Communicator

Marian SalzmanBy Marian Salzman, CEO, Havas PR North America & Chair, Havas PR Global Collective

One trend that has been flashing up on my radar a lot recently: bullshit.

It’s not a word I use much myself, but I hear it from others almost as much as I hear “Have a nice day.” It has gone from ordinary people’s casual usage to a word prominent people say pointedly.

At first blush, my sense was that this all seemed like a retake on the idea of “truthiness” that grabbed my attention a decade or so ago. Stephen Colbert, in his previous role as a right-wing blowhard talk show host, defined truthiness as “what you want the facts to be, as opposed to what the facts are. What feels like the right answer, as opposed to what reality will support.”

But the deeper I’ve dug, the more I’ve realized that truthiness is a subset of bullshit, which is a much bigger phenomenon—so much so that it’s one of the 11 trends we’ve forecast for 2016 in Havas PR’s annual trends report.

In that report, we note that the Internet and its offspring social media are democratizing free speech. Anyone with a connection can share his or her opinion on anything, which in theory is a great development—the First Amendment writ large, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of mainstream media. In theory, people can now put their ideas out there, debate them with others, examine the evidence readily available online and come to well-informed conclusions. In theory, it’s quick and easy to research claims flying around the Internet.

In practice, we’re finding that things don’t work that way. In practice, people hang out and interact online with others who think like they do, creating echo chambers of similar opinions. In practice, people become more entrenched rather than considering and weighing different points of view. In practice, people don’t skeptically check up on claims, provided the claims confirm their own opinions. And when they do check up, it’s easy enough to find evidence online to support pretty much any opinion. In fact, rather than trying to track down the truth, it turns out that most people are satisfied with some form of truthiness.

But that doesn’t mean that we as marketing professionals should, too. In addition to living at the height of B.S., we are also living in the age of radical transparency, and truthiness is just a waste of spin. Direct and honest is the antidote to the B.S. of So is working with people you can respect and to do work you can be proud of for clients and causes you believe in.

To be a great communications leader today, we all can remember these four lessons:

  • Play it straight
  • Tell the truth
  • Craft truthful stories
  • Be direct

About the Author: Named one of the world’s top five trendspotters, Marian Salzman is one of the most-awarded female public relations executives in North America, recently being honored with one of three Individual Achievement awards presented by SABRE North America. Before heading Havas PR and the Global Collective, she was CMO at Porter Novelli, CMO at JWT Worldwide and CSO at Euro RSCG Worldwide. Since Marian took over at @havasprus in late 2009, the agency has become one of the most honored of its size in the U.S. 



5 Strategies Guaranteed to Make 2016 the Best Year Ever

Leslie-Grossman-featured-newBy Leslie Grossman, Chair, Vistage International

How was 2015 for you?  Great year?  Could have been better?  No matter whether you want more or less of what you got last year, here are 5 strategies that can lead to great results if you practice them relentlessly.   No need for New Year’s Resolutions, when you move into action on 5  Strategies Guaranteed to Make 2016 the Best Year Everthese. The key is to have someone hold you accountable.

  1.  Identify Your Four (4) Goals for 2016. Choose two personal goals which will make you a happier person. The other two goals are business goals, which when achieved will positively impact your career or your enterprise. Follow Dr. Ron Smith’s ABCs of goal setting – make them AchievableBelievable, and Commit yourself to work on them.
  1.  Find your Purpose.Why are you on this planet? According to Shawn Murphy of The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, your purpose is “the perfect intersection between ‘what you love doing’, ‘what you are great at’, ‘what the world needs’ and ‘what you are paid for’. Your purpose gets you up in the morning and keeps you working late…and it helps you achieve sustainable economic success.”
  1. Build your Entourage of Trusted Advisors. Most of us spend a lot of time on social media. Commit to reduce your time online and spend more time meeting face-to-face with influencers.  Join or create a group of peers who are respected and successful.  (Yes, it can be a Vistage CEO or Trusted Advisor group, like those I chair or ‘do it yourself’. Just do it.) Leaders are not successful alone or living in the virtual world. They have real-life trusted advisors and collaborators around them.  Make it your first priority to support trusted advisors with thoughtful insights, your own experiences, introductions and collaborations. Don’t expect anything in return. After giving generously, it’s your turn to ask for support.  If you don’t get anything from the group, it may be because you haven’t made specific requests or haven’t proven yourself ‘trust-worthy’ Trusted relationships are a critical component of achieving your goals.
  1.  Think and Feel Abundance. Live your life with an abundant mentality, not a scarcity mindset, regardless of your financial situation.  Create a personal culture of curiosity, generosity and caring about others.  It’s clear from the experiences of successful people, that what ever we put out to the universe is what we get back.  If you focus on not having enough, that’s what comes back. When you focus on gratitude for what you have, you get more of what you want.  With an abundance mindset we see opportunities and new chances, rather than fear, anxiety and desperation.  Watch the new film, JOY, to see both in action. You’ve heard it before, but probably didn’t do it: Write down 1 or 2 things you’re grateful for every night before you go to sleep.  Sweet dreams. Expect the best!
  1. Listen More and Talk Less. We are a nation of talkers – talk shows, politicians, pundits, professors and know-it alls.  The most under-used communication skill is listening. The easiest way to become a good listener is to put your natural curiosity to work. Learn to ask great questions to your customers and your team. Questioning will help you discover what your customers want from your company. Show you care by asking your employees questions instead of telling them how to do it better. You may be surprised when they become more engaged and more productive. Use questioning to keep millennials working effectively and staying longer. Your team will perform better, because when you listen you are a better leader.  Remember without a great coach, even the most skilled players won’t win the Super Bowl.

About the Author:  Leslie Grossman, author of “LINK OUT: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections” (Wiley), is a Vistage International Chair in New York City.  She was CEO of Communications/Marketing Action and Women’s Leadership Exchange and is a leadership and business development strategist, speaker and coach at Leslie Grossman Leadership.   Leslie can be reached at 

The Four Circumstances Driving Disney’s Organizational Culture

d.lipp.featured By Doug Lipp

“Develop your sense of humor and eventually it will develop you.”    Walt Disney

The Disney University—a name that carries clout and evokes images of excellence. Mention this highly-regarded institution to any business leader and the question that often follows is:

“How do they develop the world’s most engaged, loyal and customer-centric employees, year after year?”

The simple explanation for the Disney University’s success can be attributed to the levels of support and clarity of purpose found in the Four Circumstances, organizational values promoted by Walt Disney and the founder of the Disney University, Van France. All play vital roles in creating an organizational culture that has sustained “The Happiest Place on Earth” at Disney theme parks for over 57 years.

Disney University

(Source: Twitter)

Absent the kinds of values found in the Four Circumstances, employee development and organizational culture initiatives are bound to fail; even the best funded organizational “universities” are doomed to become universities-in-name-only.

Circumstance #1: Innovation

Leaders must be innovative and comfortable with risk.

This circumstance reveals the traits associated with those who break new ground: the pioneers who are not afraid to take risks. Van France took Walt Disney’s lead by relentlessly focusing on being innovative, creating an ever-evolving learning culture by challenging the status-quo.

Similar to Walt Disney, Van France brought up pointed and controversial ideas that kept the Disney leadership thinking. France’s zeal for creating The Happiest Place on Earth through innovation, and challenging entrenched behavioral patterns and beliefs, is evident in a passage he created for an early 1980’s Disneyland management training program:

“Budgets, schedules, reports, more reports, union negotiations, training programs, meetings … more meetings, handbooks, cover-your-ass memos and the endless things which take up your time are of no value unless they end up producing A HAPPY GUEST.”

Van didn’t hesitate to stir the pot.

Circumstance #2: Organizational Support

Leaders must provide overt, enthusiastic and sustained support; be cheerleaders of employee development!

This circumstance adds a component lacking in too many organizations; unabashed organizational support. From Walt and Roy Disney, and then to many generations of Disney leaders, management participates in Disney University programs.

Unless those from the highest ranks of management back employee development, it won’t happen; leadership must be intimately involved and set the tone. Picture the following: When the Chairman of Disney Studios sits down with a group of managers—participating in a multi-day Creative Leadership seminar— to discuss the creative side of making and distributing films, everyone listens.

No one is ‘too big’ to participate in training at Disney.

Circumstance #3: Education

Employee education and development must be woven into organizational culture.

Without a doubt, this circumstance reveals the roots of the Disney University; Walt’s long-standing value of providing employees a tailored, relevant training and education experience.

Walt often brought into the Studio prominent educators and artists, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, to give classes and lectures to the animators. Their innovative ideas and outside-the-box thinking became an invaluable source of inspiration.

Education, offered consistently and with creativity, is an indispensable commodity held in high esteem in the history and culture of The Walt Disney Company.

Circumstance #4: Entertain

Employee development … ranging from the front lines to the executive suite … must be entertaining, engaging and memorable … not boring and forgettable.

Van France and generations of Disney University leaders share Walt Disney’s belief that it is possible to entertain and educate.  Employing entertainment as a training strategy goes well beyond telling jokes and laughing. It is a powerful tool that can increase trainee engagement and ensure the retention of new concepts.

A famous Walt quote reflects the roots of this value, “When the subject permits, we let fly with all the satire and gags at our command. Laughter is no enemy to learning.”

Culture is Much More Than Pixie Dust

Van France and his team of employee development pioneers brought to life the values found in the Four Circumstances. Disney corporate leadership along with Van and his team of strong-willed visionaries created a corporate culture and an organizational DNA well before these words were ever in vogue. They didn’t just go to the store, buy pixie dust and start throwing it around. Their tireless devotion to perpetuate Walt Disney’s dream, plus the game-changing business concepts they created, helped build a resilient organizational culture that has overcome tremendous challenges and is respected around the world.

Excerpt from Disney UHow Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal and Customer-Centric Employees Published by McGraw-Hill Professional, March, 2013


About the Author: Doug Lipp helped create the first international version of the Disney University at Tokyo Disneyland and then lead the Disney University Training team at Disney’s corporate headquarters, The Walt Disney Studios. He mentored under a number of Disney visionaries, including the Disney University founder, Van France. He is a consultant to corporations around the world.

(2015 Top Post) Top 10 Living Communicators Who Influence Change

By Ronn Torossian, President and CEO, 5WPR

Great communicators can influence change, whether political, cultural or in business. From Winston Churchill to Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs to Martin Luther King, history is full of individuals who, through their words and deeds, have shifted public opinion and behavior. Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert, and the “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffet are all hailed as great communicators – no argument here. President Obama’s communication abilities are absolutely phenomenal. Mr. Colbert, through humor and wit, scores political points and creates cultural references (“Truthiness” anyone?) that resonate with legions of fans. And of course, it’s not just the financial public that eagerly anticipates Warren Buffet’s yearly shareholder letter – Main Street does, too.

These people are always on “most influential” lists for good reason. But this 10 Powerful Living Communicators is about living people who have sparked “change” and so the list looks beyond these usual suspects. I’m sure you’ll miss some favorites like Starbuck’s Howard Schultz and Bill Clinton – both consummate communicators. A shout out has to go to Reverend Al Sharpton – controversial for sure, but without his ability to stir a crowd, would George Zimmerman have been arrested?

Let’s shake things up a bit and consider some other people whose ability to change the world, shape opinion, or use innate creativity to leave a long lasting cultural mark are unique. What this diverse group has in common is their ability to reach people emotionally, shift attitudes, and spark trends. There’s something we can learn from each of them about our own ability to make a mark. This is not an academic list – it’s a list from a PR Agency owner.

In no particular order, here’s my list of the Top 10 Living Communicators Who Influence Change:

1. Chris Anderson: Founder of the popular TED Talks, Anderson is a visionary who figured out a way to make speech giving sexy, widely popular, and powerful.  Getting an invitation to do a TED Talk is the gold standard when it comes to speaking engagements. Anderson’s ability to spread the message of famous and little known thinkers, scientists, writers, philosophers, and activists remains unprecedented. Who else could have made it possible for 8,660,010 people to hear what Sir Ken Robinson said about the creativity-killing nature of school or 8,087,935 to share in Jill Bolte Taylor’s “Stroke of Insight?” To date more than 290 million people have tuned into or attended a TED Talk.

Take-away: Generosity with ideas can change people’s lives.

2. Mark Zuckerberg: The story of Facebook is now legendary (not to mention a major motion picture, The Social Network). Zuckerberg co-founded the social-networking website from his Harvard dorm room. It proved so popular he ditched school in his sophomore year to focus on building the site, which now boasts more than 250 million users worldwide. Oh, and the risk has made the 28 year old a billionaire in the process. Facebook has also changed the way people communicate with each other – groups of people with common interests can find each other, people who could never hoped to have met in “real life” have become actual friends. Of course, the site has also spawned addictions to checking updates and playing a variety of games. Facebook has truly become part of the fabric of our lives.

Take-away: Good ideas are worth taking a risk on.

3. Oprah: This media mogul is much, much more than a talk show host – she is an ultimate communicator who has reached millions of people through her television shows, movies productions, a network (which admittedly still needs work), magazine, and “Lifeclass” seminars and webcasts. Her enthusiasm can sell an obscure novel or a new shade of lipstick – Oprah’s endorsement of a product has literally build brands overnight. She’s so well known and widely respected that you don’t even have to use her last name. Why? Because people trust her – she’s built that trust through honesty, passion, and the ability to reveal herself, including the painful episodes in her life, in a way that resonates with people.

Take-away: Respect your constituents by practicing integrity, honesty and authenticity.

4. Jay-Z: Born Shawn Corey Carter in 1969, Jay-Z is the most financially and culturally successful hip-hop artist, rapper, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur in the world. According to Forbes, his net worth is about $450 million and he’s sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. He also has 14 Grammies under his belt, and there are surely more to come. When he presided over Def Jam, Jay-Z signed the now mega star Rihanna, and helped Kanye West transition from producer to popular recording artist. He communicates through the fashion world too, with his successful Rocawear line that caters to both adults and children. A film company, upscale sports bars, and part owner of the New Jersey Nets rounds out his impressive portfolio. As he rapped, “I’m not a businessman/ I’m a business, man” – This man sparked the international hip-hop movement. Next step: The Billionaire club. This communications agent for change is well on his way.

Take-away: See beyond the trend to the bigger picture, and capitalize on it.

5. Roger Ailes: The man has changed the news business – say his name at a Manhattan cocktail party and you’ll get a range of reactions – from open disgust to whispered appreciation. Ailes is a polemic, combative figure to be sure, but he also changed the face of the news business when News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch brought Ailes to Fox in 1996 to start a news channel that could compete with CNN. Ailes reportedly made a bold promise to Murdoch – that he could get FNC staffed and operating in six short months – just in time to go head to head with another entry into cable news, MSNBC.  Skeptics, including Murdoch, were in abundance, but Ailes launched the network within the time frame and by 2002 it was beating CNN in the ratings war regularly.  By sensing a need for another point of view and a different way of delivering the news, Ailes struck a chord with the public that has stuck. According to Nielsen Media Research, as of 2012 FNC continues to outpace both CNN and MSNBC combined in total viewership.  You can’t argue with success.

Take-away: When you see a need, fill it.

6. Lady Gaga: She communicates through music, fashion, and art. An American
original – no performance or outfit is ever the same; she’s the ultimate re-inventor. This diva’s communication skills don’t end with her ability to influence pop culture – she’s also proven herself to be a compassionate and intelligent speaker, starting with her powerful “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” speech in Maine.  Only 26 years old, her movement and her time may only just be beginning.

Take-away: Don’t be afraid to be yourself, and express your originality.

7. Tony Robbins: The intelligentsia might criticize this self-help master – but who cares? Robbins’ gifts as a motivational speaker, bestselling author, “firewalker,” and success coach is unparalleled in the personal development business. Starting out with little in the way of education or financial resources, he began by promoting Jim Rohn’s career seminars before embarking on his own work as a self-help coach. Now, he’s an international phenomenon with success that his colleagues dream about achieving. More than 4 million people from around the globe have participated in his programs, lectures, workshops and one-on-one sessions, including George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Anthony Hopkins, Pamela Anderson, and Quincy Jones. Robbins walks his talks – and has proven his dynamic philosophy works. Who knows how many great communicators he has spawned.

Take-away: Believe what you say and others will, too.

8. Richard Branson: The mogul might be best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies, including an ultra hip airline – and that’s saying a lot since most airlines suffer from dismal customer service and dreary on board accommodations. He’s also a consummate adventurer and world traveler, whose attempts to break world records and pull off PR stunts for his brand in air balloons and boats have captured the imagination of admirers the world over. He invests his time and money in many personal causes as well – from encouraging entrepreneurship (he still considers himself one) to improving economic conditions in South Africa to saving the lemur in Madagascar and the polar bear in Canada.  In the process he’s been able to bring attention – and funds – to causes that might be lost without his efforts. While he has claimed that he has to force himself to deliver speeches, when he does you can hear a pin drop. No one wants to miss a word this mega-brander has to say.

Take-away: If you want to grow, don’t just work on your business; work on the business of your business.

9. Benjamin Netanyahu: The Israeli Prime Minister is an iconic figure – the epitome of a strong, passionate leader with an unwavering commitment to the survival and strength of the Jewish state. His speech in front of AIPAC in Washington this past March is but one example of his incredible oratory skills, and his ability to argue a point gracefully even while pointing out the errors of those with whom he disagrees. “For fifteen years, I’ve been warning that a nuclear-armed Iran is a grave danger to my country and to the peace and security of the entire world. For the last decade, the international community has tried diplomacy. It hasn’t worked. For six years, the international community has applied sanctions. That hasn’t worked either. I appreciate President Obama’s recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran. These sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy, but unfortunately, Iran’s nuclear program continues to march forward. Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue. We’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer. As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation,” he told the AIPAC crowd, who stood numerous times to give the Prime Minister thunderous applause. He follows in the footsteps of the founder of his movement, Ze’ev Jabotinsky who was regarded as one of the greatest speakers ever.

Take-away: Have convictions, and stick to them.

10. Jack Welch: He has been called the greatest CEO in America. In practical terms, he earned the name because of General Electric’s unparalleled record of earnings growth and over more than two decades while he was chairman and CEO (1981-2001). He has attributed his success to an ability to focus on solutions and execute them using the right people. In order to do that well, you have to know how to communicate a message and at that Welch is a genius. His secret? “In leadership you have to exaggerate every statement you make. You’ve got to repeat it a thousand times… Overstatements are needed to move a large organization,” he told Thomas Neff and James Citrin in their book Lessons from the Top. Of course, you have to back up works with action – otherwise what you say will never be taken seriously. Today, when Welch gives a speech he embodies true American optimism and risk-taking.

Take-away: Words are most valuable when backed up by deeds.

Of course, for many of us the top communicator for change is ourselves – no one is stronger than us in influencing change. Listen to yourself and affect change.


Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the rapid growth and expansion of the PR agency to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. He blogs here, and is author of “For Immediate Release.”

(2015 Top Webinar) Rebecca Lieb Discusses Enterprise Level Social Media Strategy


social strategy ondemand


Social media doesn’t exist as a separate silo, or even only within the marketing organization. Social media must integrated with paid and earned media, as well as flow across departments and stakeholders: sales, customer service, leadership and management, even HR and other public facing divisions.

Rebecca Lieb, strategic advisor, research analyst, keynote speaker, author, and columnist takes a deep dive into  how enterprise-level businesses are planning for – and organizing for – social business across teams, departments, media, sales and marketing.




Rebecca LiebRebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb is a strategic advisor, research analyst, keynote speaker, author, and columnist. Her areas of specialization are digital marketing and media, with a concentration in content strategy, content marketing and converged media. She works with many of the world’s leading brands on digital marketing innovation. Clients range from start-up to non-profits to Fortune 100 brands and regulated industries, including Facebook, Home Depot, Nestlé, Anthem, Adobe, Honeywell, DuPont, Fidelity, Gannett, IBM, Save the Children, Pinterest, Cisco, ad and PR agencies, and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Earlier, she was Altimeter Group‘s digital advertising and media analyst, where she published what remains the largest extant body of research on content marketing, content strategy, and content’s role in paid, owned and earned media. Prior to that, she was vice president at Econsultancy, where she launched the company’s U.S. operations and grew the business to profitability in one year.

Rebecca was VP and editor-in-chief of The ClickZ Network for over seven years, and for part of that time also ran the redoubtable She’s a frequent public speaker on topics related to digital marketing, advertising, and media.


Heidi SullivanHeidi Sullivan

Heidi Sullivan is Senior VP & Product Lead, Content, E-commerce & Distribution and drives Cision’s overall content strategy and is responsible for all e-commerce and distribution products and services, including the popular PRWeb platform. Sullivan has been named as The Hub’s “Individual Influencer of the Year” for 2014, one of PR’s most influential professionals in the PRWeek Global Power Book in 2015, and one of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in 2012. Prior to this role, she was the Senior VP, Digital Content, leading the company’s digital and broadcast content teams and the global research team for Cision’s media database.