5 Ways Businesses Can Cut Costs Through Automation

Photo by Serpstat from Pexels

Sheryl Wright

These days, staying in business is a struggle. Many companies are having a hard time just staying afloat. With so much economic uncertainty, you may be looking for ways to lower costs just to ensure that your business survives into the next year. While you may not be thinking about adopting more technology, new tech might actually be the answer. That is especially true for automation. Automation has been proven to cut costs for businesses of any size.

Scheduling

Traditionally, one task that took up a lot of a manager’s time was preparing work schedules for the upcoming weeks. If you have a lot of employees, this can be quite difficult and time-consuming. Some employees may be full-time. Others may be part-time. There can also be a wide variety of labor laws and rules that you have to abide by when assigning employees their hours. Thankfully, this entire process can be automated through the use of scheduling software. No more will managers have to focus so much time on the complicated math it takes to schedule employees. The software will do it for them automatically while adhering to all the appropriate rules and guidelines.

Asset Tracking

Many businesses have a lot invested in physical assets. Whether this is machinery, materials, parts, or products, maintaining those assets is crucial to the success of the business. As such, the tracking of those assets should be very important to any serious business owner or manager. One way to make asset tracking cheaper and more efficient is through the use of RFID implementation services. RFID stands for radio frequency identification. This refers to technology that allows radio frequencies to transmit data from tagged items to a device known as a reader. This way, real-time information regarding assets in terms of things like location, temperature, humidity, and light can be transmitted from the tagged items wirelessly. This can automate the process of asset tracking and related activities like inventory control.

Customer Service

Customer service doesn’t seem like a business process that could be automated easily. However, this ignores the fact that customer concerns regarding products and services are sometimes extremely similar. Due to this fact, a live person doesn’t necessarily need to answer frequent questions. Instead, this part of the process can be automated by website scripts and tools like chat-bots. The chatbot will answer the customer’s questions. Only when it fails, will that customer be forwarded to an actual live service rep. This can save a lot of time, money, and resources for a customer service department. 87.2 percent of those surveyed found their experiences with chat-bots to range from neutral to positive.

Sales

Similarly, sales would seem to be difficult to automate as well. However, there are different ways that automation can slash costs for a sales department. For one, lead generation can be automated through the use of software that does things like automatically send emails to consumers regarding products they are likely interested in due to past interactions with the company. Even cold calling can be partly automated through the use of dialer software. This software can be used to weed out phone numbers in which a person cannot be reached so that sales reps are only forwarded calls in which an actual person is on the line. This can increase lead conversions and make your sales department far more efficient.

Accounting

Unless you’re an accountant, you probably don’t find bookkeeping to be that exciting. Plugging a seemingly endless amount of numbers into a spreadsheet can be tedious. There’s also the chance, of course, that you could make serious errors. Thankfully, you don’t have to hire a full-time accountant to avoid completing some of the traditional business accounting tasks on your own. Instead, you can automate the process using accounting software. This software can work in tandem with other software such as your POS system to help ensure that every dime you receive and spend is recorded and properly accounted for. As a result, you’ll be able to spend more time on more important business tasks.

Automation is amazing. It can increase efficiency and slash expenses for your business. Consider the different ways you can implement automation throughout your company with the adoption of specific kinds of software. Doing so can lessen the strain on your business and give you more flexibility to spend time taking your company to the next level instead of struggling just to stay afloat.


About the Author: Sheryl Wright is a freelance writer who specializes in digital marketing, inclusive business, and interior design. If she is not at home reading, she is at a farmer’s market or climbing in the Rockies. She currently lives in Nashville, TN.




Marketing Clothes for Outdoorsy Types

 

 

 Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

A lot of people love the outdoors, and people with some connection to the outdoors or outdoor enthusiasts need to be outfitted. Then there is also the need to share on social media the experience of going outside with others. It is important to produce ethically curated content for outdoor brands, which focuses on socially responsible messaging, sustainability and community. Social networking sites have redefined how people communicate, and marketing can take multiple forms today. Given below are the strategies that can be adopted to help outdoor brands.

1) Video as a strategy – Outdoor enthusiasts, like anybody else, enjoy visuals and images. A lot of people have shifted to YouTube and it is a great investment as it is still relatively inexpensive. Outdoor brands can showcase their services, products, and even their ethos on videos. REI’s video, ‘Force of Nature’, included a $1 million investment in several non profits that endorsed women in the outdoors. This video, with its emphasis on gender equity and philanthropy, raised their sales, and the company’s full-price women’s business went up by 20%.

2) Influencers- Influencers drive sales and build awareness for a brand. They increase the reach of a brand and raise audience engagement. It is a cost effective marketing program. First, it is important to understand the audience, their values, and the reasons why they consume content. Then, it is important to select an influencer who creates content that is seamlessly aligned with the content the audience loves. For instance, Chemo RV adopted authentic influencer marketing by choosing a Cariboo native Josh and his son, Jax. Chemo has a customer base that is largely influenced by the Cariboo region community. They were working as influencers for the first time but the pair was well acquainted with the Cariboo. The content creed on their adventures increased visits to Chemo;s website. The audience was genuinely interested in Josh and Jax’s trips, and there was a remarkable growth in the engagement with the company’s social media platforms.

3) Guided selling – Guided selling can contribute to the traffic goals of any business. Guided selling leads the audience through the sales funnel through education. They could be looking for a first aid kit or a jacket for a hiking trip. An outdoor brand can put the relevant information on their website or on social media posts. A website would require engaging and user-interactive elements to help the audience move through the buying process. Obermeyer’s ‘Outfit builder’ portal helps users match their selections with different products to create custom outfits. Colors, styles, and other elements can also be used to create outfits.


5WPR CEO On Maximizing Your Business Connections at Big EventsAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a digital PR agency.




Surfside, Cuba and Haiti. A Trilogy for the History Books

 

Tom Madden,  Founder & CEO, TransMedia Group

This past week has been nothing short of historic for the region where we live in perpetual amazement and excitement, ironically under ceaseless, yet often discordant sunshine.

It used to be just the occasional hurricanes that kept our attention and our hearts pounding.  Now there are human hurricanes erupting in headlines and images emanating from one of South Florida’s red hot news centers, Miami.

Unrelenting they come, the daily mounting death toll, more victims identified from the now infamous condo collapse in nearby Surfside, which is not that far from the 22-story oceanfront twin condo towers where Rita and I live, The Chalfonte in Boca Raton.

News about our chivalrous Chalfonte keeps breaking in newspapers and on television as our having emerged as a leader in proactively evaluating our  structural soundness in an even more rigorous way than that decreed by the typical 40-year reinspection mandates, that is if there were one required in Palm Beach County, but there isn’t.  So may the best condo win . . . survival! 

Now, thanks to our courageous board of directors, we’re all sleeping more soundly knowing our condo is way ahead of the safety curve in keeping the salt where it belongs in the ocean, not in our steel underpinnings, weakening our foundation.

Next came the catastrophic assassination of the President of Haiti by a small army of thugs, plotters and insurrectionists based where else, but in Miami.  

And then after that another Cuban crisis rears its angry head as the population there protests en masse against the communist regime still so ineptly in power, making their lives miserable.  

Yes, history-in-the-making keeps swirling around Miami and now not just from the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside.

Cuban-Americans in Miami root for their brothers, sisters and cousins just 90 miles away as they fearlessly crowd into streets across that upset island, loudly expressing how fed up they are with lacking the basics, now without even shots of the protective COVID vaccines, due to the regime’s repression. 

Where do their cries, their demands, resonate the most?   Why of course, Miami. 

There the din of disorder complicates the response in Florida when, as Miami Herald editorial page editor Nancy Acrun puts it, “the Marxist wing of Black Lives Matter shamefully voices support for a brutal regime” . . . where South Florida law enforcement looks the other way when Cuban-American marchers shut down expressways, almost as if in defiance of the governor’s recent anti-riot law.  

Yet isn’t it heroic how successive generations in this community are so passionate about keeping the fervor for freedom alive and well?  We salute you, amigos!

It’s no less the case for Haitian Americans in South Florida, whose hearts beat in sync with those of their families and compatriots on that beleaguered homeland of their parents and grandparents, Haiti. 

The assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse threatens to sink that nation into even deeper chaos and despair than the normal turmoil it was in already. 

Maybe now we need just a tiny tropical storm, please mother nature, to take our minds off all these scary headlines and the chaos that surrounds us during this one long historic summer.


Thomas MaddenAbout the Author: Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available this summer on Amazon.   He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.

 




National Press Club Communicators Lunch and Learn: Meet the Education Media (Online Event)

Thursday, July 22 from Noon to 1 PM (ET) 

Reporters from The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Education Writers Association to discuss the coverage of trending topics such as safely returning students to classrooms after the pandemic, school board politics and critical race theory. They’ll also look at the state of the education beat, including what’s changed in the newsroom and what they’re looking for from sources.

Free for NPC members. $15 for non-members w/100% of proceeds goes to NPC’s Help the Heroes Fund (https://www.press.org/hth)

For more information and registration: tinyurl.com/txkdsdtd



A Conversation with Julian Zelizer, Author, ‘Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, And the Rise of the New Republican Party’

 

Join Michael Zeldin in a conversation with Princeton historian, Julian Zelizer, about his book, Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party.

In Burning Down the House, Zelizer pinpoints the moment when Gingrich began steering our country onto a path of bitter partisanship and ruthless politics — which culminated in the election of Donald Trump. Perhaps more than any other politician, Gingrich introduced the rhetoric and tactics that have shaped the Trump presidency.

Guest

Julian E. Zelizer

Julian E. Zelizer has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author and editor of 19 books on American political history, including  Taxing America: Wilbur D. Mills, Congress, and the State, 1945-1975—winner of the Ellis Hawley Prize for Best Book on Political History and the D.B. Prize for Best Book on Congress–On Capitol Hill: The Struggle to Reform Congress and its Consequences, 1948-2000, Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security—From World War II to the War on Terrorism, Jimmy Carter, Conservatives in Power: The Reagan Years, 1981-1989 (co-authored with Meg Jacobs), Governing America: The Revival of Political History and The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society, winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for Best Book on Congress. In January 2019, Norton will publish his new book, co-authored with Kevin Kruse, entitled Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974. Zelizer is also a frequent commentator in the media. He has published over nine hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.Com. He has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, New America, and the New York Historical Society. He has just released,  “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party” (Penguin Press) and is currently working on his next book, “Abraham Joshua Heschel” (Yale University Press).

Follow Julian on Twitter: @julianzelizer

Host

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings.

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelzeldin




Mars Token Debut Lights Up Times Square

CommPRO Editorial Staff

The Official Mars Token recently launched a massive marketing campaign about its debut listing on BitMart, a global digital assets trading platform. The billboard is positioned at 7 Times Square, which is one of the most prominent focal points within Times Square. Poised near the famous New Year’s Eve Ball, this LED display is a perfect branding opportunity to celebrate business milestones. Advertising the listing of Official Mars Token on BitMart profoundly signifies the globalization of this project.

As a decentralized blockchain-based payment system, the Official Mars Token is made to provide an interplanetary payment solution for a permanent settlement on Mars. Until the settlement is successful, their goal is to increase the value for its community. As long as research and work are still being carried out on the settlement of Mars, the Official Mars Token will be further developed and made available on earth as a decentralized payment system.

The CEO of the Official Mars Token commented: “We are very happy about the phenomenal launch at BitMart. Now it is our endeavor to enlarge our community, further develop Mars Token and implement advantageous features.”

Source: Blockchain Wire




Decentralized File-Sharing Application Brings Data Privacy and Security Capabilities to Legal Tech Marketplace

CommPRO Editorial Staff

AXEL, the software company focused on data custody, privacy and security solutions, is adding its AXEL Go secure file-sharing and storage application to Theorem, a groundbreaking legal technology marketplace that helps law firms and corporate legal departments around the world achieve workflow-driven tech adoption. Legal professionals on the Theorem platform can now use the AXEL Go application to add private and secure collaboration capabilities to their legal tech stack, during in-office, hybrid and remote work situations.

“Theorem is working toward the future of legal tech and we’re honored to join its ecosystem with our AXEL Go privacy and security solution,” says Ben Ow, President and CTO of AXEL. “In today’s changing work environment, law firms, in-house counsel and vendors need an affordable and effective way to protect their confidential and sensitive data.”

Theorem’s users can now access AXEL Go’s intuitive and innovative feature set when collecting, storing or sharing their files. The application’s blockchain technology, decentralized cloud and AES 256-bit encryption allows users to add barriers between sensitive files and unauthorized access. Like Theorem, AXEL Go can be used equally by law firms, corporate counsel and vendors, making it the most universal solution to store files securely or transfer confidential documents to colleagues, clients, as well as for personal use. There are no file size limits, which means that users have a scalable and convenient option to share any amount of data, safely and securely.

“We are extremely excited to welcome AXEL to the Theorem network and enable greater access to next-generation technology focused on privacy and security,” notes Joshua Maley, CEO and Co-Founder at Theorem. “Firms electing to use blockchain powered applications can show their commitment towards securing work product, while leveraging the most innovative solutions to better serve their clients.”

Theorem brings law firms, in-house counsel and vendors together on its platform by providing access to new technologies and improved efficiencies. Advanced search mechanisms, enhanced profiling and comparison tools help firms to find the best software for their needs.

AXEL Go offers the best way to collect, store and share files securely. When files are shared, they are split into small “shards” and distributed to various servers closest to the recipient. This process, which uses the same encryption technology that government agencies and the military use to secure their most confidential files, significantly reduces the risk of a data breach.

Source: Blockchain Wire




The CanCoin Launches to Solve Market Friction and Monetization in The Legal European Cannabis Market

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Technicorum Holdings, a DeFi advisory group specializing in digital assets like KingSwap, along with European crowdfunding expert Daniel Daboczy, with David Bonnier and Amaury de Poret, the co-founders and investment managers of Enexis, one of the first cannabis investment companies in Europe, has announced the upcoming tokensale and launch of The CanCoin. The CanCoin is a cannabis token designed to solve market friction and monetization in the European cannabis market and to help build blockchain-based solutions for the legal, fast-growing cannabis industry.

The CanCoin solves key market issues such as the lack of transparency, poor tracking of the supply chain, mistrust in monitoring systems for both products and patients, as well as reticence of financial institutions to service the European cannabis market. In response, The CanCoin uses blockchain to streamline payments and processing, management of inventory and medical cannabis cards, patient monitoring, and tracking from seed to shelf. As well, it introduces NFTs and DeFi into the ecosystem.

Technicorum provides its trusted expertise in managing DeFi projects while David Bonnier and Amaury de Poret will provide access to its diverse portfolio of cannabis opportunities within the European market and market expertise. Daniel Daboczy, founder of the fastest-growing equity crowdfunding platform in Europe and CEO of Technicorum Holdings, will add his crowdfunding and marketing expertise, connecting investors and entrepreneurs, as well as helping to project manage the IDO and solution development. Additionally, several key people in the blockchain, finance and cannabis industry have joined as advisors or investors.

“The European cannabis market has fallen far behind North America, which has demonstrated how cannabis tax revenues and profits can create more opportunity,” said Daniel Daboczy, CEO of Technicorum Holdings. “TheCanCoin is not only a chance to catch up, but truly maximize the opportunity in Europe while ensuring a secure and serious approach to this fast growing industry and expected wave of legalization. We believe that the legal cannabis industry will benefit from its own industry currency paired with some of the best technology available. These tools will accelerate this fast growing industry even more. ”

“Europe has a huge addressable cannabis market that has gone largely untapped due to legislation and restrictions,” said David Bonnier, Co-Founder of Enexis AB. “With the global legal cannabis spending forecast expected to reach over $70 billion by 2025, we believe TheCanCoin can bring a significant amount of this profit share to the European market.”

TheCanCoin will have a finite supply of 420 million coins issued starting August 22, 2021.

Source: Blockchain Wire




UREEQA Announces First Baseball NFT with Baltimore Orioles Star First Baseman Trey Mancini

CommPRO Editorial Staff

UREEQA a blockchain platform for protecting, managing and monetizing creative work, has announced that Trey Mancini, first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, will release his first NFTs on the UREEQA platform. All of the proceeds from the NFT sale will go to the Trey Mancini Foundation, which aims to support those who are facing illness, empower those suffering from emotional trauma and provide assistance to those experiencing hardship.

The NFTs will be available on the UREEQA Marketplace starting at 7 p.m. ET Monday, July 12th, just before Mancini steps into the batter’s box at Denver’s Coors Field to take part in the 2021 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby. The release, which is the result of a collaboration between Mancini, Ben Armstrong and Justin Williams of BitBoy Crypto, Matt Rodgers, and the Trey Mancini Foundation, will be used to raise funds and awareness to support early detection of colon cancer.

The auction is a fundraising opportunity for a special cause that appeals to baseball fans, collectors and anyone looking to break into the NFT space at an affordable level, while saving lives. The NFTs will be protected and managed using UREEQA’s Responsible Minting™ technology, which validates the NFTs, verifying their ownership, authorship and originality.

One NFT will be a one-of-a-kind item available via 48-hour auction. The winner will receive the actual signed bat Mancini uses in the Home Run Derby, as well as signed cleats, signed batting gloves, and a one-on-one batting lesson with Mancini himself. Another will be available for $195, giving purchasers a chance to win bonus tangible Mancini memorabilia as utility.

Altogether, 500 fixed-price NFTs will be available at $195 each. A randomly chosen lucky batch of those fixed-price purchasers will receive additional utility (such as autographed memorabilia and game-used items).

Fixed-price NFT purchasers will also have a chance to receive perks like game tickets, memorabilia or event access well into the future, so that $195 investment not only helps a worthy cause but could be a gift that keeps on giving from a fan or collector’s standpoint. As an added bonus, UREEQA Tokenholders will have the opportunity to purchase their fixed-price NFT 15 minutes before the sale goes live to the public.

The NFTs were designed by Haddon McKinney and Steven Polizzi and produced by Rodgers in collaboration with Armstrong and Williams of BitBoy Crypto. The project is particularly important to the fight against colon cancer as Mancini was undergoing chemotherapy for stage 3 colon cancer just a year ago. Now, Mancini remarkably leads the Orioles in runs batted in and is preparing to participate in his first MLB All-Star Home Run Derby. Although he is now cancer-free, Mancini is keenly aware of the risk and the agony associated with the disease that threatened his life in its prime and is taking this opportunity to give back.

Source: Blockchain Wire




Is Blogging Still A Viable Way To Make A Living In 2021?

CommPRO Editorial Staff

There are so many gurus out there these days claiming that blogging is dead. Well, the good news is that blogging is still very much alive and is indeed a viable way to make money. 

Is blogging to make money as easy as it used to be? Things have changed a lot in blogging and it isn’t as easy as it used to be. But, there is still a lot of money to be made. You just have to do things the right way.

The internet changes at a constant pace so it makes sense that what worked a few years ago won’t work today. If you try to use the blogging techniques that were promoted in 2015, then you’re making a big mistake. You have to do what is relevant today. 

In this article, we will go over what some of the things are that you have to do to be a profitable blogger in 2021.

Get technical

Years ago, everybody could start a blog and make money without knowing much about the tech behind it. Bloggers could use platforms like Blogger and Squidoo for publishing their content and still make money. These days it is not quite so simple.

It takes hosting your own site on a platform like WordPress or Wix. And it means you have to understand some technical aspects of running a website. There will be a lot more involvement in the backend of the site to make sure that it works and that it helps your SEO. 

You’ll need to understand how to make sure that your site isn’t bogged down with too much code so it doesn’t slow down. Google’s Core Web Vitals is a metric that focuses on site speed and other usability factors that impact the user experience. It’s extremely important that you understand how those things work so you can build your site the proper way otherwise your success is not likely. 

Taking charge of the operation of the site from a technical standpoint doesn’t mean that you have to do all of these things yourself. You just have to know what needs to be done so you can then outsource if need be.

Outsourcing

Following up on the last line in the last section, outsourcing is the key to success in blogging these days. You may feel like the blog is your baby and want to do it all yourself. That attitude is going to seriously hold you back.

You’ll need to understand the ins and outs of what goes into a blog but at a certain point you have to hand over some of the work to others. 

What you should do is to find the parts of blogging that you like best and have the time to do well and focus there. Then, the less desirable aspects of running a website can be given to others to do. 

For instance, if you really dread writing the content then this is an obvious area to outsource. Then you can focus on the technical aspects of the website if that is your thing. 

By letting somebody else take on some of the work, you are able to spend time growing the business side of it so you can make more money. Doing it all yourself takes far too long and you can’t do everything necessary to properly grow a site and make a full time living. 

The money is still in the list

One thing that has remained the same since the early days of blogging for profit is how important an email list is. Lots of things change during the lifetime of your blog. It could be an algorithm update that wipes out much of your traffic overnight, or it could be a social media platform that shuts down and leaves you hanging on. 

One thing that you own is your list. And those people on your list are avid fans or they wouldn’t have handed over their email address. 

The best marketing happens on an almost one on one basis by sending the right email drip campaign to your list. You still need to make sure that you aren’t overly promotional as they don’t want to be bombarded with emails getting them to spend. Keep them informational and then once in a while send an offer that they will actually want to take advantage of. 

Cast a wide net

The truth about blogging these days is that having a site that relies on organic traffic only is not going to cut it in most niches. To really break through you will need to be an authority so you have to get your blog out there. 

This involves the obligatory social media presence but it goes beyond that. You should be seen as the best person that represents the topic your blog is about so you have to take advantage of several mediums. 

You should have a Youtube channel that attracts visits to your blog since many people are using it as a search engine. Often, people with a question will start their search on Youtube since they want to see a video rather than read a blog post. Capture these people and then send them to your blog so they can get more information. 

Also, having a podcast will cement you as an authority on the subject. For those people that commute to work, you can have their ear for the duration with good content that people want to download. Then, again, you can promote your blog there. 

Conclusion

If you are determined and can see your idea and passion through then you can still make a living as a blogger. Treat it like it is the business that it actually is and you will see profits that others may be saying are impossible to make. The one thing to remember is to have an exit plan. After some time, you will be able to sell the site and make a very nice bundle out of your hard work. 




How to Avoid Legal Issues in Employee Contracts

Tips for Working with a Labor Attorney

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Hiring employees is a long and often difficult process that can make or break your business. Not only do you have to source the right type of person for your business, with the right qualifications, attitude, and skills but you also have to work out what kind of contract works for both them and the business. This can be a tricky task and without the right advice you may end up making a mistake further down the line. This article will give you a brief insight into some of the things you can do to combat this. 

Labor Attorneys 

Fortunately for you, there are plenty of professionals out there that can help you tie down the legal aspect of any employment contract. Using a labor attorney can ensure that you are not leaving yourself open to exploitation whilst also protecting your worker’s rights. Labor attorneys can collect information and research for the roles you are advertising, ensuring they are competitive with similar positions in other companies, prepare documentation and provide advice for you when conducting negotiations or settlements. This can take a huge weight off of your shoulders knowing that your employment contracts are all taken care of. 

Employee Contracts

These can go by many names but are essentially agreements made between your business and your potential employee that spell out in a legally binding document the terms of their employment. It will consist of the rights of the employee and business, the role and responsibilities of the employee, and the obligation that you both have to each other. They are often signed by both parties to ensure that everyone agrees before committing to the role. 

What should be included

Depending on the role and the level of experience of the candidate, this will vary. However, there are usually items that always appear in contracts. These include things like the length of employment, the responsibilities of the employee, any benefits that the company will provide such as sick days and vacation periods, and grounds for termination. In more complex cases, such as in a creative or scientific field, ownership agreements should be formalized to prevent legal action in the future. 

What should not be included

Certain items should always be avoided when drafting up an agreement. Things like Job Duration can minimize your right to fire an employee and can mean that even if you part ways, you are obliged to pay the full contract. Also, you should not have finite reasons for termination. This can lead to wrongful firing cases that can cost major amounts of money. 

Why do them?

One of the main advantages of employee contracts is that it provides security and benefits for your best employees. This means that you are more likely to retain them. You can also input non-disclosure agreements in your contracts to ensure your secrets remain with the company. As well as this, they give you a foundation of management for your employees. Having one document that you can call back on is handy when it comes to terminations and promotions. Just make sure that it is legally up to scratch. 




Seeking To Be Understood

“Our history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived
but if faced with courage it need not be lived again.”

—Maya Angelou

 

It’s been 40 years and though I haven’t thought about it in years, I can still see in my mind’s eye the flowered dress she was wearing as she walked into the restaurant. Tanned, with dark hair, it was the moment that bad novelists and B movie scripts include, when time seems to slow down and a halo is backlit to accentuate the beauty and love at first sight.

It was a woman walking from across the room in a crowded restaurant, seemingly a stranger, but it would turn out to be my older sister’s dear friend and she was coming right to our table, to sit next to me. To my utter dismay, a relationship would blossom – despite the distance (she was living in New York City, and I lived in Ann Arbor at the time, a struggling grad student and non-profit employee).

You know the rest of the story, because most have us have lived it – the surprise attraction of young love only to be followed by sudden and inexplicable heartbreak. She had wanted me to come back to New York for the Christmas holidays and so I would, driving the 600 miles to spend a glorious week with her, or so I thought. But it was the week Bruce Springsteen would be recording with Gary U.S. Bonds and she worked at NBC/RCA and would be needed. Two things instantly became obvious from her eyes if not her words, as I stood in her office, fresh from my long drive: She had a crush on Bruce, and I was now an afterthought. While it broke my heart, I immediately saw the bright side. He had left some disposable razors at her apartment, which had become an encampment for the band as they worked at the RCA studios close by. I might not have gotten the romance, but I did get one of his razors.

That night, unable to sleep, I spent the night at an old friend’s apartment and we talked the night through. Or I did, and he, being my best friend, was kind enough to listen. We also listened to Pachelbel’s Cannon at least 50 times, maybe more. It was in the age of turntables, so it meant one of us had to get up every four minutes and forty-one seconds for hours on end to move the needle. But such is the commitment of best friends in the wake of heartbreak.

I’ve never heard the song since without thinking of that night. What is funny is, until I had started writing this, I hadn’t thought about the moment across the room, just the evening with a best friend, commiserating and trying to understand a different point of view, her point of view. Time marches on, but what is clear is that what we want most in life is to be understood. It’s what we all want. The Buddhists describe it as speaking to the center of the forehead of the person we are speaking to. Stephen Covey famously wrote about it in Chapter 5 of his Seven Habits, Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. I suppose most of the anger from the January 6th insurrectionists came from a desire to be understood.

What makes a best friend and a consummate partner is that they understand.

Why do we cling to our point of view? I don’t mean well-reasoned ones, but those in the face of a substantial body of evidence suggesting that we at least look at a different perspective. There are a lot of reasons for this, some good, some lazy, but wisdom comes from recurrent reexamining, not endless orthodoxy.

It is hard to imagine matriculating through all of high school and college without ever reading about the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, but most of us white students did.

Or understanding apartheid’s legacy without considering the impact not just of racial segregation but of geographic segregation, which makes economic advancement, even 27 years after its abolition, so challenging.

Or the different perspectives of the Gulf Arab states – rather than thinking of them as just the “Middle East.”

Or the irony of describing the complex fabric that is Asia, with its millennium of history and differences, as if it were a monolith.

Our podcasts this week include guests from different perspectives to help us gently ask ourselves questions about our own viewpoints.

Author, attorney and historian Hannibal Johnson, who has written several books about the Greenwood District and the Tulsa race massacre and chairs the Education Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, joined me on In House Warrior, the daily podcast I host for the Corporate Counsel Business Journal. He speaks eloquently about the massacre; the power of acknowledgement, apology, and atonement; and why it is so critical to understand this oft deliberately ignored moment in American history.

Dr. Tshilidzi Ratshitanga, Chairman and Founder of the New Cities New Economies Group of Companies joined Dr. George T. French, Jr., President of Clark Atlanta University and me on our weekly podcast, The Innovators, to discuss his economic vision for South Africa which includes the building of new, egalitarian cities to support economic and social justice to overcome the legacy of spatial injustices inherited from apartheid. His book on the vision, New Cities New Economies: South Africa and Africa’s Grand Plan, A Pan-African Economic Revolution is now available.

Dr. James Dorsey, an award-winning journalist, author and senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore joined me on In House Warrior to discuss Saudi Arabia’s efforts to replace the UAE and Qatar as the go-to regional business hub using global sports, simplifying business complexity and diversifying beyond oil. But on shifts in human rights policies, the Kingdom has so far been silent.

Robert Lewis, a Beijing-based American lawyer, multiple book author, authority on Chinese and U.S. trade and Senior International Consultant with Chance Bridge Partners, joined me on In House Warrior to discuss the tensions between the U.S. and China, the Canadian and European perspective, the risks for U.S. multinational corporations, what U.S. companies should be doing and what the U.S. and Chinese policies should be. He is releasing an in-depth, five-part article LINK which is a must-read for all those affected. What’s next in China-U.S. trade?

On Real Washington, the weekly podcast I host with Michael Zeldin of That Said with Michael Zeldin on CommPRO, Josh Rogin, foreign policy columnist for the Global Opinion section of The Washington Post and a political analyst for CNN, joined us to discuss his new book, Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi, and the Battle for the 21st Century. He provided a tour de force of issues confronting bilateral relations, including the initial thinking of the Biden Administration, new tests for Chinese companies wanting to trade on U.S. financial exchanges, domestic and foreign challenges for President and General Secretary Xi Jinping, risks for Chinese companies doing business in America and recommendations for moving forward.

As Elvis Costello would famously sing, “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

Enjoy the listens.

Richard Levick

Listen to The Tulsa Race Massacre

Listen to Building a New South Africa

Listen to Saudi Arabia Positions to Become the Dominant Business Player in the Gulf

Listen to What’s Next in China-U.S. Trade?

Listen to Real Washington With Josh Rogin




New Book Release Chronicles the Lives of Post-Grads in the Hamptons

 

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Author Wil Glavin, known for his debut novel, The Venerable Vincent Beattie and exclusive in The New York Post, is releasing his second novel, Silhouettes South of 27 on July 15. This beach read is an original story about four twenty-somethings spending a summer in the Hamptons, and it highlights topics such as mental health issues, relationship toxicity, sexuality, and materialism. 

Like Wil Glavin’s debut novel, The Venerable Vincent Beattie, which focused on the dark side of teen life and the impact of smartphones and social media on millennial and zoomer dating, Silhouettes South of 27 delves into these topics along with a heavy emphasis on fashion, pop culture, and music. 

At its core, the novel is a character study centered around truth. Using first-person narrative, four protagonists tell their version of the summer of 2018. But who will you believe? 

Wil graduated Tufts University in 2016, and worked at Sony Pictures, ICM Partners and Marvel Entertainment. He used his free time during the pandemic to pen his novels, which are available in print or e-book versions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and anywhere else books are sold. 

To learn more about Wil Glavin and his book, visit his website or follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

To celebrate Wil’s book launch, join him on Saturday, July 17, for a live launch party:

When:

Sat, Jul 17, 2021

11:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Where:

The Bayberry

50 Montauk Hwy, Amagansett, NY 11930, United States

Contact & Registration:

Contact Details

Wendy Glavin

wendy@wendyglavin.com

917-680-8517




OP-Ed: The Most Important People In The World?

Arthur Solomon

Seemingly, the cartels that control the business of sports and the moguls that run them have achieved their dream – that nothing is more important than sports and their athlete employees, both professionals and semi-professionals, AKA amateurs. 

After decades of spending millions of dollars each year on public relations programs attempting to convince publics around the world that athletes deserve to be worshiped as current day Gods of The Arenas, similar to those of Greek mythology, which  regarded Mount Olympus as  the abode of their gods,  their fantasy became  reality, aided by the International Olympic Committee and abetted by Pfizer and BioNTech, which have agreed to donate millions of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to athletes and officials participating in  the Tokyo 2020 Olympics beginning on July 23, 2021. (No that’s not a misprint. That’s the International Olympic Committee calendar.)

2016 Rio OlympicsThis was confirmed on May 6, 2021, when the International Olympic Committee announced, “As part of the plans to ensure safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to donate doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine to Games participants from National Olympic and Paralympic Committees around the world. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will work with their local governments to coordinate local distribution in accordance with each country’s vaccination guidelines and consistent with local regulations.”

This announcement raises a questions which ethicists will likely debate for years: With thousands of people around the world dying daily from Covid-19, which populations should be vaccinated first?

In my opinion, athletes are not the most important persons in the world. Doctors, who save lives, teachers, who educate children, scientists, who do research that is so important to society, and so many people in other occupations that are truly important should be prioritized before persons who jump to the front of the line just because they run fast, jump higher, can throw a discus, hit a baseball, sink a three-pointer or sack a quarterback.

The International Olympic Committee announcement said, “It is important to note that any additional doses delivered by Pfizer and BioNTech will not be taken out of existing programmes, but will be in addition to existing quotas and planned deliveries around the world” a ridiculous statement because any dose of the vaccines given to a participant in the Olympics could have been sent to countries desperately short of vaccines for its citizens. But that’s the new Olympic PR math.

“With hundreds of millions of vaccines already administered, and hundreds of millions more to go, Pfizer is committed, together with BioNTech, to doing all we can to help end this pandemic and help return the world to a sense of normalcy,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “The return of the Olympic and Paralympic Games represents a monumental moment of world unity and peace after a grueling year of isolation and devastation. We are proud to play a role in providing vaccines to athletes and national Olympic delegations.” (Thomas Bach, president of the IOC must be toasting the Kool-Aid statement.)

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been controversy regarding athletes jumping to the front of vaccination line, and the IOC Pfizer and BioNTech decision is certain to add shelve life to the discussions among ethicists for years to come.

A Wall Street Journal May 7 article quoted Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization’s center on global health law, saying “It’s too little, too late.” “It’s a PR gesture and very little more. Its practical impact on the Games will be negligible.”

Coincidentally, on the same day as the International Olympic Committee announcement on May 6, a  new study by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, estimated that the number of people who have died of Covid-19 in the U.S. was more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures and that there have been 6.9 million global deaths,  meaning that deaths caused by the coronavirus were more than double the results officially reported. (Of course, that number has now been surpassed.)

By donating its Covid-19 vaccine to the IOC, Pfizer and BioNTech have found a way to conduct an officially sanctioned ambush marketing program, a marketers dream, worthy of a Silver Anvil Award.

So the preparation for the games continue despite the more than 80% of Japanese citizens wanting the games cancelled or postponed, according to a poll by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which also called for the event to be cancelled, even though it is an official partner of the games.

Also, several health specialists said in an article in The New England Journal of Medicine that the  International Olympic Committee’s  plans to keep athletes, Olympic visitors and the Japanese population safe from the virus was inadequate.  According to government statistics, only 29.6 percent of people had received at least one inoculation across the nation by July 12.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

 




The Stevens Group Helps Facilitate Finn Partners Acquisition of Agency Ten22

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Finn Partners has acquired Agency Ten22, the Atlanta-based PR, social media, content management and digital marketing firm that serves the healthcare IT industry. The Stevens Group, a leading acquisition specialist in the public relations and digital/interactive space provided counsel, advice and guidance and facilitated discussions with both parties.

The move bolsters Finn’s healthcare annual fee income to the $35M range and increases the practice to 175 professionals.

Beth Friedman, founder/CEO of Agency Ten22, will join Finn’s global health leadership team, which is chaired by Gil Bashe.

Agency Ten22 will become part of Finn Southeast, which is helmed by managing partner Beth Courtney.

“Beth and Agency Ten22 position Finn to champion the next wave of health innovation by enabling information to improve care and reduce costs,” Bashe said.

Friedman said her firm understands the health sector’s IT challenges from the perspective of hospitals, health systems, physician practices and payers.

“Digital disconnectedness creates tremendous information gaps and it adds to costs and impacts care,” she said. “In Finn, we found a healthIT PR and marketing partner that understands these problems and the power of our discipline to improve people’s lives.”

Courtney said Agency Ten22 “has been at the forefront of helping position health IT companies for success and we look forward to fostering partnerships that benefit our clients throughout the thriving southeast and beyond.”




Celebrating Differences: How Race and Ethnicity Shaped My Love of Comms

One PR pro offers her own story of growing up with a unique heritage—and what it might look like to celebrate the many backgrounds that are represented in a diverse organization.

 

Nicole Rodrigues, Founder & CEO, NRPR Group

As a female business owner of Latin American and Middle Eastern descent, I have always held inclusion and diversity close as fundamental core values. While my family was the only Puerto Rican and/or Syrian group in the neighborhood, the area was extremely diverse, and most of my friends were either Black, white or Mexican. Once I reached middle school, my world expanded as I was exposed to even more cultural backgrounds, and I soon had Filipino, Afghan, Chinese and Japanese friends to add to the tapestry of peers and loved ones who helped shape me into the woman I am today.

I didn’t really know how to differentiate people according to color or culture, because we all fit together, a blend of backgrounds living together—but I did feel a certain pleasure in being one of the few Puerto Ricans in that space. My “difference” felt empowering and special because those around me treated me with dignity, love and respect. It was strange to think life could be any other way for others.

It wasn’t until I entered the workforce that I first noticed a lack of diversity around me, awakening my world view and affecting my actions as an employee (and especially as a boss). Early in my career, I worked at a San Franciscan tech PR firm, where I was the only Hispanic female in an office of 60 people. Despite being a naturally diligent, enthusiastic worker, the uncomfortably non-inclusive corporate culture prevented me from doing my best work and became one of a few reasons for leaving that role.

Continue reading here…




5WPR CEO On Using Heritage in Marketing

Heritage and history can be used as key selling points. There are opportunities for storytelling and heritage is identified with non-financial objectives such as conservation. Heritage brands stand for legacy, and in this fast-paced world represent organic growth and differentiates a brand to its customers. Brands can communicate their legacy to build a long lasting relationship with their consumer base in the following ways. 

1) Stay away from cliches –  In order  to create compelling content while using heritage, it is important to stay away from jargon. A successful marketing strategy based on brand heritage requires a strengthening of brand equity. For a brand or business to get noticed, it would be wise not to appear as the wacky alternative to the mainstream. Brazen Twitter accounts may not always win over hearts. The Chinese candy producer, Hsu Fu Chi International, used marketing campaigns that leveraged the power of heritage marketing. They developed a series of royalty and grandeur based content and gift packs. Fusing traditional elements is a successful marketing and digital PR strategy. 

2) Uncertainty avoidance –  Technology and globalization have started to break down geographical and historical barriers, yet a lot of people are still defined by where they were born or raised. Having said that, cultures are not always dictated by Geography and marketers can identify the nuances in different cultures to make communications relevant. This also entails aligning a business with emotional connections. Retro roots or blasts from the past can energize different segments of customers. 

3) Elements of positive cultural memories –  Using positive cultural memories from years gone by can put life into modern campaigns. Nostalgia makes one feel connected with others and optimistic about the future. When people look back on the past, they naturally tend to focus on good memories which call up feelings of security, trust and comfort. A business which uses elements of nostalgia in its campaigns encourages consumers to spend more money, as it promises returns of feelings of comfort and well-being. Pepsi uses logos from the past, for instance. In 2016, it brought back’ Crystal Pepsi’, a discontinued drink from the 90s for a limited time run. 

4) Brand history – Nostalgia often creates optimistic feelings that often accompany us when we walk down memory lane. When a brand uses heritage in its marketing campaigns, it is not seen as irrelevant. Reviving an old successful marketing campaign or celebrating an anniversary shows that a business is dependable. Sony released a video on YouTube celebrating 40 years of the company’s music player, the walkman. It served as a way of looking back at simpler times, when technology was not as revolutionary. 

5) Heritage and social media – Heritage does not need to be about fuzzy memories. Heritage can be paired with social media in a manner that is organic. British travel retailer Holiday Hypermarket started a campaign named #Holidads that asked people to send photos of their fathers on holiday via Twitter and Instagram. The prize may have been just a goodie bag, but the campaign was very successful. #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday are popular hashtags that can be used by businesses to bring back old memories with their customers. Heritage can be seen as a way to celebrate.


About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR agency




12 Myths About Public Relations Firms Being Acquired

Art Stevens, Managing Partner, The Stevens Group

Whether you’re actively considering the sale of your public relations firm, or it’s just a vague idea that’s been percolating at the back of your mind for a while, it’s important to have realistic expectations before pursuing a deal in earnest. Because delusional beliefs about the acquisition process can occasionally preclude the most opportunistic of transactions, separating fact from fiction is a prerequisite. Following are 12 of the most common misperceptions that PR firm CEOs hold about selling their companies.

1MYTH: I’ll lose all my autonomy.

TRUTH: You’ll actually have a big say in what happens during and after the integration of your firm into the buyer’s organization. In fact, the success of the deal depends on it. Of course, your role will substantially change, but remember that the buyer is not only purchasing your firm, but also your accumulated wisdom. Your opinion matters.

2MYTH: My firm will remain as a silo within the buyer’s firm.

TRUTH: It’s certainly possible that a buyer will elect to preserve your practice as a wholly-owned, standalone operation. However, in our 13 years of advising both buyers and sellers of PR firms in a mergers & acquisitions capacity, we can confidently say it’s much more likely that your firm is being purchased as a strategic investment by the buyer because of everything it brings to the table, thus complementing the buyer’s firm. However, the onus is always on the seller to make his or her expectations crystal clear to the buyer – both verbally and in writing – at the outset of the transaction to ensure a true “meeting of the minds.” This could potentially involve interviewing past CEOs of other PR firms acquired by the buyer.

12 Myths About Public Relations Firms Being Acquired3MYTH: I’m better off waiting to sell until my firm reaches $X in revenue.

TRUTH: History proves that there is no magic number required for a successful transaction. Whether your annual revenues are $300,000 or $40 million, buyers are looking for PR firms that complement their organization strategically, not only monetarily. And even if you were to pick some specific revenue goal as a prerequisite for a sale, you may never get there on your own. Make an honest assessment of your chances of reaching your peak revenue as compared to how those chances might improve with the help and added resources of the right buyer. 

4. MYTH: My firm would need to be twice as big as it is now before anybody would be interested in buying it.

TRUTH: Even through organic growth and diligent new-business initiatives, as referenced in Myth 3, not every PR firm CEO possesses the innate business acumen to grow a firm 15-20% or more every year. Billings must grow for revenues to grow, and staffing growth is contingent upon those revenues. So waiting five, seven or 10 years to reach some hypothetical “critical mass” could be wishful thinking at best, and you might miss out on a terrific, once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to sell to the right buyer based upon the realities of your business right now.

5MYTH: If I sell my firm, my clients will leave me.

TRUTH:  In reality, most clients are generally supportive of mergers – provided that you’re honest with them about your motivations, and that you can assure them that they’ll continue to receive the same high level of service they’ve come to expect from you. Of course, there are few guarantees in life, and some client attrition is a natural part of any service business, but you shouldn’t let that concern become an insurmountable obstacle to pursuing a sale of your firm.

6MYTH: After I sell, I’ll be stuck at the buyer’s firm forever.

TRUTH: With apologies to the legendary N.W. Ayer & Son ad agency that once handled the De Beers diamond account: Nothing is forever. Your contract will be very specific about upholding your obligation to fulfill a finite tenure at the buyer’s firm in order to receive your full earnout from the sale. A period of 3 or 4 years is fairly common – hardly an eternity.

7MYTH: A buyer will always pay the asking price for my firm.

TRUTH: Buyers know the marketplace like the backs of their hands, and it’s the marketplace itself that dictates the selling price, not some supposed valuation prepared by you or your CPA. Unlike the real estate industry, “bidding wars” rarely happen in the PR business, and a seller who remains unrealistically firm on price based on some “accounting trick” valuation strategies may find his or her firm being repeatedly bypassed by potential buyers.

8MYTH: After being my own boss for so many years, I could never report to someone else again.

TRUTH: Following a sale or merger, the success of the combined firm is one based on personal chemistry between buyer and seller. Many sellers have enjoyed rewarding careers after resuming the role of employee in the buyer’s firm. To put it in other words: In the sale of your business, your reputation is at stake as much as the buyer’s is, and you simply wouldn’t enter into a business transaction of such magnitude with people you didn’t like. You should only begin a relationship with a buyer who feels that he or she has as much to learn from you as you do from him or her.

9MYTH: I’m a serial entrepreneur at heart. Once the sale of my firm closes, I’ll just start another PR firm.

TRUTH: Not so fast. Your contract will invariably include a non-compete clause that prohibits you from competing directly with the buyer’s firm for a specified period of time, sometimes extending beyond the three- to five-year window required to achieve a full earnout. So maybe think about becoming a restaurateur in New Orleans or perfecting your fly-fishing technique in Idaho instead – just don’t plan on founding another PR firm for a while if you plan to leave the buyer’s agency when your contract expires.

10MYTH: I don’t have to worry about my senior-level people.

TRUTH: Never forget that to a buyer, your firm’s key assets are its client roster and its management team. A buyer will want some assurance that your senior-level managers are on board with the sale, and that you’ve done everything possible to keep them happy, motivated and fulfilled. It’s not uncommon for a seller to incorporate compensation guarantees for certain key performers into the sale agreement as a retention incentive. And it’s equally common for a buyer to want to continue to compensate and reward top performers in the same way that you did.

11MYTH: We’ve got decent billings, but my firm isn’t profitable enough to attract a potential buyer.

TRUTH: Profit is not the highest-ranking criterion for a successful acquisition. It’s much further down on the list. Of course, any successful for-profit company must be able to demonstrate a consistent track record of profitability to remain in business and to attract a buyer. But specifically with regard to PR firms, the actual profit margin is less important than other critical factors such as strategic synergy, client roster, and the quality of your management team. 

12MYTH: Everything will work out perfectly to my advantage. After all, I have a signed contract!

TRUTH: We’re all familiar with the meaning of the Latin term caveat emptor. But few of us are as familiar with opposite side of the transaction: caveat venditor. Before consummating a deal to sell your PR firm, it’s imperative that you make sure that the buyer has the financial resources needed to honor the terms of your compensation agreement – both the initial up-front payment at closing and the full earnout structure contingent upon reaching specific profit benchmarks. Your mutual-fund broker is required by law to tell you that past performance does not necessarily predict future results, but the buyer of your PR firm? No

Like most PR firm CEOs, you’ve undoubtedly poured your heart and soul into your business, and the decision to relinquish ownership of it is not one to be made hastily. And if you’ve never sold a business before, having a trusted advisor at your side throughout the process can be invaluable. When it comes to reaping maximum rewards from all that you’ve invested in your company over the years, always remember that an educated seller is a wise seller. Don’t allow erroneous preconceived notions to thwart you from reaching the next stage of your professional life.


About the Author: Art Stevens is managing partner of The Stevens Group, comprised of consultants to the PR agency profession and focusing on mergers, acquisitions and management consulting.

This article was originally published on O’Dwyer’s.




Knowing Your Risk in the COVID-19 Pandemic (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

As of last month, half of American adults have been at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.  While this number is widely celebrated, it may not be enough to end the pandemic.

Herd immunity requires 70% to 85% of a population to be vaccinated.  Vaccine hesitancy in the US has led to a drop-off in demand, meaning not as many new people are getting the necessary shots.  Even if the US were on track to achieve herd immunity in the near future, their efforts may be undermined by the state of the world’s vaccination effort.  Most of the continent of Africa, along with certain parts of Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, are not on track to achieve herd-immunity levels of vaccination until 2023.  Meanwhile, 2 in 3 epidemiologists agree that viral mutations will render first-generation vaccines ineffective at preventing the disease by 2022.  88% agreed that low vaccination rates were a leading cause of more vaccine-resistant strains.  The longer widespread vaccination takes, the more time the virus has to transmit and mutate.  By the time most of the world is vaccinated, the virus will have changed enough that another round of mass vaccination could be required.  Unless the second round is far more rapid than the first, this cycle could become a pattern.

In the meantime, COVID-19 does not harm every person equally.  A wide variety of health conditions have been associated with increased risk of infection and severe disease.  These conditions include liver disease, heart conditions, and diabetes.  Those who suffer from increased risk may continue certain precautions long after the general population has abandoned them.  While everyone ought to continue consistently washing hands and wearing masks on certain occasions, at-risk people may want to keep up social distancing and avoid crowds.  Additionally, such patients may pursue additional therapies to stay the development of severe disease should they be infected.

How can an individual be sure of their risk?  Not every person with an indicated health condition will develop severe COVID-19.  It’s possible 1 in 4 adults are incorrectly categorized.  One tool that can fix this problem is a COVID-19 risk test.  This at-home test kit considers 16 comorbidities and genetic markers in determining a person’s risk for developing severe COVID-19.  It improves risk prediction by 25% over standard clinical models, and a user can receive their risk score and detailed report in as low as 5-7 days.

 

Fighting COVID-19: Know Your Risk


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




The Similarities of Trump’s Rallies, Sports Press Conferences And PR Agency Pressers, Plus A ‘New Olympic Event’: Watching Naomi Osaka

Arthur Solomon

Now that the twice impeached former president Donald Trump, whose company has been criminally indicted for allegedly evading taxes has resumed his rallies, the similarities of his rallies to sports, brand and corporate press conferences are easy to detect: 

  • All have a maximum of lies or exaggerations and a minimum of truth.
  • Certain sports, like tennis and golf, are considered by the media as “niche sports” and only receive significant media coverage during major tournaments and are routinely ignored by the general press most of the year.
  • Ever since he was defeated by President Joe Biden, Trump’s rallies are considered “niche” by major media outlets, but not so by “niche” far right journalists. Reporters from main stream news organizations monitor the rallies but little is written about them because there is little bona fide news. 
  • Many aspects of the Trump rallies and sports press conferences also are similar to brand and corporate pressers. (More on this later.)

Soon, on July 23, Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games, even though calendars around the world say it’s 2021, will commence, devoid of spectators because of Covid-19 fears. Along with the athletic competition reporters will be writing about the biggest sports story of 2021, thus far. It is not about the Super Bowl, the plethora of no-hit games, Major League Baseball enforcing the rule against pitchers applying sticky substances to baseballs or the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s positive drug test. The media coverage will be about a “new Olympic event” that will not require a participant to win.  

The subject of this “new Olympic event” will concern an athlete in a little covered “niche sport,” tennis’ Naomi Osaka, who pulled out of the French Open and was fined for doing so, because she refused to participate in post-game media interviews. Receiving as much coverage of her tennis prowess in the Olympics will be how she performs during q and a sessions with the media, if she decides to show up at pressers. The tennis tournament begins on July 24. 

 (But even worse than the post-game interviews are the after-the-game presentation of trophies to winners of tennis matches, where the recipients thank the world, especially the organizers of the matches. Reminds me of those “Hail Caesar” scenes in those gladiator movies. This is reminiscent of the days when National Football League announcers would always describe team owners as “true gentlemen,” regardless of their history of turning their backs to revelations about how hits to he head causes brain damage to their employees, the players.) 

Ms. Osaka’s decision to not appear at a post-match TV interview raises a more important question than her refusal to participate: Why does the media attend them, knowing that their questions will be answered with untruths, regardless of the sport? In reality, the supposedly truth-seeking media, by attending these staged pressers, are accessories to a con game developed to get viewers to believe what the participants are saying is truthful. (Years ago, I suggested to a few sports writers that instead of attending these newsless shams that they assign one “pool” reporter in case, by mistake, a pitcher or coach says something unrehearsed, like, “I lost that game because the shortstop threw to the wrong base and that’s not the first time I’ve been victimized by his and others’ sloppy play.” 

But there is as much chance as the above scenario occurring as an athlete speaking honestly after a loss, because, as Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said in late June on CBS Sports, “What I say versus what I think are two totally different things. I would say 90 percent of what I say is probably not what I’m thinking… I think there’s part of me that doesn’t like conflict. So in the end, I just always try to play it super flat.” 

And during media day at the Super Bowl in 2015, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch kept answering reporter’s questions by repeating, “I’m Just Here So I Won’t Get Fined.”

The comments by Brady and Lynch might be the most honest ones ever made by an athlete during interview sessions. 

It’s a fact that after game interviews, where athletes are forced to appear because of contractual obligations, hardly ever provide anything newsy. 

Viewers might not know why these hardly ever truthful pressers with athletes  survive since they are as dull as listening to speeches during an old fashion Senate filibuster (but not as amusing), but people in the business know why: Post game interviews are now a staple of television sports coverage. Sports marketers love them because the athletes who appear wear clothes that are easily identified as brands. Bottled water of sponsors are also positioned, as are banners of sponsors, so the TV cameras can disseminate them nationally, and in international tournaments, worldwide.

As a novice sports reporter, I was never assigned to cover major press conferences. My beat was scholastic sports, where there was never a staged press conference. After an event, reporters had to personally speak to participants, providing an enterprising journalist an opportunity to develop an “exclusive.” (It was after filing several stories as a stringer that was different from the run-of-the-mill articles by other reporters that I was offered a staff position at a New York City daily.)

When I transitioned to the PR business, after several NYC dailies went bust, large scale brand and corporate press conferences were the rage. The great majority of them produced less than the desired results, and as a former reporter and editor, I knew why: A “secular” range of journalists were invited by PR people fearful of having an empty room. Most of the attendees had no interest in the subject of the presser and attended because they were friends of the PR person, wanted a chance to get out of their office, saw it as an opportunity to gather background information for a future story that had nothing to do with the press conference subject, or if there was a celebrity presenter wanted to ask questions during the one-on-ones for a profile story. 

Filling the room with anyone, even if the reporter only wrote obituaries, was a must. Also, in most cases, the news value of the conference was mostly only in the eyes of brand managers and corporate PR people, some of whom insisted on a press conference because they were forced to by their higher-ups who had no news sense and believed their titles or the name of the brand or corporation would be enough to generate coverage. As a result, except for the few beat reporters who attended, the great majority of the articles contained no client talking points. (Management of PR agencies liked these mega press conferences because it offered loads of billing opportunities, including the writing and production of expensive press kits which the great majority of the attendees ditched when they returned to their offices. Even the beat reporters would only pull out one or two of the press releases and toss the remainder.) 

The lack of coverage after spending thousands of dollars on a mega presser reverberated from the disappointed CEO to the corporate PR person or brand manager to the client contact to the PR exec who reported to the client.

Once I attained some authority, I limited full scale press conferences to only the few times (over 35 years) that there was actually hard news, not a common occurrence in our business, whose job it is to create news. Instead I would arrange for smaller round table meetings for clients, only inviting reporters who covered specific beats. That technique not only saved thousands of dollars that could be used for other PR projects, but always resulted in major publicity.

There’s an important lesson to be learned from uncalled-for pressers: Whether the speaker is a former twice-impeached president, whose business was criminally indicted for alleged tax-related crimes, an athlete or the CEO of a major company, it’s not the title of the person speaking that will determine news coverage – it’s what the person is saying. Don’t take my word for saying so. Check the very limited coverage of Trump’s rallies since he was defeated for re-election and the almost non existent coverage of after-the-game pressers with athletes, as well as the minimum of client talking points after mega- client press conferences. #Ol


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.