Real Herd Immunity- Not Writing Off Those Over 60 or With Preexisting Conditions

Bill Ide, III, Partner, Corporate Governance, Akerman

I’m well north of 60, someone who’s been blessed to survive multiple bouts with cancer. There are millions like me who want to continue being active and playing leadership roles in our communities. Instead, we’re being abandoned, thoughtlessly driven to the sidelines (or at least to our family-room sofas) by the President and his reckless “herd Immunity” followers. 

The correct approach to “herd immunity” is to wait until a trustworthy vaccine become readily available, then aggressively inoculate people until the virus dies – not killing the vulnerable until we all die. 

In truth, Trump’s baseless theory that it’s OK for young people to get the virus while older Americans and those with preexisting conditions are somehow “protected” consigns us to life as hermits – or worse. 

Many of us still need to work and want to see our children and family members. My wife and I want to enjoy our 11 grandchildren without fearing the worst from infection. 

Science is based on facts and tells us that vaccines will ultimately defeat the virus. We can have productive economies in the interim by containing the virus with masks, social distancing, testing and effective hygiene. 

For those who believe they’re not high-risk, I hope the facts bear you out. Millions of us, however, are high-risk, including frontline health care and law enforcement workers. You may survive the virus, but many of us won’t due to your keeping it alive. We ask for your patience using preventive measures until vaccines give all of us real herd immunity.


About the Author: William “Bill” Ide is a partner at Akerman and the former President of the American Bar Association.




The Presidential #Debates2020 Wrap-Up

(Author’s Note: This is the12th in a series of political articles for CommPro.biz that I’ll be writing leading up to Election Day. FYI –My first job with a PR firm was at a political one, where I worked on local, state and presidential elections). 

Arthur Solomon

Instead of giving my analysis of each debate in separate columns, I decided to write one- wrap-up column, in which I would analyze each of the three presidential debates, and the single vice – presidential one. Because of the president’s Covid-19 illness, the second debate was canceled when President Trump and former Vice President Biden differed on the format of it, Trump wanting to stick to the original debate format and Biden agreeing to a virtual debate because of the president’s Covid condition.

A major problem with the way the debates are structured was evident early in the first debate, in my opinion. It was the debate organizer’s position that it is not the job of the moderator to immediately correct lies, because there will be plenty of time after the debate to do that. The problem with that scenario is that once a lie goes unchecked many viewers will believe it to be truthful. Even if the opposition candidate points out that it’s a lie, many viewers will still believe the one they support. Also, many viewers will not stick around for the after debate analysis, and many who do, believe that what Trump and Biden supporters say is nothing but untruthful spin.

Debate # 1 on September 29:

In my opinion, the most important subject of Debate # 1 was how the president’s remarks about not assuring the nation of a peaceful transfer of power would be handled by moderator Chris Wallace, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Other important issues were:

  • Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, and other health issues, and 
  • The Supreme Court vacancy, and
  • The president’s portrayal of Biden as a feeble old man with a mental problem. 

Immediately after the debate, some TV pundits said it was a disgrace, mainly because of Trump’s behavior. Nevertheless, questions were asked and questions were either answered or not. So there has to be a winner.

Now for my analysis:

Trump handed Biden two pleasant surprises prior to the debate by 1) nominating for the Supreme Court a jurist who has spoken ill (pun intended) about the Affordable Care Act and Roe v.Wade, which polls have shown the majority of voters want to keep, when he could have waited until after the election to nominate her. And 2) for many weeks portraying Biden as a dithering old man in mental decline. (In tennis vernacular, these were unforced errors by Trump.)

How did Trump, Biden and Wallace perform?

Going into the debate Biden only had to maintain his polling leads. Trump had a much more difficult route. He had to change the opinions of voters who have said they will vote for Biden. The president failed to do that. Polling revealed that there was a significant Biden bump after the debate. Biden not only deflected personal attacks by Trump, but demonstrated that he can go toe-to-toe with Trump, had the ability to trade insults and was not afraid to call the president a liar.

Trump:

Unlike many past debates, where the president is the favorite going into a debate, Trump has been trailing Biden in national and most state polls for many weeks. All of his attacks on Biden have thus far not moved the needle in his direction.

Prior to the debate, Trump said that Biden was in mental decline and shortly prior to the debate said that the former veep had to resort to injections to give him the energy to make a speech. Trump’s attacks on Biden’s mental agility have been his major strategy for many months. But, thus far, they have failed. Also failing was his defense of how he’s handling the coronavirus and the New York Times release of his tax returns that showed him paying little taxes and as an incompetent businessman. He had to convince the public that the negative stories are Fake News.

How did he do?

Trump’s strategy was obvious from the start: Try to provoke Biden into making mistakes and losing his cool. He failed in doing that. Trump also played his Fake News card and accused moderator Chris Wallace of being against him. Throughout the debate he acted like a bully, made personal attacks against Biden’s children and told lies. As he did in his almost daily sessions with White House reporters prior to becoming ill, Trump ducked specific questions about subjects he didn’t like. It was a mirror performance of his 2015 primary debates, during which he insulted his GOP rivals and his debates with Hillary Clinton in 2016, during which he lied and attempted to intimidate her. On September 29, 2020, those tactics were old hat and did not work. Perhaps the most succinct summary of the debate was one sentence in a Wall Street Journal editorial on September 30: The president interrupted the former vice-president so frequently that he wouldn’t let Biden talk long enough to make a mistake. A close runner-up was the New York Times, which said that Trump’s performance was a verbal copy of his twitter comments.

Biden:

The former vice president’s main objective was to continue to convince voters that he is mentally fit to be president and that Trump is unfit. But he also had the opportunity to gain undecided voters by showing that he could factually counter Trump’s misrepresentations and lies; that Trump is a charlatan and tax evader; that Trump has divided the country and has endangered it by antagonizing U.S. foreign allies; that Trump has continually disregarded the Constitution and has displayed totalitarian instincts; that re-electing the president would cause millions of Americans to lose their health care and Roe v. Wade protection and that the president’s mishandling of the coronavirus has thus far resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, and climbing. 

How did he do?

He did just fine. Despite not being able to complete a sentence before being interrupted by the president, Biden was able to make his points and did not get rattled by Trump’s insults, as the president had hoped. Importantly, when Biden was making his points, he spoke directly to the viewing audience by asking them, “How does this personally affect you”? A very effective strategy.

Wallace:

He had to demonstrate that he can control the candidates; make sure that they didn’t talk around his questions; that his questions were not lollypops and that he showed no favoritism.

How did he do?

As best he tried, he was unable to control Trump from not following the debate rules. Several times, Wallace had to admonish Trump for not letting Biden complete a sentence and for trashing the debate rules that were agreed to. However, by permitting Trump to lie without correcting him, he acted more like a football or basketball referee “who lets the players play,” despite rules being broken, in this case permitting outright misinformation and lies to go unchecked. I found this disappointing from television’s premier interviewer. For doing this, I give him a C-plus.

The Winner:

On both substance and decency Biden was the clear winner. Any but the most rabid Trump supporters have to admit that the president acted like a bully, made personal attacks against Biden, lied and degraded the office of the president. But what matters more than what any pundit says is what the viewers of the debate said: Biden’s campaign raised more than $21.5 million on September 30, the single best fundraising day for the campaign so far. The viewers obviously agreed with me that Biden was the clear winner.

Debate # 2 on October 15

Canceled because it was switched to a virtual debate by organizers because of coronavirus concerns and the president rejecting the change in format, even though it was his being infected with Covid-19 that was the cause of the revision.

Debate # 3 on October 22

In my opinion, because of the increasing Covid-19 cases throughout the U.S. there were many side issues, but only one main dish:

  • Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, and other health issues.
  • A side issue: Would Biden make an egregious mistake.

Now for my analysis:

Going into the debate Biden only had to maintain his polling leads. Trump had a much more difficult route. He had to change the opinions of voters who have said they will vote for Biden. The president failed to do that in their first debate. Polling revealed that there was a significant Biden bump after their first debate, with the former vice-president’s national polling lead increasing to 14 points, according to an NBC and Wall Street Journal poll. Biden leads the president, 53% to 39%, among registered voters in the poll, which was conducted in the two days following the debate. Biden held an eight point lead in a poll prior to the debate. Going into the October 22 debate, 538 said,   according to national polls, Biden leads Trump by an average of 9.9 percentage points. This was Trump’s last opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Biden before a massive TV audience before Election Day. But instead of attempting to put Biden on the defensive in the days leading up to the debate, Trump played his “woe is me, no one treats me fairly” routine, first attacking Dr. Faucci, then Leslie Stahl, who interviewed him for 60 Minutes, and Kristen Welker, the debate moderator, for several days prior to the debate.

How did Trump, Biden and Welker perform?

Trump:

Trump acted much calmer than he did in the first debate, when his performance was that of an individual in need of many tranquillizers. So instead of him appearing as an obnoxious, bullying liar, what we saw was a calmer fabulist, according to fact checkers. “From a lying perspective, Trump is even worse tonight than in the first debate, an absolute avalanche of lying,” said CNN’s fact checker Daniel Dale. Throughout the debate Trump acted as if he was running against Bernie Sanders and other Democrats instead of Joe Biden. On the most important issue of the debate – Covid-19 and health care, the president kept insisting that the country must open up, said that we are rounding the corner and faulted China and the Democratic governors for not being able to control the spread of the coronavirus. The CNN fact checker said that Trump, in this debate, and in the past, keeps attributing to Dr. Faucci statements that the doctor never made. Trump also could not give specifics of his health plan, except to say that it would be better than the Affordable Care Act, which he wants to terminate. The president also continually attacked the entire Biden family with criminal doings, even thought there is no evidence backing up his charges (except what commentators on Fox News says is evidence). On October 23, a story in the Wall Street Journal refuted the charges against Biden. When accused by Biden of trying to hide his involvement in foreign countries by not releasing his tax forms, Trump reverted to his four years old answer – I can’t because I’m under audit and am being treated very unfairly by the IRS. He also made the most ridiculous statement of the debate by saying, “I’m the least racist person in the room,” ludicrous considering that Kristen Welker, the debate moderator, is a Black woman. Importantly, the president couldn’t provide ant details of what he would do if re-elected.

How did he do?

At times during the debate the president spoke as if he was using Morse code, referring to the “AOC plus 3,” and the Hunter Biden laptop, that only devotees of conspiracy theories on Fox news would understand. The president did much better than during his first debate, but not much better, as a CNN instant poll of viewers and a panel of undecided North Carolina voters revealed. The panel of undecided voters, who said that that their decision who to vote for is still up in the air, voted Biden the winner with nine votes; two voted that the debate was a draw. No one thought Trump won the debate. The instant poll favored Biden 53 percent to 39 percent for Trump. 

Biden:

Despite making one major error by saying that he favored limiting new oil contracts (fracking), when he meant to say on federal lands, and phasing out oil, (an error because the statement will be taken out of context and used against the former vice president in states like Pennsylvania, which is a key battleground state, and other oil producing states), Biden held his own by detailing how his health plan would reduce costs and specified how his other initiatives would result in the creation of news jobs. 

How did he do?

Overall, he did just fine. Biden again not only deflected personal attacks by Trump, but demonstrated that he can go toe-to-toe with Trump. Biden was able to make his points and did not get rattled by Trump’s claims of criminality. Importantly, when Biden was making his points, he spoke directly to the viewing audience by asking them, “How does this personally affect you”? A very effective strategy.

Kristen Welker:

She had to demonstrate that she can control the candidates; make sure that they didn’t talk around her questions; that the questions were not lollypops and that she showed no favoritism. 

How did she do?

Ms. Welker did just fine and kept the debate moving much more smoothly than Chris Wallace did in the first debate. Of course the circumstances weren’t the same and that must be taken into consideration. Wallace had no mute button, as Welker did. That made both candidates more controllable. Ms. Welker also did what neither Wallace, in the first debate, or Ms. Page, in the vice presidential debate did – she asked follow-up questions instead of just moving on.

The Winner:

While not winning the debate by as big a margin in their first one, I thought Biden again was the winner by a large enough margin to, maybe, even increases his lead over Trump, by a point or so. Even though Trump was much better in this debate I don’t think he did anything to change the trajectory of the campaign. He needed a first round knockout and didn’t get it. Trump’s behavior might have changed since the first debate, but not his inability to give a vision if elected to a second term or to tell the truth. However, the winners of debates are not sworn in as president on inauguration day. With the margins in pivotal swing stages still close the turnout on November 3 can be decisive, but I’d be willing to bet a fin or sawbuck on Biden.

The Vice Presidential Debate on October 7

There’s an old political bromide, parroted by many cable news pundits, that no one votes for the vice president. It was altered this year when the pundits said because of the ages of Trump and Biden it will matter. Given the fact that the president is supposedly recovering from Covid-19, the pundits say the debate for the veep position is more important than ever. (I disagree about the Covid factor. The president has assured us that it’s nothing to be afraid of and that he is cured. And he always tells the truth. Right?) Actually, I never agreed that when people vote for the president they don’t take the vice-presidential candidate into consideration. Would voters opposed to Roe v. Wade vote for a GOP presidential candidate who chooses a pro-choice veep.I don’t think so. Or would a very liberal Democrat vote for a Democratic candidate whose views were extremely right of center. I don’t think so. Also, many analysts think that John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for vice president backfired on him. And in 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dumped his vice-president Henry Wallace for Harry Truman because party leaders believed Wallace would hurt FDR’s re-election effort because Wallace was too liberal. 

This brings us to the vice-presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence, a darling of the right of center evangelical GOP crowd, and Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, a favorite of the liberal wing of the party. Pence went into the debate with a huge problem: defending the record of President Trump and his leading of the coronavirus task force. Harris had to convince voters that she and Biden put the welfare of Americans ahead of any political considerations, playing off Biden’s Gettysburg address on October 6. According to Nielsen, this debate was the second most watched TV vice-presidential one ever, with an estimated 57.9 million viewers tuning in(Now the top three most-watched vice-presidential debates have featured female candidates.)  

How did they do?

The debate actually began a day earlier than it was scheduled, when on October 6, Pence’s communications director Katie Miller told the Washington Examiner that if Harris “wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.” This was the first blunder of the debate. All it did was bring attention to laissez-faire attitude that many in the Trump camp have expressed during the pandemic. Eventually, Pence also agreed to have a plexiglass barrier. The biggest news of the day also occurred before the debate began, when on Wednesday morning Pence said that if Trump wasn’t feeling well the next presidential debate, on October 15, should be postponed. (My translation: The president is or was sicker than he or his medical team lets on.) While both candidates were civil in their demeanor, the debate had many Trumpian moments as Vice President Pence continually refused to stop talking and continued in his filibuster mode when moderator Susan Page of USA Today said his time was up and had to ask him to play by the agreed rules. Pence continually interrupted Harris and told numerous lies, misrepresenting what Harris had just said about taxes, health care, climate change and the economy. (It was similar to what Trump does, denying what was said even though it’s on tape.) Most ludicrous was his defense of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Most alarming was that he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if Biden wins the election. Pence also resorted to scare tactics like calling the Democratic agenda radical. In what might have been a planned strategy, the morning after the debate Trump said Harris is a communist. Pence used what obviously was a planned line, saying to Harris, “You’re entitled to your own opinion, you’re not entitled to your own facts,” a phrase used by the former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) several decades ago, ironic because Washington Post fact checkers have said President Trump has lied more than 20,000 times. Throughout the debate, Pence acted like a polite low key Trump. Harris was skillful in being able to transition from the moderator’s question to her talking points. Following Biden’s debate tactic, she talked directly to people by asking them questions. Like Pence’s “fact” comment, Harris also was waiting for a chance to use a prepared retort and twice said, “I will not sit here and be lectured by the Vice President,” obviously targeted at women voters.

Page:

How did she do?

She had to demonstrate that she can control the candidates, make sure that they didn’t talk around her questions; that questions were not lollypops and that she showed no favoritism. I gave her a passing grade on this portion of my scorecard. It’s an impossible task to control political debaters. But her final grade was a gentlewoman’s D. Here’s why: She bungled the most important question of the night: Would Pence commit to a peaceful transfer of power if Biden wins. When the vice-president refused to commit to a peaceful transfer, instead of following up with at least one question, Page kept to her prepared script and asked a question by an 8th grade student. A disgraceful display of journalism. (Giving Ms. Page a D for fumbling her question regarding the most fundamental aspect of our democracy is generous on my part. If I didn’t mark on a curve and include the TV pundits, I would have given her an F.)

The Winner:

While neither of the candidates rivaled the debating skills of Winston Churchill, (or Cicero, I’ve been told), in my opinion the night belonged to Ms. Harris. Pence had to defend the indefensible, beginning with the fact that more than 200,000 American had died from the coronavirus to the current economic slowdown, which only GOP defenders deny. 

Conclusions:

The big question that was not discussed by any of the moderators was, “Did the candidate’s performances during the debates matter to the voters.” The answer is maybe, maybe not, because a Wall Street Journal survey of 1000 voters published on September 20 revealed that more than 70% said the debates won’t matter much, including 44% who said they will not matter at all.

PoliticalDebateDid We Learn Anything New From the Debates

Regarding the policy differences between the candidates, we learned nothing that an interested voter didn’t already know. However, many people who don’t follow politics on a daily basis, and even those who do, learned that Vice President Pence is the most nationally-elected dangerous politician in America, even more so than President Trump. That’s because of his nearly four-year-long act, everyone knows that Trump is not to be believed or trusted. Pence, on the other hand, lies as frequently as Trump, and smears his opponents with the same gusto as the president. But he does it in a gentle, understated, calming manner, free of bluster, with a smile on his face. He is the con artist of politics. But instead of money, the future of U.S. democracy is at stake. (I didn’t come to that conclusion because of the debate. During the impeachment hearings, I told my wife that if Pence becomes president, because of the way he presents himself, he’s liable to get far right wing policies enacted that will take years for Democrats and moderates to undo.) Pence reminds me of why I stopped ordering cake many years ago in a diner: Looks delicious, tastes awful.)

My Opinion? 

The debates matter more to the political pundits than to voters. To use baseball terminology it’s “inside baseball,” meaning that what is important to insiders has little relevancy to the general public. And it shouldn’t. After four years of any president, voters should have enough opinions to make up their own minds. And just as important, what candidates say during debates often has no relevancy to how they will govern, similar to platforms of political parties, except during a debate it’s spoken words, not written ones.

But A Caveat:

Occasionally, a debate can influence an election. Such was the case in the first 1960 televised debate between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. Nixon was seen on the small screen perspiring and with a five o’clock shadow; Kennedy young and dynamic. The comparison between the two vaulted JFK from trailing Nixon to the presidency. During a 1976 presidential debate against Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, President Ford said, “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” When given an opportunity to clarify the remark by moderator Max Frankel of the New York Times, Ford refused, insisting that Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia are free from Soviet interference. Ford’s comment haunted him throughout the remainder of the campaign, with many analysts saying it helped Carter win the presidency. And in a 1992 town hall debate between President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot, Bush’s action of checking his watch during the debate illustrated his frustration of having to explain his actions and his distain for having to debate, unlike Clinton, who, perhaps, is the best candidate since FDR to convince voters that he cares for them by speaking directly to them.

Final Thought (from a self-anointed stable genius): 

Other less intelligent pundits thought that Biden hurt himself by getting into the trash basin with Trump during their first debate. I disagree. Here’s why: In order to prove Trump wrong about his months long smear, saying that Biden was on the edge of senility and was unfit for the job, the only way Biden could counter Trump’s lies was to demonstrate in front of a national audience that he is still quick-witted and can throw his own zingers back at the president. The debate gave Biden that opportunity and he used it to his advantage.


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 and artsolomon4pr (at) optimum.net.




Jeffrey Toobin Responds to New Yorker Suspension

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

Lack of propriety and situational awareness while using popular video conferencing software due to social distancing has claimed another victim. Multiple media outlets are reporting that CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is officially “on leave” from the network and has been suspended from the New Yorker magazine after “accidentally exposing himself” during a video call with colleagues. 

VICE broke news of the subsequent suspension. Still, it was picked up fast by other networks looking for an edge with viewers heading into the home stretch of the presidential election and SCOTUS confirmation hearing coverage. And that was just the first domino to fall. 

Jeffrey Toobin
(Photo source: Twitter)

After Toobin was sidelined during what would have otherwise been an around-the-clock reporting opportunity over the next few weeks, The New Yorker announced the suspension and promotions related to Toobin’s recent book were put on indefinite hold as, to quote CNN, “Jeff Toobin (takes) time off to deal with a personal issue…” 

Toobin quickly spoke up about the incident, saying: “I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera… I apologize to my wife, family, friends, and coworkers… I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the call could see me. I thought I had muted the video…” 

As the story circulated, two sources claimed to be on the video call came forward, offering more details about the incident, causing Toobin and his employer’s further embarrassment. Speaking to other media outlets, a spokesperson for The New Yorker said leadership at the publication was investigating the matter. 

As publicly embarrassing as this incident may be, both for Toobin and for the media brands where he works, it’s far from the only embarrassing incident that happened on video conference calls since much of the nations started working from home due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some news outlets are running regular or recurring segments showing embarrassing incidents, and one insurance company has a commercial entirely dedicated to common miscues. 

From “potato boss” to accidental nudity, fumbling with the controls, loud arguments, and people in the background shouting profanity, the “tech user gap” created when video conferencing software becoming almost universal has yet to be entirely bridged. 

The nature of Toobin’s “mistake” guarantees it will get more attention. Still, the applicable takeaway here is that large and small companies need to do a better job protecting their brands from similar human error. People will make mistakes, and being at home, in a familiar and comfortable environment makes it easy to let your guard down and act in a way a person may never do in a structured work setting. 

Safeguards should be put in place and clearly communicated to all team members, then repeated as necessary. People might still make mistakes, but a proactive approach should reduce the odds, the embarrassment, and the need to address an unnecessary negative PR issue.


About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading public relations agency.




PRSA To Honor Members For Their Service To Communications Profession At ICON 2020 

Awards To Be Presented Virtually During Annual Conference From Oct. 26-29 

Top row, left to right: Maria P. Russell, Dave Poston, Susan Gonders, David C. Rickey
Bottom row, left to right: Staci L. Reidinger, Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips, Jeong-Nam Kim

CommPRO Editorial Staff

PRSA, the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community, will present seven individual awards during ICON 2020, honoring members who have served the organization with distinction and made a difference in the public relations profession. The individuals will be recognized throughout the conference, which is being held virtually from Oct. 26–29.  

“This has been a year like no other and the role of the communications professional has never been more important,” said T. Garland Stansell, APR, 2020 PRSA Chair. “I am humbled and honored to recognize these individuals who have made significant contributions to the communications profession over the course of their careers. For these PRSA members who go above and beyond the call of duty and serve as leaders and mentors in our incredible field, I have the utmost respect.”

Gold Anvil Award – Maria P. Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA 

The Gold Anvil Award, PRSA’s highest individual honor recognizing lifetime achievement in public relations, will be presented to Maria P. Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA. She retired in June as a Professor of Public Relations and Director of Executive Education Programs at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. In honor of her service, she was named Professor Emerita. 

A respected educator and leader in the public relations profession for more than 40 years, Russell has advanced the profession and its positive visibility through her creation and advancement of higher education programs in public relations and her leadership of professional development programming for PRSA and other professional bodies. This includes her founding of the Newhouse Executive Master’s Degree in Communications Management, which fuses content in strategic communications, business management and organizational leadership. Moreover, she established the Newhouse Office of Executive Education and the Newhouse W2O Center for Social Commerce, which provides innovative programs on social media and analytics to students and faculty alike.

During her time as a member, Russell has been instrumental in PRSA’s professional development offerings and has served on PRSA’s Board of Directors as Secretary and Treasurer. Additionally, she’s been honored with PRSA’s Outstanding Educator Award, the Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA, and the Philip Dorf Award for Outstanding Mentorship by PRSA’s New York Chapter.  

Public Relations Professional of the Year – Dave Poston, Esq. 

Dave Poston, Esq., Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of Poston Communications, will be honored with the Public Relations Professional of the Year Award. The award is given to the individual who, in the previous year, represented the best in public relations as an outstanding example of the management function that established a mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and the public upon who its success or failure depends.  

Poston is a licensed attorney who has held numerous international in-house and agency positions for law and other professional services firms handling international responsibilities from offices in Atlanta, London, New York and San Francisco. Throughout his career, he has developed media opportunities for his clients and employers in hundreds of important international media and trade outlets. He managed firm-wide public relations and marketing in various roles at King & Spalding LLP, Dorsey & Whitney LLP and Jones & Askew LLP. He worked with more than 20 West Coast law, architecture, construction, financial services, management consulting, real estate, technology and travel clients at Blattel Communications. 

Outstanding Educator Award – Susan Gonders, Ed.D.  

The Outstanding Educator Award, which recognizes a PRSA member who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of public relations education through college or university teaching, is being given to Susan Gonders, Ed.D., Professor of Mass Media and Option Coordinator for Public Relations at Southeast Missouri State University.  

A skilled educator and communications professional, Dr. Gonders has taught students for more than 25 years. Her time as a successful public relations practitioner has allowed her to combine the world of academics with hands-on, practical experience. Dr. Gonders’ highly accomplished history with PRSA and PRSSA has included a number of leadership positions, including serving as the Coordinator of PRSA’s global academic program in Certification in Education for Public Relations since 2007. She has also been the adviser to the PRSSA Southeast Missouri State University Chapter since 1994. 

Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA – David C. Rickey, APR 

David C. Rickey, APR, is receiving the Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions in advancing PRSA and the professional development of its members.  

Rickey’s career spans broadcast journalism, in-house corporate communications and public relations positions. He has worked for municipal agencies, nonprofits and as an independent counselor. In his current role at Rickey Communication, he serves as a consultant to power companies, municipal agencies and advanced economic development organizations. Throughout the years, he has given his time and expertise to PRSA in multiple capacities, including as Chair of the Corporate Communications Section; Co-Chair of the International Conference; Chair of the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards; and Secretary and Senior Counsel to the Board of Directors.  

Paul M. Lund Public Service Award – Staci L. Reidinger, APR+M 

The Paul M. Lund Public Service Award is being presented to Staci L. Reidinger, APR+M. The award honors a PRSA member whose participation as a volunteer in important public activities has increased the common good and reflected credit on the organization.  

Reidinger enlisted in the Marines in 1993, completed officer training in 2005 and was selected into the Public Affairs field. She served as an active duty U.S. Marine Corps officer until retiring in 2017. In 2009, while deployed to Afghanistan as a communications strategist and trainer, Reidinger developed a training program and helped educate over 450 Afghan government officials in media relations, crisis communication, media reporting and community outreach. In 2014, she attained her APR+M credential, and from 2014 to 2017 served as the Deputy Director and Director of Public Affairs for the Marine Corps’ largest warfighting force, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.   

Reidinger has also distinguished herself in the private sector through various activities, including co-founding the San Diego Business and Nonprofit Crisis Support Network to help keep the San Diego economy stable during the COVID-19 pandemic. She currently serves as the PRSA San Diego/Imperial County Chapter’s Community Outreach Chair. She is also Board President of HomeAid San Diego, which partners with the building industry and San Diego nonprofits that serve at-risk populations, to build multi-unit housing for homeless families and individuals.

D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award – Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips 

Marsha R. Pitts-Phillips, President and Founder of MRPP & Associates Communications, LLC, is the recipient of the D. Parke Gibson Award. The award recognizes a PR professional who has helped expand awareness of PR with multicultural communities.

Pitts-Phillips is an accomplished communications leader whose career has included non-profit PR leadership, strategic consultation, broadcast journalism and educating the next generation of PR professionals at several universities in Minnesota. Throughout her distinguished career, she has been deeply committed to diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness, which she believes are business imperatives that should be woven into the fabric of – and reflected by – every professional entity. A long-time advocate for diversity, Pitts-Phillips was unanimously elected as the PRSA Minnesota Chapter’s Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2019. 

She was also instrumental in helping to establish the Multicultural Scholarship Endowment in collaboration with the PRSA Foundation and the PRSA National Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The fund was created in response to the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ongoing issues of systemic racism. The PRSA Minnesota Chapter was the inaugural donor of this scholarship, which will empower rising diverse talent in the public relations industry.

Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Prize – Jeong-Nam Kim 

The PRSA Foundation will present Jeong-Nam Kim with the Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Prize. Jeong-Nam Kim is the Gaylord Family Endowed Chair in Strategic Communication at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. The award is designed to honor a senior academic or professional who has contributed a significant body of public relations theory and/or research that enhances understanding of behavioral public relations and whose work is available to scholars and professionals through academic and professional outlets.  

In his research, Kim investigates “public behavior” and its implications for social dynamics from a communication perspective. He has theorized on lay citizens’ communicative actions in individual life and in response to social problems. He applies his theories, such as the situational theory of problem solving, to the fields of public relations, strategic communication, health communication, public diplomacy, and corporate and government communication. The founder of the Debiasing and Lay Informatics (DaLI) lab, Kim is currently working to conceptualize the communicative-cognitive interface of lay publics in personal and social problems. His work identifies both opportunities and challenges generated by lay publics and how their communicative actions either contribute to or detract from a civil society. 




Project Nebula to Launch Space-Themed 4X Strategy Collectible Game on ICON Blockchain

Project Nebula introduces NFTs representing planets that players can claim, trade, and sell through its in-game marketplace 

CommPRO Editorial Staff

ICON, one of the world’s largest decentralized networks, will support the upcoming desktop and mobile browser-based collectible strategy game Project Nebula. Project Nebula is a space-themed 4X strategy game featuring NFTs representing planets that players can claim, trade, and sell through an in-game marketplace. Project Nebula will launch its “Planet Presale” on October 28, 2020.

Project Nebula includes elements from the 4X gaming genre including open exploration, research, and resource management. Players can discover and collect unique planets, artifacts, and more in an ever-expanding gameplay universe. 

“Blockchain and gaming communities haven’t even scratched the surface of how the synergy between those two communities can exponentially enhance their mutual experiences. By supporting this immersive game, we hope to showcase that potential,” said ICON Project Founder Min Kim. 

Each planet in Project Nebula bears its own unique designs and attributes that determine how useful and powerful they will be within the game, but collecting in Project Nebula goes lightyears beyond planets. Designed and orchestrated specifically for the game by various artists, collectible artwork and soundtracks blanket these new expanses and are ready to be added into player’s collections. 

“With Project Nebula, we wanted to reimagine blockchain-based gaming with a fun, visually appealing and immersive experience,” said Holger Sundja, Project Nebula Developer. “So that was our starting point: focus first on a visually beautiful and very engaging game, and see how a strong blockchain like ICON might help support that.”

Launched in 2017, ICON is one of the world’s largest decentralized networks and the most well-known blockchain project in South Korea. 

To learn more about Project Nebula and its Planet Presale, please click here.




Brave New Coin to Power Perpetual Swap Futures on LEVERJ Derivatives Exchange

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Decentralized derivatives exchange LEVERJ has announced the launch of perpetual swap futures powered by Brave New Coin, a digital asset data infrastructure company. Trading for ETH-USD and BTC-USD perpetual swap futures contracts are now live on LEVERJ, allowing for up to 100x leverage.

LEVERJ is powered by Gluon.network, a purpose-built sidechain created for scaling Ethereum. Its native token, also announced today, is the $L2 governance token. The $L2 governance token is a key piece in helping Gluon become fully decentralized and community-owned over the next few months.

Launched by Wall Street veterans from J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs, LEVERJ is designed to perform like traditional financial exchanges while maintaining the critical function of security. LEVERJ is completely self-custodial by design, meaning that users always control their private keys and funds.

LEVERJ runs on Gluon, the only Layer 2 solution purpose-built for high-frequency trading. Gluon is designed to address Ethereum’s scaling issues, offering sub-second trading with zero gas fees. Originally created for the sole purpose of powering LEVERJ, industry demand for a fast and reliable Layer 2 solution has prompted the team behind Gluon to allow any DeFi project to utilize its network. Gluon has undergone rigorous third-party auditing and testing, and will soon introduce its full network and grants to power the ecosystem’s growth.

“Gluon technology is light years ahead of ZK Rollups and Optimistic Rollups, which have significant drawbacks in terms of cost and user experience.”

Earlier this year, LEVERJ partnered with Brave New Coin to ensure a full product pipeline for its fast, secure decentralized derivatives exchange. The companies are working together to introduce several derivatives products along with sub-sector specific tradable products like a DeFi index, privacy coin index, volatility indices and much more.

“Decentralized exchanges have until now lacked the sophistication, speed and security to draw big-time investors — that all changes with LEVERJ and Gluon,” said Fran Strajnar, CEO of Brave New Coin. “We’re pleased to collaborate with LEVERJ to provide perpetual swaps and other products which will help demonstrate Gluon’s groundbreaking technology for traders.”

Source: Blockchain Wire




Chainstack to Ensure Easy Access to Cordite Digital Currency XDC

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Chainstack and Cordite Society have announced a partnership to make Cordite XDC nodes available to enterprises and innovators of any size through the Chainstack’s turnkey blockchain managed services platform. XDC is a revolutionary finance grade, enterprise ready and regulatory friendly digital currency, the first one to be built on the Corda Network public blockchain.

Today’s announcement quickly follows yesterday’s launch of XDC by the Cordite Society Ltd, a co-operative society registered in the UK which leverages the existing UK legal structures for mutual societies to operate a digital currency, providing the first onshore legal structure for decentralised finance (DeFi).

Membership of the co-operative is open, and to join members simply need to operate an open source Cordite XDC node on the public Corda Network, which can now be done in a few easy steps using Chainstack’s turnkey platform.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, the money supply of XDC can be increased over time by democratic vote of the co-operative members. Members vote on minting proposals using their Cordite XDC node and any new money supply minted is evenly distributed amongst the voting members. This can now be done in an intuitive way on Chainstack.

Richard Crook, Director of Cordite Society Limited, said: “We are delighted that Chainstack are offering hosting services for XDC. Chainstack has made it simple, intuitive, seamless and cost effective for members to run their XDC node.”

XDC sets out to improve on the failures of early cryptocurrencies – fixed supply, inefficient media of exchange, high transaction fees, and virtually non-existent unit of account. Thanks to XDC, financial institutions can now build enterprise-grade DeFi platforms, such as decentralised exchanges or automated liquidity provision, like Uniswap. XDC case study also demonstrates Corda’s suitability for building CBDCs and stablecoins as banks look for solutions in light of shifting regulatory environment.

While BCB Prime Services will provide OTC liquidity and custody services for XDC for their corporate and institutional clients, Chainstack will be the first blockchain managed service to enable low-code deployment of Cordite XDC nodes which are necessary for the voting on minting proposals of XDC tokens among other things.

Source: Blockchain Wire




Ken Jacobs Shares Nine Critical Leadership Traits for Today

Due to COVID19 it’s been more challenging than ever to lead: Our teams, our peers, our stakeholders, our leaders, and yes, ourselves. And it appears that these uncertain times will be here for a while longer.

As a result, the aforementioned groups are exhausted. You might be too.

But these times that can try people’s souls create your greatest leadership opportunity ever: The chance to become that effective leader that these groups need and want you to be, right now!

You don’t have to do it alone. I’ve created our second leadership e-Book, “Nine Critical Leadership Traits For Today”  to give you insights, strategies, and tips to empower you to navigate through these uncertain times, and whatever challenges may come your way as a leader.

They’re based on interviews I conducted with respected leaders, research I uncovered, and my own views about leadership honed over decades as an agency leader and leadership coach.

Just click on the icon on the above image to download your complimentary copy. I hope it brings you value and helps you on your path to more effective leadership.

Click here to register to for Ken’s new e-Book.

Looking for more reading on leadership? Find my first e-Book here.




What Place Should A Candidate’s Character Play In Voting For A Politician? My Appraisal Of A Few Presidents Character, And Why I Distrust Trump And Voted For Biden

How To Lose The Presidential Election, Again

(Author’s Note: This is the 11th in a series of political articles for CommPRO.biz that I’ll be writing leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column, I opine why I believe that voting only on policy matters can result in electing a flawed president.)

 Arthur Solomon

All during this election season, and those of the past, the subject that most dominates political talk are the issues that separate candidates.

What is hardly mentioned is the character of a candidate. (Oxford Dictionaries definition of character: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.) 

This year’s election is unique. A candidate’s moral values might be the deciding factor in who people elect. But as in past elections to many voters it doesn’t mean beans.

As an individual whose first job in public relations was with what today would be called a boutique PR firm, I know that for many political operatives’ character and issues mean very little. What matters to those operatives are who they are currently working for. Like large service firms who might have staff working for opposing interests, some political firms have staffers who work for Republican and Democratic candidates, proving for them it’s the money that counts, not the moral fiber of the candidates.

But, in my opinion, not taking into consideration a candidate’s character can lead to disastrous outcomes.

The first presidential campaign I worked on was for Richard Nixon. I thought many of his policies were what the country needed signing into law the civil rights act of 1970 that extended voting rights protection to  minorities, launching a war on cancer, initiating or approving the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Water Pollution Control Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Consumer Affairs, Amtrak and “revenue sharing” with local governments. Today, he’d be called a socialist or worse by the current Republican president.

I still believe that Nixon’s political accomplishments would have given him a place among the greatest of our presidents – except for one important reason: A lack of character. And to me that’s important because candidate’s who lack principles are willing to win at any cost, even destroying their perceived enemies with false accusations, as Nixon and Joe McCarthy did. As a young politician in California Nixon threw around the word “subversive” as frequently as a chef in a diner flips a hamburger. Winning at all costs mattered to him. As president, he had his “enemies list,” which included names of his political opponents and, of course, his involvement in the Watergate affair, which led to his resignation.

Even though I supported many of Nixon’s political stances, would I have been a fan of his if I knew about his character flaws – I don’t think so, because I believe that a candidate who wants to win at any cost is as dangerous as having a tiger as a house pet. You never know when it will decide not to like you.

Contrasting Nixon was President Jimmy Carter, whose presidency in terms of accomplishment was zero, when compared to Nixon’s. But Carter has one attribute that Nixon, whose character changed according to the phases of the moon, lacked.  Carter had character. Whether you agreed with him on political matters or not, and I am not a fan of his administration, you knew that he wouldn’t stick a knife in your back if you disagreed with him. The same goes for President Barack Obama, an obsession with our current characteristically-flawed president.

But that’s history. In a few days most of the nation’s voters will go to the polls. Will character play a part for whom they cast a ballot? Probably not for too many voters. In my opinion it should.

Here’s why:

Trump: During my lifetime I have met what I call “users and givers.” “Users” are people who are nice to you only when they think you can help them. “Givers” are people who excuse the actions of “users.” Thus, they are taken advantage of. President Trump, by his actions goes further than merely being a “user.” It’s impossible to classify his personality with one word because he’s an egotistical, narcissistic, egomaniacal, narrow-minded, self-interested flawed person. In addition, he has a “continuous lying personality disorder,” to coin a phrase. And don’t take my word that he can’t be trusted. Just google the list of people who he has fired or disparaged because they had the audacity, in his flawed mind, to not agree with him. 

When he was asked if re-elected he would do anything different by Savannah Guthrie during the October 15 town hall, he said, he did nothing wrong. “I’ve done a great job. We have the strongest economy in the world. We closed it up. We are coming around the corner. The vaccines are coming out soon, and our economy is strong. We are at a level with jobs like we’ve never been before. We’ve rebuilt our military. We’ve rebuilt our borders. We had no borders. We had no nothing. We’ve rebuilt so much. We’ve given you the greatest tax cut in the history of our country. Greatest regulation cut, equally as important. And we created new levels of jobs that nobody thought was possible. And next year is going to be better than ever before.” Trump’s answer includes so many lies that’s enough of a reason to vote against him. (Check out the facts of what he said. Don’t take the word of your favorite pundit. And you’ll see for yourself his lies.)

Trump cannot be trusted. That was reason enough for me to vote against hm.

Biden: In contrast to Trump, Biden, over the years, has shown that he is a good, caring, empathic person. As someone who has had to overcome a stuttering problem he gives his personal telephone number to others who stutter to try to help them. And after the October 15 town hall, instead of rushing off the stage once the cameras were turned off, he remained behind to answer questions from the audience who hadn’t had the opportunity to question him during the telecast. While I disagree with some of his political decisions in the past, he is not afraid to say that he was wrong, unlike Trump who throughout his town hall showed that despite the evidence showing he was wrong about the coronavirus, refused to admit he made a mistake and still will not admit that he was ever wrong about anything. But being empathetic is not enough of a reason to vote for a candidate. Unlike Trump, Biden’s policy proposals will help the great majority of Americans. Trump’s helps the wealthiest.

Biden has demonstrated time-and time again that he has the character trait that should be most important to voters – he can be trusted.  

With Biden you know what you will get as president. With Trump, his four years show what you will get if he is re-elected – me first government.

The two most flawed presidents during my lifetime are Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, but there is no comparison between the two. Nixon did what he though was best for the country; Trump does what he thinks is best for himself.

That’s why even though Joe Biden was not my first choice for president, or my second or third either, I enthusiastically voted for him. By his actions he has shown that he can be trusted. He has character. Trump doesn’t and can’t be trusted.

I’m not the only person who believes that a candidate’s character should be considered before voting. Never before have so many hundreds of former government workers, some at the highest levels, including important Republican officials and high-ranking military officers, have publicly thrown their support to a political candidate. It’s not that they approve of Biden’s policies. It’s because that they believe that a president without moral values is a danger to the country. And so do I.


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.




Richard Levick – Tell Me Why I’m Stupid

 

It was a few weeks after a team of us had been stationed on Water Street, in New York’s financial district, for AIG for most of 2008 and 2009, during the financial meltdown. I had gone to Ho Chi Minh City for three days to attend a meeting of the World Economic Forum Partnership Against Corruption and returned to Manhattan for a day, thinking that I might get some sleep, when a call came in from a lawyer I did not know from the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop. It was the first night after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the law firm wanted to know if I could be in Houston in the morning for a competitive pitch.

One of our trademarked tag lines is “Always on” and while it is an honor to fulfill this pledge, it can be tiring at times. Overnight, one of our teams prepared a 70-plus page briefing book analyzing the media over the first 24 hours of the Gulf oil spill. I arrived in Houston in time to print out multiple copies prior to the early morning meeting. The Japanese conglomerate involved by investment in the oil spill needed to make a decision quickly. Within the hour we were hired and went straight into war room footing.

Because this was known as the “BP oil spill,” other involved companies – Halliburton, Anadarko and the Japanese company we represented, among others, had extra hours, even a day or two, to prepare before the lights turned on us. By day two in the war room, Pillsbury’s lead lawyer on the matter, Tom Campbell, had identified all of the possible state and federal liabilities, which at the time, amounted to $2 billion.

He then laid out a legal strategy in which he said he thought could save the company $1 billion and asked if anyone in the virtual war room – investor relations (Tokyo had a shareholders meeting in ten days’ time), government relations, brand, HR, sales, inside legal, communications, etc. – had a better plan, a way to save the company more than a billion dollars in liability. Whoever had the best plan would control the strategy and the rest of the divisions and interests of the company would become secondary.

Knowing how fast crises move and how intimidating and challenging it is to make an argument betting the corporate farm on your perception of the future, Tom didn’t just ask for arguments better than his, he asked the team to “Tell me why I’m stupid?” For a lawyer, let alone an American lawyer, to say out loud to a Japanese company, where shame is so sensitive, to be shown why he could be wrong and to be inviting this criticism in real time, was among the most courageous things I have ever witnessed in high-profile global crises. He knew his view was probably right but was entirely open and inviting contrary views in as humble and vulnerable way as he could.

Often, when brand, communications, GR, IR, PR and legal are at cross purposes, as they almost always are at some point in bet-the-company crises, crisis leaders (often, though not always, lawyers) are fighting for control. But in crisis, the issue – legal, GR, IR, brand, HR – that has the greatest to lose or gain, must lead, with every other division of the company being willing to sacrifice. If legal liability is the most threatening to the company, then short-term stock price, a product, executive or brand value can be sacrificed. If brand is the most valuable asset in jeopardy, then the possibility of an adverse legal ruling can become part of the acceptable cost. You cannot just ask people for contrary views when doing this calculus. You have to invite them with the most sincere and most direct plea. Tom’s “Tell me why I’m stupid” are still my favorite five words ever uttered during crisis response. It cuts through the clutter and gets to the bottom line quickly.

That is why I recently had Tom on In House Warrior. He’s a visionary whose humility ensures that the client’s goals stay uppermost in mind. He puts on his binoculars and takes a look at crisis communications in this challenging age and discusses what’s next. It’s a great half hour and I hope you will enjoy the program as much as I did.

Listen to the podcast

Richard Levick




Ocean Spray – Moving Aside To Let Consumers Drive

Dr. David Hagenbuch, Ethicist and Professor of Marketing, Messiah University, Author of Honorable Influence, Founder of MindfulMarketing.org 

It was a frightening experience.  After driving around the parking lot for a few hours, we turned onto the main road, which I had been on many times before, but now 40 mph seemed like 80, and my whole body tensed as cars whizzed by in the opposite direction.  I was afraid because I was a passenger, teaching one of our children to drive.  I wasn’t in control of the car, they were.  I wonder if Ocean Spray has felt similar fear during its rapid Tik Tok ride.

In a social-media-driven world, marketers increasingly face a dilemma:  Should they keep communication control or slide into the passenger seat and allow someone with no professional experience and little company commitment drive their promotional strategy?  That’s the question Ocean Spray has had to answer as a longboard-riding, selfie-stick-toting Idaho potato worker unexpectedly drove the firm into pop culture prominence.

Nathan Apodaca wasn’t well-known before he posted the 25-second Tik Tok clip of himself skateboarding to work, while lip-syncing to the Fleetwood Mac classic “Dreams,” and sipping from a 64 oz. bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice.  However, the video went viral, gaining over 46 million views and almost 8 million likes, while also grabbing mainstream media attention from the likes of CNN to NPR.

Meanwhile, the cranberry cooperative from Middleboro, MA must have been asking itself, “What just happened?” and “How do we handle it?”

When you think of food companies with conservative product lines, there aren’t many more staid than Ocean Spray.  It’s not Nantucket Nectars or Snapple with their overabundance of very creative drink concoctions.  The majority of Ocean Spray’s juices, as well as many of its other products contain cranberries, which seem positioned somewhere between raisins and prunes and probably appeal more to ‘mature’ than to youthful palettes.

Case in point, I’m a member of Gen X whose beverage repertoire happens to be boring—I drink little besides water, but I do have a glass of Ocean Spray Cran-Grape juice every day.  All that to say, I suspect much of the company’s revenue comes from other mundane middle-agers-or-olders like me.  I doubt those in Ocean Spray’s target market are heavy users of Tik Tok, which makes the firm’s reaction to its sudden social media fame even more remarkable.

 

 

However, Ocean Spray didn’t jump on Apodaca’s longboard immediately; instead, it ‘took a beat’ for over a week, which in social media time can seem like an eternity.  Still, positive public reaction suggests that the company’s move was ‘lit’—not sure if I’m using that term correctly.

The firm first did its homework and found that Apodaca wasn’t simply someone aiming for internet fame or a corporate payday.  He was a hard-working father, living in a mobile home, whose pickup truck died on the way to his job at the potato factory.  Rather than miss work, Apodaca pulled the skateboard from his truck, jumped on and, with hydration in hand, began cruising toward the plant.  Videoing himself was a spontaneous thought, brought on by the “Dreams” tune and a desire to capture the uniquely ‘chill’ moment.

Ocean Spray, in turn, captured the hearts of the nation and beyond by gifting the stunned Apodaca a new cranberry red Nissan pickup truck, packed with a generous cache of the company’s products.

Meanwhile, Tik Tok parodies have proliferated.  Those grabbing a bottle of Ocean Spray and skateboarding to the sound of “Dreams” have included legendary Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, Ocean Spray CEO Tom Hayes, and lieutenant governor of Montana and governor candidate Mike Cooney.

From surprising Apodaca with a new truck to filming their CEO’s own Tik Tok tribute, it seems like Ocean Spray did everything right, but one could also argue that the company was living dangerously by jumping on the Tik Tok longboard, for three reasons:

1. Skateboarding Spills: From the first time I saw Apodaca’s Tik Tok, I wondered about the safety.  Since my own skateboarding experience was very limited and decades ago, I ‘let it ride,’ until I had an opportunity to ask those in a college class their opinions.

One student, Jordan, said he uses an E-skate (electric skateboard) to commute to campus.  While he acknowledged the freedom that some enjoy from riding unencumbered, he was quick to call Apodaca’s approach “ill-advised” because of:  multiple distractions (juice, music, camera), no protective equipment, and proximity to fast-moving traffic.  He also showed a nasty scrape he sustained from a recent spill, even while wearing a helmet and reinforced leather gloves.

But, why should Ocean Spray worry about any such accidents?  It would be tragic to read the headline:  “Car Kills Teen Doing Ocean Spray Tik Tok Parody.”  Yes, people will mimic Apodaca regardless what Ocean Spray does, but the company’s support of the viral celeb and its own CEO’s imitation could be construed as support for the act and its disregard for danger.

2. Unknown Endorser:  Most of the time, famous spokespeople work out well for their sponsors, largely because celebrities are ‘known commodities’ who have been living in the public spotlight for years.  Even then, though, there are times when a celebrity’s poor choices sour the promotional partnership, e.g., Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte in Brazil.

When an ordinary person suddenly rises from obscurity to become the face of a brand, there is increased risk related to an unknown history and uncertainty how he/she might act going forward, both of which could lead to another very undesirable headline, e.g., “BREAKING NEWS:  Ocean Spray Spokesman Apodaca . . .”

3. Brand Confusion:  In keeping with the prior point, brands carefully choose their spokespeople and dozens of other identity-defining elements in order to position themselves precisely where they’d like to be in consumers’ minds relative to the competition.  Allowing whoever happens to shoot a viral video of themself become the face of one’s brand seems like a pretty nonstrategic approach.

If Ocean Spray wants to move its image in the direction of ‘younger,’ ‘carefree,’ and possibly even ‘irreverent,’ the Tik Tok tie-in works.  If not, embracing the viral video could create some cognitive dissonance when consumers attempt to interpret it in light of the company’s other marketing communication.

However, the three cautions above must be interpreted against the reality that Ocean Spray really had to do something.  Not acknowledging the viral video would have made the company seem ungrateful, not to mention completely out of touch.

Even though Ocean Spray didn’t ask for Apodaca’s promotional help, the right thing to do was to reward him for the enormous exposure he created for the brand.  When someone shows you kindness, you thank them; and, if you’re a company with the resources of Ocean Spray, you do more.

In deciding how much gratitude ($$$) to show, company management may have wondered whether the Tik Tok-driven sales uptick would last.  As parodies focus on other things, the firm’s revenue will relapse, but probably not entirely.  Some of its newly-won market share may last, as operant conditioning suggests:  At least some people who never had Ocean Spray before shooting their own video probably tried it, liked it, and will buy it again.

Similarly, the entire Tik Tok episode may have the effect of lowering the bottom end of Ocean Spray’s age demographic, which is something almost any brand would like.  At some point, every organization must appeal to the next generation; otherwise, it goes to the grave with an ever-aging target market.

Still, were these rewards worth the three risks outlined above?  My cautious answer is—Yes.

First, the idea of Ocean Spray implicitly endorsing Apodaca’s somewhat dangerous ride is mitigated by the fact that his truck broke down and he was just trying to get to work.  It wasn’t a thrill ride for the sake of social media shares.  Plus, company CEO Hayes and others have modeled safer and still-satisfying Tik Tok tributes.

Second, should anything unseemly surface from Apodoca’s past or taint his future brand ambassadorship, Ocean Spray could easily pull the plug on the affiliation.  Likewise, knowing Apodaca’s situation and the impromptu circumstances under which the relation was formed, the public probably would give some grace to both the individual and the organization.

Third, most of the people who could potentially experience brand confusion from Ocean Spray’s positioning pivot probably aren’t on Tik Tok anyway.  That media/demographic separation combined with what will likely be a relatively short shelf-life for the video, should mean that traditional perceptions of the brand remain largely intact.

I still enjoy the control of being behind the wheel.  I don’t mind, though, when someone else drives, as long as I feel safe and I have some input into where we’re going.  Marketers increasingly need to know when to slip into the passenger seat, yet continue to influence the way to the destination, all while someone with less promotional experience drives.

Like Ocean Spray, those who can successfully navigate that unique balance are on the road to “Mindful Marketing.”


About the Author: Dr. David Hagenbuch is a Professor of Marketing at Messiah University, the author of Honorable Influence, and the founder MindfulMarketing.org, which aims to encourage ethical marketing.




6 Tips to Help Deal with Depression

 

Paolina Milana, Author & Founder of MadnessToMagic.com

October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. And this week is also National Health Education Week (NHEW) when we turn our attentions to increasing awareness on major public health issues and promoting a better understanding of them and how to deal with them. 

Depression, or feeling depressed, is something we all most likely have experienced at one time or another.

Let’s face it. Sometimes, life seems too much. Despite doing our best every day — juggling our personal and professional lives, taking care of our families and making sure we deliver on our boss’ expectations – for some reason, it’s just never enough. There’s always something else to be done, someone else to take care of, or that thing we did do, but we could have done better. It isn’t, necessarily, as if something is terribly wrong. Heck, our jobs aren’t in jeopardy — as a matter of fact, we may even be considered a rock star at work. And our loved ones may not have a clue about how we’re feeling, after all, we keep the household humming, and make sure that from the outside in, we look as if we’re doing better than fine. 

But inside, we may be feeling buried, burnt out, and the very opposite of okay.

Sure. We all go through times when we feel sad. It’s part of being human. Social media often exacerbates those feelings, as we see everyone else’s happy posts partying and living their lives seemingly carefree. And with today’s politics, environmental crises, and other headlining news, it only compounds those feelings of doom and gloom. There are times when, for very good reason — maybe our beloved pet has died or we’ve suffered a broken heart or we’ve just lost a job – we find ourselves sobbing and lower than low. And then there are days when, often for no reason, we find ourselves in a funk. 

Sadness in life is normal. As George Burns said while playing the Almighty in the 1980 comedy Oh, God!: “You ever see a front without a back? A top without a bottom? An up without a down? There can’t be good without bad, life without death, pleasure without pain. That’s the way it is. If I take sad away, happy has to go with it.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it? BUT it’s when that sadness becomes excessive that we may be in a DEPRESSION and in need of a bit more help.

Not wanting to get out of bed, having no energy, finding no joy in anything, feeling hopeless, and basically coming to the conclusion that there’s no point to anything, so “why bother?”: These are signs that DEPRESSION has decided to room with you, and for how long is anybody’s guess.

With COVID and our continued quarantine and social distancing, our feelings of loneliness may also be growing and contributing to our DEPRESSION. Online chats and those ZOOM calls may force us to make an appearance, but only for a brief time – enough to “fake it” and crawl back to bed when it’s over. Feeling lonely tends to not only harm us psychologically, but also physically by increasing blood pressure, weakening our immune systems, and more. And that compounds our state of DEPRESSION. Humans were not meant to be islands unto themselves. 

So with all of this coming at us, what can we do if we’re the ones finding ourselves in a DEPRESSION? And what can we do if we’re noticing others exhibiting signs of it? Here are six tips to help deal with depression: 

  1. Asking for help is priority number one in kicking DEPRESSION to the curb. Don’t continue to suffer in silence. It’s takes a lot of courage and strength to ask for help. Take your power back by talking to your doctor or connecting with one of the reputable therapists online. 
  2. Never utter these words to yourself or to anyone else: “Get over it”; or “It’s all in your head” – These are some of the most destructive phrases used in response to DEPRESSION. Instead, show yourself some compassion. And when it comes to others, especially those who always seem as if they’ve got it together, pay attention and ask them how they’re feeling – how they’re really feeling. Don’t be so quick to accept the casual “fine” and move on. We only have to look at the shocking suicides of highly accomplished and successful people including Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and Robin Williams to realize that DEPRESSION does not discriminate and that the seemingly strongest among us may be in need of help
  3. Take a walk through memory lane. But this time, don’t just focus on the less-than-happy moments of your past. Write it all down. The bad and the good. Because when you do, you’ll realize that you feeling DEPRESSED right now is okay, and it won’t last. You weren’t always this way and you won’t always be this way. Just as those experiences of pure happiness didn’t last, so, too, will your current experiences of DEPRESSION. So take some time to look back at old photos or what music or movies were popular a decade ago. Put yourself back to a time when you remember how much you loved bike rides or gardening or bubble baths. Let yourself feel your own moments of joy from the past, then take a baby step and do just one of them. Remember who you are by revisiting the things you once loved to do and by getting back to playing by your own rules. Stay with those moments for even just a few minutes each day, and then increase those minutes daily. 
  4. Pet a fur baby for some great therapy. A dog, cat, bird, even a goldfish can help us feel less alone and less DEPRESSED. If you can manage caring for a creature, consider adopting one that needs a home. If you can’t, volunteer to walk a dog in your neighborhood or offer to play with the pets at your local animal shelter. You’ll be doing a great service to these animals and, in doing so, lessening your own feelings that aren’t serving you now. 
  5. Put a pin in it. We all worry about falling apart. There’s such stigma attached to being anything less than okay when it comes to our emotional or mental health. But if you’re exhausted and tired and DEPRESSED and – like a little kid – need a time out, then take it. Don’t end it. Tell your boss or your trusted friend or your family member or your doctor that you need a nap. The only way you won’t recharge and rise again is if you keep it all in and to yourself and have a mindset of all or nothing. That is when you are at risk of suffocating and no longer finding your way out of DEPRESSION. Put yourself on pause, and know you don’t have to go it alone.

Stop “Should-ing” on yourself. Those “shoulda, woulda, couldas” can make us feel a kind of regret that’s toxic. Ask yourself if doing that is helping or hurting? You know that it’s the latter. So cut yourself a break and be at peace with the fact that whatever happened in the past is exactly what was meant to happen. Use it to propel you forward. Get back to living your life like a kid again – in the moment and enjoying the journey. Tap into my book Seriously! Are We THERE Yet?! and let it help you remember who you are and how to live life as it was meant to be. 




Using Social Science to Explain the Behavior of Trump and His Followers

Author’s note: This article reflects my interview with John Dean about his and Bob Altemeyer’s book, Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers. I was unable to speak with other sources or people from the Trump or Biden camps, so this article is not intended to be a complete analysis of the extremely broad topic. Rather, I hope that readers will digest this thoroughly and, on whichever side of the aisle you may sit, feel the irrepressible urge to vote.


Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

I recently had the chance to speak with John W. Dean, former White House counsel for President Richard Nixon, who testified before Congress during the Watergate scandal and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

In January 2020, The Hill reported that Dean’s lengthy statement was a devastating indictment of President Nixon. At the time, Senator Howard Baker wanted to prove Dean wrong and asked, “My primary thesis is still, what did the president know, and when did he know it?”

Now, with the presidential election only two weeks away, this same question, with logical corollaries, has been repeatedly posed to Trump about his last negative COVID-19 test. What did he know? When did he know it? Did he knowingly expose big money donors to the virus without warning them of the potential health risks? To date, there’s been no response.

Other unanswered questions on a broader scale are, why the CDC’s request for contact tracing was denied, why medical experts and public health guidance are being ignored, why the virus is spiking, and how masks and social distancing have become a political positioning statement rather than the basic health safeguards that they are?

Beyond COVID concerns, there’s widespread social unrest, a sharp divide between whites and people of color and the panoply of frequently discussed issues that have characterized this presidency: healthcare, fake news, conspiracy theories, the economy, climate change and the future of democracy.

In Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers, Dean and Bob Altemeyer analyze the social science behind authoritarianism to explain the President’s rise to power, what drives his actions and why his base continues to be faithful to him despite actions which, in another time may have been considered egregious offenses for someone holding the esteemed office.

I asked Dean if he thought his book would change people’s minds. “People are locked in. By and large, we’re not going to change their minds, but we want to inform people and urge them to get out and vote,” he said.

Like clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, the authors analyze Trump’s moral upbringing, his schooling, personality, his business dealings and his uniquely loyal supporters.

Altemeyer is the author of The Authoritarians and Enemies of Freedom: Understanding Right-Wing Authoritarianism. His body of 40 years of research on the psychological makeup of authoritarian leaders and followers, his development of the Right Wing Authoritarian (RWA) test and scale and his concentration on authoritarianism have made him a leading expert in the field.

Dean, of course, has first-hand experience about the inner workings of the White House, specifically during the Nixon presidency, the Watergate scandal and decades in politics which he covers in his books: Blind Ambition: The White House Years, Lost Honor: The Rest of the Story, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush and Conservatives Without Conscience.

Together, the authors’ combined expertise attempts to show us how to make sense of Trump’s base. Their research centers around three different types of authoritarian personalities:

  • Social Dominators who are determined to gain power;
  • Authoritarian Followers who are fearful and blindly follow leaders who they believe will protect them and
  • Double Highs who are a combination of the most disturbing traits of dominators and followers.

A core test utilized in the book is Altemeyer’s Right-Wing authoritarian scale created in the 1980s. To more closely represent registered voters for the 2020 election, Dean, Altemeyer and the Monmouth University Polling Institute worked together in late 2019 to include questions in a nationwide survey of 1,000 registered voters.

The goal was to identify respondents with authoritarian tendencies including extreme conservative values, radical progressiveness, prejudices, religious fundamentalism, evangelism and others.

The authors relied on social science findings and psychological diagnostic tools including the “Power Mad Scale” and the “Con Man Scale” as well as analysis from the Monmouth University Polling Institute. They uncover the attitudes and behaviors that characterize social dominators such as: opposition to authority, amoral tendencies, high prejudice, desire for personal power and behaviors that are manipulative, dishonest, intimidating and bullying.

Interestingly, the findings were assimilated in 2005 by Dean before he even knew of Trump. With the caveat that surveys can be biased or reveal overgeneralizations, Dean concluded that Trump’s followers tend to be people who lack critical thinking skills, possess compartmentalized thinking, use double standards and are ethnocentric, dogmatic and militant in their views.

The first half of Trump’s presidency was dominated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 election, which ended in 2019 when the Mueller Report was sent to General William Barr.

On April 26, 2019, Dean met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while he was well into analyzing Trump’s behavior for the project. He told Pelosi, “Madam Speaker, Donald Trump is a public version of the private Richard Nixon. These men are authoritarian personalities. You can count on Trump engaging in worse behavior than that which Mueller reported, and that behavior may call out for impeachment, which will be appropriate.”

At that time, Trump and former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani were allegedly involved in a scheme to extort the newly elected President of Ukraine. Trump was, of course, acquitted by the Senate, with the vote predictably following party lines with the notable exception of Senator Mitt Romney.

This is only one example of the many scandals that have occurred. With the election fast approaching, the authors describe several possible tactics that Trump will likely use and continue to use in the final weeks of his re-election campaign:

  • Fear and loathing
  • Smearing Biden
  • Creating Democratic disarray
  • Targeting the undecideds
  • Suppressing voters
  • Undermining validity of mail-in voting

Four more years of President Trump will see the destruction of the Constitution as the foundation of our country. He and his authoritarian supporters will have undercut and overpowered the protections against absolute rule that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and the other founders of the United States fought for.

It was the overriding goal to keep the country from ever having a king. Yet, a re-elected Donald Trump in 2021 would feel as powerful as James I, who believed he was appointed by God, or Louis XIV, who simply said, ‘I am the State.’

The authors leave us with an urgent plea:

This November 2020 is the biggest election of our lives. The Constitution, the rule of law and American democracy. America has not stood so clearly at a fork since the 1860s. The route laid out by our founders is clearly marked. The other road has dangerous signs of leading us in that direction.

We all have a rendezvous with destiny once again to see if our government of the people, by all the people, and for all the people that will cherish from the earth.


#SXSW - Wendy GlavinAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B2C marketing communications, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: wendy@wendyglavin.com

 




Sheriff’s Association Teaches Teens the Proper Principles of Driving Safely

Stephen Owsinski 

With the reopening of school districts and while relatively typical curriculums in high schools are navigated as best possible, teens on the precipice of “driver education” coursework/credits are receiving a helping hand to steer them in the right direction as they embark behind the wheel of an automobile. Although some high schools have driving instructors on payroll, another highly skilled source pitches in to teach youngsters safe/legal motor vehicle operations: Law enforcement officers.

What a fantastic way to usher in/recognize #TeenDriverSafetyWeek!

In Florida, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) teamed up with the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) and forged a program/unit of LEOs to spend time with upper-level high-schoolers and professionally indoctrinate students in driver education: Traffic laws, road safety, vehicle operations/control, pedestrian presence, distracted driving, automobile engineering/physics, highway safety statistics, unsafe driver behaviors, and all things mobile (to include cell phones).

Especially geared to young minds electronically dialed in to social media and its inherent distractions, MCSO deputies walk students through some of their own pointed PSAs regarding “texting while driving.”

Published on the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office page is the following announcement: “It’s National #TeenDriverSafetyWeek and a great time to discuss the importance of safe driving practices with the young drivers in your life. We are honored to be able to offer the Teen Driver Challenge program for teens in Manatee County thanks to support of the Florida Sheriffs Association which provides 10 hours of hands-on instruction by MCSO Driving Instructors for free.”

And by “free,” they mean the publicly available brief educational videos on the MCSO YouTube channel as well as the in-person coppers (in-service instructors in red shirts) sharing their professional driving expertise that they typically drive into the minds of police cadets at the training academy. The police academy “emergency vehicle operations course” (EVOC) instructors —often comprised of active duty police officials— remain indelible for me. I garnered lessons and honed skills far beyond the rudimentary requirement in general driver’s ed curriculums. I had tons of fun in that training phase. (Incidentally, these youngsters will not be receiving that level of instruction, at least not until they officially endeavor their police career.)

 

 

And the Teen Driver Challenge program created by FSA and administered via the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office instructors is merely accounting of the program started in 2007, trumpeting its credo “Sheriffs Teaching Teen Driver Safety”:

 

 

To date, FSA’s Teen Driver program is applied in 40 of Florida’s 67 counties, and they travel to driver instruction sites equipped with “handy trailers that carry around our cones, drunk carts, drunk goggles and activity mats!” (Disclaimer: several orange cones kissed my bumper and/or hugged my undercarriage while EVOC training at the academy, so I know these kids may be sweating symptoms of the dreaded nagging cones.)

 

 

According to Florida Sheriffs Association Communications & Youth Services Coordinator Stephanie Ghazvini, the Teen Driver Challenge was born “to address the primary factors affecting teen drivers – speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting while driving and distracted driving. The program is offered at no cost to teen drivers” in Florida and is taught by sheriff’s deputies “licensed as commercial driving school instructors.” These are the EVOC instructors we mentioned above, well-versed red-shirted gurus of motor vehicle operations.

 

 

How popular is this free program? Typically, there aren’t enough instructors to accommodate the thousands of students who declare interest in enrollment. Ms. Ghazvini offered, “More than 2,000 students participate in a TDC course each year, with the demand for course participation often outweighing availability.”

As nightly news consumers know well, the pertinence and imperative nature of such a program is evinced by far too many reports of teen drivers becoming and/or causing fatalities. “According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Motor Vehicle Safety division, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. Roughly 25 to 30 percent of teen drivers will be involved in a crash within the first 12 months of getting their operator’s license,” the Florida Sheriffs Association cited…punctuated with, “The Teen Driver Challenge was created to help prevent Florida teens from becoming a statistic.”

As disclaimers and qualifiers go, the Florida Sheriffs Association clarifies, “The class will consist of lecture and driving experience” and that the Teen Driver Challenge “is not a supplemental or advanced driving course, it is a defensive driving program that covers various topics” such as “teen crash facts; knowing your vehicle; using your senses; vehicle dynamics; drug/alcohol use; aggressive driving and road rage; figure-8; threshold/emergency braking; backing; cornering; forward and reverse serpentine; off-road recovery; evasive maneuvers; skid control.”

Among many more, the aforementioned bevy of driver education principles are what police cadets learn while training at the police academy then employ while officially on duty; the kids get a decent dose of expert driving from expert drivers bolstered by a book of traffic laws. Moreover, this model provides excellent opportunity for cops and kids to come together, share time, bond well, and ensure likeminded dividends with respect to motoring safely and friendship throughout the lifespan.

Despite that it was not specifically mentioned, rest assured these selfless LEOs offering their time and expertise are setting the record straight on the Move Over Law. Still, drivers of all ages are not heeding the basic operation of moving over one lane when approaching an emergency vehicle with lighting activated, usually for traffic crash investigations and disabled motorists stranded on the shoulder (or perilously stalled in a travel lane like a sitting duck.)

Logically, parents and guardians of young teens prepping to learn driving can enjoy more peace of mind knowing that not only are their children learning from some of the best instructors on the planet but that they are in the company of the good guys/gals and befriending police officers ripe with education and experience, especially in the specific subject matter.

 

 

Funded by corporate sponsors and individual donors, the Teen Driver Challenge is a great vehicle to condition young minds poised at the starting gate. Even better when deployed by cops whose lives are heavily invested on the highways and byways.


About the Author: Stephen Owsinski is a retired law enforcement officer who today works closely with the National Police Association. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.




The Gap, Chevy Volt & SlimFast: Fading Consumer Brands Who Need Better PR

 

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR 

If there’s anything absolutely true about technology and consumer tastes is that these ‘demand factors’ evolve. Nothing is static, trends come and go, and new products are always working to phase out old household names, motivated by the whims of the market and the ingenuity of the industry power players. Both factors play into the trends negatively affecting these five consumer brands. 

The Gap

A casual observer might place the lion’s share of the blame for Gap’s slow slide into mediocrity on the long, slow fade of malls in general. There might be some truth to that, but the plain fact is, some “mall brands” are excelling, even as the shopping centers that once housed them are emptying. These brands have found a niche and a new way to attract consumer interest. Meanwhile, Gap stores are closing as younger consumers, the former core of Gap’s customer base, are describing Gap products as “boring” or “uninspiring” or lackluster.” These are not good terms if you are trying to capture the interest of younger demos. 

Kenmore

Once a powerhouse in the consumer appliance market, Kenmore is fading along with its former brand owner, Sears. It’s been a precipitous fall for what was once considered among the top of the line brands in the appliance market. Modern appliance manufacturers are shying away from putting the Kenmore brand on their products because customers just aren’t associating the name with “top quality” anymore. “Outdated, often forgotten,” some market watchers have described Kenmore as the “flip phone” of the smartphone era. While not necessarily outpaced in technology, from a consumer demand standpoint, the description is apt. 

The Chevy Volt

Electric cars were supposed to be the wave of the future. And, for some automakers, they have been… but the Volt is fast becoming the exception to that rule. As of March 2019, Chevrolet announced the company would no longer manufacture either the Volt or the subcompact Cruze sedan. The fact is, there were too many electric or hybrid vehicles on the market, and with the SUV and light truck markets making a comeback in an era of falling fuel prices, Chevy’s Volt didn’t do enough to turn enough heads to stay competitive. 

SlimFast

There was a time when consumers on a diet almost universally reached for SlimFast, but those days appear to be behind us. The fact is, most weight-conscious consumers these days are eating raw, going vegan, or trying keto, rather than trusting meal replacement shakes. In an effort to grab a more snack-happy consumer market, the brand tried selling cookies and protein bars, but those markets were too crowded for the brand to grab much attention. So, a brand that was purchased for $2.4 billion in 2000 sold a few years back for about $350 million. 

Kraft Singles

Ask just about anyone who was a kid in the 70s through the 90s, and they will fondly remember Kraft singles. It was a staple in millions of American households for generations, slapped on burgers hot off the grill or melted into hot grilled cheese sandwiches, and served with soup on cold winter days. Modern consumers want to eat “cleaner,” so they are opting for “real” cheese or “organic” dairy, rather than “processed cheese food.” Sharp cheddar may not melt as nicely on grilled cheese, but modern consumer choices are still trending in that direction. 

Targeted and effective consumer PR could help at least some of these brands turn their fortunes around. There was something consumers once wanted about these brands, and that could be something they still want if they are reminded in the right way. Alternatively, these brands could look within, find a way to shift with the market to get ahead of the trends. This begins and ends with effective market understanding and compelling consumer PR.


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




Kickstarter Campaign to Bring 500+ New Jobs by Thanksgiving

CommPRO Editorial Staff

We are giving Americans business owners an opportunity to have higher expertise without hiring; while meeting a much needed demand of an all-in-one client relationship solution for small business owners by creating a connection between vetted industry Pros and those who need their services.

Confer, a software as a service (SaaS) technology startup, is a revolutionary addition to the market during a time where working from home and for yourself has been revolutionized.

“We started Confer to connect people in a new way, offering our clients around the country a new type of personal connection using technology as a service,” remarked Paul Haley, CEO of Confer. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, this personal connection has gotten harder and harder to maintain and Confer was developed with this in mind. We want our ‘Conferees’ to be connected with their clients no matter where they are, and we believe in an easy to use interface built for service-based businesses.”

Confer is great for startups or small businesses who need a dedicated professional who specializes in HR, IT, Marketing, or Training & Development on an as needed basis.

Confer is for businesses needing guidance or looking for specific answers. It allows you to communicate with any of our Pros with UNLIMITED text, audio, or video messaging. Ask any questions you need and get answers within 24 hours or less.

Kickstarter campaign ends Saturday October 31, 2020. 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/confer/knowledge-sharing-as-a-service-ksaas




Happy 10th Anniversary to CommPRO’s Family 

 

We’re incredibly honored and proud of our global community with hundreds of gifted writers, insightful speakers, engaging event hosts and partners.

Thank you for your newsworthy, educational, thought-provoking, in-depth and original content that helps our subscribers stay ahead of emerging trends.

Our goal has always been to provide our readers with ideas to help them become more informed, creative and authentic. We welcome all content despite our personal views as it’s up to our readers to decide what matters to them.

Regardless of industry sector, background, experience, title, job, age, gender or role, we feel we can all learn from one another. Each conversation or debate that moves us forward encourages curiosity about others and respect for their views. 

We’re all living through difficult times and wanted to share 12 articles that help reinforce that we’re all in this together…

Some of the topics we’ve covered during our virtual events…

  • Conversations with American Legends: Civil Rights Leader Amb. Andrew Young – http://sumo.ly/14m9N
  • The Future of Communications: Discovering the Angels in Our Machines – http://sumo.ly/144OW
  • COVID-19: How Businesses And PR Agencies Are Handling the Crisis – http://sumo.ly/13Xpa
  • A Conversation with John Dean on His Newest Best-Seller, “Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers” – http://sumo.ly/14qtk
  • Trust on Trial: How Communicators Succeed in a World No Longer Trusted – http://sumo.ly/14sVg

And now, on to our loyal contributors…

In a world where “content is king,” we are all looking for trusted partners that are well optimized and highly distributed, where we can write what we believe without fear of doxing and attack. Into the breach stepped CommPRO ten years ago offering an ever expanding array of distributed content and a community of hundreds of thousands of professional communicators who want to read, digest and discuss what you have written. Add to that that Publisher Fay Shapiro is one of the kindest, easiest to work with and abundance mentality professionals in the industry and you have a partner for life. Whether its articles, podcasts or webinars, CommPRO and Fay Shapiro are here to help you instantly and powerfully communicate to a critical audience. CommPRO is indispensable for our clients and for LEVICK and is often where we go to begin campaigns and emphasize points of view. Quite frankly, I don’t know where we would be or the industry, if CommPRO didn’t exist .Richard S. Levick, Esq., Chairman & CEO, LEVICK


Congratulations to Fay and Michael on the 10th anniversary of CommPRO.biz.  Fay brings integrity, passion and her publishing savvy to her innovative content, professional development and community platform for the communications industry.  Michael contributes his editorial expertise. CommPRO.biz events, such as Truth on Trial, attract Washington insiders from across the political spectrum and influencers in media, technology and communications.  Here’s to another 10 years of CommPRO.biz growth. —Renée S. Edelman, SVP, Edelman


Congratulations to you on the 10th year anniversary of CommPRO.biz!  I am so, so proud of you and what you have accomplished in building a global community of 200,000 people and enlisting the support of 10,000 contributors to help you serve them. CommPRO’s success is the result of yes, your vision, indefatigable drive and tireless work, but it is in large part due to your generous spirit and desire to support others in achieving their goals and dreams.  This is what I love and admire most about you!  You once told me that your life purpose was “To be a fearless hunter of opportunities to help yourself and others succeed.” I believe you are absolutely living your life purpose and leveraging your talents, expertise and passion in service of others.  This is why you have and will always be successful.  I love the fearless, purpose-driven leader that you are! Here’s to the next successful decade for you and CommPRO! I know what you achieve in the next 10 years will exceed your wildest goals and dreams. — Patrice Tanaka, Founder, Chief Joy Officer, Joyful Planet LLC


Congratulations on CommPRO’s ten-year anniversary:)! It’s been such an incredible journey.  I appreciate having covered so many of your engaging and thought-provoking events and am honored to be surrounded by so many of my gifted peers. I admire your hard-work, warmth, unending support and your focus on others. It’s no wonder so many people love you, Fay. You’re truly one-of-kind. Michael, I’ve always enjoyed your insights and conversations. The platform you’ve both created years ago with webcasts, webinars and live events, was somewhat of an untapped niche.

Now, with daily virtual events, the two of you were way ahead of your time. I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring. I have no doubt it will be filled with more educational, inspiring and original content. —Wendy Glavin, CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency


Happy 10th year anniversary to CommPRO . Over the many years I’ve been honored to work with the team and the amazing Fay Shapiro!! CommPRO has amazing content, great events and is a market leader. May you continue to do great things for all of the communications community. — Ronn Torossian, Founder & CEO, 5W Public Relations


Congrats Fay and Michael! Terrific accomplishment, especially in our current, pandemic, crisis environment. Keep up the great work!. — Mike Paul, President, Reputation Doctor® LLC


Congratulations to CommPRO on its 10th anniversary. Capitol Communicator has worked with CommPRO for a number of years, including on major conferences we have conducted for public relations/public affairs professionals in the Mid-Atlantic. With the support, encouragement and involvement of CommPRO, we have been able to bring speakers with a national perspective to our events and, in the process, made these day-long conferences more meaningful to hundreds of communicators.  We look forward to many more years of working with CommPRO and congratulate Michael and Fay on reaching this meaningful milestone. Paul Duning, Co-Founder/Publisher, Capitol Communicator


CommPRO has grown to become our field’s most valued platform, for news, opinions and an exchange of good ideas. It is increasingly attracting some of the most important newsmakers of our times– like Andrew Young, John Dean, Brian Stelter–providing communicators a unique opportunity to share perspectives and listen to new ones.  All in all, CommPRO has opened up our world, and demonstrates every day the growing importance of communications in culture, politics and the history we’re making every day. — Shelley J. Spector, Founder, Museum of Public Relations


“CommPRO is an invaluable platform that has allowed the Nation Black Public Relations Society and so many others share their ideas, insights and strategies to a community that is eager to listen, learn and engage. Congrats to Fay and her team – and all the best for many, many more years of building this network.”  — Neil Foote, President, National Black Public Relations Society


Happy 10th year anniversary to CommPRO  and the beyond fabulous Fay Shapiro!! Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute several articles on communications and personal branding which received great play.  CommPRO’s events feature top-notch communication professionals and are always relevant and insightful.  I’m grateful to have participated in several  events.  My all-time favorite was having the honor to be part of a round table with Harold Burson, renowned founder of Burson-Marsteller.  Fay is ALL about uniting communications professionals and is a true talent.  Thanks for your many contributions to the communications industry and I look forward to continuing to be part of this unique community.—Stacey Cohen, President & CEO, Co-Communications


Congrats, Fay.  Here’s wishing you great success and rewards for the next ten years.  You have made substantial contributions to the PR industry and you deserve all the accolades you’re getting. — Art Stevens, Managing Partner, The Stevens Group


Congratulations on CommPRO’s 10th anniversary.  You were able to create a niche among the giants and you were able to stay the course where many couldn’t.  Through your hard work and perseverance CommPRO has become a must-read for the public relations, marketing, and integrated marketing communities.  Keep up the great work and here’s to the next 10 years. I am reminded of an old Arabic saying, “the person who knows the word hope, does not know the word impossible.”Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D., Founder and Director, Professor and Hederman Lecturer, Magazine Innovation Center, School of Journalism and New Media, The University of Mississippi


Congratulations on 10 years of positive impact, CommPRO.  I’ve appreciated your many contributions, including timely industry news, best practice articles, and meaningful professional development opportunities.  I am especially grateful for your consideration of issues involving corporate social responsibility and ethics, which are increasingly important for our world.Dr. David Hagenbuch, Professor of Marketing, Messiah University


“Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. Thank you to CommPRO.biz and Fay Shapiro for your exceptional contributions to the communications industry over the last decade, and for all you have done to move the industry forward and help others, including CommunicationsMatch™, achieve their goals.”  — Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO, CommunicationsMatch™


What has always struck me about Fay, and by extension, CommPRO, is the willingness to be of service. Whether it was supporting my launch of socialprvirtuoso.com (my first foray into ecommerce…I was terrified!), or supporting the evolution of my career through ideas or new, valued connections, CommPRO is remarkable for how it brings industry professionals from all across the globe together. Happy anniversary, CommPRO – and Fay, you are a rock star, and I’m privileged to know and call you “friend”! — Shonali Burke


As a communications expert for nearly three decades, I was around when Fay Shapiro started CommPRO. To say I am impressed with how she’s grown her media platform while still maintaining her community connectivity is an understatement. Fay and CommPRO provided me with access to their audiences just this month, and it is yet another underscoring of how much Fay puts purpose and people ahead of profit. She is, indeed, rare in this world. Her voice and her CommPRO sharing of news and information that matters is something so needed and for which I am grateful. Congratulations on your anniversary! Onward and upward, my friend!— Paolina Milana, Author & Founder of MadnessToMagic.com


Congrats Fay – this is a tremendous accomplishment that we are all celebrating!!!Tom Becktold, Founder/CMO, Insight Media Labs | NewsDriver


The CommPROapproach to commentary should be taught in all journalism and PR schools: Unlike other PR websites that limit free expression, and often edit out comments that they don’t like, CommPRO permits the free expression of thoughtful thought. I’m appreciate that CommPRO permits me to express my beliefs on topics ranging from sports, PR practices, media coverage and politics. It is one of the brightest stars in journalism. — Arthur Solomon


CommPRO has been a great resource and network of Communications professionals from all facets of business. — Silvia Davi


There are few platforms that attract and stimulate writers and public relations pros like me as much as CommPRO.biz.  “Unique” might be too soft a term for what Fay Shapiro has created as her sweeping array of latest industry news and opinion is not only a thought provoking, business friendly, morally insightful forum, but an intriguing outlet for critical thinkers and experts in their respective fields. — Thomas Madden, Chairman & CEO, Transmedia Group


Congratulations for ten amazing years of great content, wisdom and guidance. You set the bar high from the start and you continue to raise it every day. We’re all a bit wiser in life and business when our first cup—o-Joe is spend at CommPRO.biz Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC BraudCommunications.com


Much love,

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Fay Shapiro
Publisher / CEO

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Michael Shuler
Executive Editor / COO




Kin TV

(Author’s Note: This is the 10th in a series of political articles for CommPRO.biz that I’ll be writing leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In this column, I opine why cable TV coverage of political news coverage is sub-standard and why, in order to be an informed voter, it is essential to read respected newspapers.)

Arthur Solomon

Normally, as readers of my media columns know, I save my criticism of TV political news for the progeny of the networks – the cable stations.

That’s because I believe that cable political shows do a disservice to the American public by not providing context to their reporting and by zeroing in on the most sensational aspect of a story (in addition to telling outright lies by Fox News’ opinion show hosts).What the viewers get is the ice cream cone without the ice cream. And then there is the ridiculous notion that for every Democratic spokesperson there must be a Republican one. All that does is give politicians propaganda talking points platforms without providing any unexpected opinions or hard news. (I used to think the female reporters running after congressmen and senators to get a one-line quote that qualified as reporting, no longer being done because of Covid-19, was the worst aspect of cable political reporting. But then I would hear the commentary of the pundits. But that’s a story for another time. Hint:  My aggregate opinion of comments by the political cable pundits: They often make inconsequential comments, but state them well.)

Chris Cuomo’s show on CNN on October 15 provided a prime example of cable news “playing inside baseball” and attempting to create a controversy by having a long discussion regarding Joe Biden’s answers about court packing. Not exactly the issues most Americans care about like health care, Roe v. Wade, jobs, schooling and especially the increasing number of Covid-19 cases. (Also missing from the discussion was the important fact that the Senate has the final say about Supreme Court nominees and could block any president who tries to pack the court by voting candidates down.)

On the day of Cuomo’s program, John Hopkins Coronavirus Resources Center reported 59,494 new cases and 985 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the U.S. to more than 218,000, as coronavirus was spreading with record numbers in many parts of the country. The public evidently doesn’t think Biden’s answers about his stance on packing the Supreme Court is that important, hence his steady lead over Trump. But that didn’t prevent Cuomo from exploiting the issue. (No surprise. Cuomo often attempts to stage-manage an issue in order to create the impression that it’s the most important topic in the world.)

The next day (October 16), The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, two trustworthy news sources with differing editorial page viewpoints, didn’t think Biden’s answers re court packing were worthy of more than a graph or two. 

The unvarnished truth is that TV news, both on networks and, especially on its cable kin, main purpose is to entertain so ratings will increase. (That’s why I always advise people to read respected dailies like the Times and Journal, instead of depending on cable TV for the news.) 

But October 15 demonstrated that it’s not just the cables that can screw up (check the definition in Merriam-Webster to see that it’s only a dirty word in the minds of people who have dirty minds) political reporting. 

And the biggest one of this political season, so far, goes to the National Broadcasting System (NBC).

The network scheduled its town hall with President Trump at the same time that Biden had previously agreed to appear on an ABC town hall. NBC received justified criticism from journalists, even from some of its own, for televising its town hall against ABC’s, thus making certain that half the audience couldn’t see both telecast less than three weeks before Election Day. A cynic may say that NBC deserves a medal instead of criticism because of its decision. By doing so it spared ABC viewers from again hearing the misrepresentations and lies that are the trademark of a Trump presentation. Fact checkers reported that during the NBC town hall Trump stayed true to his version of the facts.

Both performers in the dueling town halls remained on script – Trump, misleading, lying and playing the victim, (“the IRS treats me very bad”) and Biden showing his empathetic side and making certain that each of his answers included Democratic talking points.

(But surely on a day when two competing town hall performances were held there had to be at least one important piece of new political news.

Yes, there was, but it was made by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, both Republicans, who faulted Trump for his handling of the coronavirus. Sasse, during his own town hall, also called Trump, “a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual.”

The best performance was that of Savannah Guthrie, host of the NBC program. Her incisive questioning of the president showed why she is wasted on the fluff Today Show.

Ms. Guthrie countered a Trump remark by saying, “I don’t get that, You’re the president. You’re not like someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever.”

In an entertainment environment like TV, where hosts and reporters hardly ever criticize a politician face-to-face, Ms. Guthrie showed what is missing from today’s television political reporting – not being afraid to challenge comments from important politicians.

But the biggest shock from the dueling town halls was the ratings, which the president was heavily favored to win because his town hall would be seen on three networks. Even though the NBC telecast was simulcast by two of NBC’s cable kin, MSNBC and CNBC, and Biden’s town hall televised only on ABC, the former vice president was seen by an average of 14.1 million viewers; Trump’s three station viewership averaged 13.5 million, according to Nielsen. ABC said the event was the network’s “most-watched primetime telecast” since its February Oscar’s telecast. (Maybe the president needs new script writers and a new act, but thus far polls show that voters want his act canceled.)

While television news in general has been on a downward spiral since the days of Cronkite, Murrow et al., there is one shining hope – Shepard Smith. Earlier this year Smith (maybe to keep his self-respect) had enough of Fox News and resigned. He recently returned to the television news business with an hour-long program, The News with Shepard Smith on CNBC. The program is the most creative and unique newscast I’ve ever seen. It proves that hard, important news can be presented in a way that is interesting and, yes, enjoyable. Give it a try. It deserves to be on the parent network – the full hour of it.


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.




Former AP Chief for Europe, Africa and Middle East Named Managing Partner at Top NYC Communications Firm

Dan Perry Joins Thunder11 to Expand Firm’s Public Affairs, Technology, and Health Care Expertise, and to Tap Israel’s Pipeline of Pathbreaking Companies 

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Thunder11 has named Dan Perry, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Associated Press, as Managing Partner. 

Perry will focus on expanding the C-level strategic communications firm’s expertise in public affairs, tech innovation, sustainability and health care. From a base in Tel Aviv, a major global innovation hub, he will serve as a gateway to the myriad Israeli companies whose pathbreaking technologies are looking to gain awareness around the world.

Perry joins a leadership that includes Senior Partner Marco Greenberg and Creative Partner Liel Leibovitz as well as Ryan Birchmeier, VP of Media Relations.

Thunder11 already offers its clients a broad range of capabilities from messaging and brand identity to thought leadership, content creation, crisis and issues management and communications and sales force training. The firm was recognized last year as “Boutique PR Firm of the Year” at the Platinum PR Awards and, in 2020, was named to the Agency Elite Top 100 list of leading US communications agencies. 

“We are elated to have Dan join us as managing partner and take Thunder11 and our clients to a new level,” said  Greenberg. “The practice of effective communications, in a genuine and thoughtful way, has never been more important than right now, and boutiques like ours are honored to help lead the way.”  

Greenberg, who penned this summer’s Wall Street Journal bestseller Primitive: Tapping the Primal Drive That Powers the World’s Most Successful People,” also founded and led the communications firm NYPR, where he represented Akamai Technologies for many years. He co-founded Thunder11 in 2007 with Leibovitz, an NYU communications professor, host of the award-winning podcast “Unorthodox” and an author whose works include “A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen” and “Stan Lee: A Life in Comics.” 

In his work for Thunder11, Perry will help oversee and optimize operations and client service, pursue global partnerships and aim to scale the business.

“As the world grows more complex and chaotic, strategic communications is key to cutting through the noise, telling stories that resonate and teasing out the essence,” Perry said. “I look forward to driving dramatic growth at Thunder11 while preserving the engine of excellence that always made it special: helping clients we believe in turbo-charge their business.”  

The firm’s clients have included democratic opposition groups in the Mideast and South America, universities and tech companies and venture capital firms. It has represented organizations such as AT&T, GSK, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 1stDibs, the Council on Foreign Relations, the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, and helped guide several clients to exits, such as Datto which was sold to Vista Equity Partners, and HeyWire which was sold to Salesforce. It has worked for over six years with Northwell Health, New York’s largest employer which has treated more Covid patients than any other institution. Several clients, such as UBQ Materials, have been named to Fast Company’s list of most innovative companies.

Thunder11’s name refers to Canadian philosopher Marshal McLuhan’s proposition that human history can be described in ten stages he called “thunders,” from “Paleolithic” to “Television.” The eleventh thunder is digital.

Perry, who holds a master’s degree in computer science from Columbia University, had a decades-long career as a foreign correspondent. He led the Associated Press in the Caribbean, then in Europe and Africa from a London base, and most recently in the Middle East from a base in Cairo. He helped lead coverage that won Pulitzers and other prizes, and during the tumultuous years of the Second Palestinian Uprising was chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem. 

The author of two books about Israel, Perry has also written on politics and society for a range of publications including the New York Daily News, the Cairo Review of Foreign Affairs, and the Times of Israel. His interview subjects have ranged from Mikhail Gorbachev to Tony Blair, Jimmy Carter, Benjamin Netanyahu, Yasser Arafat, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and U2 frontman Bono. Since leaving AP in 2018 he has focused on business and technology projects.

Perry, who grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, is still a die-hard Phillies and Eagles fan, which he says “brought mostly misery, but also some of the finest moments there can be.”




The Museum of Public Relations Launches Fundraiser to Digitize Artifacts

CommPRO Editorial Staff

(Shelley and Barry Spector at the opening of the Museum of Public Relations in 1995, with the initial exhibition donated by the family of Edward L. Bernays, considered the Father of Public Relations)

The Museum of Public Relations, the world’s only museum dedicated to the field, is launching a major initiative to digitize its artifacts– in order for the archive to become accessible to students, educators and professionals around the world, especially during the COVID-19 quarantine.  A fundraising effort, now underway on Linked In and Facebook, is aiming to bring in at least $10,000 to help support the effort.

The Museum’s collection, which has been closed since March, is comprised of more than 2500 rare documents, photos, oral histories and books preserving and chronicling the century-old history of the PR field. The Museum also demonstrates the often under- recognized impact that the field has had on business, culture, politics and society.

Through its recent collaborations with CommPRO the Museum has co-produced a series of exploring the intersection between politics and public relations, including programs featuring CNN’s legal analyst Michael Zeldin interviewing Amb. Andrew Young, John Dean and Brian Stelter.  The next event, produced under the “Trust on Trial” banner, will include former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Since its beginnings 25 years ago, the Museum has been recognized as the Number One online resource for PR education, with its video interviews of Edward Bernays, Dan Edelman and Harold Burson being among its most downloaded resources. The Museum site also features  photographs, copies of rare books, a PR world-history timeline and a video repository of the many events the Museum has produced over the last several years. These have included six annual diversity events, celebrating, “Black PR History,” “Latino PR History,” and most recently, “The AAPI Community in Public Relations,” all of which pay tribute to the very rich diversity of the field’s history

The Museum’s outreach to students and professionals around the world includes guest lectures to universities in Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, as well as events which attract an international audience, such as the recent “How the World Would Vote” program produced with the Worldcom PR Group and watched by more than 400 professionals worldwide.

Those interested in supporting the Museum’s digitization efforts should visitprmuseum.org/donate-1