The Metaverse and the Future of Events

Andrew Meranus, EVP of Sales at PRophet

These days online discourse is revolving around emerging technologies like cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3. The metaverse, in particular, is one of the trendiest topics in all of tech today. 

“Metaverse” has become a buzzword, propelled into the public eye by Facebook’s awkward pivot to Meta last year. Simply put, it’s where the physical and digital worlds merge, made possible through the use of virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) glasses or other applications. However, many are still learning the ins and outs. Specifically, a January survey found that 62% of U.S. adults have little to no knowledge of the metaverse. While the metaverse may not be fully understood by the masses yet, it’s on its way there, winning over more populations and industries as it grows. As of this March, 12% of U.S. internet users are very interested in using the metaverse — and that number will only continue to rise as younger generations lead early adoption to the metaverse. 

The rise of the metaverse coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, setting a unique stage for the events industry. The pandemic curtailed in-person events for the greater part of two years and organizations scrambled to set up virtual solutions. Even though more events are returning to in-person contact, not everyone wants to revert to the previous way of doing things. Going forward, there need to be virtual options available to accommodate all who are interested.

Entertainment seems to be the common thread for metaverse events, especially in a time where remote work can become monotonous. In the past two years, we’ve seen everything from weddings to fashion shows pop up. Through platforms such as Decentraland and Sandbox, users have the tools to build virtual galleries, arenas, concerts, and almost anything else that can be conceived. An added bonus? The metaverse allows events to proceed safely through a pandemic, and will continue to provide experiences that are engaging and accessible to those who are chronically ill or have limited mobility even as in-person events return.

Despite the benefits, these events aren’t without drawbacks. Considering that this is still a relatively new concept, many are unlikely to have access to the tech needed to participate. Eventually, this can lead to a gap, leaving behind those without the requisite technology.

The metaverse isn’t mainstream just yet, but many more are likely to catch on to the convenience and benefits of these events over time, and some will even find their community through the metaverse. As VR continues to advance, its applications for good will be recognized, hopefully breaking past its stigma of being mass-produced, overly-marketed, and its negative association with Mark Zuckerberg and Meta/Facebook.

Considering Meta’s leadership position in this space, the brand should step up and improve its educational efforts to boost the public’s overall understanding and awareness of the technology and its vast potential for immersive and engaging experiences.

The best thing we can do is remain open-minded to the metaverse and its capabilities. Just as early skeptics of the internet have been proven wrong, the same scenario could repeat itself with early skeptics of the metaverse. Although there’s still plenty of work ahead, the growing interest and potential benefits indicate that the metaverse is more than just a fad; it’s the future. 

About the Author: Andrew Meranus is the EVP of Sales & Revenue at PRophet, the AI-driven DaaS platform that predicts media interest and story sentiment before sending a pitch. In this role, Andrew directs the overall growth, sales and revenue strategy for the company along with CEO & Founder Aaron Kwittken. Prior to joining PRophet, Andrew was SVP, North America at Piano Software, the leading digital experience cloud platform that allows customers to create customized digital experiences and build commercial relationships with end-users.

Andrew has extensive experience in partnerships, alliances and sales having held senior leadership roles at ScreamingMedia/Pinnacor, PR Newswire and Cision.  

Andrew resides in Montclair, NJ with his wife, two children and a dog named Cody!

PRophet is the first-ever A.I.-driven platform, built by and for PR professionals, to use a proprietary combination of natural language processing and machine learning to predict media interest and story sentiment before you ever send a pitch.


How to Use Quotation Marks, According to AP Style

How to Use Quotation Marks, According to AP Style


You should probably be using them both more, and less, than you think.

Allison Carter, Ragan Communications

Quotation marks seem straightforward. If you’re recounting exactly what someone else said, it should be in quotation marks. Easy, right?

That part is simple enough. But where does the punctuation mark go in a quote? What if it’s a quote within a quote? Do you ever use single quotes? What if it’s an unfamiliar word? Are there exceptions?

There are a lot of rules for quotation marks in AP style, but overall, they are enforced consistently. If you can remember a few rules of thumb, you’ll be a quotation pro in no time.

How to quote people

Double quotation marks – “that’s these guys” – go around words that are being reproduced exactly as they were spoken or written. Each speaker gets their own set of quotation marks.

[WEBINAR: Tune in June 29 to to learn what’s new in AP style]

Most punctuation goes within the quotation marks if it applies to the quote. For example:

  • “What time is the parade?”
  • “The parade is soon!”
  • “I do not like parades.”
  • “You’re no fun,” he said.

Continue reading here…

Selling Social Issues

Selling Social Issues



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

Besides being a tasty treat that almost everyone enjoys, ice cream is a ‘celebration food’ served at birthday parties and used to reward kids’ sports team success.  So, why did Walmart’s new frozen dairy flavor created to celebrate Black Americans’ emancipation leave a bad taste in so many people’s mouths?  Moreover, what can the failure teach organizations about commercializing social issues?
In its ongoing search for profitable new products, the world’s largest retailer recently cooked up a novel plan—tap into Black Americans’ and others’ celebrations of Juneteenth, the federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Walmart’s strategy to support the celebration involved a line of party products, including napkins, plates, and drink koozies branded “Juneteenth” using the black, red, and green colors often associated with Black liberation, and carrying the tagline, “It’s the freedom for me.”
Walmart also created a special food worthy of the branded partyware–Juneteenth Ice Cream, a frozen concoction resembling swirled red velvet cheesecake. However, it wasn’t long after the company launched its Juneteenth line that social media began to skewer it, as shown in these sample tweets:
“Walmart needs to do better. It shows the lack of understanding of the pain and suffering that made Juneteenth come about. It is absolutely insulting to have this special holiday turned into some commercial product.” (@The Next Ceiling)
“This isn’t “wokeness”, it’s corporations trying to profit off of minorities by acting like they care about us.” (@DeadpoolLIFE69)
“So let me get this straight 🤔, y’all made more money keeping us enslaved after the Emancipation Proclamation, and NOW that it’s a recognized Federal Holiday y’all want to make MORE money off the same culture you enslaved??” (@MoodaSchmooda)
“White America: Mmmm…best thing we can do is some Walmart Juneteenth ice cream that we’ll profit off of.” (@RedeemRobinson)
In the face of the backlash, Walmart made a quick pivot and pulled its Juneteenth-themed ice cream.  It also apologized:

“We received feedback that a few items caused concern for some of our customers and we sincerely apologize. We are reviewing our assortment and will remove items as appropriate.”
Companies are increasingly ‘hitching their wagons’ to social causes’—an alignment that many people prefer including 83% of millennials.  Consequently, the approach often proves profitable.  Furthermore, during recent years filled with race-related violence, many consumers expect companies to show their support for racial justice.
So, wasn’t Walmart right to support Black Americans by launching a line of Juneteenth products?
Although the Twitter feedback above is enlightening, social media responses often prioritize ‘quick and pithy’ over ‘thoughtful and measured.’  For that reason and to help me better understand how Black Americans might perceive Walmart’s tactics, I reached out to a colleague at my university who’s well-qualified to offer an informed perspective.
Dr. Todd Allen is Vice President for Diversity Affairs and Professor of Communication at Messiah University.  He’s also the founder of The Common Ground Project, “a community-based non-profit dedicated to teaching the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.”
When I asked Allen about Walmart’s Juneteenth product line, he shared these insights:
“I think the timing (a new holiday) and some people still feeling burned by the promises of 2020 (which haven’t necessarily resulted in the hoped-for transformative change) just made this too soon.  The fact that they pulled [the ice cream] so quickly also makes me wonder who was in on the decision making in the first place.  It seems like if the TV show Blackish were still on the air, this would be an episode.”
Allen also offered one word that captured much of what he shared, “context.”  For instance, he mentioned that Walmart is not known for being progressive on racial issues.  He also said that the company’s approach “felt just a bit too commercial and too opportunistic.”
So, what if the context were different?  For another company with a more positive race-related track record, offering different products with better messaging, public perceptions may have been more positive.
Allen’s response and the idea of context got me thinking:  Beyond just Walmart and Juneteenth, are there principles that all organizations should follow when connecting with social causes?  There undoubtedly are many, but here are perhaps three of the most important questions to ask:
1. What’s the company’s track record on the issue?  Whether it’s an individual or an organization, we’re more likely to trust the motives of someone who has already demonstrated genuine concern about the social issue at hand.  In the case of Walmart and race, results have been mixed. 
On one hand, in June 2020, the company pledged $100 million over five years to address racial disparities in the U.S.  However, in January of 2022 a black correction officer sued Walmart for racial profiling when he was wrongfully accused of shoplifting, then in February, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Walmart because “Walmart violated federal law when it gave a Black female employee an unsanitary lactation space based upon her race.”
In contrast, Fundraising for a Cause, the world’s largest manufacturer of awareness products, enjoys strong credibility when it comes to earning income through social causes, partly because it’s owner and CEO, Karen Conroy, founded the company after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and also because her company passes significant profits onto her customers, e.g., they can buy 50 silicone bracelets for $40, sell them for $5 each, and net $210 for their cause.
2.  What’s the nature of the product?  There’s a place and time for most products; the key is to ensure that the product personality aligns with sentiments surrounding the social issue. 
Juneteenth is certainly a cause for celebration but that’s because it marks the end to several centuries of enslavement.  As such, the holiday understandably evokes mixed emotions that aren’t necessarily in keeping with an all-out party atmosphere, or at least not one worthy of a namesake flavor of ice cream.  Would it be right to have a dairy treat marking the end of the Holocaust? 
For comparison, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a nonprofit organization that works in over 50 countries around the world to provide disaster relief, foster economic development, and promote peace.  Among its biggest fundraisers are quilt auctions, which raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.  Quilts are items of beauty and comfort that complement MCC’s three-fold mission.
3.  Is the company adding value?  Whether it’s a single salesperson or an entire organization, the measuring stick for any marketer is the value they add in an exchange.  No company should extract more value than it gives.
It’s hard to know how much money Walmart would have made on the Juneteenth ice cream and other products.  Knowing Walmart’s typical pricing approach, the profit margins on the items were likely low; however, selling them across more than 5,300 U.S. retail stores, even modest margins would have added up quickly.
Walmart also likely hoped to pocket goodwill from the products; however, the biggest grab by Walmart was its attempt to trademark (TM) Juneteenth, as if it had created the name, so that only it could sell Juneteenth branded products.
On a positive side, Walmart consumers could purchase the branded products at reasonable prices.  However, it’s unlikely that Juneteenth-imprinted paper products and ice cream would deepen anyone’s understanding of and appreciation for the momentous historic event.  If anything, Walmart’s products may have trivialized it.
Other companies have made money, in some cases very large amounts, from marketing race-related products; however, many times they’ve added extra value through education.
A good example of such value-added is the feature film Selma, “a chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.”  An Academy Award nominee for best picture, the movie grossed over $66.7 million worldwide on an estimated budget of $20 million.
Selma was very profitable for Harpo Films and the other production companies that made the movie.  However, those who watched the film also ‘profited,’ not just from two hours of entertainment but from a better understanding of a very important historic event.
As Allen suggested, context matters.  Like others, he wondered why Walmart didn’t instead promote a Black-owned ice cream brand, Creamalicious, which it was already selling in its stores.  Such an approach would have been a better context in at least two of the three ways described above.
Unfortunately, however, Walmart tried a more self-serving strategy that quickly melted.  So instead of celebrating, the company is doing damage-control because of its “Single-Minded Marketing.”

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

The Professionals: Copyediting vs. Proofreading

Orsi Korman, Account Director, Content, Red Havas 

Not all of us are born – or even care about – being good at spelling and grammar. Some thrive on writing beautifully crafted stories, catchy headlines, memorable speeches or witty remarks, while others dread stringing a few words together for an email – especially if it’s an important email. Fun fact: Even though humanity has a long history of linking good writing (especially spelling) skills to intelligence, there is no correlation. What’s more, there is plenty of help out there. The bad news: automated spelling and grammar checkers don’t know everything – and they certainly aren’t stylish. (I correct auto correct more than auto correct corrects me.) So be sure to rely on the professionals for any important copyediting and proofreading jobs.

Who are they?

Not all proofreaders are copyeditors, but all copyeditors are proofreaders. Proofreading is about eliminating spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting mistakes, while keeping the messaging, flow and style relatively intact. Copyediting goes well beyond that, also making the text more readable by assessing everything else: clarity, consistency, relevance, style, flow, quotes and citations. While the former is focused on making it grammatically correct, the latter will ensure it reads well, makes sense and, most importantly, people will want to read it. As a result, more often than not, a copyedit is more likely to be requested than ‘just’ a proofread.

When we hear editor, most of us will think of the likes of Jackie Onassis with Viking Press (The Editor, by Steven Rowley, is a great fictionalized account of the latter years of the iconic 20th-century figure), or Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada and the glamorous fashion publishing world of New York. Today’s editors plan, coordinate and/or revise a wide variety of material for publication not only in books and magazines, but newspapers, e-newsletters, websites, social media, film and television as well. They may also hold seemingly less glamorous in-house positions with large corporations, political organizations, agencies, associations, charities or educational institutions. (If your organization doesn’t have a dedicated copyeditor or proofreader, your communicator will certainly do the job.) Whether they are in highly visible roles or working behind the scenes, editors do have the power to make everyone and everything look good – and while their work may not be noticeable, the absence of it usually is.

How do they do it?

Great spellers are often avid readers, committing a lot of words to memory and studying prefixes, suffixes and definitions that will help them deduce how a word is spelled. Great editors are unquestionably avid readers, viewers and listeners of a wide variety of content, to be able to effectively support an equally wide variety of content themselves. 

Proofreaders usually get involved towards the end, serving as one of the checkpoints before final approvals are granted and something gets posted, published, presented or otherwise distributed. Editors often get involved at the very beginning – and stay involved throughout – reviewing story ideas, commenting on storylines, titles and headlines, and deciding what material will appeal most to specific audiences. 

While there are several urban legends out there about the most effective ways to copyedit or proofread something – reading it backwards, changing the font and color, reading it out loud, or going old school on paper with a red pen, for example – in reality, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, only some common themes. After a thorough spelling and grammar check, other areas to review will include: 

  • Seeking consistency in noun/verb agreement, syntax and tenses
  • Using strong verbs and striving for an active voice as appropriate 
  • Minimizing unnecessary adjectives, adverbs, fillers and redundancies
  • Avoiding repeat words (actually using a Thesaurus to change things up)
  • Verifying names, dates, places, quotes, links, references and citations
  • Spicing up the headline, subheads, captions and callouts for added interest
  • Reading through several times to ensure clarity, consistency, flow, relevance and – ideally – overall appeal 

How can you help?

As an account manager, assistant, colleague or customer seeking help from an editor, the best you can do is tell them everything. The more they know about the background of a piece, including not only the word count, outline and flow, but the audience, the key points it needs to convey, as well as the tone and voice it is striving to communicate with, the better. What is the customer like? Formal or friendly? Direct or meandering? What do they like? Corporate jargon or simplicity? Gravitas or humor? Do they have any pet peeves about capitalization, punctuation, subheads, lists, dashes or any other details? Do they follow AP style? If there is a project brief, corporate (or executive) style guide or recent examples, be sure to share those as well. Equally important, once the piece is finalized, circle back with any client changes or feedback, so your editor will be even more prepared next time.

Orsi JormanAbout the Author: Orsi supports content creation and content strategy for high-profile corporate, consumer and cause clients of Red Havas — and she could not be happier. Her specialties include writing, editing, ghostwriting, blogging, marketing, digital/social and experiential, all in AP style.

Congratulations to the Recent Graduates…Now What?

On Demand Video

Hosted by: The George Washington University

Master’s in Strategic Public Relations


Join the conversation and hear from successful leaders who’ve used their Strategic Public Relations  degree and certificates from GWU  to unlock their career potential.  We’ll hear from emerging leaders who are going beyond traditional public relations methods to accomplish their communications and career  goals.  Our panel will share their tips and tactics for your communications career journey.


Lawrence J. Parnell, M.B.A., Associate Professor and director of the George Washington University Master’s in Strategic Public Relations program



Lawrence J. Parnell, M.B.A. (HOST)

Lawrence J. Parnell, M.B.A. is an award winning Public Relations professional and academic who is an Associate Professor and director of the George Washington University Master’s in Strategic Public Relations program. He has served in this role for 12 years and has built the GW Master’s program into one of the best known and admired programs in the US. Professor Parnell also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Communications at the GW School of Business.

He also operates Parnell Communications, a strategic communications and leadership training advisory firm. In this role he advises government, corporate and non-profit organizations on executive development and strategic communications.  

Prior to coming to GW, he had a successful 32-year career in the private and public sector. He has worked in government, corporate and agency settings and in national, state and local political campaigns. He was recognized as PR Professional of the Year (2003) byPR Weekand was named to thePR NewsHall of Fame in 2009. The GW Master’s program was named the “Best PR Education Program” for 2015 by PR Week

He is a frequent author and speaker on communications strategy, crisis and issues management, leadership skills and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at industry conferences and universities around the world. He is quoted often on communications management and crisis communications by the national, business and trade media. 

He is the co-author of a leading public relations textbook – “Introduction to Strategic Public Relations – Communicating Effectively in a Socially Responsible World” from Sage Publishing. In its first year, (2018) the text was adopted by over 30 leading undergrad PR programs across the country. The second edition of the text, titled: “Introduction to Public Relations” was published in October 2020 by Sage Publishing.  He also contributed as a co-author of a chapter on CSR in the book “Nation Branding and Public Diplomacy” (Peter Lang Publishing) published in 2017.  He is active on Twitter at @gwprmasters and on Face Book and Linked-In under his name. 


Remmington F. Belford, MPS

I am a trusted high-impact strategic communication, and public affairs practitioner. I have cultivated a diverse network of relationships throughout the country, and proficiently crafted innovative narratives covering issues ranging from higher education to foreign relations. Additionally, I am an innovative digital content producer well versed in many facets of digital communication. I have extensive on the record experience, developed comprehensive marketing and communication strategies, mastered the importance of timing and setting, responded efficiently to crises and setbacks, overseen teams of diverse communications roles and managed a substantial communications budget.


Gary Klasen

Gary Klasen is the president of Charlotte-based Klasen Communications, which emphasizes internal, external, strategic and community-focused communications.

Klasen has significant corporate, small business and agency experience, beginning his career as a newspaper writer and editor. Early in his PR career, he was director of internal communications and the CEO/executive speechwriter at Sears.

He joined the automotive space and defense company, TRW, as a communications director and later worked for Eaton, an industrial manufacturer. His Eaton position grew from vice president of external communications to also leading internal communications and then global corporate communications for the $20 billion power management company.

Klasen’s promotions at Eaton came during and after receiving his master’s in strategic public relations from George Washington University in May 2011. He currently teaches GW’s graduate PR class in Crisis and Strategic Issues Management.


Aaron Pickering

Aaron has 15 years’ experience helping brands and nonprofits build emotional connections with consumers and create award-winning campaigns to drive social impact and action to curb climate change. He has advised major consumer and B2B brands – from Mars and Target to New Balance, CVS Health and PwC – on ESG programming, and how to authentically establish and communicate brand purpose as a differentiator. He formerly headed up marketing and communications for Dean Kamen’s STEM organization, FIRST Robotics. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility & Reputation at Cone Communications, a Porter Novelli agency.  Aaron instructs communications and corporate social responsibility at Lasell University and the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, where he earned a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations focused on driving behavior change and shaping public opinion.  


Chelsea Ritchie, MPS

Chelsea Ritchie has a unique global perspective. Her parents are from Guyana in South America, and she lived  abroad at a young age, before settling in the outer echelons of Los Angeles. In 2008, Ritchie moved to  Washington, D.C., and spent twelve years working with prominent public figures, nonprofits, manufacturers,  Am Law top 20 Law Firms, and Fortune 100 Firms. As a digital and political strategist, Ritchie specializes in  online advocacy to incorporate traditional government relations with digital. 

Currently, Ritchie serves as the Head of Digital Advocacy in Public Affairs for the International Copper  Association (ICA). In this role, she develops and spearheads the global public affairs digital strategy in Asia,  Europe, North and South America. Ritchie’s operations on all channels—including website, email, and social  media—strive to improve policy relationships and improve the organization’s copper mining reputation.  Specifically, as a member of the public affairs and reputation building teams at ICA, Ritchie works to amplify  lobbying, policy activities, and policy positions for China’s 14th five-year plan (FYP), the European Green Deal,  and the U.S. infrastructure and clean energy legislation. 

Before ICA, Ritchie was the former Government Relations Director for Kellen Company. She represented  several association clients on legislative and regulatory matters at the federal and state levels in this role.  Notably, Ritchie and her clients mobilized to assist with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, working with  lawmakers on Capitol Hill to allocate funding and receive manufacturing donations to replace the corroded  lead pipes. In 2015, she focused on chemical management reform, working with the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) and lawmakers to pass the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety (LCSA) for the 21st  Century Act and amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

While working at various law firms, including Mercury Clark & Weinstock and Brownstein Hyatt Farber  Schreck, she worked on the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform  and Consumer Protection Act. At Bancroft PLLC, she worked with former Solicitor General of the United States,  Paul Clement, and worked on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the extradition of Chen Guangcheng to the United  States, and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Congress and at the Supreme Court. 

In 2018, Ritchie received the 30 Under 30 Emerging Leader Award for her work in politics and the Caribbean  community. In 2019 and 2020, Ritchie and her digital team received three social media awards for ICA’s  Climate Week NYC campaign and website design awards for and 

Ritchie received a Bachelors’s degree from the American University in International Studies, specializing in  Asia policy, with a Minor in Chemistry. She received her Master’s from the George Washington University’s  Graduate School of Political Management in Strategic Public Relations. 


A Closer Look At Botanical Sexism

Botanical Sexism

Tom Madden,  Founder & CEO, TransMedia Group

Reading one of my favorite newspapers, The Boston Globe, I came across a story about botanical sexism debunked.  

The Globe is one of the half dozen papers to which I subscribe, plus the mags and digital pubs, endless NBC where I used to work, then CNN and FOX TV.  Yes, being a news junkie, I like hearing both sides.  

You see, I owe so much to newspapers for whom reporting the news helped me to grow a career and raise a family, first at my hometown rag, The Press in Atlantic City, then at the Newark Star Ledger, then a huge hop over the Delaware River to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Back to botanical sexism, or the alleged planting of allergy-inflaming male trees and not allergy soothing female trees that one horticultural epidemiologist claims are worsening our allergies across the entire developed world due to an overabundance of pollen-spreading males.

If that were true, I’d be ashamed of my sex botanically, but thankfully it’s not.

Fortunately, the article in my Globe debunks that theory so I don’t have to cower walking past gardens anymore, where the culprit is not the trees so much as the grasses, which I guess are botanically unisex.  I don’t know for sure as I never look at grass below the hemline.  Yes, I’m too horticulturally discreet. 

Back to the delightful debunking.

My Globe called it a tantalizing, or at least an amusing idea that for half a century – don’t sneeze at this– urban foresters in league with the US Department of Agriculture are guilty of engaging in “botanical sexism” by preferentially planting male, rather than female trees.

The ersatz theory that male trees make us sneeze more by giving off more pollen turns out to be just plain old nose-itch nonsense.

In the years since this theory first surfaced, experts have disputed its alleged foundation being botanical sexism, along with nixing the notion that trees fit into a neat gender model altogether. 

A large share of tree species, numerous allergists and tree botanists say, are “monoecious,” that is they sprout both male and female flowers on the same tree. 

Last year, the debunked theory made a jump, thanks to TikTok, targeting or tickling Generation Z’ers.

“You’re sneezing and congested all day because of botanical sexism,” a TikTok user wrote in text superimposed emphatically onto a video that received nearly a half million likes.

“So, the patriarchy is also responsible for my allergies????,” an outraged allergic TikToker wrote in response.

A respected Boston University tree botanist called the dialogue full of hot air as female flowers capture only a minuscule portion of pollen in the air, so there’s no way they could favorably impact allergies, while male trees are hardly the mass allergy inciters as charged.  

You know what’s a bigger contributor to allergies than trees and maybe grasses too?  

Answer: Air pollution and global warming, which purportedly are unisex phenomena.  

Thomas MaddenAbout the Author: Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles, his weekly blog at and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available on Amazon. He also creates TV series like his latest Xtra Terresla whose main character is modeled after Tesla founder Leon Musk, soon to own Twitter. Madden is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm.


Pride Marketing Reaching New Heights With McDonald’s USA and Revry

House of Pride Brought to You By McDonald’s USA will premiere on June 5 at 8pm EST on Revry

Celebrate Pride Month

In recent years, brands have realized the importance of the LGBTQ+ consumer to their business as they represent nearly $1 trillion in the U.S. alone. With Pride 2022 anticipated to be bigger and better than ever, it’s no surprise to brand powerhouse McDonald’s USA turning to the only LGBTQ-first streaming media company, Revry, as a trusted and authentic partner for a second year of pride campaigns.

With so many touchpoints and screens for consumers to be reached including streaming, social and connected TV, it’s becoming increasingly complicated for advertisers to authentically and efficiently reach audiences and interests at a measurable scale. This holds specifically true for LGBTQ+ audiences which can be found throughout mainstream media platforms but are notoriously difficult to address directly except in bespoke programming.

This seems to be a major motivator behind McDonald’s USA partnering with Revry, a streaming and connected TV media company with FAST (free ad supported television) channels on Samsung TV Plus, Vizio WatchFree and the Roku Channel, for a second year to host the House of Pride virtual celebration. The original programming features musical and dance performances, comedy segments, and voguing performances. As a step up from 2021, McDonald’s USA is also backing a Revry original music series that celebrates and inspires the exploration of LGBTQ+ music, called Music Out Loud: Pride Edition.

“McDonald’s fans loved celebrating with House of Pride last year so we’re very excited to bring it back,” said Elizabeth Campbell, Senior Director of Cultural Engagement Marketing, McDonald’s USA. “We’ve been working to partner with more diverse owned media, and a big part of that is our expanded partnership with Revry to create fun and meaningful events that bring together the LGBTQ+ community.”

According to research from Brucey Media, 71% of LGBTQ+ consumers reported they would remain loyal to a brand they believed to be supportive of the community. Smart brands like McDonaldsUSA are taking notice. Yet according to an Association of National Advertisers (ANA) October 2021 client-side marketer survey the biggest challenges to authentic LGBTQ+ marketing and advertising are a general concern of getting the message wrong, making sure the messaging appears in brand-safe environments, and budget limitations.

When addressing getting the message right, brands are turning to LGBTQ-first media companies. In prior years these platforms have limited sound and motion opportunities for brands and have heavily relied on social media. A simple search on Facebook and YouTube for LGBTQ+ interests and content reveals a vast world of hate speech and homophobia that is driving engagement for the platforms but is harmful to the community; advertiser beware. 

With the allure of FAST on connected TV, Revry is reporting that LGBTQ+ audiences on a LGBTQ-first channels are increasing and outpacing the reach and effectiveness of mainstream media to reach same-sex and LGBTQ+ allied households in a meaningful way. According to Gallup 2021 data, 18.5 million of the U.S. population, 5.6 %, identify as LGBTQ+ up from 4.5% in 2017. In the last year, Revry has seen a 5x growth of monthly viewers and a 6x growth in Samsung TV Plus viewers interested in LGBTQ-first programming with Roku Channel and Vizio TV Watch Free not far behind. 

“House of Pride streamed 600K times in its first year and this June, we are expecting millions to tune-in,” said Damian Pelliccione, CEO and co-founder of Revry. “With the support of McDonald’s, we are able to include so many of the LGBTQ voices in Pride programming that are representative and inclusive of our diverse community.”

House of Pride Brought to You By McDonald’s USA premieres on June 5 at 8pm EST on Revry with appearances by several LGBTQ+ stars and influencers including hosts Rani KoHEnur from Queen of the Universe, radio host and DJ, Hannah Rad, Comedians Kia Barnes and Sampson McCormick and star of Legendary, Isla Ebony, and musical performances by Frankie Simone, Keiynan Lonsdale, Madison Rose, Julian King, and Mila Jam. Music Out Loud: Pride Edition, a throwback to music video shows with a lineup of queer musicians and artists, premiers on June 13 at 8pm EST with actress and trans rights advocate, Angelica Ross, and queer singer/songwriter, Cassidy King. 

In 2022 and beyond, Revry is anticipating that a majority of advertisers who actively market to the LGBTQ+ community will do so via LGBTQ-first media and not only during Pride. Year-round marketing and advertising campaigns are expected as LGBTQ+ audiences grow along with the demand for visibility and representation of LGBTQ-first programming.

Crisis Communication in a Climate of Chaos, Part 2

Lay the Groundwork, Avoid the Aftermath

Free Virtual Executive Roundtable

On Demand Video

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Winston Churchill




If these past few years have driven home any lessons to professional communicators, (pandemic, social justice, war, inflation, etc.) it’s imperative to be prepared, particularly in the digital world.  Professional communicators must cover all bases: news coverage, social media activity – and search results. Join our panel of experts as they share the lessons of crisis management and how the playbook has changed.  You’ll hear from in- house and agency experts.  They’ll discuss what to do beforehand and how to use your peacetime wisely by building a digital fortress. 


Fraser Engerman

Senior Director, External Relations, Walgreens

Fraser Engerman serves as senior director of External Relations for Walgreens leading crisis and issues management for America’s most loved pharmacy, health and beauty company with nearly 9,000 retail locations across America, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Prior to Walgreens, Fraser led global media relations for Johnson Controls. Before that, Fraser served in various communications roles for over a decade at State Farm Insurance Companies including managing corporate media relations for the insurer. Fraser spent the first part of his career as a television journalist and anchor.

Laurence Moskowitz

Chief Executive Officer, Lightbox Search

Laurence Moskowitz, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lightbox Search, was named one of the 10 most influential public relations executives of the 20th Century by PR Week magazine. Regarded as an expert in crisis communications, issues management and strategic corporate communications, Larry founded Lumentus, a New York-based agency, in 2009 after recognizing that technology and client service needs were changing how public relations, marketing and advertising firms must operate. In 2018, Larry saw a need his technology could solve and created Lightbox Search.

A communications pioneer, Larry has leveraged emerging technologies throughout his career to provide business and professional communicators with more powerful and effective means of reaching their audiences. Prior to Lumentus, Larry founded Medialink, then the world’s largest provider of video-based media communications services to Fortune 500 companies.

As Chairman and CEO of Medialink, Larry forged strategic alliances with the Associated Press and Nielsen to create the first professional distribution network linking corporations and other organizations with television broadcasters nationwide. Medialink, which he took public, won hundreds of public relations industry awards, and was successfully merged into a successor company in 2009. Larry had previously founded a forerunner to PR Newswire and started his career as a reporter and editor.

Larry was honored with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for communications in 1999.

Larry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University, where he was Kappa Tau Alpha in communications. He has lectured on public relations and online media at New York University, the BBC in London and Denmark Television in Copenhagen, NewsXchange in Barcelona and numerous professional groups around the world.


Jesse Jacobs

Chief Technology Officer, Lightbox Search

Jesse Jacobs serves as Chief Technology Officer of Lightbox Search where he drives product development. Jesse works closely with both the technical team and clients to ensure Lightbox meets evolving objectives.

During his decade with Lumentus, he has led cross-platform content creation as a creative strategist with expertise in search engine optimization (SEO), digital reputation management and brand building.

Jesse is passionate about technology and design and holds a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Arts and Entertainment and Strategic Communications from Elon University.


Dave Fleet

Global Head of Digital Crisis, Edelman

Dave has been advising senior clients on reputation management and digital communications for almost two decades. As Head of Global Digital Crisis, Dave is responsible for ensuring the seamless integration of digital, data and intelligence in Edelman’s global crisis offering.

Since joining Edelman in 2010, Dave has played senior roles on clients across a wide variety of clients across different sectors. Prior to this role, Dave led Edelman’s Canadian Digital practice for five years, overseeing a team spanning Edelman’s five Canadian offices. He also oversaw the growth of the Canadian Insights and Analytics, Paid Media, Project Management, and Influencer Marketing teams. Dave’s team won a slew of awards at shows including Cannes Lions, CLIOs, CPRS, IABC and Canadian Marketing Awards.

Dave led Edelman Canada’s integrated crisis response team in for a Fortune 50 manufacturer during a global crisis, spending almost two years as part of the client’s executive board overseeing the crisis response and working directly with the C-suite.

Dave sits on the Program Advisory Committee for post-graduate marketing courses at Seneca College. He is also a mentor for the BANFF Spark Marketing Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media.

Dave graduated from the University of Bath with an honours degree in business administration.


Michael J. Lamp

Chief Digital & Social Officer, HUNTER: 

After joining HUNTER in 2008, Michael specialized in traditional PR before establishing the Social & Digital Media Group in 2011. This team of one quickly grew into a robust group of more than twenty-five social strategists, community managers, media planners/buyers, copywriters and digital account managers. As HUNTER’s Chief Digital & Social Officer, Michael now oversees the entire Digital Group, providing ongoing counsel and acting as lead architect of client digital strategies.

Michael excels at elevating PR programs with social campaigns that earn consumer attention across every conceivable channel. He’s led digital campaigns for some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including TABASCO, Diageo, Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Kraft and countless others. In 2018, Michael was named to PRSA New York’s 15-Under-35 List, an annual industry award that recognizes emerging talent in the Greater New York area. He also co-created HUNTER’s immersive Social Boot Camp workshops in 2011, an ongoing effort that helps the agency’s clients develop and articulate their unique brand personality in the social space. 


Jessica Ross

Managing Partner, Global Public Affairs Practice Leader, Finn Partners

Jessica Ross is Managing Partner of Finn Partners’ Washington, D.C. office, and she leads the agency’s Global Public Affairs practice. Jessica has 30 years of experience blending political, public affairs and public relations experience into winning communications strategies for clients. Jessica has provided strategic counsel to numerous clients across industry sectors and has worked with business executives and government officials-helping them with messaging, public speaking techniques, political and media communications and crisis communications preparedness and response.  

Her crisis experience includes; corporate image reputation management, change management reorganizations, organizational and industry issues (environmental, labor, executive compensation, etc.) product recalls, litigation support, accident/incident support. She has helped companies facing regulatory actions and warnings—including FDA recalls, companies facing leadership transitions and acquisition— friendly and unfriendly, elected officials in times of political unrest and companies under investigation by the United States Congress.


Larry Weber

CEO & Chairman, Racepoint Global

Larry is a globally known expert on public relations and marketing services, founder of several successful public relations and interactive marketing agencies and author of six forward-thinking marketing books. Recognized as a thought leader on the convergence of technology, the Web, and communications, Larry has helped both enterprise and emerging companies become powerhouse brands; his client experience includes ARM, AT&T, Boston Scientific, Coca-Cola, General Electric, General Motors, IBM, John Deere, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, PTC, Panasonic, the Pittsburgh Steelers, SAP, and Verizon Wireless.

Larry has nearly 40 years of experience as CEO of both mid- and large-scale companies. He is co-founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), the largest interactive advocacy organization in the world. Additionally, he sits on the Board of Directors for Pegasystems, Inc. (PEGA) in Cambridge, Mass. and Macromill Group (TYO:3730) in Japan. In January 2019, Larry released his latest book, Authentic Marketing: How to Capture Hearts and Minds Through the Power of Purpose, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Authentic Marketing discusses the need for all companies to have a corporate purpose in order to capture the hearts and minds of today’s audiences.



ESG and DEI Strategies Improve Company Culture and Financial Goals 

ESG and DEI Strategies Improve Company Culture and Financial Goals 


Although research has shown that a commitment to DEI and sustainability can make businesses more productive and profitable, there are still those who question the investment it takes to implement these strategies in a meaningful way. 

Since DEI programs focus on the people in the organization, it stands to reason that it will have a profound effect on the culture of an organization. And the culture can help tell a brand story that matters. 

Your people can be your greatest advocates. But they must regard the company as a great place to work. Instead of getting hyper focused on the ROI of these programs, make it about providing a climate of inclusion for your workers.

Jean Gillson is a staunch supporter of DEI and how it can elevate the success of a business. For more than 20 years Gillson has owned a manufacturing casework business.  

“I have a background in operations and HR, but my passion is DEI,” she says. “I strongly believe that business and people should be more married together. DEI is the way to achieve that.”

She refers to the Great Resignation as an indicator of workers’ disappointment with company culture and working conditions. “The people are speaking. If companies refuse to listen, they will fail or at least suffer,” warns Gillson.

She believes that DEI encompasses much more than race, color, and creed. It’s about everyone. DEI programs should bring people together and embrace the differences to create a positive change in the business.

“Remote work is here to stay – and even increase through 2023,” says Gillson referring to a report from data scientists at Ladders. The report projects that 25 percent of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. 

Company Culture vs Climate 

Company culture is based on core values, beliefs, and behaviors. Businesses need to make their values the guiding light that’s embedded into every aspect of the organization. It’s the collective view of “the way work is done.”  

Climate is how the staff perceive the impact of the work environment on the individual.  It’s the atmosphere created in the organization based on the culture. When both are in alignment with the people in the organization it makes it a great place to work.

DEI is an integral part of the culture. And how that plays out will inevitably influence the climate. 

“Personality tests are an effective tool a company can use to build inclusion,” says Gillson. “They are a very valuable tool to learn how to deal with different people.”

The goal of personality tests is to understand people, but there is also the added benefit of helping your people to learn more about themselves. A good test can give you tangible, scientific information on how to make changes in areas of weakness.

“Many of us don’t understand ourselves well,” notes Gillson. “The pandemic has inspired change that was much needed. Companies are offering PTO policies to help with work-life balance.  They’re focusing on personal production levels, rather than hours on the clock.”

SMB DEI Strategies

It’s the people that make a business successful, so it’s imperative that companies beef up their people strategies. “One way a small business can double up on the value of DEI programs is to partner with local community organizations,” says Gillson.  “You can employ workers from diverse groups connected to those organizations.”  

This is a smart way to create an inclusion program. Sponsoring community events can provide positive exposure and visibility for the brand at the same time.

DEI and The Bottom Line

Companies with a strong diversity, equity, and inclusion program are more likely to hit their financial goals. A study conducted over a three-year period showed that diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. And those with a more inclusive workforce are 120 percent more likely to hit their financial goals

Research from DeloitteBoston Consulting Group, the Harvard Business ReviewForbes and more, all show the same thing: diverse and inclusive companies are more innovative and, therefore, the more profitable they can be.

2020 study from McKinsey found that businesses with more ethnic and cultural diversity were as much as 36 percent more profitable than less diverse ones. 

So, it’s not just about doing good or doing the right thing. It’s just good business.

A Conversation with Garrett M. Graff, Author, ‘Watergate: A New History’


Garrett M. Graff, a distinguished magazine journalist, international bestselling historian, and regular TV commentator and producer, has spent nearly two decades covering politics, technology, and national security and is recognized today as one of the nation’s most prolific and wide-ranging journalists and historians.

Join Michael in his discussion with Garrett Graff about his new book Watergate: A New History, as he explores the full, untold story of Watergate on its 50-year anniversary.


Garrett M. Graff

Garrett M. Graff, a distinguished magazine journalist, internationally bestselling historian, and regular TV commentator and producer, has spent nearly two decades covering politics, technology, and national security and is recognized today as one of the nation’s most prolific and wide-ranging journalists and historians.

His award-winning work—including a half-dozen books on topics ranging from presidential campaigns, Watergate, 9/11, cybersecurity, and the U.S. government’s Cold War Doomsday plans, as well as dozens of magazine articles, essays, podcasts, and documentaries—uses history to explain the story of today, illuminating where we’ve been as a country and where we’re headed as a world.

A current contributor to WIRED and CNN and director of the cyber initiatives at The Aspen Institute, he has written for publications from Esquire to Rolling Stone to the New York Times, and served as the editor of two of Washington’s most prestigious magazines, Washingtonian (2009-2014) and POLITICO Magazine (2014-2015), which he helped lead to its first National Magazine Award, the industry’s highest honor.

Graff is the author of multiple books, including The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller’s FBI and the national bestseller, Raven Rock, about the government’s Cold War Doomsday plans, as well as co-author of Dawn of the Code War, tracing the global cybersecurity threat.

His most recent book, Watergate: A New History, was called “dazzling” by Douglas Brinkley in the New York Times Book Review and became an instant New York Times bestseller. Kirkus Reviews called it “the standard-setting … best and fullest account of the Watergate crisis, one unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon,” and wrote that it is “a brisk, riveting, compulsively readable, comprehensive, up-to-date narrative of the entire tangled affair.” In his review for the Washington Post, Len Downie, Jr., wrote, “Do we need still another Watergate book? The answer turns out to be yes — this one…. It is a remarkably rich narrative with compelling characters, who range from criminal and flawed to tragic and heroic. As someone who played a small role in the drama while I was editing many of The Washington Post’s Watergate stories, I found that Graff convincingly populates and re-creates an extraordinary time in the history of the country and this city.”


Michael Zeldin

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelzeldin

Subscribe to the Podcast:

Utilizing Google Analytics 4 for Your Business (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Just a few years after the emergence of the internet, the first analytics solutions appeared.  Since then, the data analytics industry has rapidly evolved.  By 2028, the data analytics market’s expected worth is an estimated $550 billion.  Web Analytics are essential; they are used to understand customer behavior and optimize web experiences.  Metrics for user behavior are used to optimize conversion rates and improve both page performance and user experience.  Marketers also use data analytics to create targeted advertising

Web analytics has quickly grown over the past decades.  In the late 1990s, it could take large businesses up to 24 hours to process their website data.  Now, these metrics are collected in seconds or less.  Today, an estimated 28 million active websites use Google Analytics for their data analysis.  Google Analytics emerged in 2005 after acquiring the top analytics provider, Urchin, for $30 million.  In 2012, Google Analytics introduced Universal Analytics.  Universal Analytics enabled the tracking of users across not only multiple platforms, but also various devices.  Universal Analytics utilizes user IDs to monitor offline behavior, gather demographic information, and get customer data. 

The evolution of the internet has not stopped, and to no surprise, Google Analytics has developed alongside these changes.  In October 2020, Google announced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) as their new analytics platform.  They are giving companies a few years to make the transition to GA4.  Google’s Universal Analytics will shut down on July 1, 2023.  Are you and your business ready to make the switch?

So, how is Google Analytics 4 different from Universal Analytics?  GA4 is specifically designed to combine web and app analytics in a single platform and is focused on user privacy while improving data insights.  GA4 considers every event a hit, automatically collecting all engagement data instead of just page views.  GA4 uses predictive analytics for customer behavior.  It can predict revenue expected for the next 28 days by looking at data from active users in the past 28 days.  Similarly, it employs purchase probability and churn probability. 

There is no straightforward upgrade path from Universal Analytics to GA4 and no method to transfer historical data.  While making this transition is beneficial to your business, approaching this transition may seem daunting.  InfoTrust provides expert help with your analytics transition, alleviating the difficulties merging your data.  Expert help allows businesses to realign their data strategy.  This means businesses will learn how data collection changed with GA4, recode their existing tags to work with this new technology, track new metrics by redoing their dashboarding, and more.  Transitioning to GA4 presents a perfect opportunity to improve your business through smart data analysis.

History & Future of Web Analytics
Source: InfoTrust

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

How to Work Remotely Using Only Your Smartphone

Commentary from…

Ken Rogers, SEO Specialist

The fact that you can work remotely using your smartphone will be good news for many in the workforce today. You can be rest assured that your phone can come in handy and do the necessary job whenever you cannot use your laptop or computer. Many smartphone apps provide the same functionality for employees as laptops do, and you can be as productive with your laptop as you can be with your mobile phone. As more people embrace remote working, brands and organizations see a greater return on investment by allowing employees to work remotely. How is this possible? This article explains several ways to do remote work with a smartphone. 

  1. Purchase and Expenditure: You can make purchases at home or the office using mobile apps, and many employees use budgeting and planning apps for this purpose. Some apps have specific functions and can make purchase requests from your smartphone or tablet. From the Smart Sheet app, you can add an approval step and have company oversight even when making purchases. You can review, approve, or deny a request on some of these apps. You can view the product and the price and make calls to confirm the decision. Telecommunication companies have sim-only deals that you can purchase for use by your staff.
  1. Virtual meetings: Smartphones can be used to access virtual meetings on the go. Whether you are at a conference, at home, in your kid’s school, or at a branch office in another city, it doesn’t matter. You can attend essential meetings using your smartphone or tablet. You can even share your screen and make a presentation from your smartphone. Companies like Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom have made it easy to hop on work calls to clarify the needs of your clients or customers. You can also use these platforms to communicate with team members and superiors such that you are connected even when you are distant. Using this technology is more practical than hopping on a plane and traveling for hours to make a decision you can make on a call while seated in your study. Video conferencing makes it possible to be in two places simultaneously.  Even as a hiring manager you could easily interview candidates online or hold meetings with the PR Agency you want to hire. 
  1. Sales and Prospecting: You can get an overview of the sales team’s report and their progress with their prospects using technology apps like Hub Spot. Your team can also find prospects and keep in touch with them using tabs or smartphones. They can work from home and carry out all their responsibilities regardless of their location. You and your team can have live access to data as progress is made. You can leave notes and directions for your team using the functionality of the specific app chosen. The contact information of potential customers can be updated on the app, thus improving your funnel activity. The employment of sim-only deals is beneficial in these situations. Since you get an amount of roaming for a specific period. Smartphones are effective for social media management as well, especially if you want to bring new customers to your services or products. With your phone, you could manage Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and check Best Instagram Story Viewers to see what your competitors are doing. 
  1. Communication using VoIP services: Constant communication with your customers is needed. When your clients need your products or services, you can respond to them in the quickest time possible. This helps reduce frequent travel and minimize costs. You can save costs by using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for making calls instead of using the regular phone for long-distance and international cell phone plans. This is more professional than using your phone number to communicate with clients. If needed, you can forward calls to your smartphone, make phone calls, and access voicemail. This is equal to being in the office. It is advantageous when there is a natural disaster like a blackout, a storm, a flood, or a power outage. You can always access it online when everything else is down, also from anywhere.
  1. Media Communication: Other than the Voice over Internet Protocol, you can also communicate with clients using instant messaging services like Slack, Yammer, or even Google Docs. The best information is that all of these apps are available on your phone or tablet. This helps you stay in constant communication and even share files as if you were present in a physical office. Most of the apps are compatible with Microsoft Office and make things easier. Your file transfers are secure and quick, increasing your efficiency and maximizing time and resources. These apps and tools help you maximize the efficiency of a team that has perfect synergy even when they are not physically in the same place.

All the tools mentioned above and more can be found in your application store and you can choose the one that is best for you and your team. Choosing the right productivity apps will help you work efficiently.

About the Author: Ken is an experienced SEO professional. He assists businesses in improving their search engine results by optimizing copy and landing pages, as well as conducting continual keyword research. He is also very skilled in researching and implementing content recommendations for organic SEO success. 

Off-page SEO Essentials

Why Small Businesses Need SEO

Mike Paffman, CEO, VIRGO PR

Most companies tend to begin their SEO efforts with on-page SEO. Yet, one of the most important ranking factors on search engine rule pages isn’t the efforts on a website, and instead, it’s all of the backlinks that are generated from other websites pointing to the company’s website. According to studies, some of the top results on Google tend to have an average of nearly 4 times more backlinks than the results that follow. However, on-page SEO isn’t all about building backlinks, and it goes a lot deeper than that. Another essential element of on-page SEO is brand mentions, even if they’re without a hyperlink. At the end of the day, off-page SEO is all about what search engines and other people think about a website. 

Off-page SEO

Every activity that a company, as well as other people, do away from the company’s website to increase the ranking of that website with search engines is what off-page SEO entails. While most people tend to associate off-page SEO with link building, there are plenty of other strategies that don’t usually result in a standard hyperlink that is still important for off-page optimization.

Optimizing Content

For a company to put its target audience or the users first, the content that the business creates shouldn’t primarily be focused on keywords. In fact, to really put the target audience first, when creating content companies should completely forget about mentioning any keywords, especially if those keywords don’t flow naturally. Additionally, putting the audience first also means that companies should be creating valuable content instead of creating content that’s only going to generate more sales for the business. For instance, companies can improve their content marketing efforts, and overall SEO by using the visuals that are going to convey the content’s message in a clear way, and by integrating different types of data into the content. By helping the audience with great content, they are going to be a lot more interested in the business and making purchases from it. 


In more recent years, infographics have been some of the most commonly produced forms of content from businesses, simply because they work. Although this type of content can generate impressions for companies, it’s important to understand that not every infographic can do so. Creating high-quality and informative infographics for target audiences takes a lot of time, effort, and money. For companies that are just starting out, creating these types of infographics might not always be a viable option. Fortunately, there are various platforms where companies can find and work with professional infographic designers at lower costs, such as, or Dribble. This type of content tends to drive more engagement with the target audience and sometimes can even earn editorial backlinks for the business from the right outlets.

Mike PauffmanAbout the Author: Mike Paffmann is CEO of Virgo PR, a leading PR agency.

Richard Levick – Let Her Sing

Let Her Sing

Photo by Addison Scurlock, modified for LEVICK blog

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do we find the strength to keep going? I know from so many recent conversations that I am not the only one to have those days when the fatigue will not dissipate and getting out of bed feels like fighting gravity.

Collectively, we have started to appreciate what was once unimaginable—the pain and anguish of our grandparents and great grandparents, who, if they were born at the right time and right place, spent their first 50 years suffering through the Great San Francisco earthquake, World War I, the 1918 flu epidemic, the Great Depression and World War II. If they were lucky, over that time they got maybe a decade of prosperity which must have felt like an aberration.

If 9/11 and Covid burst our collective sense of security, then the last few years have rocked our very sense of hope. We have been shocked to learn we are not immune. Mass murders in Buffalo, Uvalde and 300 more shootings over Memorial Day weekend alone, killing 130 people; January 6th; George Floyd; economic fears; the war in Ukraine; the greatest existential threat to democracy since the Civil War; and, of course, endless Covid and its health care, supply chain and economic disruptions. To say the least, it has not been an easy time.

When my father returned from the Korean War, still a young man, he understandably found it hard to date. He had seen too much. The loss of so many friends, sometimes standing next to him when they were blown away. After some years, he met and married a beautiful and wonderful woman who gave him renewed hope and my sister and me. As life is often cruel and unfair, at 25, she passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve, 1961. A few days after the funeral, he went with my mother’s parents, my six-year-old sister and the four-year-old me to Atlantic City, then a quiet town, to spend some time mourning and beginning the long, slow process of recovery.

Poolside, my father saw a priest and asked if they could walk together, “Even though we are of different faiths.” When my father asked the priest how—after he had witnessed so much carnage in Korea and now the sudden loss of his young wife—he could keep going, the priest stopped and turned my father around. He pointed to my sister and me and said, “You don’t have a choice. You keep going for them.”

Hope is where we find it.

Victor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, writer and Holocaust survivor developed the theory of Logotherapy—“The search for meaning even amidst suffering can constitute a potential solution to human suffering.” In a word, hope.

One hundred years ago this week, we dedicated the Lincoln Memorial to Abraham Lincoln, “The Great Emancipator.” Just over a decade after its opening, the Daughters of the American Revolution, in an act that lives in infamy, denied African American opera singer Marian Anderson the opportunity to perform close by in DAR Constitution Hall because of her race. Not to bend to injustice, Howard University, Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR, United States Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes and others worked their political muscle, and on April 9, 1939, she sang from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in front of 75,000 people—25 times the capacity of Constitution Hall. To injustice, we respond.

On those days when fear strikes and oppression overwhelms us, listen to Marian Anderson sing Ave Maria from those steps. This is what it sounds like to hear the angels sing.

From the embattled steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine and the 21 crosses in front of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas to D.C. Police Officers Daniel Hodges, Eugene Goodman, Mike Fanone and Christina Laury who defended our Capitol on January 6th and the hundreds of unsung frontline Covid healthcare heroes, it is our job to offer solace, see the best and keep hope alive.

Rejoice in the music and be your best self. You are needed.

Richard Levick

Offering In-House Delivery Services: What Small Eateries Need to Consider

Offering In-House Delivery Services

Jodie James, Freelancer

Third-party delivery services have a few benefits, but they have lots of drawbacks as well. You don’t need to manage deliveries or buy a vehicle when using one, which drives staffing and equipment costs down. On the other hand, you are at the mercy of whatever driver delivers the food for you and are subject to huge fees that can eat into your margins. This is why more small eateries are deciding to revert to delivering food themselves. If that is your plan, then you have to know what running your delivery service entails and what you need to prepare for. Here are some of the things small eateries need to consider before handling food delivery in-house.

Is it Really the Best Option for You?

You first need to look at whether handling deliveries on your own is truly the best idea for you. If you’re a new business, you need to understand that food delivery services do more than ship food for you. Try to think of a food delivery service as a huge food court where you can choose to have more or less visibility. If you’re just starting your business, you have to know that foot traffic and dine-in orders are way down at the moment and building traction without the visibility a food delivery service can offer could be difficult.

This is why you should think twice about handling all deliveries on your own. You should also know that you can use both a third-party delivery service and have an in-house driver. Some services will also allow you to have your store to be featured there, but use your driver to send the food, so look at all your options.

Extra Expenses

You will also need to look at the additional expenses that come with handling deliveries in-house. You’ll have to get a decent vehicle or a fleet of them, hire one or multiple drivers, and look at things like business car insurance as well. You also have to look at things like maintenance and fuel costs and how they affect your bottom line. You might realize that the difference in cost between handling deliveries or paying delivery fees is minimal and that going with a third party might be a better strategic decision even if your margins are slightly narrower.

Taking Care of Dine-In Guests

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they start offering delivery is that they start neglecting their dine-in guests. If you’re just starting to deliver, you have to know that you might experience trouble if you try to manage take-out and dine-in orders through the same channels.

You might realize that you’re getting many more delivery orders than expected, for instance. Restaurants often feel like deliveries should be a priority because angry customers will be more likely to post negative reviews; however, dine-in clients might be the ones who pay most of your bills. This is why we suggest that you separate your kitchen space and have one part handling table orders and another one dealing with deliveries exclusively.

Setting Up a Web Portal

You also have to know that people are now used to ordering food online, so you will have to set up a website and probably have to develop an app for your service. You will also need to start looking at online and mobile POS solutions

Hire the Right Drivers

When you work with a third-party service, they pre-screen drivers for you. Finding a reliable driver on your own can be difficult and hiring the wrong one can have disastrous consequences. So, be ready for the challenges that come with hiring. The drivers you hire will make the biggest impact on the whole delivery experience, so recruit wisely. You need to hire people who will care about your brand and the customer. Hire drivers with experience and good references. You may have the best food in the world and really care about service, but if your drivers don’t, your brand will suffer. So, be extra careful there and conduct thorough background and reference checks on all prospective drivers.

These are all things you have to think about when setting up an in-house delivery service. Take the time to evaluate all your options and only go through with your decision if you’re 100% sure that it’s the right choice from a business standpoint.

How Marketers Can Curb Metrics Cravings in the Post-Cookie World

Andy Hasselwander, Chief Analytics Officer at MarketBridge

Measurement and optimization remain critical imperatives for marketers. When hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to acquire customers, CFOs take notice and want to know how various aspects of the marketing mix are working—or not working. The questions of ROI, cost per acquisition, marginal cost per acquisition and overall mix optimization are posed daily to CMOs. Unfortunately, while marketing may be the most scrutinized cost center, it is also one of the messiest when it comes to data. 

Even though it has never reached full maturity, multi-touch attribution (MTA) was made possible by digital marketing, specifically cookies. In the early days of the internet, browsing privacy was an afterthought—people were more worried about credit card numbers getting stolen than they were about brands tracking their behavior. 

Then came third-party cookies and pixels, which completely changed the game. Third-party cookies can be read across networks and domains, making it possible to “follow a customer” around the internet.  They are particularly appealing to marketers as they can track consumer activity across broader stretches of the internet, not just their own sites.

Post-Cookie Measurement Gloom

Using third-party cookies for measurement is getting harder and harder, and it’s a good bet that within a year, it’ll be impossible. Stories of data breaches at large-scale companies like Yahoo and Facebook, along with general news-spurred anxiety about foreign data interference have led to an increase in consumer concerns over data privacy. 

Furthermore, in a bid for consumer trust, Google announced in 2020 that it would be phasing out third-party cookies on the Chrome browser. With Chrome’s cookies officially set to crumble by 2023, more and more tech companies like Apple (on both Safari and in-app across devices) are joining the trend towards greater consumer privacy and more data silo-ing.

This decline in consumer information availability has caused uncertainty among marketers. Coupled with other budgetary and data management problems, few marketers feel prepared for the post-cookie world when it comes to measurement. Luckily, there are a few measurement options that are a healthy alternative to cookies.

Beyond Discrete Multi-Touch Attribution

Discrete, user-level MTA is probably dead—but this doesn’t mean that precise marketing measurement is impossible. In fact, discrete MTA always had serious flaws, most importantly its inability to measurement brand-focused, upper-funnel investment, and its digital bias. Media mix modeling (MMM) has slowly chugged along as the measurement and optimization framework of choice for upper-funnel and video-focused marketers—and with good reason. However, media mix modeling is still too high-level to really get to reliable cost per acquisition metrics by investment channel. Something more is needed, even without third-party cookies.

Cohort Analysis

Cohort analysis means replacing individually identifiable data with aggregated groupings for analysis or targeting. These aggregations of individual records protect individual privacy while still allowing targeting and tracking. 

Cohorts are very useful to estimate attribution. Cohorts can be created for very specific levels of the business—getting down to very specific audience cells of, say, 10 leads each. This has the potential to get around privacy concerns. It remains to be seen how cooperative ad networks are prepared when it comes to providing cohort data, but marketing analysts should keep their pulse on this trend.

Shift to First-Party Data / Customer Data Platform

Another approach to solving the measurement problem is to bring as much prospect data as possible in-house. By shifting to a syndicated or partially owned system to track first-party data and develop consumer identity graphs, companies can track customers in more private ways. 

This doesn’t solve the problem of tracking consumers everywhere, but it can make the bottom of the funnel less opaque. In many ways, CRM systems are first-party data systems. While they were originally designed only to work with existing customers, companies are realizing that a unified identity graph for customers and prospects that leverages first-party data is a competitive advantage. 

Aggregated Analysis

Aggregated MTA combines econometric techniques with aggregated, channel-level data to get to a more holistic picture of attribution. While it doesn’t provide the magical answer of “what drove this specific lead to come to my website,” it can still be very specific. Aggregated MTA uses the same statistical technique used in MMM, econometric time series analysis, but models many different “last touch” channels as mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive dependent variables.

What results is a “model of models”—a network path of all of the different ways that a customer can be influenced by, and find, a brand. While aggregated multi-touch attribution can’t tell a marketer how one specific customer got to the purchase point, it can provide serious insight into each channel true contribution, both to its “own” last touch channel, and to other channels.

The Perfect Recipe

Marketers should embrace privacy push-back from consumers. The movement towards digital attribution, while short-lived, showed marketers and executives what should be possible when it came to marketing measurement. Adopting cohort thinking, first-party customer data centricity, and aggregated econometric multi-touch attribution have the potential to give marketers a stable, privacy-compliant foundation to measure across multiple channels.

About the Author: As Chief Analytics Officer, Andy leads the marketing data and analytics functions at MarketBridge, joining the firm (for the second time) in 2018. Andy brings 20+ years of marketing strategy, data science and software development experience to the firm.


Management Styles and Company Culture

Management Styles and Company Culture

There is a big change occurring in corporate culture right now. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says 47 million people have bid farewell to their company and position over a period of 12 months. What’s driving this trend?

The easy answer is the pandemic.  But there’s more to it than that. Workers have seen that there are other possibilities for work-life balance. They’re exploring different and better options.

One driver of this trend is how they’re treated while at work. Managing a workforce is both an art and a science. Over the years, various management styles have gone in and out of fashion. In the current worker-dominated environment, when the best talent is in high demand, management style matters more than ever. Prospective employees will research everything they can about your company before applying and can find a ton of information online from current and former employees, some of whom are very happy at a job, and others who post negative reviews. What does the talent you need want from management?

Bad Management = Low Retention

A bad boss makes work a stressful, unrewarding experience. But what are the most hated characteristics? A manager who plays favorites, micromanages every task, delivers confusing directions and orders, has a bad temper, and when things go right, takes credit for others’ work should be corrected or replaced.

These managers are wildly unpopular, and rarely, if ever, inspire loyalty or higher levels of production. When things go wrong, they take no responsibility, but place the blame on others, even to the point of recommending an unwarranted firing of your productive team members. It makes sense that these unpleasant bosses are often the reason behind the loss of valued employees. 

Good Management = Teamwork

Certain qualities are admired in every sector, and if you don’t come by them naturally, they can be developed with practice. At a company considered a great place to work managers are respected and admired for exhibiting these traits:

  • Considerate. A great manager is considerate, both personally and professionally. The respect for others is evident in how communication is delivered, the ability to listen and understand, and how direction or orders are presented. 
  • Visionary. Achieving milestones starts with inspiration. A great boss has a vision for the future of the team, the company, and has a strategy to execute the vision, communicated in a manner that inspires creativity, teamwork, and higher levels of production. 
  • Decisive. The best managers are, indeed, the smartest person in the room – but they don’t flaunt it. They are decisive without being authoritarian, and willing to listen to input.
  • Coaching. A good manager is watching over the team members, and when an employee is struggling, coaches them to become better at what they do.
  • Acknowledges the work of others. A great manager recognizes and acknowledges the work of team members and inspires his team even higher levels of production.
  • Kindness. A kind manager is far more effective than a bombastic, loud, demanding boss. Kindness is not weakness – it is the quality of being warmhearted, considerate, and friendly.
  • Honesty. An effective manager is honest and open with employees, garnering respect.
  • Builds collaborative teams. Teams that collaborate produce superior outcomes, and a great manager builds effective teams of employees.

At an amazing workplace the culture is inclusive and caring. Employees feel cared for, secure, and inspired by the actions of their management team.


How Company Culture Impacts Your Bottom Line

How Company Culture Impacts Your Bottom Line


A positive company culture is something that not only brings the community of employees together as a group but has a measurable impact on the organization’s revenue and profits. A company’s culture is a unique identifier (like a fingerprint) in that it may be like others, but is uniquely distinct to your business, and the people who work there and nurture the working environment. Most other things like products, strategies, marketing, etc. can be replicated elsewhere, but the culture, or personality of an organization is truly unique to that workplace. A strong organizational culture can clearly set a business apart from its competitors in the mind of its stakeholders and customers.

Your corporate culture is the DNA that provides guidelines, boundaries, and expectations for your team, and is arguably the most powerful resource you have to attract, recruit, hire and retain a high level of talent to your business. Simply put — the best people want to work with the best companies and having the best people in your ranks is vital to ongoing business success.

Talented professionals want to work within the halls of the best organizations, because it aligns with their own expectations of excellence. These talented people, partners and clients see your values and culture as a strong differentiator of how you do business, rather than solely on your products or services alone. 

In sales, it is a known datum that customers will buy based on trust before price. In other words, if they don’t trust you then it doesn’t matter how good the price is — they won’t make a purchase. But if they do trust you, you can charge them almost anything (within reason) because you’ve already earned their trust as a loyal customer. 

Why is this relevant? From the outside, a company seen to have a poor organizational culture will be far less likely as a trusted source of business. On the other hand, if this company is seen to be authentic, have strong values and a real level of care for its customers, its employees and its products and services — then they have built the foundation of trust in their customers that will be very difficult to shake. 

Ways Company Culture Impacts the Bottom Line

Team Building

A good corporate culture attracts and empowers employees to operate with the goals and values of the team. They are passionate about open communication, increasing productivity and embracing innovative ideas and new business. Common ground could be said to be one of the major building blocks of any relationship — whether friendly, romantic or in business. A group of individuals in a company who all ascribe to the same values, goals, purposes, and intentions will naturally pull together as a team with a common vision for the future of the endeavor. 

Employee Retention

Building and nurturing a work environment where employees enjoy their time at work, have fun on the job, and look forward to showing up each day will obviously result in a loyalty and desire to stay there over a longer timeline. An employer who cares about their fellow professionals will check in often and seek out ways of improving their experience. When you as an executive ask questions, listen to the answers, and take steps to implement improvements to their daily work lives — your employees will know they are valued and important members of your organization. 

Efficiency and Productivity

Conventional wisdom used to be that a high-pressure environment was the way to push employees toward higher levels of productivity — to be better, push harder, work faster, and hustle til you drop. But the truth is that the cost of disengagement alone should be enough of a deterrent to businesses. A culture of fear and high-pressure “whippings” will only ever result in employee resentment and disengagement. Employee turnover is costly, as is the loss of productivity in employees who are no longer engaged in their work. 

Employees who are part of a work community and know their coworkers well, can communicate effectively with them and are much more likely to work in a collaborative manner. And a work environment that engenders a sense of trust, loyalty, kindness, and compassion is one where workers are far more likely to feel at ease and willing to go the extra mile in terms of their own productivity. 


Bottom line: your business is here to make money, and your employees are your most important asset. The link between company culture and productive employees is undeniable. Gallup determined that actively disengaged workers cost U.S. businesses about $300 billion dollars a year. Unhappy workers will miss almost four more days of work per year than satisfied employees. 

On the other hand, companies with engaged employees consistently outperform their competition by almost 20 percent! Invest in your employees’ happiness, and they will invest their energy and passion into your business — and the profits will speak for themselves. 


Democratic Election Strategy Suggestions Should Include A New Approach to Public Relations And Not Beat A Dead Horse; Neither Should Agency Account Teams.

Democratic Debate # 8: So Long, Iowa. Hello Mike?Arthur Solomon

On May 24, on this site, I wrote a column giving my opinion on why the Republican Party has stymied Democratic legislation on women’s right to choose and gun control. 

I began the column with the following: 

“Ever since the conclusion of the 2020 presidential election, I stayed away from writing columns about politics.  That’s because political pundits of the broadcast and print media are not contributing factual information to their audiences. New information is disseminated in the news sections and the pundits use those details to try to convince followers that  what the pundits write or say is reality, when, actually, it is nothing but the ego-centric opinions of pundits. It was this way yesterday, it is this way today and, thus, it will be this way tomorrow and the many tomorrows that follow until the end of time.”  

I also said that “I didn’t’ intend to write another political column until we were into the 2024 presidential season. But unexpected events occurred. And slowly, like Russia’s probable victory against Ukraine, the overturning of Roe is a Republican Party example of how to win a battle and lose the public relations war. That’s not just my belief. It’s an opinion based on facts that reveal that Russia, because of its invasion of Ukraine, has become a pariah state to much of the world and that the great majority of Americans are against outlawing abortion.”

But another unexpected occurrence, the horrific massacre on May 24 at the in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas  again brought me to the key boards prior to the 2022 election season  to give my opinion on what the Democratic Party’s strategy should be regarding both the abortion issue and the slaughter of the elementary school children in Texas. 

The Democratic candidates’ campaign strategy should concentrate on five issues:

1- Women’s rights to choose,

2 – Republicans opposition to gun control legislation,

3 – Republican’s refusal to provide more funding to combat Covid. 

Those topics should be augmented by,

4 – The January 6 Committee holding public hearings on the insurrection and,

5 – What the Democrats are doing to contain inflation.

Immediately after the shooting at the elementary school, Republicans started to skirt around the gun control issue, attempting to frame the discussion about mental health problems and lax school security; then in the Senate blocking legislation regarding domestic terrorism. Democrats consistently must keep bringing up the subject of gun control legislation, domestic terrorism and the banning of military style weapons to get GOP senators on the record, just as the Republicans did when they controlled the Senate and forced numerous votes about the over turning of ObamaCare. (Both ObamaCare and gun control legislation has broad voter support, as does a woman’s right to choose).

In Houston, just three days after the shootings and 280 miles from Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children were massacred at an elementary school, the National Rifle Association went ahead with its usual irrational convention, during which speakers blamed the slaughter of children on issues like the breakdown of the American family, social media posts, violent media games and “evil.” Every possible reason for the mass killings was spoken except the one that could have prevented it – more restrictive gun control legislation.
The keynote speaker at the event, Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former delusional president, of course blamed President Joe Biden. Trump, who appears more detached from reality each time he speaks said, “The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens who can protect a lot of people. The existence of evil is one of the best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens.” Missing from his remarks was any mention of gun-reform legislation. The remarks by convention speakers should have been immediately been followed by Democratic leadership scheduling a vote on gun control legislation. (In my opinion, the root of evil exists on the golf course at Mar-A-Lago.)

But instead of forcing the gun issue by scheduling votes, Democratic leadership agreed to a 10 day delay during which compromise legislation is being discussed. This, in my opinion, is a waste of time. Odds are that nothing substantial will emerge from the talks. History shows that. That means the issue of gun control will be decided by voters in the November mid-term election.

And depending on voter turnout in a non-presidential election year is a major problem for Democrats because Republican voters vote, Democratic voters take a holiday. 

For those readers who missed it, here’s what I also said in my May 24 column. “Instead of marches and other forms of protesting, abortion rights advocates should use every minute organizing people to vote. They should start ringing door bells now and not stop until after Election Day. Because on Election Day it will not be the pro or anti-abortion forces that decide the outcome. The election will not be decided by the side that gets the most TV time. The winners will be decided by what  former President Richard Nixon called the “silent majority.”  Because it is the “silent majority” whose voices are heard on Election Day.” Substantial legislation about gun control and abortion rights is not in the hands of current elected officials but in the hands of voters. 

Between now and Election Day, the Democrats must also team up with pro-gun control allies, which include many retired peace officers.  These individuals should be used as spokespeople on TV and radio outlets and also for print interviews in rural communities, whose voters with good cause distrust national Democratic politicians who have ignored rural voters’ concerns for decades. Local Democratic officials should also arrange for the peace officers to speak at community functions.

Also necessary is for the Democrats to have spokespeople on TV who look and talk more like rural Americans. Doing this would certainly infuriate Afro-American groups, the Democratic Party’s most loyal supporters, thus far. But recent elections show that the number of Afro-Americans and Hispanics who vote Democratic is declining. In order to have a sustainable future the Democratic Party must change with the times, which also means dumping their PR approach, which results in their winning the media wars but losing the issue wars.

A good place to start is to study the approach of victorious Democratic candidates in states that are staunchly Republican and build a new public relations effort around those tactics. An immediate easy fix is having spokespeople with southern, mountain and mid-western accents deliver the Democratic messages.

The Democratic PR problem in many ways is not un-similar to our business: Once a program is approved by a client, the account team usually rides it to the end, even when the prudent thing is to notify the client that the program isn’t working and needs midcourse revisions.  Not admitting that a program is not working is self-defeating for our clients and the Democratic Party. In both instances, changes are needed. Beating a dead horse results in defeat.

A strategy along these lines mean that progressive Democratic wants, such as expanded medical care, the green deal, an increased tax on multi-millionaires  and a path to citizenship for immigrants would be shunted aside until after the 2022 mid-term and 2024 presidential elections.

Progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her limited Squad, would rant that ignoring their wants means that the Democratic Party is drifting rightward, (which, of course, is only a figment of their imagination). 

But as I learned at my first public relations job at a political agency the only way to accomplish something is by winning; losing on principle is just losing. And it doesn’t even make you feel good.

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 was on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He has been a key player on Olympic marketing programs and also has worked at high-level positions directly for Olympic organizations. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) 


Onclusive Expands US Footprint with Critical Mention

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Critical Mention has today announced that it will become part of Onclusive, a newly formed global partner for PR and communications success. The move combines Critical Mention’s media monitoring and media contact database tools with Onclusive’s suite of market-leading global media monitoring, measurement and management solutions.

Onclusive was formed at the start of this year following the merger of Kantar’s Reputation Intelligence business, PRgloo and the legacy Onclusive business.

Critical Mention’s existing clients can continue to access their products and services as usual. Soon, clients will be able to benefit from the wider Onclusive offer.

Commenting on today’s acquisition, CEO at Onclusive, Manuel Moerbach said: “We are delighted to bring on board Critical Mention at this exciting point in our journey, integrating their technology and expertise into our business. This acquisition reinforces our mission, to work closely with our clients as we strive to deliver the world’s most respected media intelligence service. We are constantly seeking opportunities to build upon and improve the service we offer to PR and Communications professionals around the world.”

Don Yount, CEO at Critical Mention added: “My job at Critical Mention always came down to unleashing the talents of our team members, who, in turn, unleashed the potential in our platform. They created tremendous value for our shareholders, for our customers and for themselves. From the start, I believed that we would one day join forces with the ideal strategic partner with whom we could multiply that value.  It is hard to imagine a better strategic fit than Onclusive.”

Onclusive is owned by technology investor Symphony Technology Group (STG). This acquisition was advised by Canaccord Genuity LLC and Paul Hastings. Support for the transaction was also provided by Main Street Capital Corporation and Stellus Capital Management. Oaklins DeSilva & Phillips, LLC served as the exclusive financial adviser to Critical Mention and Pryor Cashman LLP served as legal counsel.