PR Measurement Conference & Social Media Boot Camp

Live Event, April 20 & 21, 2017 (Washington D.C.)



Join us at the historic National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 20-21, 2017, for PR News’ Measurement Conference, which includes the Social Media Boot Camp. At this annual must-attend event, hundreds of communicators will forge the future of data-and-analytics-driven PR and social media.

Commit now to grounding all of your communications efforts in metrics that connect to business goals and prove the crucial role communications plays in thriving b2c and b2b companies, nonprofits and professional associations. Our faculty of PR measurement experts will show you how to develop a measurable communications program for media relations, social media, crisis management and brand enhancement. You’ll get updates on the latest trends in measurement standards, with an emphasis on real-world case-study applications of measurement concepts.



How Should the GOP Communicate Publicly in the Trump Era of Tweets and Rants?

Andy-Blum-headshotAndrew Blum, Principal, AJB Communications

What should the GOP PR message be in the age of Trump?

When President Donald Trump went on Twitter the other day to charge that the Obama administration had wiretapped his office at Trump Tower, it was the latest PR flap and big media story for the GOP to deal with.

Do they as the GOP support Trump no matter what, or at some point, do they jump ship?

We are in a very heated political atmosphere and divided country in 2017, and the GOP is publicly straddling the line between all is fine and what the heck do we do if this keeps up? How weird does it have to get before they say or do something huge?

Perhaps Trump and his administration may help the GOP decide what their ultimate messaging should be. If the Russia crisis gets worse or more revelations about Trump, his campaign officials and his current advisors and Russia come out, the GOP may have no choice but to say publicly he’s wrong and run away from him.

It’s not just Russia as an issue here for the GOP. There are accusations of “hiding” their replacement plan for Obamacare even from their own members. They are in charge of the government and it looks in disarray – it’s just bad optics.

And what about Trump in general, when is sticking with him or going independent a smart move? What should the GOP PR plan be going forward?

The answer lies in the fact that Trump wants to be considered the “TV President.” So, memo to GOP: TV, just like politics and PR, is all about perception. If the country sees that the GOP continues to support Trump and his administration as more goes wrong and wacky, they will be on the wrong end of perception.

They need to figure it out before the 2018 elections become a referendum on the GOP and a standard-bearer who says just about anything without proof so he can distract from other issues.

Oh, and some other advice: the media – dubbed by Trump, Stephen Bannon and others as the so-called enemy of the people — will keep plugging away at this same narrative.

One thing the GOP should know is you can’t stop the media no matter how hard you try. Even former President George W. Bush said recently that he supports a free press. What’s your next PR move, GOP?

About the Author: Andrew Blum is a PR consultant, media trainer and principal of AJB Communications. He has directed PR for professional services and financial services firms, NGOs, agencies and other clients. In the political realm, he handled PR for former NY Governor George Pataki for six years. As a PR executive, and formerly as a journalist, he has been involved on both sides of the media aisle in some of the most media intensive crises of the past 25 years. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter: @ajbcomms

Andrew Faas on the ABC’s of Leadership: How Believable Are You?

andrew-faasAndrew Faas

 “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful” – Edward R. Murrow

 This is a second of a series of articles on the A-B C’s of Leadership, in which I outline the characteristics for effective leadership. I am of the view that everyone plays a leadership role in various capacities. To understand and relate to the characteristics, I encourage the reader to understand the importance of self-awareness and what we all learned in Kindergarten – the Ethic of Reciprocity – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I challenge the reader to intense self-reflection rather than rationalizing your attitudes, biases, actions and words.

In the first segment,  “A is for AUTHENTICITY”  I dealt with the importance of self-awareness and being one’s self. The characteristics that follow must be considered in the context of consistency of the application of each, with the intention of becoming a better person.

Today we are living through a worldwide nightmare because the most powerful person in the free world is not believable; he is not believable because he is not credible; he is not credible because he is not truthful. Ironically in trying to persuade people that he is credible, he has resorted to belligerently calling his opponents and the media liars and crooks. As an expert in adult bullying, I assert this is a common tactic used to manipulate, deflect, deceive, distort and deny. Another bullying dynamic is normalizing the abnormal, senior presidential aide Kelly Anne Conway’s term “alternative facts” is a blatant attempt to normalize.

 Trumps lies are putting not only his presidency at risk, it is, as Senator Lindsay Graham put it “shaking the core of democracy”. An obvious question being asked is how can we trust the office if we can’t trust the individual. By extension, how can we trust government when we cannot trust its leader.

Leadership2What is most disturbing for me is the number of people who find Trump credible. Despite his opponents and the media challenging him with facts (not “alternative facts”), forty six percent of the voters believed him. Some may argue that his opponents and the media were dishonest as well. If this is the case, it proves that one can win by being dishonest. This also reflects an attitude that trust and respect is less important than power and control and motivating though fear.

 The book ‘Why Nation’s Fail’ by Daron Acemglu and James A. Robinson validates the premise that at the core of a nations failure is the trust and credibility factor. This is true of the many organizational failures. Wells Fargo is the most recent example of an organization that is being brought down because they are not believable, their employees and customers no longer trust them. The major reason for the level of distrust is not because of the practice of up selling, forcing employees to cheat, it was because of how senior leadership handled the situation, falsely claiming that they were unaware and when they were aware they made scapegoats out of 5,200 employee. Volkswagen is another recent example where senior executives doubled down on their claims of not being aware of the emissions scandal, despite mounting evidence that they were

 Compare this to how Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors handled the emission switch crisis which she inherited. Barra took full responsibility, minced no words in her apologies and steps she was taking in very hostile congressional hearings. Internally she called in her executive team and asserted that obviously they had to fix the emission switch issue, but more importantly they had to fix their culture, challenging them on how could a situation like this be continued without senior people being aware, and if they were aware, what happened. She asserted that employees at all levels need to raise areas of concern without fear of retaliation, knowing that the issues will be taken seriously. For General Motors this act of leadership saved the organization, because customers and employees trust the leadership they by extension trust the products.

 In the January 26th issue of USA Today, Pope Frances urged the media to “end the focus on bad news”, claiming the “scandal mongering media that only focused only on muckraking or spread fake news risked becoming like those who have a fascination with excrement.” The Pope claims he wants the media “to engage in constructive forms of communication that rejects prejudice and help create a world of realism and trust.”  With the greatest respect, I can only hope that the Pope’s comments have been taken totally out of context, if they have not been, these utterances are naive and dangerous. Also if they are not, he should focus on cleaning up the institution he heads of the deflections, denials, cover ups and predatory cultures that continue to prevail under his watch. The Pope, rather than slam the media, should encourage them to dig even further in exposing wrongdoing and falsehoods. Rather than admonishing the media, the Pope should be preaching that lying is a sin, and if people follow this lesson there would be less scandals to report on. Also in defense of the media, there are precious few positive stories to report on.

On January 4th the Editor in Chief of the Wall Street Journal, wrote a piece called “Trump, ‘Lies’ and Honest Journalism” on “Why editors should be careful about making selective moral judgements about false statements.” What Gerard Baker in essence did is caution journalists to dilute the significance of lies by using less offensive words. Thankfully most journalists are not paying heed to this offensive advice in reporting on Trump and his cronies, and calling “alternative facts” what they are -lies.

 The raw negative emotions that exist today is as a result of a lack of trust in the establishment, largely because of the scandals, abuse and wrongdoing that has been uncovered and reported on touching on every aspect of society, be it in government, politics, business, religion, the media, entertainment, sports, education and associations – none have been immune. Back to the Pope’s admonition to the press, the almost every day exposures on this, is not “muckraking or fake news”. As a critical writer, I follow the news and what I read and hear is honest journalism.

In the research conducted for my books on adult bullying, I found that one of the main reasons people are targeted is resisting authority, and in particular when they do not comply with directions to misrepresent and or report wrongdoing. What happened at Wells Fargo may be considered extreme, my findings is that this dynamic is more common than not. In “Obedience To Authority” Stanley Milgram writes “…. ordinary people simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of mortality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority”. In the case of Wells Fargo, employees were caught in a classic catch 22 situation,  people were fired for engaging in wrongdoing, at the same time others were fired for resisting and others for not meeting the quotas.

For us to get out of the rut of negativity we are in, all of us need to become more honest, and challenge ourselves, individually about how truthful and believable we are, rather than rationalize our lies.

 Simply rationalizing lies is a dangerous game, you compound the issue by not only being dishonest with others – you are not true to yourself. Also the risk is huge, your self-esteem takes a hit and if you get caught, it ruins your reputation, which is more important than your status, wealth, intellect and ability to write and speak well. Consider how far former role models like Lance Armstrong and Bill Cosby fell, not so much for their misdeeds but the fact they blatantly lied.

Considering all of the above – how believable are you?


About the Author: ANDREW FAAS is an author, activist, revolutionist, philanthropist and management advisor promoting psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces. Before becoming a philanthropist, he led some of Canada’s largest corporations for over three decades as a senior executive. He founded the Faas Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations concerned with workplace well-being and other personal health and research endeavors. Currently he is partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on a groundbreaking initiative, Emotion Revolution in the Workplace, which will revolutionize the way organizations operate, leveraging the power of emotional intelligence; and Mental Health America, to help reduce unnecessary stress factors at work and eliminate stigma around a condition that affects one in five adults. He is the author of a new book called, “From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire.” 

Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appeared on

Creating a Joyful Planet with Leslie Grossman

Patrice Tanaka Founder & Chief Joy Officer Joyful Planet LLC

Patrice Tanaka
Founder & Chief Joy Officer
Joyful Planet LLC

Patrice Tanaka, Founder, Joyful Planet

Patrice Tanaka, Founder & Chief Joy Officer of Joyful Planet LLC, interviews people who are actively living their purpose and contributing to a more joyful planet. This interview spotlights Leslie Grossman, speaker, trainer, author, coach and advocate for women’s leadership development.

Leslie Grossman

Leslie Grossman

PT:  Leslie, what I love and admire about you is how you’ve pursued your passion and actively lived your purpose throughout your life and career, starting with your firm, Communications/Marketing Action where you created a highly successful B2Women division that led you to co-found the Women’s Leadership Exchange as a social entrepreneurship to help women grow their businesses into multimillion dollar enterprises and then continue this work through Leslie Grossman Leadership and, more recently, become a Vistage International Chair to help your CEO members become better leaders. In the midst of all this, you also found time to serve on the Global Advisory Council of IMPACT Leadership 21, whose mission is to transform global leadership by creating gender equity, and write two books, including LINK OUT: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections. Whew!

Leslie, can you share your life’s purpose with us? I define a life’s purpose as one that leverages your greatest talents, expertise and passion in service of people and planet.

LG:  Sixteen years ago, I got clear that my life’s purpose was to create more women leaders in the world. My belief behind that purpose is that success, happiness and peace will result when companies, organizations and governments are led by collaborative leaders.  Research has shown that women’s natural leadership style is collaborative. Women tend to be better listeners, nurturers and givers. All are requirements for collaboration. My work addresses both men as well as women. Genders need to learn more about their differences, especially how they communicate, so that they can collaborate and work effectively together to make positive change. That’s why in addition to my work with women leaders, I also work with men. I do this by leading Vistage Advisory Boards and teaching teams at George Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership.

PT:  When did you discover your life’s purpose? Was there a triggering event?

LG:  I was working with my executive coach, Tony Smith of VSA Consulting, when I discovered that everything that gave me joy was related to impacting the success and leadership of women. As a good coach, he asked me the questions that led me to discover my purpose. The triggering event was 9/11.  After leading a marketing agency for 15 years, my ‘paid’ work paled in my own eyes vs. the volunteer work I was doing for women business owners as president of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners). Through my coach I committed to discover a business that used my skills and enabled me to pursue my purpose and do well by doing good.

PT:  And once you determined your purpose how did you begin to actively live it?

Leslie speaking at a conference in Nagoya.

Leslie speaking at a conference in Nagoya.

LG:  First, I launched B2Women, a subsidiary of my agency, to help corporations market effectively to women business owners and executives.  My “aha” was that clients not only wanted strategy, they wanted a vehicle to connect directly to successful women business owners. That’s how the concept for Women’s Leadership Exchange evolved. I designed a high-profile educational conference program to help women entrepreneurs at $1 million in revenue grow their businesses to multi-millions by becoming better leaders. By holding conferences in five major markets each year, corporations could meet and talk directly to the audience they wanted to capture. I used my marketing expertise to pursue my purpose. It magically evolved into reaching over 65,000 women at more than 85 conferences in a nine-year period. Corporations like American Express, IBM, IKEA, Best Buy and Aetna eagerly participated. It was a win-win for the women and their companies as well as our corporate sponsors.

PT:  Did knowing your purpose in life change what you do in your professional life in any way? How about in your personal life?

LG:  Totally. I eventually scaled down and closed my agency to focus on Women’s Leadership Exchange.  This enabled me to travel extensively to produce the conferences, often taking my family with me. It brought great joy to my life to make a difference in so many women’s lives, as well as their employees. I also had great times traveling with my family. After the financial crisis of 2008, corporations were forced to tighten their belts and resources were reduced considerably. That’s when I began to re-evaluate how my life’s purpose might evolve. That lead me to write my second book:  LINK OUT; and become a leadership coach and public speaker. I was then tapped by Vistage International to facilitate advisory boards of CEOs and senior executives.

PT:  How does it feel to be living your life’s purpose? Does it inform the choices and decisions you make about your life?

LG:  I know each day I am living authentically and true to myself. This gives me great joy. I am voracious about my work and could really do it 24/7 without complaining because it makes me so happy. I am also fortunate to have a loving husband, two wonderful grown children and now two little grandchildren. I love the time I spend with them. I am surrounded by extraordinary friends, most of whom I met because of living my purpose and we share common values. I love sharing, and coaching women, girls and men who look to become more effective collaborators. I continue to present workshops to help women foster better communication between the genders. I am fortunate to play an active role with Impact Leadership 21, an organization that shares a common purpose with me.

PT:  What is the result of knowing and actively living your life’s purpose? Has it contributed to the success, fulfillment and joy you experience in life?

LG:  Yes, yes and YES! I feel totally fulfilled knowing I am contributing to the success of others.

PT:  How important is it for leaders and aspiring leaders to discover and live their purpose?

LG:  I believe that once you discover your life’s purpose, you can build a career around it. People incorrectly assume that living one’s life purpose means you have to drop out of the business world and work in a nonprofit, but that is not true at all. Once you get clear on your purpose, it’s important to begin to observe how you can embrace it in your current career, first. Often it can be part of the career you are already in. For instance, a young woman I admire who is a financial advisor has embraced a cause about which she cares deeply. Her activism and leadership in that realm has opened the door to many clients who share her commitment. Another example is a coaching client of mine, who is an extraordinary marketer, her purpose is to treat and ultimately find a cure for a particular disease. She now works as a marketing director for a pharmaceutical firm that is working on a cure for this disease.

PT:  What are your greatest hopes and dreams for the life purpose you have chosen?

LG:  My greatest dream is for women to be equally represented as leaders at the highest levels of influence in business, non-profit, education, science, technology and governments world-wide; and that men and women will be collaborating and communicating effectively.

PT:  What do you think you would be doing now if you hadn’t determined and then actively begun to live your purpose? How important is it for individuals to discover their life’s purpose?

LG:  I’d either be continuing to lead a marketing agency or working for an online company. However, it’s hard for me to imagine that, since I’ve always followed my intuition throughout my life, and my intuition has led me to my purpose.

PT:  What advice would you give others about discovering their life’s purpose?

LG:  Take the time to discover your life’s purpose. Than explore the many options for beginning to make your purpose a part of your life. At first, move slowly and integrate your purpose into your spare time or into your career. Once you dip your toe into the pool of purpose, if it feels right, decide whether you will make it a weekend swim or take a deep dive. Do lots of research; talk to many people who can guide you and then take the steps to integrate your purpose with your life. Follow your instinct and your passion; your happiness and fulfillment will follow.  Remember, this is a process, and, for most, patience and persistence are required.

 About the Author:  Patrice Tanaka is a serial entrepreneur, having co-founded three award-winning, PR & marketing firms and, most recently, Joyful Planet, a Business & Life Strategy Consultancy. “Through Joyful Planet, I am doing what I love and do best, leveraging my creative, problem-solving talent to help individuals and organizations discover and live their purpose and unleash greater success, fulfillment and joy in their lives, in their workplaces and in the world,” says Patrice. This is the subject of Patrice’s new best-selling book, Beat the Curve, co-authored with world renowned management consultant and coach, Brian Tracy, and other business leaders. Her chapter is entitled, “Live Your Life’s Purpose and Unleash Your Joy.” Connect with and via LinkedIn/Patrice Tanaka and Twitter/Patrice Tanaka.  


PR News’ Agency Elite Awards Entry Deadline is This Friday, March 3

CommPRO News Alert 224x180By Editorial Staff

PR News’ Agency Elite Awards, an annual awards program that recognizes the best in the PR & marketing agency sector, is accepting entries through this upcoming Friday, March 3 at midnight ET.

The program also has a late deadline of March 10, 2017.

The Agency Elite Awards are divided into campaign and people categories. Agencies worldwide and of all sizes are eligible to enter.

Non-agency organizations can nominate or enter on behalf of an agency. For more information, visit Agency Elite Awards.

Winners and honorable mentions will be awarded under the following categories:

Agency “Awe” Professional of the Year

Agency Team of the Year

Client Campaigns

  • Advocacy
  • Branding
  • Business to Business
  • Cause/CSR
  • Community Relations
  • Consumer Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Crisis Management
  • Digital/Social Media
  • Financial Communications
  • Marketing Communications
  • Marketing to Youth
  • Marketing to Women
  • Measurement/Evaluation
  • Media Relations
  • Media Training
  • Multicultural Marketing
  • Nonprofit/Association
  • Public Affairs
  • Product Launch
  • Publicity
  • Reputation Management
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Word of Mouth/Viral
  • Writing/Editing

Internal and Promotional Campaigns

  • Best Training/Education Program
  • Community Relations/Volunteer Programs
  • Diversity Initiatives
  • Internal Communications
  • Proprietary Software/Client Solutions
  • Promotion of Firms (marketing, advertising, PR)
  • Website

Third Annual Survey Determines Best and Worst in Workplace Accountability

Polls Are Now Open



Accountability matters to every business and is one of the major challenges corporate leaders face. However, it also can be one of the most important factors leading to success.

For the past three years, accountability expert Greg Bustin has selected candidates for his “Best & Worst in Accountability Survey” based on events that occurred throughout the year. Corporate leaders are then asked to cast their votes for the “most accountable” and “least accountable.” These candidates include the top five leaders who demonstrated the best in accountability and five other leaders who, when a tough decision was called for, failed to hold themselves and others accountable.

Last year’s survey drew an international response and when the votes were tallied up, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke was voted the “most accountable” person in 2015. When Stritzke announced REI would close all 143 of its stores the day after Thanksgiving on the year’s busiest shopping day, he was putting the company’s money where its mouth has been: namely, demonstrating REI’s core values that have helped make this outdoor recreation outfitter one of the Best Places to Work since 1998.

Its rigged emissions testing in 11 million of its cars made Volkswagen the number one choice as the “least accountable” organization of 2015. After the scandal hit, the German carmaker said, Auf Wiedersehen to its CEO Martin Winterkorn.

In 2014 CVS Caremark CEO Larry Merlo was selected as the “most accountable” person in 2014 for his decision to stop selling tobacco products in a place where healthcare is delivered—even with $2 billion at stake. Coming in a close second was CEO Alan Mulcahy who was chosen for his outstanding leadership and the successful turnaround of the Ford Motor Co.

Meanwhile voters selected former U.S. government secretary Eric Shinseki the “least accountable” person of 2014 for his shoddy management of the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2014, the VA increased the average wait time to 114 days, and its botched paperwork, outmoded systems and ineffective bureaucracy resulted in confirmed deaths of at least 40 veterans.

This year, however, the survey is focusing entirely on business—not politics or nonprofits.  The polls will opened on January 2, and will close February 28.

Since 2005, Bustin has been a trusted advisor to CEOs and other key leaders, leading three executive groups and providing one-on-one coaching as a Master Chair for Vistage International, the world’s largest CEO organization. Bustin knows all too well that investing time and money in developing a team—corporate or otherwise—always has been important to leaders of high-performing organizations.

Bustin has dedicated his career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of companies on this crucial topic of accountability. During the last six years, he has interviewed and surveyed more than 5,000 executives around the world—from companies that include, but are not limited to, Marriott, Container Store, Ernst & Young, Sony, Herman Miller, Nucor, and Southwest Airlines—to understand how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust, and fulfillment.

Lack of accountability is the single greatest obstacle facing even the most experienced leaders. It saps morale, drains profits, and disenfranchises employees—and can shift your team into crisis mode on a daily basis.

Accountability is a support system for winners.  In high-performing organizations, accountability is not just top-down. It’s bottom-up and side-to-side.


About the Author: Greg Bustin’s newest book, ACCOUNTABILITY: THE KEY TO DRIVING A HIGH-PERFORMANCE CULTURE (McGraw-Hill) explains how high-performing corporations successfully create and sustain a culture of purpose, trust and fulfillment. Bustin writes a blog read by more than 6,000 executives globally, and his views on leadership have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Dallas Morning News and other major publications. 


WEF: Closing the Leadership Gap

WEF-Closing the Leadership GapBy Barri Rafferty Senior Partner and CEO, North America, Ketchum

The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum has begun and this year there is an extraordinarily timely theme: responsive and responsible leadership.

Amid the growing discontent of the world’s citizens with corporate and government leaders, we are on the verge of a transformation with respect to who leaders are and how they lead. For leaders, there is also the question of how to be effective while ensuring they are heard.

With the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution of converging technologies as its backdrop, the Davos discussion will enable leaders from all industries and cultures to redefine the new goals, tactics and norms necessary to purposefully lead increasingly skeptical stakeholders.

But without effective and authentic communication that leadership agenda will be met with continued distrust, causing an uphill battle from the start for leaders to fight.

Leaders Lack Liability and Trust:

Of course, smart leaders have always taken advantage of communication and powerful techniques to further their agendas. Julius Caesar was a tremendous orator, delivering rabble-rousing speeches – sometimes right on the battlefield – that spurred his soldiers into battle. Winston Churchill, plagued by a speech impediment, practised incessantly and focused on short, declarative sentences. His radio broadcasts bolstered the morale of Britain during the tumult of World War II.

Today’s leaders have a wealth of options to get the message across – from speeches, blog posts and Facebook Live, to virtual town halls and Twitter.

So why are our leaders so uniformly mistrusted or disliked? As we discovered in the 2016 Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor, 63% of the people surveyed across five continents believe politicians have fallen short of expectations. In addition, only 23% said that leaders overall are effective.

I believe one key component of the public’s disillusionment with leadership is the ever-widening “say-do” gap – the distance between what leaders actually do and the expectations they set. This skepticism is only becoming more apparent – only 31% believe leaders overall are communicating effectively, down 6% from our first study in 2012.

With a multitude of tools and channels at their disposal, many leaders are seemingly disconnected from their audiences.

Using our survey results as a guide, here are a few things they can do about it:

Be more human and approachable.
Among the top seven traits people want in a leader are several specific to communications: speaking in everyday language (86%), apologizing for mistakes (82%), speaking his/her mind (66%) and being of few words (66%). Communicating regularly, and in a plain language, goes a long way toward capturing the attention – and respect – of stakeholders.

Be a woman.
Just kidding here (well, sort of), but female leaders get high marks from survey respondents, with 52% believing women are better at leading by example, and 59% saying they are better than men at communicating in an open and transparent way. The lesson here isn’t necessarily about gender: it’s about the positive impact of communicating openly, honestly and consistently, in good times and bad.

Be more humble.
Even the world’s most accomplished and admired leaders have imperfections. Those that admit their faults (and strive to correct them), convey passion about important topics, welcome the perspectives of others, and straightforwardly articulate their views, will instill confidence, command respect and establish a strong rapport.

Communicate – early and often.
Not all leaders are Julius Caesar or Winston Churchill – the key is to find which unique, yet effective, communication tools, strategies and channels work best for each individual.

The Davos discussions are unlikely to unveil a simple panacea for our crisis of confidence in leadership. Only leaders themselves can bridge that gap by governing with moral conviction, responsible actions and timely communications that earn the admiration – and support – of a populace hungry for authenticity.


About the Author: As Ketchum’s Worldwide President, Barri Rafferty works closely with Chairman and CEO Rob Flaherty and other leaders of the firm to guide agency strategy and business development. In addition, Rafferty leads Ketchum’s nine offices in North America as well as Ketchum Digital and Ketchum Sports & Entertainment. She also oversees complementary businesses Access | Emanate Communications, Capstrat, Harrison & Shriftman and Interfuse Communications. Rafferty is part of the 20-member Global Leadership Council, which focuses on guiding Ketchum’s strategy, client service and performance. Barri has a legacy of client service and continues to advise many of the agency’s largest clients. Outside of Ketchum, she participates in a number of groups including the sustainability taskforce for the World Economic Forum and is a member of Arthur W. Page Society Page Up program. Rafferty sits on the board of StepUp, an organization with the mission of empowering girls from under-resourced communities to become confident, college-bound, and career focused and she is also a member of the governing body of OmniWomen, Omnicom’s Leading Women’s Network, for which she holds quarterly panel discussions featuring prominent women. She is the recipient of the Plank Center Milestones in Mentoring Award. Barri is a graduate of Boston University (M.A) and Tulane University and enjoys watching soccer, volleyball, and dance – especially when her son and daughter are involved! Connect with her on Twitter: @barrirafferty 



A version of this article can be found on the World Economic Forum’s Agenda Blog.

It’s Time to Embrace the Power of ‘Somebodiness’

Neil Foote - Why Diversity Matters: H&M’s Hoodie Crisis and Other Unfortunate MisstepsNeil Foote, President & Founder, Foote Communications

Now, more than ever, we need a calming, voice of reason.  During his life, the Rev.-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. offered the nation – and for that matter, the world – a framework and rationale for race, equality – and image. In King’s 1967 book, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”, targets his message right at the heart of the nation then – and now:

The Rev. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Source: Twitter)

The Rev. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Source: Twitter)

“For its very survival’s sake, America must re-examine old presuppositions and release itself from many things that for centuries have been held sacred. For the evils of racism, poverty and militarism to die, a new set of values must be born.  … Let us be those creative dissenters who will call our beloved nation to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humaneness.”

To put this in the context of our world today, we, as public relations practitioners, who are shaping messages, brands and images every day, must be conscious every day on what we can do to raise our “nation to a higher destiny.”  The process begins with the basic premise that we accept that our nation is becoming increasingly diverse and can’t go back to the “good ol’ days”.   The mere notion of “taking America back” would make Dr. King bristle. He would quickly remind us that the United States is not and never was owned by just a single group or type of people, but, in fact, was built by a diverse group of individuals from around the world.

Dr. King would challenge all forms of media, public relations professionals and advertising agencies to recruit, retain and promote diverse executives. He would argue that you need diverse perspectives working in all levels of the organization, particularly those responsible for creating campaigns. Dr. King would question any mass-market public relations or advertising campaign that did not include any people of color.  He would point out that since we all consume so much media that stereotypes are reinforced by what we think about each other based on what we see on TV, in movies, in commercials, throughout the Internet and in social media.

Dr. King would urge all public relations professionals and marketers to embrace the notion of ‘somebodiness.’  The concept that says that that if we believe in the necessity of humaneness in all we do that we must be inclusive to ensure that everyone feels like they are somebody who is just as worthy as the next person – regardless of their faith or the color of their skin.


About the Author:  Neil Foote, a veteran journalist and media executive, is a media and political junky, keeping abreast of the latest trends impacting the business of journalism, media, politics and public relations. He draws from his experience at the Miami Herald, Washington Post, Belo Corporation and Tom Joyner’s Reach Media. He also teaches digital and social media for journalists, media management and business journalism at the University of North Texas’ Frank W. & Sue Mayborn School of Journalism and runs Foote Communications, a media consulting firm. The native of Brooklyn, NY also president of the board for the National Black Public Relations Society and founder of 


PR Blunders of 2016: #1 Goes to Mylan (Op-Ed)

francie200By Francie Dudrey, Public Relations, Level 3 Communications

To say 2016 gave us a wealth of PR teachable moments would be like me saying I occasionally like to curl up on the couch and nap at eight months pregnant – it’s a VAST understatement.

My top pick for the biggest PR blunder goes to Mylan. For a refresher, Mylan produces the EpiPen, a life-saving treatment used to reverse the effects of a deadly allergic reaction. This past summer, a social media groundswell brought to light that Mylan had raised the price of its EpiPen to $600, or a 400 percent increase over the last seven years. To make matters worse, the drug’s biggest consumer is children. Enter incensed parents and legislators.

Mylan’s response was less than optimal:

  1. At first, the company did not admit error, but rather defended its price increase, citing the need to increase profits. This after the CEO’s pay had risen more than 600 percent during her tenure.
  2. After significant backlash, the company started offering copay assistance, but did nothing to stem the actual price of the drug.
  3. Mylan then said it would start offering a generic EpiPen for $300, leaving consumers to still question the $600 price of the original EpiPen and why a generic version wasn’t available sooner.

Mylan clearly shirked the key rules of crisis mitigation, which state you need to get in front of a problem as soon as it comes to light and take measures that show you’re committed to fixing the problem – not simply throwing a bunch of Band-Aids at it. When you’re in the business of saving lives, there’s not a lot of room for error.

On the other side of the spectrum, we saw examples of brands that flipped the script and turned something potentially catastrophic into a positive – even moneymaking – proposition.

Once such brand? Vanity Fair. After the magazine published a searing review of Trump Grill, Donald Trump took to Twitter to lambast the publication, saying it had poor numbers and that it was in big trouble. In response, Vanity Fair ran ads on its website using language like “the magazine Trump doesn’t want you to read.” Using this approach, Vanity Fair was not only able to garner even more exposure, but also saw its subscriptions rise 100-fold and within 24 hours, had added 13,000 subscribers.

So why did it work? Several reasons:

  1. Know your audience. Vanity Fair is well aware its audience most likely didn’t vote for Trump, so offering an opportunity to “stick it to the man” would be all-too appealing.
  2. Timeliness. The publication began running these ads within hours of Trump’s tweet. People have short memories these days, so it’s important to strike when emotions are still high.
  3. Making something off limits. We’re stubborn people. When someone says we can’t do something, it creates intrigue and curiosity. By telling readers that Vanity Fair is the magazine Trump doesn’t want you to read, people were motivated to find out what this publication had to say.

2016 – particularly the election cycle – challenged the fundamentals of what we know as PR practitioners and news consumers to be true. In this new world of fake news and post-truth, it’s easy to throw up our hands and feel inclined just to sit things out, but we’re PR pros – this is when we shine.

About the Author: Francie Dudrey, Public Relations, Level 3 Communications has 15 years of public relations experience and currently manages PR at Level 3 Communications, a Fortune 500 global communications company. Prior to her time at Level 3, Francie served as Corporate Communications Manager for DISH Network and Brand Experience Manager for the Learning Exchange, an educational nonprofit. Dudrey has a B.S. in Journalism and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Kansas. 


Wall Street’s Reputation Redemption Strategists: Fink and Dimon

Wall Street and ReputationBy Pen Pendleton

The blackened reputation of “Too Big To Fail” institutions may be on the verge of a facelift. Given the level of public scorn, political abuse, and regulatory backlash prompted by the financial crisis, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a scenario that restores the credibility of banks, investment banks, and wealthy fund managers.

If anyone can come up with a new script for a big business version of “Extreme Makeover” however, it’s President-elect Trump. He seems to be setting the stage with his cabinet member and senior advisor selections. An odd collection of financial professionals, including three former Goldman Sachs’ bankers, Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and Stephen Bannon, are serving as a welcoming committee.

Entering through the front door with a long line of other prominent names, are two of the most widely known industry leaders who could secure at least a measure of redemption:  Larry Fink and Jamie Dimon, CEOs of Blackrock and JP Morgan, respectively.

Dimon is the newest chairman of the Business Roundtable and Fink has accepted the President-elect’s invitation to join a 16-member Presidential Strategic and Policy Forum, headed by Blackstone CEO, Steven Schwartzman. As two of the industry’s most articulate messengers, Fink and Dimon may be best equipped to help turn the page to a new, more positive chapter of the industry’s narrative.

Of the two, Dimon has a unique brand to preserve and protect. J.P. Morgan’s legacy in financial statecraft reaches back to late 19th and early 20th centuries when the bank served as the de facto U.S. central bank. Like his predecessors, Dimon has an opportunity to speak forcefully on behalf of broad American business interests. In the process, he can reposition banks as legitimate enablers of increased capital spending and job creation by their corporate clients. Certainly that’s a more productive conversation for Dimon than discussions about “London Whales” or mortgage foreclosures.

Mr. Fink may have the upper hand on Dimon, however. Blackrock’s business model carries none of the heavy baggage of the financial crisis. Fink has engineered phenomenal growth over the years, while his counterparts in commercial and investment banking have struggled to shed trading businesses that are as unprofitable as they are unpopular. By contrast, Blackrock has amassed over $5 trillion in assets, a huge claim on Americans’ retirement savings. For a citizenry worried about their share of public and private pension monies, few issues appeal more directly to our hearts and minds. As such, Blackrock’s business model is pristinely non-partisan and Fink’s track record is untarnished.

When it comes to advocating industry interests on the public stage, Dimon and Fink are perhaps the only leaders who are up to the challenge.  It’s hard to imagine any other CEOs volunteering to take the seat before Congress, last occupied by John Sumpf.

So, if we had to write a public relations playbook for either man, what would we recommend? Here are a few suggestions:

Wall Street’s Reputation Redemption Strategists: Fink and DimonDon’t Attack Regulation:

Some say that Morgan Stanley’s John Mack weathered the financial crisis hearings on Capitol Hill more adroitly than his counterparts seated beside him. His message: we (Wall Street) need regulation. More recently, Dimon seems to be borrowing that message by articulating a new appreciation for Dodd-Frank legislation. It’s one of his gifts as a leader, an ability to assuage and absorb public criticism.

Don’t Talk your Book:

To every extent possible, avoid advocating on behalf of industry interests. That’s easier said than done, but when it comes to their views on corporate tax reform, neither Fink nor Dimon will be particularly persuasive. On the other hand, they can choose to focus elsewhere; on employees, workers, and business practices that promote transparency and good governance, for example. They might also help to identify high standards of corporate behavior and persuade laggards to catch up. If they have the fortitude to call out misbehavior, especially in finance, all the more impressive. It’s a tricky communications problem, but there are some examples of success. In particular, the NY Fed has aggressively pursued a campaign to identify norms of sound corporate culture among its regulated institutions.

Explain and Educate:

Few Americans fully understand financial markets or how law makers and political policies can create volatility and risk.  On these topics at least, financial leaders retain some measure of influence and credibility. To their credit, many spoke out during debates to raise the debt ceiling. Going forward, the implications of President-elect Trump’s infrastructure finance will certainly carry new risk – both on the upside and downside. Fink and Dimon would be ideal guides for the American public, and their own corporate constituencies: on this issue, as well as others that impact government spending, revenue, and the value of our nation’s credit.

To be sure, financial leaders with impeccable credentials have not helped their industry’s image in the past. Apparently, as Bill Clinton’s economic advisor, Robert Rubin failed — or never attempted — to persuade the White House that the government should discourage its agencies from buying low-quality home mortgages. On the other hand, perhaps no single banker deserves as much credit for saving our system as Henry Paulson. Sadly, he and his Goldman pedigree won very little public gratitude.

In the end, the ebb and flow of public opinion will drift with the tides of our economy. Today, as we approach a new Presidential administration, the news is getting better. Employment numbers are up, as are business and consumer confidence. It’s hard to imagine that Dimon, Fink, Mnuchian, Cohn, Bannon, or Ross will squander this chance at success, and by extension, industry redemption. But it could happen.

For example, Mr. Trump never met a junk bond he didn’t like. If his advisors want to secure their places in history, rather than purgatory, they will do the right thing and tell their boss, not to stiff his investors and, by extension, the voters.


 About the Author: Pen Pendleton is co-founder of CLP Strategies, a corporate and financial communications advisory firm. 


IR Study Reveals 1 in 4 of Institutional Investors Use Social Media for Research



With 25% of Wall Street investors and 19% of Main Street investors reporting they use StockTwits and Twitter for investment news, IR needs to have a strategy in place to assure their voice is in the social stream – even if that strategy is using social media as a one-way newsflow of press releases. It’s an important tile in the shareholder communications mosaic.




One absolute benefit of social media for IR is that it’s easily monitored for real-time investor sentiment. This could be useful during crisis periods or a proxy battle. Our newly released Cision Communication Cloud™ will easily monitor the streams, topics and $cashtags that matter to your brand and shareholder value.



Continue reading here on BEYOND PR.


The Rise of Organic Search

What it means and why it matters for your brand, company, or organization

bryan-bridgesBy Bryan Bridges, Director of Digital Strategy, Lumentus, a strategic communications firm with a specialization in digital reputation management.

When you visit a company’s website, particularly for the first time, how often do you use Google instead of typing in the website address, even when you know the site well? If you’re like most users, the answer is: “almost always.”  But via search, your site may not appear first—or even among the top three or four rankings.  Negative news, or even ads from competitors, might be more prominent.

Several recent studies of website traffic prove that as much as 64 percent of a company’s website visitors come from searches using the brand or company name, and that behavior is on the rise, especially on mobile.

Several years ago, a website visitor would have reached your website directly by typing your URL or “web address”; today, because of the merger of the search and address bars in popular browsers such as Chrome, as well as the growing use of mobile internet, the majority of every company’s website traffic now comes through organic search.

Suggested searches and search results are often your brand’s first impression for most of your clients, prospects, media, and potential employees. Even when visitors intend to go directly to your website, those who navigate via a search engine will see news, images, videos and third-party content about your company. This makes it more essential than ever to manage and monitor the digital reputations of your brand and your executives to manage or mitigate potentially damaging results in the event of a crisis or other negative event.

Digital Reputation Priorities:

Your Company Name: Your first priority should be owning the top search result for your brand name; depending upon the industry, a top ranking Google result is worth about $5.30 per click in advertising spend, so the effort to maximize SEO is well worth the investment.

Website SEO: Further, 77% of users only click on the first three links, so a well-indexed site that displays sitelinks can present a user with even more positive owned content, as well as pushing up to three links of third-party content from the critical first page of results.

Other Sites: Another priority should be claiming and optimizing third-party managed pages, such as social media profiles and directory listings. These sites provide additional opportunities for sharing your story and for connecting with stakeholders. They also can enable you to provide a boost to positive content about your brand, including company press releases and news articles.

Digital, or online, reputation management is both a science and an art.  It’s vital that you or your agency partner understand “domain authority,” the necessity of strong “owned” content and optimized multiple websites, the importance of timeliness, the value of third-party content and other more quantifiable elements to meet your overall communications strategy.  Algorithms are one part of managing your online presence, creating and posting strategic content and generating social and media coverage while ensuring your brand or company values are presented are yet another.

Google, Bing, and Yahoo have become your front door, but they also offer easy access to many other doors you may not want opened.  So even if you follow the basics, you should attempt to control as much content on the first page of search engines as possible, ensure it remains current and accurate, and continually add new content.

Digital reputation management is not a one-time quick-fix solution; it is a process that requires constant monitoring and attention. A few negative results won’t turn off all of your potential clients, but the more each client or other key stakeholder is worth to your business, the more your search results are business-critical.

 About the Author: Bryan Bridges is Director of Digital Strategy at Lumentus, where he provides clients with strategic counsel on digital marketing and digital reputation management. He is a seasoned digital and social media strategist with more than 15 years’ experience leveraging digital media and technology to drive marketing and communications efforts at financial services and B2B professional services firms such as KKR, Morgan Stanley, Davis Polk, and Brunswick Group.




The Election, La La Land, Pokémon Go, Whisky & Ice-Cream for Breakfast: Why Reading Cultural Shifts Matters For Communicators

By Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO, CommunicationsMatchTM 

Most of us recognize change only when it has happened – rarely when it is happening.  Confirmation bias – our self-selecting perception of the world – reinforces what we already believe and often serves to blind us from underlying reality.  The 2016 election is a case in point.

In recent days, I have been reminded of other clues to changes taking place in society worth paying attention to.  It’s important to take a moment to look at these cultural data points both to understand the long-term shifts taking place and trends we will see over the coming years.

lalalandLa La Land

In a review of La La Land, Manohla Dargis the film critic of the New York Times asks whether or not La La Land makes the musical matter again.  She argues that while “La La Land” engages with nostalgia, it also passionately speaks to the present.

Pokémon Go 

In a Financial Times interview of John Hanke, developer of Pokémon Go, San Francisco Correspondent Tim Bradshaw speculates that one reason for Pokémon’s overwhelming popularity was that it provided escapism from the year’s tumultuous world events.  Hanke politely agreed, but sees that as exacerbating a set of conditions that we actually have lived in for lots of years, which is, like, this constant drumming of technology, pressure and speed.

Whisky & Ice-Cream for Breakfast

Through her (un)usual anthropological window, Gillian Tett, Managing Editor of the FT in the U.S. highlights the phenomenon of the shy voter.  The fact that many people in the last election did not want to disclose who they were voting for.  She notes that a vote for Trump, was more like eating ice-cream laced with whisky for breakfast – something establishment people did not want to admit to.

When we connect these threads – it is possible to see reverberations of the financial crisis and all that has followed it.  A nostalgic desire for a better past, escape from the present and a vote for change.  Similar to the echoes (gravitational waves) of the Big Bang, these and many other cultural tells reveal ways in which society is responding to a rapidly changing world.  A world in which many are being left behind. 

The election results are the clearest manifestation of working class angst.  Cultural changes are symptoms.  They are the tea leaves we need to read as an industry if our communications are to resonate with the disenfranchised now and in the future. 

 This is a business and a communications challenge.  Businesses cannot be tone deaf.  Successful communicators looking to help grow and protect brands will need to think outside their reality bubbles.  We need to learn the lessons of an election where so many got it wrong, and do a better job as Tett argues in her piece of listening to what’s really going on.

Culture is just one place to look.  After the election will be see more escapism or realism?  Hedonism or nihilism?  Time will tell.

About the Author: Simon Erskine Locke is Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatchTM a global communications-focused matching search engine.  With more than 4,500 U.S. and International agencies and professionals listed, it is a go-to resource for businesses seeking communications services providers with expertise in areas including: public relations, internal communications, government affairs, investor relations, content marketing, social media, SEO, website development, photography and video.  Prior to founding CommunicationsMatch, Locke held senior Corporate Communications roles at Prudential Financial, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank and founded communications consultancies. 


Handling Database Downtime the Easier Way

7 Tips to Help You with Effective Big Data ManagementBy Sujain Thomas, Data IT Professional

As a DBA expert, not so many people might seem to appreciate the gruesome work you battle with on a daily basis. Even worse, not all your colleagues will appreciate the relentless efforts in ensuing perfection during database migrations and upgrades. Technically, they do not realize how useful you are to the firm and how closely their success is tied to your work. However, most of them understand in black and white database downtime and its possible effects.

Recent research shows that companies incur massive costs of up to $7,900 for every minute of database downtime. This figure has constantly risen by over 40% in the last 24 months. Approximately, 80% of these outages are due to human errors. Ideally, most of these human mistakes are associated with release integration exercises, configuration changes, and hands off problems. The total database downtime for most companies average at 97 hours every year. This not only affects the normal operation of the company but also has significant effects on a firm’s finances. Considering the expected cost, it is agreeable that effective measures should be in place to ensure reduction in databases downtime. There is no better way of making your colleagues recognize your incessant efforts as a DBA expert than evading database downtime through stringent measures. So what are some of the key measures you can put in place to ensure this?

  1. It starts with project management

Most remote DBA experts concentrate their efforts on practical executions of upgrades and migrations at the expense of the much important paperwork. Being an expert in this challenging field, it is important understanding the essence of adept project management techniques. The essence of scheduling, prompt communication, and reporting on your progress cannot be overlooked when it comes to controlling database downtime crisis. Even more importantly, you need to appreciate resource management when handling critical issues like database downtime.

Simply ignoring these essentials might cost the company during migration or database upgrade procedures. For those with less experience in paperwork, you might need to get insight from the more experienced group of people. Each process of project should be considered carefully before rolling out the changes.

  1. Put your house in order

Nothing can be more dangerous than starting a database migration plan without carefully assessing your working environment. For one, you need to have an idea of all the components that require moving. In addition, you must in a good position to determine the possible effects of such processes on the existing infrastructure. How will it affect the workflows in your environment? What are the possible consequences of the move to the most critical departments in the firm? Unless you figure out everything pertaining to this, you might be in one of those messes that can cost your company millions of dollars.

  1. Keep the Key Operations Going

The impacts of database changes or migrations need to be felt after the successful completion of the exercises. Your colleagues will not be happy with you when their daily operations are interrupted because of the move. As such, it is important to work through your schedule to ensure resource intensive migrations that might have negative impacts on key operations are done during off working hours. This way, you will be able to carry out successfully the upgrade without necessarily affecting other critical departments in your firm. Ideally, it stretched further the need for prior planning and assessing the possible impacts of an impending database migration or upgrade activity.

  1. Ensure Uniformity and Continuity

For migration processes that might take considerable time, ensure uniformity in your operations. For instance, you should do everything possible to avoid cases where related departments are using different database versions at the same time. It is worse when there is no peaceful co-existence between the varied products of the company during the database migration process. Come up with a plan that will ensure smooth transition from the old system to the new system.

Ensuring coexistence during database migration process not only creates a peaceful working environment for others but also ensure effective rolling out of the process. Let this be on top of your priorities and you will never rub shoulders with others during such fundamental processes.

  1. The need for backup plan

The worst that can happen during critical exercises like database migration is loss of users’ essential data. You should always do everything possible to ensure the activities of your company are not crippled because of a catastrophe that could have otherwise been averted. How then can you ensure this? Always have a backup plan in preparation for any eventuality. What is your recovery or backup plan in case of anything during the migration process? It remains one of the most essential questions you need to answer before rolling out any associated process.

Preferably, this should be figured out earlier to avoid any possible confusions. Upon commencing the database migration process, there might be limited time to think of what to do in case of a possibly fallout. Whichever way, no data is supposed to go missing during the process. Your prowess as an expert is largely dependent on this. You must always have an idea of restoring data in the course of the process in case of anything.

Outshine your Role

As a DBA expert, you need to ensure that your role in an institution is felt; the right way. Not so many people might be able to appreciate or recognize your efforts but it doesn’t matter. Instead, you should focus on providing quality services and avoiding possible compromises at all costs. Work all round the clock to avoid database downtime, which might cost your company fortunes, especially during critical exercise like database migration and database upgrade. You will not only be able to uphold the integrity of your office but also create a peaceful coexistence between you and your colleagues!

 About the Author: Sujain Thomas is IT magnate who has worked with many remote DBA experts. Currently, she runs a IT consultation firms. To gain greater insights from her in-depth experience, you can contact or simply visit the company’s website.  








The Path to Healing A Nation Is Through Speaking Up

Jennifer WilkovBy Jennifer S. Wilkov, Founder of the Speak Up Women Conference,

The historic 2016 election is over and the results are in. Whether you are celebrating them or disagreeing with them, they are final. It is what it is.

As the saying goes, ten percent is what happens to you; the other ninety percent is how you choose to handle it. It is up to you: how you choose to handle the election results will determine your experience and affect the experiences of those around you.

Make no mistake – emotions are raging high today on both ends of the spectrum. Americans are confused, frightened, sad, angry, disappointed, exuberant, relieved, or happy. Regardless of whom you voted for, it is now time for the healing of a nation so divided.

The path to healing is paved with the use of your words and your skills for speaking up – in your personal, professional and philanthropic lives. Communication is the key to healing wounds between individuals, groups and countries.

This means that courage, confidence, care and consideration will become the stepping stones toward our successful reunification. After all, our great nation was founded by our forefathers who were faced with the same path in order to form a more perfect union.

Let those in your personal life know how you feel. Be sensitive to the fact that they may or may not feel the same way you do about the election results. Instead of shunning them or cutting your ties with them, see if you can share your feelings authentically and with care and listen to theirs without judgment. Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings about the election results. Allow them to surface – for you and others. Think about how you can agree to disagree and still love one another and carry on.

In the workplace, tensions may run high by the coffeemaker or water cooler and also with clients and vendors. The financial markets were already “speaking up” last night as the votes continued to be counted and our nation stood at attention with baited breath for the election results. The Dow Futures were at one of our nation’s all-time lows last night, predicting an opening of the Dow Jones Industrial Average with a drop of more than 700 points lower than yesterday’s close at one point. This morning, they were down more than 638 points, which rivals the drop in June earlier this year when the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union, the crisis known as Brexit. The markets do not like uncertainty either and are not afraid to speak up and show it.

We will all need to work together in the workplace and have respect for one another, beginning with everyone’s responses to the election results today. This will be essential in order to ensure our ability to move forward and continue to prosper with our respective businesses, large and small, under a Trump presidency for the next four years.

If you have strong feelings about a particular group you feel may be compromised by the impending Trump presidency, speak up and ask others how you can support these types of people and what organizations you can join. Keep in mind you can also speak up and start your own to help them.

As the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States says, “We the People need to communicate with one another and work together to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

This is our time to insure domestic Tranquility, to come together as a nation, speak up about our thoughts, feelings and ideas so we can heal and move forward toward a prosperous next four years.

About the Author: Jennifer S. Wilkov is the founder and producer of Speak Up Women (, a national conference designed to support women with understanding the importance and impact speaking up has in their personal, professional and philanthropic lives.  The 2017 conference is set for March 3rd at the United Nations. 


Why Speaking Up Matters for Women in the Workplace Today

How the Presidential Election Impacts Wall Street

Wendy Glavin - featuredBy Wendy Glavin

The future of Dodd-Frank, breaking up big banks, taxing hedge funds and the Federal Reserve are the biggest campaign issues for Wall Street. The Dodd-Frank Act was enacted in response to the financial crisis is 2008. Today, both candidates are fighting over its impact and future law and the financial industry.

During the Republican convention that nominated Donald Trump, the repeal of the six-year-old law, as well as abolishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created under Dodd-Frank was underscored. Trump told CNBC, Reuters, Fox News and other news sources, “Dodd-Frank has to be eliminated or greatly changed. The regulatory climate is so bad that banks just aren’t loaning to banks. It’s one of the reasons we have no growth.”

Conversely, Hillary Clinton is in favor of Dodd-Frank. She will “veto any legislation that would weaken financial reform” and expand the law to more lightly regulated corners of finance. During the Democratic Convention that nominated Clinton, the pledge of giving the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission “more resources to prosecute wrongdoing” and to extend the “statute of limitations for prosecuting major financial fraud” was emphasized.

Clinton also pledges to increase financial regulations by levying a “risk fee” on the largest banks, impose higher capital requirements and tighten the “Volcker Rule” that bans banks from betting with deposits covered by taxpayer-funded insurance. Other Clinton proposals include taxing certain types of high frequency automated stock trading, overhauling and imposing higher taxes on capital-gains taxes and enforcing rules to limit Wall Street’s pay.

Another continuing debate is to break up the big banks.

How the Election Impacts Wall Street In July, Trump’s campaign in Cleveland created confusion by calling for reinstatement of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, “which prohibits commercial banks from engaging in high-risk investment.” This would effectively force a break-up of the big Wall Street banks.

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told reporters the line was inserted to draw a contrast with Clinton who has avoided supporting the restoration of the 1933 law that was repealed during her husband’s presidency, in the late 1990s. Trump himself hasn’t mentioned restoring Glass-Steagall.

Clinton has been pressed by Bernie Sanders to support breaking up the biggest banks. She said “such prescriptions are too simple.” But, she would use existing laws to force financial institutions to shrink—if regulators deemed that step necessary. “Banks should not be able to gamble with taxpayers’ deposits or pose an undue risk to Main Street.

Due to the unpopularity of Wall Street, Trump and Clinton have questionable positions, as both have close ties to the financial industry.

In his January Iowa appearance, Trump boasted about his campaign’s independence from the financial sector, saying: “I don’t care about the Wall Street guys… I’m not taking any of their money.”

He criticizes Clinton for her finance industry ties. “Hillary will never reform Wall Street. She is owned by Wall Street!”

Despite his earlier comments, Wall Street has emerged as a top source of cash for the Trump campaign, donating at least $10 million in June to his joint fund with the Republican National Committee. That figure, however, still lags significantly behind the amount raised by Clinton. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Clinton’s super PAC drew $36 million from Wall Street donors, about a third of its total fundraising.

Despite these contributions and ties, Clinton continues to attack Wall Street and supports a bill that would ban the practice of financial firms giving executives big bonuses as they leave to take a government position. Critics agree, the payments essentially keep them on the firm’s payroll while they’re making policy.

Another ongoing debate is asset managers receiving pay in the form of “carried interest” rather than as a salary or year-end bonus. This means their long-term income is taxed as capital gains, which faces a top rate of 23.8%, well below the top income tax rate of 39.6%—prompting critics to accuse asset managers of tax avoidance.

Both candidates agree that carried interest should be taxed as ordinary income.

Trump often states in speeches, “the hedge fund guys are getting away with murder” on their taxes. “They’re paying nothing, and it’s ridiculous,”Trump said in an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation. In his first major economic policy address in Detroit on Aug. 8, he declared: “we will eliminate the carried interest deduction and other special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors, and people like me, but unfair to American workers.”

The candidates differ in one way on the hedge fund compensation debate. Hedge-fund managers could end up paying fewer taxes since Trump also wants to narrow the gap between capital gains and income taxes, slashing the top rate to 25%.

Both parties support auditing the Federal Reserve.

Trump has signaled support for a congressional Republican push to impose tighter oversight of the Fed, notably for the “audit the Fed” bill authored by former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky that would open up the central bank’s policy-making to greater congressional scrutiny.

Clinton said in a campaign statement that common sense reforms like getting bankers off the boards of the regional Federal Reserve banks are long overdue. She argued that the board doesn’t adequately reflect the country’s demographics.

These issues will continue to dominate Wall Street’s scrutiny as we approach the November 8th election.

About the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 20-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B marketing communications, PR, social and digital media. Her website is: Contact her at:


When a PR Firm in Brazil Hires A PR Firm 5,000 Miles Away

transmedia200A Commpro News Update

Award-winning PR firm TransMedia Group announced that they will be handling publicity in the United States for a major Brazilian PR and advertising agency, RS Press in addition to some of its major clients.

“It’s not that often you get a chance to promote such an accomplished PR brother based so far away in another country,” saidTom Madden, CEO of TransMedia Group.  “But with the Internet,  what’s far anymore!”

TransMedia said it intends to show why RS Press is the communications agency chosen by so many of Brazil’s largest companies to tell their story.  “Our campaign will exhort U.S. companies to consider retaining RS Press to promote their products and services in Brazil,” said Madden. 

According to Madden, RS Press are masters at creating and deploying integrated communications programs for clients in a broad range of industries and targeting media outlets on and offline in a way that enhances brands and business.

“Just like what we do for our clients here, RS Press offers strategic planning for image building and reputation management,media training, crisis management and highly effective PR for its clients in Brazil–communications aligned with their mission, vision, values and culture in ways that improve their business performance.”

TransMedia said its publicity will show how effective RS Press is at streaming video enabling an exchange of multimedia information via videos and the Internet “as we do on YouTube for our clients,” said Madden, who was head of PR Planning at American Broadcasting Companies before becoming Vice President, Assistant to the President of NBC.

As many PR firms have discovered, RS Press knows that only posting via Twitter and Facebook is not enough to quench the thirst for information, said Madden.  

“People want to participate in real time in the life of their idols and also the actions of their favorite brands. Facebook Live, a special feature of  Facebook Mentions indicated for athletes, actors, politicians, musicians, for example, enabling the average user that follows the page to enjoy, share and comment on live video, and can access it subsequently.”

Tesla and Other Driverless Car Leaders Must Slow Down to Rebuild Consumer Confidence After Fatal Accidents

Scott SobelBy Scott Sobel, kglobal, MA Media Psychology

Tesla’s driverless car concept is sound as evidenced by competitors like Ford, Google and Uber that are also believers in similar technologies and are in the midst of their own auto-pilot driver assisted system tests. Auto-pilot vehicles are definitely in our future. That said, there is no doubt everyone getting into the auto-pilot car business has been impacted by two recent fatal accidents involving Tesla driverless vehicles in the U.S. and China. How fast or slow these Artificial Intelligence concepts are universally accepted depends on how carefully the car makers nurture their products, their brands and react to these recent accidents that have stolen lives and can steal wide consumer acceptance.  Exciting technology needs to be introduced through prudent PR and marketing programs that recognize the dangers and more carefully sell those kinds of products. As in many crisis scenarios it’s not the impactful event that can kill a business and concept, it’s how those crises are handled that defines future business or utter failure.

Risks involved in important innovations are nothing new. When exuberant inventors attempt to outrun competitors racing toward the same first-to-market finish line, early adopters can historically pay a dreadful, and often deadly price. What is relatively new is our instant media-rich environment, which is more powerful than ever before. In the past, brands and inventions could more easily survive mistakes because fewer people learned about the product news and risks as quickly as we learn today and in such intimate and compelling ways.

Automobile inventors, for instance, in the 1800’s certainly experienced accidents, although the relatively slow speeds of early cars minimalized the effect of those accidents. How many inventors, test pilots and barnstormers died as the airplane evolved? How many astronauts and cosmonauts were injured and lost lives during the space race in the late 50’s and 60’s and later? How many doctors and patients suffered when radiation therapy began? The list of now ubiquitous technologies and inventions that cost lives is very, very long and travels back far into our history.

Most of us are dismayed by the dwindling public trust in the veracity of news stories and advertisements. Still, the ever-present media barrage is largely how we make our buying decisions as consumers. The responsibility of manufacturers should be even greater today than ever before to not only have thoroughly tested technologies hit the market but also to be responsible in how those products are promoted. Maybe, just maybe potentially risky products like driverless cars might initially be promoted the same way many pharmaceutical products are promoted with a consumer warning.

Arguably, these kinds of prudent branding steps and accompanying PR campaigns bolstered by facts and diverse testimonials can build to successful driverless car rollouts. The latest reports say manufacturers are now targeting the early 2020’s for the wider sales push of these kinds of vehicles while reports are also saying

Tesla will modify the auto-drive technology in its cars to require drivers to be more hands-on and in control, at least until the technology is refined.

The recent fatal accidents involving the auto-pilot technology must dictate promotional campaigns that the keep in line with the sophistication of the technology or the manufacturers risk a gun shy public taking much longer to accept those kinds of automobile enhancements. Car manufacturers and their PR counselors need to tap the brakes now until the evolving computer vision imaging technology will be proven safe enough to be widely accepted.

Once the technology is safe and ready and consumer appetites are whetted, driverless automobile transportation will have amazing applications. People and goods delivery systems without anyone behind a wheel will be revolutionary.  Stand by for skies to be filled with drones and roadways to be turned into throughways for mobile robot technology that can be remarkably safe, efficient and society-changing. The pilots and truck drivers of the future may have job descriptions we can’t even imagine today.

About the Author: Scott Sobel is Senior Strategy and Communications Executive at Kglobal, a full service communications firm that influences public policy, increases market share + builds awareness for our commercial and federal clients.  He is also a former corporate public relations practitioner; major market and TV network police and investigative journalist and a media psychologist.; 


Tips for Building Employee Engagement

By Jason Khoury, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Jive

As communication leaders, we can’t do a good job of promoting our company’s success externally unless we effectively drive strategic alignment by engaging employees and making sure they are aware of key corporate updates. And why not? The latest Gallup Q12 employee engagement metric finds that companies with highly engaged workforces are 21 percent more profitable, between 17-21 percent more productive and experience significantly lower turnover than their low-engagement counterparts. In addition, high-engagement companies outperform peers by 147 percent in earnings per share. With numbers like those, it’s no wonder Gallup concludes that “the relationship between engagement and performance at the business/work unit level is substantial.” As the statistics suggest, when it comes to employee engagement, it is no longer an option for leaders to opt out.

Unfortunately, only around a third of U.S. employees are actually engaged at work. Worse, among the remaining two-thirds, 16.5 percent are actively disengagedcosting US businesses between $450 – $550 billion annually in lost productivity alone. With the stakes so high, why do some leaders still struggle to authentically connect with employees? One reason might be the sheer size of the modern enterprise. Many companies employ hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of workers that they need to keep aligned, making the task of internal communications increasingly daunting. It’s no wonder leaders who prefer handshakes to hashtags are at a loss as to how to build human connections across their globally-dispersed workforces.

Three Digital Communications Steps for a More Engaged Workplace:

  1. Get everyone on the same page. There was a time when town hall meetings, email newsletters and the traditional bulletin board-style company intranet were the only way companies could get the message out to all of their employees. But today’s employees are more social than ever. Not only do workers expect two-way conversations with executives, they demand them. An interactive intranet can provide a single activity hub from which leaders can communicate with all of their employees, regardless of location or device. Executives should relay important information including new initiatives, performance updates, workplace happenings and social events. By mixing it up with a combination of blog posts, status updates and videos, along with personal stories and engaging photos, an interactive intranet can humanize leaders to a workforce that’s becoming more mobile, remote and global every day. Another big advantage of this type of solution is that employees are empowered to engage with each other—and everyone across the organization is able to access the content, tools and corporate memory they need, all in a single location. 
  2. Listen. Once the lines of communication are open across the enterprise, the real challenge begins: listening. Experts recommend that execs spend at least 15 minutes a day tuned into the questions, comment threads and blog posts of the most engaged (and, thus, most important) people in the company. It’s a way for leaders to take the temperature of the organization so they can begin the necessary work of aligning the company’s culture with their vision. Again, an interactive intranet can serve as an excellent place to host “Ask Us Anything” Q&A sessions that proactively address outstanding questions from all-hands meetings, conduct organization-wide surveys or provide general feedback. Of course, listening should not only happen online. Some employees are more comfortable communicating in person so, when possible, leaders should accommodate one-on-one requests. Other important ways to connect in person include team-building exercises and offsites.
  3. Share. To develop meaningful relationships, executives’ digital communications must be authentic, consistent and realistic. If they’re not passionate and transparent in their messaging, people will notice, so it’s crucial to help leaders find their true voice and communications style. It pays when they stick with the subjects they care most about and hit those themes over and over again. When the organization’s strategic goals are reinforced via internal collaboration tools, as well as in live meetings, social media channels, customer communities and external thought leadership content, employees will get the message. Make sure execs don’t skimp on praise either. When employees are recognized for their good ideas they feel validated and are more likely to show up for the company and its leadership—and are far less likely to tear them down—when the going gets tough. It may take some time but, remember, the point of engagement is to make leadership’s vision employees’ mission.

Breaking through digital resistance

While digital engagement doesn’t always come naturally to leaders, it is necessary. Corporate communications and HR teams play an important role in coaching and enabling executives to succeed in this critical work environment. Smart executives are increasingly turning to technology to cultivate more productive and profitable workplaces that put engagement at the center of their culture. By helping each key executive to fine-tune their preferred mix of communications channels and tools to best suit their personality and objectives, you’ll ultimately increase overall employee engagement for the company. And of course, once the organization has a handle on engagement, it can steer more of the team’s energy towards innovating and increasing market share in order to stay as healthy on the outside as it is on the inside.

About the Author: Jason Khoury is the senior director of corporate marketing at Jive. In this role, Jason oversees corporate communications, customer marketing and the Jive customer community. Prior to joining Jive in 2013, Jason held director and senior management positions at various high tech companies and public relations agencies, including Yahoo, Informatica and Weber Shandwick. In addition, Jason previously served as a board member for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) from 2007 to 2012. Jason is passionate about pushing the boundaries of communications and exploring new tools and technology, including leveraging Jive’s collaboration and real-time messaging apps to transform the traditional public relations and employee communications models. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with him family, wine collecting (and tasting) and traveling (he’s been to 6 continents and counting). Jason has two Bachelor degrees in Journalism and Communications (Public Relations) and Political Science from the University of Oregon. Jason’s WorkType is Connector. 

Ryan Lochte’s Next Stop – A Reputation-Reclamation Tour?

By Ray Hennessey, Chief Innovation Officer, JConnelly

If Ryan Lochte regains his reputation, he has the Real Housewives to thank.

Time was that filing a false police report about being robbed at gunpoint to cover up your boorish behavior in the foreign country hosting the Olympics was a career-killer. Indeed, Ryan Lochte has already lost several sponsorships as a result of the controversy, as brands like Speedo and Ralph Lauren have wisely distanced themselves from the swimmer’s bad behavior. Lochte bungled the crisis response, with inconsistencies and half-hearted apologies. He is not a sympathetic figure.

That’s the opportunity.

Truth is, Ryan Lochte was never a sympathetic figure. Despite tremendous talent, he was always in the shadow of his home-country rival Michael Phelps, who just happens to be the most decorated Olympian in history. That turned Lochte into swimming’s version of the Washington Generals, consistently losing to the Harlem Globetrotters as the crowds roared with delight.

Rather than brood over being born at the wrong time, Lochte acted out – and to great success. With his bleached hair and Playboy-model girlfriend, he assumed the role of swimming’s bad boy. He exuded an attitude problem. He couldn’t compete with Phelps in the pool, nor could he win over the public’s love, so he became the convenient villain, a J.R. Ewing that fans loved because he was so tough to love. The public appreciates a villain, even roots for one from time to time, and Lochte made being bad look good.

Ryan Lochte - Sink or Swim

(Photo Source: Twitter)

That’s precisely why, rather than a drawn-out reputation-reclamation tour, he might just want to double down on his bad-boy image. In reality, there wasn’t much shock and horror at the news that Lochte may have just caused an international incident by lying about police robbing him. There was almost a grudging acceptance that when you put a guy like Ryan Lochte in the streets of Rio in the darkest hours before dawn, something bad is going to happen. After all, it wasn’t like this was Aly Raisman or anything.

Lochte, despite all the furor, has the chance to be the handsomest ugly American in history. The American public would appreciate that. Just look at the popularity of reality television. From the Real Housewives to the Kardashians to The Bachelor, television audiences crave – nay, demand – their villains. Even the granddaddy of reality, Survivor, rewards characters not because of their physical ability to overcome obstacles, but their mental capacity to undercut their fellow man. The worse the behavior, the greater the love. It’s why Tanya Harding is on television today in TruTV’s “World’s Dumbest…” series, while fellow Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, whose career Harding infamously sabotaged in a vicious beating at the 1994 Winter Games, has drifted into relative obscurity.

That’s what makes a conversation about Lochte’s reputation response unique: He is not trying to regain a choir-boy image. He never had one to begin with. Rather, he needs to only convince the world that his bad behavior doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal act. Lochte’s whole public persona radiates mischief and devilment. His only real brand risk is if he’s viewed as a violent criminal. Even the criticism that he’s a liar isn’t a career-killer. Just look at the presidential campaign trail.

But what about all those lucrative sponsorships? They were going away anyway. Take a look at the history of Wheaties boxes and you’ll find a steady stream of athletes who captured their moment then faded to black. Lochte’s career in the pool was over anyway. It was only a matter of time before sponsors looked for the next big thing. Lochte was going to need a second act, one that wouldn’t be characterized by time in Phelps’ shadow.

That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if his phone isn’t buzzing with offers to embrace the role he seems to embody so well. He is a reality television dream casting: handsome, fit, and famous, with just the right amount of wrong. In short, he is already a character. He can parlay that into a very lucrative personal brand, with speaking opportunities, a book, and branded product lines in areas like spirits. There’s money in that approach, and a great deal of continued notoriety. Lochte would be wise to dive right in.

About the Author: Ray Hennessey is Chief Innovation Officer at JConnelly, an integrated communications firm in New York. An accomplished journalist and business leader, Ray develops new approaches to communication, content, reputation and storytelling for JConnelly and its clients. With more than 25 years of media and management experience, Ray has spent his career at the convergence of traditional and emerging media. Most recently, he served as Editorial Director for Entrepreneur, where he helped launch the Entrepreneur360 and Top Company Culture franchises, as well as the Entrepreneur Network video channel. Previously, Ray helped launch the FOX Business Network, where he served as founding Business News Director. Earlier in his career, he was editor at and Dow Jones, a daily on-air contributor at CNBC and the IPO columnist at The Wall Street Journal.