Archive for the ‘Media Relations’ Category

One Tip to News Leadership

December 7, 2011
If I Ran Your Newsroom

Any weather impacting travel…

…is big news between now and January 2012.

Experts agree weather may make plenty of news.

The long-range forecasting team at AccuWeather expects a stormy U.S. winter. Major airplane and highway systems linked to moving people and commerce nationwide are in the forecast storm-zone.

Source: AccuWeather

The National Weather Service’s current precipitation forecast speaks loudly of potential travel troubles, too:

Source: NWS

News is what interests, informs and impacts “us” … and our businesses.

Any hint of clogged airports or snow-slick highways already has my attention, and should have yours.

After all, holiday travel involves moving a tremendous amount of people and things.

It’s big news.

Decem-brr: Weather means “business”

December 25, 2009
Talking cold, snow and rain? You’re talking Commerce, too

It’s currently -16° F. First cold snap of Fall. The coldest weather in some time. Even worse for the Midwest and East Coast. And to think that Winter is still ahead. In the meantime, skiers and boarders are rocking the Rockies. Traditional travel, however, is challenging. Roads are icy. Airlines juggle schedules. Trips are canceled.
Along the West Coast, flooding rains and wind paralyzed highways and stranded vehicles.

There is so much more to “our” weather and it’s worth talking about. It’s a story about global commerce. Moving goods and services. Negotiating the elements. By car, truck, van, rail, planes, pipeline, tankers, and cargo and passenger ships. Here’s one you may take for granted: space weather. It is critical to meteorology, national defense and communications, (like the cell phone you’re holding or cable channel you’re watching – all those satellites). Weather is that decision to make a trip to shop or see a movie…or not. About staffing hospitals, government agencies and stores – if the staff can get in.

All this ahead of the Holiday season,
which makes this cold outbreak all that more important. This is crunch time for retail and the U.S. economy. Consumer behavior is responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s commerce, it is estimated. So, the next time you’re watching or listening to a forecast, remember the weather means “business.” It’s one reason – as a trained National Weather Service spotter, former broadcast reporter and a spokesperson on global science and technology affairs – I followed it closely. Still do. So do energy and environment officials, transportation leaders, utilities, commodities traders, Wall Street, and cities and local governments.

Storm Clouds My advice: your PR agency, investor and media relations, marketing and communications staff, and your leadership team should all not only follow the weather, but also develop plans for it. After all, weather is their “business,” too. Big business. And how your firm manages its impacts can help define your market and management’s reputation.

"CEOs: Can We Talk?" (1 of 2)

December 19, 2009

You Need PR Talent in a “Kitchen Cabinet

The Wall Street Journal just waved a red flaat you and your firm:

Knowledge management is one of the workplaces most vexing problems…few organizations can figure out how to share knowledge among employees, or to pass it on when employees leave or change…”

Alright, you’re the CEO.
You have a financial question. So, you turn to the CFO. A legal question? Well, no question, time for legal counsel or your ethics and compliance officer. An employee-related issue? That would be a call to HR. But, today, you have a media-, community- or stakeholder-relations issue or need help with marketing communications. No need for help here. You’re the CEO. This is the “soft” side of the house. The category “Other” on the balance sheet. With your background, you can handle it yourself. No need to bother your boss with it. Better yet, just assign the issue to the “PR” or “Marketing” department.

Wrong.

Everyone needs a “Kitchen Cabinet,” especially when you are at the top. The real question is, “Is your public or media relations staff in your inner circle and, if not, why not?” This is not a post about “succession planning.” This is about real-world “knowledge” and the credibility, reputation, relevancy and profitability of your firm.

I was once assigned by a top corporate officer to be the executive director for a new CEO of our most highly visible, profitable subsidiary. I believe the words were, “Don’t let him out of your sight.” The president was technically sound; I knew external affairs, from public affairs to media relations. I was the “knowledge-voice” that balanced operational decisions with stakeholder expectations. This was a half-billion-dollar operation with huge energy, environmental, defense, and health and safety issues. Not only that, we were part of a Fortune-500 firm listed on Wall Street.

[Read More…]

"CEOs: Can We Talk" (2 of 2)

December 19, 2009

In retrospect, it was a superb move. I was a combination of Chief of Staff/Press Secretary/Marketing without the titles. By aligning my skill set and experience with operations, it freed the CEO to do what he did best vs. trying to make the CEO into something he was not. The move formalized the value of my knowledge and accelerated our firm’s success.

So, how many CEOs used to be head of public affairs, public relations or marketing communications? The answer is, “Very few.” The truth is you probably have some training and street experience, but not decades of experience in “the court of public opinion” and you are not a subject matter expert in these fields. You don’t have to be.

Bottom line: If your inner circle — formal or informal — does not include expertise in media and public relations, then address the situation.

If that expertise is buried under a vice president, tucked away in the organization for budget reasons (budget pressures) or just plain too inexperienced, then at least contract with someone who can fill the empty chair at your table of trust, if only on a “virtual” or contract basis.

Have them work with you — and partner with your public relations department.  It’s an ultra fast way of injecting decades of experience into your organization, in a cost-effective manner, while mentoring the next generation.

You are buying both the knowledge and the transfer of knowledge. The buck stops with you and the knowledge is available. Your company’s issues, good and bad, can become this hour’s news in an instant.  Are you ready to be the news…or to make the news?  Who are you even talking with that would know?

Great leaders are like great coaches: You articulate the vision, execute the plan, manage the resources, communicate your successes…but you don’t have to play all positions.

[Back]

Telling all Your News?

October 21, 2006

If not, expect additional scrutiny and a story with legs

There are few things more painful than trying to weather a “bad-news” story involving your business, especially when the story has “legs.” That is jargon for a story that just does not want to go away. Poorly managed bad news distracts management attention, paralyzes business operations, destroys morale and makes your media relations staff want to shut off the phones and turn off their pagers. Just ask them.

I have a sure way of allowing your bad news to grow legs in the media:  Don’t tell all of it. Let it dribble out, and do so only when cornered. I do not advise this strategy, but I see it. The Wall Street Journal wrote about one Colorado company living it.

I counsel just the opposite: Be transparent. If you have bad news to report, develop a plan to get it out, all at once. It’s good business strategy, earns credibility and your stakeholders, including the press, respect that type of behavior.

Question: Is your business news transparent? If not, why not? Wall Street loves clarity.

A bad-news story with legs subjects your firm, employees and shareholders to the drip, drip, drip of prolonged media scrutiny and public pain. Now, the ability to tell bad news is not amateur hour.  So, bring in the expertise needed to do it right. I’ve just never seen a CEO convince me why subjecting a company to extended, negative media attention is the right thing to do.

[Full Story]…

The Best PR: Think Early

June 12, 2006

Savvy CEOs Know Early Newscasts are Important

When anchoring those 5:30 a.m. newscasts, I was convinced that it was just me looking at the red light on the camera…and no one else was awake, much less watching.

The big bucks were “supposed” to be in the evening newscasts. (I anchored those, too). But, times are changing. Early news is important, and savvy CEOs recognize that publicity early can be a bigger bang for the buck later. Are you targeting the early shows with your PR? 

It’s not just my opinion. 

From The Wall Street Journal, quoting now:

The latest round of morning-show skirmishing comes as the programs buck the trend in network news: They are actually growing. The long-term outlook for evening news broadcasts is grim and prime-time news shows are struggling: ABC’s fall schedule has no time slot for “Primetime,” and NBC shunted “Dateline” to the purgatory of Saturday. But the morning shows have inched up 6% in combined viewers since 2003, compared with a comparable drop of 9% for the three evening news programs in that period, according to Nielsen.

The trend is mirrored at local stations, where early-morning news — even newscasts starting as early as 5:30 a.m. — are gaining viewers and ad revenue.”

The CEO’s Takeaway:
“News” is now a 24-hour, seven-day a week, year-long cycle. It is also global. Have you seen the early-morning show on CNBC featuring three people co-anchoring business news from three continents? With viewership of the once flagship (and expensive) “evening newscasts” — coupled with declining ratings for evening, local news — don’t forget about the other opportunities to showcase your organization and its achievements throughout the day.

If someone has not already said so, I will: There is a “channel” for everything and it is always “on.” Target the early news shows. They are not early overseas. And the early shows in America are “bucking the trend” and solidifying viewer loyalty (and ratings).

“CEOs: Can We Talk?”

May 30, 2006

You Need PR Talent in a “Kitchen Cabinet”


The Wall Street Journal just waved a red flaWsjknowledgeg at your firm:


“Knowledge management is one of the workplaces most vexing problems…few organizations can figure out how to share knowledge among employees, or to pass it on when employees leave or change…”


Alright, you’re the CEO.
You have a financial question.  So, you turn to the CFO.  A legal question? Well, no question, time for legal counsel or your ethics and compliance officer. An employee-related issue?  That would be a call to HR. But, today, you have a media-, community- or stakeholder-relations issue or need help with marketing communications. No need for help here. You’re the CEO.  This is the “soft” side of the house. The category “Other” on the balance sheet. With your background, you can handle it yourself. No need to bother your boss with it. Better yet, just assign the issue to the “PR” or “Marketing” department.

Wrong. 

Everyone needs a “Kitchen Cabinet,” especially when you are at the top. The real question is, “Is your public or media relations staff in your inner circle and, if not, why not?” This is not a post about “succession planning.” This is about real-world “knowledge” and the credibility, reputation, relevancy and profitability of your firm.

I was once assigned by a top corporate officer to be the executive director for a new CEO of our most highly visible, profitable subsidiary. I believe the words were, “Don’t let him out of your sight.” The president was technically sound; I knew external affairs, from public affairs to media relations. I was the “knowledge-voice” that balanced operational decisions with stakeholder expectations. This was a half-billion-dollar operation with huge energy, environmental, defense, and health and safety considerations. Not only that, we were part of a Fortune-500 firm with a stock price.

[Read More…]


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