Category: Communications Choreography


We have come a long way from squeaky chalk or worse – finger nails screeching – on messy blackboards.

Mercifully, we have come nearly just as far from scribbling on overhead projectors (RIP).

Alas, we have not come far enough from wasting literally hours-upon-hours by means of “brain storming” with markers on white boards. Please put me out of my misery.

Now it’s time – way past time — to say goodbye to PowerPoints consisting of nothing more than black words on white backgrounds.

Bore me to the max! Gag me with the clicker!

And yet these mind-numbing presentations still exist. Simply adding more black words on the very same white background doesn’t make the message better, just more dazed and confused.

The author of Almost DailyBrett has sat through more PowerPoint briefings than he would care to even think about, and still he admires Microsoft for creating the ultimate for linear presentations. Bill Gates et al. deserve everlasting credit for developing an enduring tool for presenting ideas, explaining research and making recommendations.

Having said that, one has to ask why are PowerPoints so boring way too many times? They don’t have to be, and yet candidates for major positions, pitch men and women are still using this incredible tool in the most tired, lethargic and desultory ways possible.

Does the candidate really want the job? Do you really want to make the sale? Do you really want to convey an exciting new idea?

If the answer is affirmative, then why are you scratching the surface in what PowerPoint can do for you … and more importantly for the audience?

The Steve Jobs Cult

During Steve Jobs’ way-too-short presence on the planet, he and his company Apple developed a cult following. MacWorld presentations were akin to a spiritual revival. The audience literally gasped when the high priest of global technology held up the iPhone, iPad, iPod for all to see and admire for the first-time.

It was the Kodak Moment on digital steroids.

Steve’s PowerPoints were anything, but complicated … and that works beautifully in a complex world that yearns for simplicity.

There is the iPhone and the Mac. Can there be a new gadget in between? Well yes, there can be. It’s called the iPad. Simple message, well delivered.

The PowerPoint was not bright white with black words, but a black background with images and well-timed words, and most importantly … not too many words.

Venture Capitalist Guy Kawasaki has heard more business-pitch presentations than any human should have to endure. Sure, he gets paid extremely well. Regardless, he is mortal and every minute spent listening to a boring presentation is a minute lost.

He will always have a soft-spot in the heart of the author of Almost DailyBrett for conceiving the 10-20-30 rule: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font (or above).

The impressive thinking behind the 10-20-30 rule is straight-forward: If you can’t put forward a robust and well-crafter business plan in 10 slides, you don’t have a workable business plan.

The 20-minute rule takes into account the attention span of the average listener, which may be shrinking as you read this missive. People get restless quickly. They want to check their messages on their smart phone. They want to ask questions. They are wondering when is it ‘my turn’?

The 30-point-font or above recommendation is meant to ensure the poor soul in the back of the room can see the presentation. More important is the “tyranny” of the 30-point font because it forces the presentation developer to reduce the number of words. There is just so much PowerPoint real estate.

A Good Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Studies have shown conclusively that we are drawn to pictures, illustrations, pie and bar charts. Who can’t love a bar chart that goes upwards to the right with a CAGR line (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) guiding the way ?

In particular, we can quickly access JPEGs or compressed image files through Google Images to add to our PowerPoints. Every presenter should seriously consider incorporating one image (“Art”) into every slide to maintain audience attention.

An added bonus of a JPEG per page is it forces an economy of words. As Martha would say, “It’s a good thing.”

Our PowerPoint backdrops can be different colors. Almost DailyBrett is a big fan of royal blue and black because the words and images literally explode off these backgrounds.

Maybe we want to incorporate video into our presentations? We can drop the video URL into our presentation, and literally play it from there. Keep in mind for a major presento, you want to ensure your video works the first time, every time.

Let’s see: Incorporating the 10-20-30 Rule. Less words. JPEGs, Dynamic backdrops. Video and absolutely no black words on plain white backdrops. Sounds like a winner to little ole me.

Not everyone can be a Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, but everyone has the potential to hold an audience’s attention for upwards of 20 minutes even in our always-on, digital texting world. We can do all of this if we think of ourselves more like Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and less Albert Einstein at the chalk board.

https://office.live.com/start/PowerPoint.aspx

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndnmtz8-S5I

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/the-wisdom-of-the-10-20-30-rule/

https://guykawasaki.com/guy-kawasaki/

http://whatis.techtarget.com/fileformat/JPG-JPEG-bitmap

 

 

 

It’s not whose army wins, it’s also whose story wins. And we have to think more about narratives and whose narrative is going to be the most effective.” – Harvard Kennedy School Political Science Professor Joseph Nye, 2010 TED Talk

The U.S. ranks No. 1 for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at $18.56 trillion, and holds the top position in The National Brand Index.

When it comes to “hard power,” including its military and its economy, the U.S. has no rivals … at least for the immediate future.

Despite these clear hard-power advantages, the U.S. reportedly spent $670 million for “public diplomacy” in 2014, according to George Washington University professor of political science David Shambaugh.

In contrast, China spends $10 billion annually to project itself as a “soft power.”

China as a soft power? In essence, the answer is affirmative. China recognizes it needs more than the collective power of its 1.37 billion people, its second-ranking $11.39 trillion economy, and its growing military strength. China is trying to promote its distinct culture, its language and market its country as a place to invest and visit.

The aforementioned Professor Nye is widely credited with formulating the notion of “soft power” or projecting what you have in terms of culture, language, business, tourism etc. to those who may want the same.

Some contend as mentioned in the stately The Economist that a totalitarian state (e.g., China) may not effectively exhibit soft power as it may be interpreted as single-party propaganda. And yet China created The Confucius Institute in 2004 to entice the appreciation of its culture, to lure hundreds of thousands to study its difficult language and visit and invest in China.

Is the Politburo in Beijing trying to buy love?

From The Devastation of War, Occupation, Division and the Holocaust

The activities of the Goethe Institut improve Germany’s reputation abroad, enhance the quality of German-language teaching, contribute to the development of the German language, promote German artists worldwide, and attract talented youth and professionals to Germany.” – Tatiana Lanshina, “The Goethe Institute and Soft Power”

Germany experimented twice in “hard power” in the 20th Century … and lost big time, both times.

In 1951, Germany’s public relations (Öffentlichkeitsarbeit) were understandably at an all-time low … most likely the deepest nadir experienced by any country at any time. Interest in German Kultur, Sprache and Land was close to nil.

These facts did not stop Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the German government from creating the Goethe Institut in 1951. The mission of this 350-Euro non-profit organization, drawing the majority of its funds from the German foreign ministry, was to use the forgiveness of time to eventually and systematically regain interest in Das Land in der Mitte (The country in the middle of Europe).

Fast forward to today, Germany is No. 2 in the National Brand Index trailing only the United States. The country’s transformation from an international pariah to revered is nothing less than a public relations miracle (Öffentlichkeitsarbeitswunder).

The author of Almost DailyBrett has a framed Goethe Institut Zertifikat B1 for German language study in his office at Central Washington University. Is the Goethe Institut solely responsible for Germany’s resurrection? Of course not.

There are many other determinants including the reunification, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Economic Miracle, the Marshall Plan, Made in Germany, four World Cup wins, German business success, Germany’s hegemony in the European Union, the popularity of Angela Merkel and many other factors.

Germany understands more than other nations that hard power is not the answer. China obviously appreciates this fact as well. Ditto France with its Alliance Francaise, Italy with its Societa Dante Alighieri, Great Britain with its British Council, Spain with its Instituto Cervantes and Portugal with its Instituto Camoes.

All of the above brings up the obviously question: Who and what projects “soft power” for the United States? One other question: Are we satisfied with the answers?

Donald Trump, Hollyweird, American Media?

Certainly, the U.S. is nowhere near the lousy image that Germany endured – and still suffers – as a result of the 12 years of Hitler and the Nazis. Nonetheless, the U.S. image at home and abroad is less than ideal regardless of the nation’s military and economic hard-power advantages and the country’s number one ranking in the National Brand Index.

Who sets the tone for the United States of America?

Try traveling abroad and see how many times you are asked about Donald Trump once it becomes known that you reside in the Land of Uncle Sam? Does the intemperate, nocturnal Tweeter-in-Chief send the best of image of the red, white and blue across the fruited plain and across the ponds?

How about Hollyweird and the denizens of the TMZ?

The entertainment industry can’t even deliver the right envelope for its biggest announcement of the year (e.g., Oscar for Best Picture) at its most celebrated venue (e.g., The 2017 Academy Awards). Do we really want to entrust our soft power to this motley crew?

When it comes to our elite media, the American public sold the stock and voted them out of office. According to Gallup, the Woodward & Bernstein media of 1976 enjoyed a 72 percent approval rating. Last year, the same polling firm recorded a 32 percent approval rating for the boys and girls of the Fourth Estate, a 55.5 percent decline in the last 40 years.

If the American public is turned off by our nattering nabobs of negativism, why would those beyond our borders respect their interpretations of American soft power?

Maybe the time has come for a non-profit, soft-power Mark Twain, Will Rogers or some other American literary giant institute to celebrate American culture (e.g., baseball, hot dogs and apple pie), our unique take on the English language, and the USA as a wonderful place for investment and tourism?

Or maybe we can instead just leave the task to Donald Trump, Hollyweird and the failing American elite media?

https://www.economist.com/news/china/21719508-can-money-buy-sort-thing-china-spending-billions-make-world-love-it

http://www.ted.com/talks/joseph_nye_on_global_power_shifts

http://www.demdigest.net/tag/soft-power/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius_Institute

https://www.goethe.de/en/index.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/enemy-of-the-american-people/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx

 

 

“We’re cracking some eggs here, and some of it is going to be messy.” – Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia)

“Be quick – but don’t hurry.” – Legendary Coach John Wooden

It was the worst of times; it was the best of times.

Take one administration and two crucial announcements (i.e., January 27 Muslim travel ban; February 1 Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch East Room nomination ceremony), and then scratch your head about how the first one was botched up beyond any recognition, and how well the second was expertly choreographed.airportdemo

The author of Almost DailyBrett humbly counsels the first was thrown out naked late on a Friday afternoon, the prescribed day to bury bad news. No one knew who was on first at the Trump White House … let alone second or third.

Seven countries were selected for “extreme vetting.” Why these nations (e.g., Somalia, Yemen, Iran …) and not others (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan …)? Why folks from these seven with green cards? How about a briefing from senior administration officials?

And you wonder why so many showed up at airports to demonstrate, bloviate and pontificate?

President Donald Trump told Bill O’Reilly on his Sunday pre-Super Bowl interview the announcement went well. Using that standard, Stalingrad was perfectly executed as well until the Russians surrounded Germany’s Sixth Army.

Four days later, Trump presented Appellate Justice Gorsuch to the nation in a prime-time nomination. Gorsuch came from the list of 10 potential Supreme Court justices rolled out in the campaign. He is relatively young at 49, telegenic, articulate, went to the right schools (i.e., Columbia, Harvard, Oxford) and has a record as a strict constructionist.gorsuch

Good announcement by Trump/Gorsuch, which makes the appellate court justice a prohibitive favorite to be confirmed by the Republican Senate.

Timing and Packaging Are Everything

Let’s face it, not every announcement deserves an East Room ceremony or a news conference. Some can be handled just fine with a news release, but with well-coached resources to brief editors, reporters, correspondents about the perceived wisdom behind them.

If you issue an executive order (e.g., Muslim countries extreme vetting) late Friday afternoon, the media is justifiably suspicious. Why? Friday afternoon announcements play on that evening’s news and continue into Saturday – it’s the weekend.

Even though the immediacy and widespread nature of digital technology has changed the world, Saturday is still Saturday. The day-after-Thanksgiving Friday is particularly juicy for dumping the dead dog on the doorstep.trainwreck

The words “train wreck,” “debacle,” “fiasco,” “disaster,” “FUBAR,” etc. all apply to the way this controversial announcement was made. Was the Trump administration trying to hide this executive order on a Friday afternoon? Maybe. Maybe not. There is little doubt this is a textbook case of a frenetic administration being in too much of a hurry.

If the Neil Gorsuch nomination was handled the same way (e.g., late Friday afternoon announcement with no briefings), the immediate reaction would be even more intense. The nomination, which is anything but a slam dunk even in a GOP controlled Senate, would be off to a rocky rather than a smooth start.

Instead, the announcement was made on a Tuesday night in prime time. It had all the trappings of the White House. Trump made the introduction and Gorsuch delivered a reasoned overview of his judicial philosophy – a good judge doesn’t like the result of all of his/her rulings – immediately making life difficult for his political enemies.

All of this assessment brings Almost DailyBrett to the key question: Are any lessons going to be learned by the Trumpians from these two major announcements separated by only 96 hours?

Can you teach a 71-year-old dog new tricks?

And if so, will the 3 a.m. habitual tweeter listen to sound public relations advice?

Is the Trump administration going to learn from the Gorsuch rollout, and impose a discipline that requires doing less in order to do better?

Or are the major actions/announcements of this administration going to be a hit/miss proposition? And if there are too many misses, will Trump be seen in history as a totally undisciplined, inept chief executive – the Martin Van Buren of his time?

Do you think Trump cares about legacy? Seems like a silly question.

Sean Spicer, the president’s press secretary, dismisses early polling by saying the public will make their ultimate judgment about the actions of the administration.

If there are more extreme vetting rollouts and less Neil Gorsuch nomination ceremonies, the popular verdict seems  obvious.

http://www.rove.com/article/2-2-17-WSJ?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=KR%20Weekly%202217&utm_content=KR%20Weekly%202217+CID_6a70bdf69d24718680bee348a4b81c66&utm_source=Weekly%20Email&utm_term=Amateur%20Ho

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-first-week-leaves-washington-and-the-white-house-staffpanting-1486163284

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions

 

 

“You can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes; well you just might find; you get what you need.” – Jagger, Richards

Great tune, but does it work as an uplifting campaign-theme song?

The author of Almost DailyBrett used to snicker at the thought of a blushing bride choosing this song for the first dance with her new groom: You can’t always get what you want (in grooms) … (but hopefully) you get what you need.trumpstones

For the same reason, one must wonder why the Donald Trump campaign chose “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as one of the musical closers of the quadrennial Republican National Convention last July in Cleveland?

The first song following The Donald’s dystopian acceptance speech was “All Right Now” by The Free, which makes sense. That is not the case with the next song, the Rolling Stones classic, “You Can’t Get What You Want.”

After dispatching 17 other Republican presidential aspirants in the primaries and caucuses was Donald Trump all the GOP needed?

The same applies to using the very same Rolling Stones song immediately following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory tour speech last week in Cincinnati.

Mick and Keith are not happy and have shared their displeasure with the Trump campaign and the media, only to be told that the Stones must accept not getting any satisfaction on this one.micktrump

The music has been purchased and is being played in a public place, so the Trump campaign does not owe the Stones one shekel for their song and is offering zero apologies.

Okay now that we have that dispute (un)settled, let’s access from a public relations standpoint how songs can or cannot serve as metaphors for advocacy.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Some campaigns have trouble coming up with consistent themes. If identifying an appropriate mantra is a problem (and that was the case for Hillary Clinton), then finding a related song which resonates with the public and the times is doubly tough.

One of the most successful efforts was the use of “Happy Days Are Here Again” by FDR at the Democratic convention during the height of the Depression in 1932.

Sixty years later, Arkansas Governor (and Hillary’s hubby) played Fleetwood Mac’s futuristic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” to offer a dramatic contrast to President George H.W. Bush’s tired administration.billclintonsax

Eight years later, the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush employed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and The Who’s anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in direct defiance to the Clinton-Gore machine.

The appropriateness of songs is not the most serious subject ever pondered by Almost DailyBrett, they still must be consistent with the overall thrust of a presidential campaign.

Even though this author scratches his follicly challenged scalp when contemplating Trump using a song that expresses the frustration of blowing an amplifier fuse, the real issue is whether Republicans are saying to the nation that you can’t get what you want, but Trump is what you need?

For some reason, the song is working at least among those in the hinterlands who have been searching for a champion and not finding her or him in Washington, D.C.

Can any of these “poorly educated” folks as Trump lovingly described them, name any of the four members of the Rolling Stones, much less identify with the lyrics of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”?

Does it matter?

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1840981_1840998_1840923,00.html

http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/22/donald-trump-you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/10/12/mick-jagger-on-trump-using-stones-songs-i-can-t-stop-him.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/victorious-donald-trump-mocks-rolling-9224213

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHU3oAhM4tU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siMFORx8uO8

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Right_Now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TytGVo1O3_w

 

 

 

 

How many graduating university/college seniors in communications disciplines (i.e., public relations, marketing, investor relations, public affairs etc.) will utter the  worn-out cliché to hiring managers in the coming weeks and months: “I really work well with people”?

Gag!workwell

What precisely is the return-on-investment (ROI) for someone who allegedly works well with people?

How does one measure how effectively a candidate interacts with other humans?

Come to think of it if one was pursuing a career in anything and everything communications, wouldn’t working well with people be a given?

Tell me something – anything – that I don’t already know.

There are precisely 1.490 billion results when one Google’s, “I Really Work Well With People.” Surprised there are so few web instances devoted to this NOT thinking outside of the box phrase.

Almost DailyBrett will declare now, and will say it forever:

Telling a hiring manager you work well with people: 1.) Makes the hiring manager roll her or his eyes; 2.) Brings into question whether you have any creativity; 3.) Does not differentiate you from your tenacious competition for the legal tender; and 4.) Makes one wonder whether your brain has flat-lined.workwell1

Strong opinion to follow.

Tell Me/Us About Yourself?

At this point in the interview process, the hiring manager is transitioning from the requisite small talk to getting serious.

The above question, which surely will follow with “Why do you want to work for us?” is more than an ice-breaker. It is an opportunity for a candidate to systematically demonstrate ROI based upon experience, results, digital and analog skill sets and education.

Think of it this way: A dollar is a friend (same applies for pounds, euros, yen …).

An agency, corporation, non-profit, governmental agency has to spend a certain amount “friends” in the form of income statement SG&A salary, benefits, time-off and maybe even stock options to hire you as opposed to someone else or no one at all.

Why should they make this investment in your particular personality, talents and skills? Aren’t your type a dime a dozen?

Instead of the throw-away line about working well with people, how about talking about how you collaborate in teams and what you and your teammates accomplished? Everything should be first-person plural: We, Us and Our.

Teaching digitally oriented public relations, advertising, integrated marketing communications (IMC), blogging/social media, corporate communications and investor relations now at Central Washington University and before at the University of Oregon, our students were always required to work together as teams to reach assigned goals for their clients.

This experiential learning approach does not require each student to love or be loved by their teammates, which is asking too much. Instead, a hands-on collaborator needs to respect and be respected, which is the essence of being a good team player.

Instead of tired verbal Pablum, how about demonstrating with concrete examples how you teamed/collaborated with others to cure cancer, climb Mt. Everest, achieve world peace and break political gridlock in Washington, D.C.?

The candidate with real-time results, which can be quantified and verified, and who didn’t take all the credit but collaborated effectively with others, has a better chance – a much better opportunity – of being hired.

The Stark Difference Between Anxious and Interested

Let’s be generous for a second:

In most cases, the candidate who feels compelled to blurt out how well he or she works well with people (or others … a distinction without a difference) runs the real risk of coming across as hungry and anxious.workwell2

Hiring managers are not welfare agencies. They are not there to feed the hungry or heal the sick. They are there to recruit the best and the brightest to solve problems and perform miracles.

Some candidates feel compelled to incorporate “objectives” right at the top of their resumes, declaring they are seeking a position in a given field.

Well, duh!

Didn’t you already make that point in your cover letter?

The smart applicants start with a “profile,” detailing their individual value, accomplishments and what she or he is bringing to the party. These wise contenders immediately demonstrate through concrete examples their ROI.

They also speak in the language of the company, the agency, the non-profit, and the public sector agency.

Instead of “you know,” “you guys,” “me and my team,’ and Almost DailyBrett’s favorite, “stuff,” the prepared applicant talks about driving the top and bottom lines, fiduciary and corporate social responsibility, and enhancing SEO and SEM.

In short, they speak the language and signal it will not take long to become totally fluent in whatever serves as the Raison d’ etat for the entity doing the hiring.

Yes, the wise candidate understands very clearly how the hiring manager’s company makes money, which even applies to non-profits.

As you will note, this is not the first time your author has written about this subject. Just like cock roaches this offending phrase instead of going away is actually multiplying.

It’s time … not it’s past time … deep-six this horrific, “I really work well with people,” before another hiring manager has to excuse herself or himself from the table.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=I+Really+Work+Well+with+People

https://www.livecareer.com/interview-questions/how-well-you-work-people-you-prefer-working-alone

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interview-you/qt/working-with-people.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/11/15/the-20-people-skills-you-need-to-succeed-at-work/#74d85a6264b5

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/online-college-not-good-enough-for-pr/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/i-really-work-well-with-people/

 

 

 

Some contend that you can’t quantify, “free media.”

Oh, really?

How about $2 billion in estimated free media for one, Donald Trump?trumpratings

To be more accurate let’s be sure to call publicity, public relations and dealing with the media for what it really is: Earned Media. There is absolutely nothing “free” about facing the music posed by the Fourth Estate.

And when it comes to wall-the-wall conventional-and-digital media coverage, no one rivals Donald Trump. The media just can’t get enough of the developer-reality TV personality-turned presidential candidate. They may instinctively not like him, but who cares for now; he’s good for ratings.

When a Republican presidential debate (e.g., sometimes a sophomoric verbal food fight) comes to an end, the host network each-and-every time interviews Trump first before turning to any other contender.

Is all the fawning attention on The Donald emanating exclusively from Fox News? Consider the ongoing feud between Trump and network boss Roger Ailes and the answer is an obvious, “no.” The GOP populist (oxymoron?) is also in demand on CNN and (gasp…), MSNBC.

Trump’s two remaining challengers for the Republican nomination have not even come close when it comes to earned media. According to mediaQuant and its analysis of media exposure equated to advertising dollars and media outlet influence and reach, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has drawn $313 million and Ohio Governor John Kasich has secured only $38 million.

Guess who is winning the Republican nomination fight?trumpmedia

On the other side of the great political divide, Senator Bernie Sanders has repeatedly complained about the influence of money in political campaigns and has called for the overturning of the 2010 U.S, Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC.

In all due respect to the honorable senator, the possible future government imposition of advertising spending limitations (e.g., paid media) for political action committees (PAC), corporations and unions would have zero impact on earned media … and for that matter owned media (i.e., websites, social media, blogs, events, brochures …).

What’s ironic is Trump is certainly the wealthiest candidate to ever contest for the presidency (e.g., somewhere between $4 billion and $10 billion in personal net worth), and yet he doesn’t rely on advertising (only $10 million) or extensive PAC contributions. Why would he have to, if the media will provide gobs of free access to its airwaves, digital content and newsprint?

How about $400 million worth of media time in the last month alone?

Schadenfreude Journalism

“They [the Marines] break you down in order to build you back up.” – Oft-heard description of the tender-loving care exhibited by the U.S. Marine Corps

“The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” — Chicago Evening Post journalist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne

The danger that comes from overreliance on earned media can be exhibited by the U.S.M.C.’s Camp Pendleton boot camp in California, but in reverse.

Instead of breaking you down in order to build you back up, the media loves to build you up only to gleefully bring you crashing down into a pile of personal wreckage. Almost DailyBrett has been known to refer to this practice as either ‘Vulture Journalism’ or ‘Schadenfreude Journalism.’vulture

The media is just so darn happy that you are so sad.

Remember President Gary Hart, President Newt Gingrich or President John Edwards?

What movie won this year’s Academy Award for best picture? Spotlight, the story of how the special investigative unit of the Boston Globe exposed the systemic neglect of Cardinal Bernard Law, allowing literally hundreds of pedophile priests to prey upon literally thousands of young boys and girls.

It’s hard to imagine a bigger target than the Catholic Church. Guess the comb-over scalp of Donald Trump will serve these purposes for now.

The Big-Three networks and the 24-7-365 cable news types are basking in the advertising dollars that come from Trump-driven higher ratings, but do the media elites and Washington political class really want Republican Trump to be sitting in the Oval Office? The answer is obvious.

Let’s ask here and now, has there ever been a bigger political target for a salivating carnivorous media in the post-Richard-Nixon era than one Donald Trump?

Those who live by earned media die by earned media.

Most reporters, editors and correspondents literally take a vow of poverty in order to enter the brutal and volatile profession of journalism. They can only imagine a Donald Trump lifestyle, but will never have the personal resources to even come close. Will they care about a Comb Over smack down?

They will relish in afflicting his personal comfort, and most of all denying him the White House.trumpratings1

Republicans often complain about a double standard, not only having to contest the Democrats but the media as well. Take this equation and multiply it by 10 … or how about 100?

When the dust settles in early November, there is little doubt the undisputed earned media champion will be Donald Trump.

And also when in the dust settles in early November, will the earned media whipping boy also be Donald Trump? Don’t bet against it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html?_r=0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/03/15/the-medias-2b-gift-to-trump/

http://time.com/money/4260127/trump-free-media-coverage-2-billion/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC

http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/what-the-marines-know-about-discipline-that-will-make-you-a-better-athlete

http://breakingmuscle.com/sports-psychology/what-the-marines-know-about-discipline-that-will-make-you-a-better-athlete

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/persona-matters/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/megyn-kelly-and-the-beast/

http://www.poynter.org/2014/today-in-media-history-mr-dooley-the-job-of-the-newspaper-is-to-comfort-the-afflicted-and-afflict-the-comfortable/273081/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/06/movies/review-in-spotlight-the-boston-globe-digs-up-the-catholic-churchs-dirt.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/special-reports/2002/01/06/church-allowed-abuse-priest-for-years/cSHfGkTIrAT25qKGvBuDNM/story.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” – attributed to Harry S. Truman

“Politics is a contact sport.” – GOP campaign consultant, Marry Matalinclintonbuddy

Almost DailyBrett cannot accurately forecast, who will become the 45th president of the United States. Can you?

Wasn’t the general election contest supposed to quickly boil down to Hillary and Jeb, representing two of America’s political royal families?

In some respects, it is easier to foretell who will not be president (i.e., Martin O’Malley, John Kasich, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum … ).

What is more certain in this volatile Silly Season is the undeniable fact the Serious Season will be upon us in about three weeks. The presents will soon be unwrapped, turkey and stuffing will be consumed, and bowl games will be played. It will then be time for serious presidential politics.

The days of subjective media/pundit scoring (e.g., colluding media tweeting each other to determine the conventional wisdom of who is winning and who is losing) will be replaced by actual electoral results from caucuses and primaries. Figure skating and boxing are both plagued by judges. Football, hockey and other sports have actual scoreboards. It will soon be time for voter verdicts, particularly how candidates fare compared with “expectations.”

Quantitative research samples are taken far more seriously in the Serious Season, particularly trends as they edge closer to-and-after actual caucuses and primaries. Debates mean more, much more … and a particularly ill-time gaffe (there is never a good time for foot-in-mouth disease) could be electorally fatal. GOTV(Get Out The Vote) means more than ever as – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina – are organization-intensive retail states than mass media in nature.

What does this all mean? The beginning of the Serious Season translates into meeting workers at factory gates, kibitzing at bowling allies, visiting lunch counters, attending PTA meetings, conducting town halls, when its frigid, icy and snowy outside (e.g., Iowa and New Hampshire).townhall

The caucus-goers (Iowa and Nevada) and primary voters (New Hampshire and South Carolina) are notoriously fickle, unpredictable and independent. How will they respond to Donald Trump and his billions and Hillary Clinton and her “inevitability”?

Here’s a hint: They are more inclined to root for David rather than Goliath.

Mother’s Milk Runs Dry?

“Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics” – former California Speaker Jesse Unruh

The author of Almost DailyBrett remembers serving as a California gubernatorial campaign press director way back in the legacy media Stone Age of 1982. The goal was to win the news cycle, simply defined as one news cycle per day.

Today, the news cycle can be 24-in-one-day or literally one per hour in this legacy/digital native media age. What that means is that you have to win the majority of news cycles, develop a sense of momentum on an hourly basis and repeatedly demonstrate your “Big Mo.”

Way back in the previous century, you could gather momentum and ride it to the governor’s office as we did in the last three weeks of both the primary and general elections 43 years ago. Today, a campaign public relations team can be pushed from offense to defense or vice-versa in the same one-hour news cycle. Instead of getting a dog when the going get’s tough, political PR pros should think in terms of acquiring alligators.

The media has transformed itself from mostly left-of-center big three networks, major pubs (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal) and two wire services into a smorgasbord of legacy media, cable networks (e.g., MSNBC on the left, Fox News on the right) and an expanding array of news aggregators (e.g., Real Clear Politics, POLITICO, Daily Kos, Red State, Huffington Post). Interspersing themselves into the mix are the independent committees that will flood the airwaves and cyberspace with ads, some with dubious claims of accuracy.

It was once said that Great Britain maintained an empire in which the sun never set. For today’s political media pros, they never sleep. And if your candidate does not meet expectations in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the mother’s milk of politics will stop lactating.

How can a campaign finance integrated marketing communication programs (e.g., earned, paid and owned media) for eight caucuses and primaries at the end of February/March, if you can’t win in the beginning of February? Americans love winners and they want to jump onto band wagons. Using another metaphor, if a ship starts to sink (e.g., Jeb Bush’s campaign to date), high propensity voters and donors will quickly look for alternatives.

Who wants to throw good money after bad money? No one. If a candidate can’t win in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, can that same candidate win in Nevada and/or South Carolina, let alone the myriad of states that follow in quick succession?

After losing Iowa in 2004, former Governor Howard Dean delivered the infamous, “I have a scream” speech:howarddean

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, (Senator) Tom Harkin we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York…. And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!”

Let’s give Governor Dean credit. He did go on to capture his home state of Vermont. Nonetheless, Jesse Unruh’s Law about the Mother’s Milk of Politics rang true. The lesson of the Serious Season is to skillfully manage expectations, win early and win often, otherwise someone else … maybe someone we don’t expect … will win the two respective party nominations.

Ready the ground (GOTV) and air wars (campaign ads). Light up the digital scoreboards. The Serious Season will soon be with us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6i-gYRAwM0

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/the-silly-season/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/debates/schedule/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-face-of-criticism-trump-surges-to-his-biggest-lead-over-the-gop-field/2015/12/14/b9555e30-a29c-11e5-9c4e-be37f66848bb_story.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-rise-and-fall-of-howard-dean-18-02-2004/

 

 

 

 

 

Or unemployed …

justinesacco

Love him or despise him, you can always count on Mr. Warm and Fuzzy, Charles Barkley, to have an opinion. In this particular case, he has a point: Sometimes the Internet draws fools into its web.

When it comes to anything and everything binary code, one must always recognize that digital is indeed eternal. Weigh these examples.adamsmithvante

  • Former $200K+ Vante CFO Adam Smith took a video of himself berating Rachel, a Chick-fil-A employee working the drive-thru window, about the company’s position on same-sex marriage and posted it on YouTube. He was fired. He can’t find a job.
  • IAC/InterActiveCorp senior director of corporate communications Justine Sacco dashed off her insensitive tweet about AIDS in Africa just before she flew to Cape Town, South Africa. Her tweet went viral. She was terminated before her plane landed.

Let’s ask here and now: Why are so many so damn cavalier when it comes to Twitter’s 140 characters?

Why are some so consumed with posting every minute detail about their lives on Facebook, no matter how trivial?

Do we have to post every still on Instagram or upload every video on YouTube, no matter how mundane or in some cases, obnoxious and offensive?

Why will others insist on uttering every-and-any political thought that comes in between their ears on WordPress, Wix, Tumblr or any other blogging site? Maybe we are not interested, let alone enamored, with your political views?

Barkley is not a fan of social media and has the luxury to say so. He and many others assume a who cares attitude toward the Internet. For the rest of us mere mortals, we know that social, mobile and cloud are game changers.

The World Wide Web is the classic definition of a destructive technology, the biggest communications advancement since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 15th Century. We can communicate to-and-from virtually any place on the planet in a matter of seconds, 24/7/365.

The Genie is not going back into the lantern.

The real question is whether we are using these tools with the care they require. Think of it this way: blogging, social media and other digital forms of communication are “radioactive.” They are not monolithic (e.g., think “Friends” for Facebook and “Connections” for LinkedIn), but they all have the potential and the capability to get us in trouble in nanoseconds.

They can be abused. Why do some insist upon posting literally anything about their daily lives on the net? How many baby pictures are necessary? How many images of casseroles are required? How many more cat photos do we need to see?

Okay, the author of Almost DailyBrett pleads guilty when it comes to felines; yes, I have posted a tabby cat photo or two on Facebook.

Reputation Management for an Eternal Digital World

“Someday that party picture is going to bite them when they seek a senior corporate job or public office. I think they should wake up now, and become aware of the extent to which they’re sharing parts of themselves that one day they may wish they had kept private.”– Don Tapscott, Author of “Grown Up Digital”

The most important public relations of all are personal public relations.party

Would a hiring manager performing a Google search (okay Yahoo and Bing too) uncovering photo of the obviously inebriated Florida Gator fan doing a little pole dancing, automatically disqualify this individual?

Is that fair?

Does the hiring manager actually know the individual?

Most likely, the answers are “yes,” “no,” and “no.” Translated: The candidate is disqualified. It’s not really fair. And the hiring manager does not know the individual … and yet she or he doesn’t want to become acquainted with the “candidate.” The digital ones-and-zeroes that make up the photo tell the story, and it is not a good tale.

Some have expressed a concern, particularly college students, that the vast majority of their photos of Facebook and elsewhere (hopefully not LinkedIn) usually come with a drink in one hand. Does the preponderance of party photos send an unwanted message? Is alcohol a problem? Maybe they should do a little surfing on Google images and see if there are one (or two) too many fiesta photos?

Studies have revealed that executive recruiters (e.g., headhunters) spend only 6.25 seconds on a contender’s LinkedIn profile, and the first place they go? A potential candidate’s photo.

If that is indeed the case, wouldn’t someone interested in personal reputation management choose the most professional JPEG possible? One would think so, and yet Almost DailyBrett has seen LinkedIn portrait photos that are more appropriate for Match.com.

Internet Jail?

“A little payback. Sometimes there are consequences for being a dick.” – TYT Network Young Turks host Ana Kasparian

Can Schadenfreude or the celebration of someone’s demise get a little out of hand?

Kasparian’s sidekick, Cenk Uygur, wondered if Adam Smith (not to be confused with the Adam Smith of Wealth of Nations fame) will ever get a job again, any job, let alone a six-figure position.saccolanding

Sacco’s sin, which she fully comprehended when she landed in Cape Town, is even worse, particularly when you consider that she rose in the ranks to become a senior communicator for a major media conglomerate. If she can’t police her own dialogue, why would a reputable firm turn over its messaging, branding and reputation management to Mizz Intemperate Tweet?

Both Adam and Justine are in Internet Prison. Did they earn a lifelong sentence? Is that fair? Maybe not. Will it change? Maybe not.

What did Sir Charles say about “Fools” and the “Internet”?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gha5rNS6WyI

https://www.tytnetwork.com/

http://www.businessinsider.com/former-vante-cfo-adam-smith-apologizes-for-bullying-chick-fil-a-worker-2012-8

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=0

http://iac.com/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/03/26/what-your-resume-is-up-against/

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to collegiate competitions, most would be inclined to think of the college football playoff and the national championship game.

Or how about “March Madness” and the “Final Four” … or even “The Frozen Four”?

Probably no one knows about the (Carroll J.) Bateman competition, established more than four decades ago by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).DSC01384

Even though Bateman draws far less attention … if any … than NCAA football and basketball, the competition is just as intense and success requires working well in a team setting for eight months or longer.

This point is magnified when every student today seemingly has his or her nose buried in a cell-phone screen. Some would contend that mobile technology and the explosion of “apps” has retarded our ability to communicate, let alone getting along well in a group setting. Sounds like a good subject for a future strategic communications blog post. Hmmm …

This point brings the author of Almost DailyBrett to the five members of the Central Washington University (CWU) Bateman team: (left to right in photo) Aubree Downing, Robyn Stewart, Madalyn Freeman (team leader); Masey Peone and Silver Caoili. As Millennials, they get it when it comes to social, mobile and cloud, but they have also demonstrated an increasingly rare characteristic: the remarkable ability to always get along and work well as a team.

“Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Backside … “

Having spent almost 15 years in Silicon Valley, yours truly knows how one disagreeable-and-detestable personality can become a cancer in any organization no matter the level of talent.

And when that person voluntarily (or involuntarily) decides to move on to another opportunity or to spend more time with his or her family, there is the obligatory going away party. Do you really want to go to this send-off? Well no, but in most cases you attend and say nice things even though you really don’t mean it.

In a few egregious cases, there are “going away” parties for former colleagues, who have already departed. To top it off, the person in question is not invited.

The reason for this digression is to point out how important it is to be a team player, and not only to “manage up” to superiors but to co-exist with colleagues and treat subordinates with respect and understanding.

Even though Almost DailyBrett is a tad biased, I am nonetheless floored by how well the CWU team worked together virtually every day for the past 240+ days to advance the university’s proposal to the deciders at PRSSA. They have set a standard that will be difficult for future CWU Bateman teams to match, let alone exceed.DSC01394

Your Home Matters: Affordable Housing Fair 2015

Each year, the best-and-the-brightest at PRSSA decide upon a subject for the participating university Bateman teams located across the fruited plain. This academic year drew a germane, timely subject: Home Matters and the compelling need for affordable housing.

Our five-team members after going back-and-forth for hours, embarked on a comprehensive conventional/digital campaign that was manifested (but not ended) Saturday with the “Your Home Matters: Affordable Housing Fair 2015” in Ellensburg, Washington.

What was particularly exciting was to witness the community involvement, spurred by our team, including the host of the fair: Mandy Hamlin of Allstate Insurance. The participants featured some big names including: Umpqua Bank, Coldwell Banker, Habitat for Humanity, HopeSource, Knudsen Lumber and the Kittitas Yakima Valley Community Land Trust.

Not bad, not bad at all.

There was even an opportunity for kidlets to draw on tiles to give input as to what “home” means to them. Considering that Baby Boomers may be the first generation to procreate offspring that may never have the opportunity to own a home (e.g., Bay Area, SoCal, New England, Mid-Atlantic, SeaTac … ), then “Home Matters” must extend to doable rents to go along with achievable mortgages. It also applies to reasonably priced, sustainable and environmentally friendly building materials.DSC01387

Having worked on close-knit teams in the California Office of the Governor, a publicly traded company and an international public relations firm, your author knows that a public relations team must be able to address conflict without making it personal. Some do well in this environment, and others … well they don’t.

Pettiness and childish name calling should be left to the sandboxes of yesteryear with their Tonka trucks. Today, our august communications segment needs public relations professionals that can not only access information from the screen of a cell phone, but also get along and produce results.

There are at least five students in Ellensburg, Washington who can do just that.

http://prssa.prsa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/

http://prssa.prsa.org/about/

http://prssa.prsa.org/about/PRSA/

http://www.cwu.edu/communication/

 

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 40,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

%d bloggers like this: