There’s a Colonel Parker behind every MySpace phenom!

Over at the Guardian, they’re doing their best to chip away at the public relations-driven perception that the Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Sandi Thom are bootstrap successes who pooled together their credit card balances to record some demos before riding the popularity of MySpace and the internets to sucess, fame and fortune. They ran […]

Using Flickr the right way

Here’s a story, of a lovely lady, who let a humble design company from Cincinnati use one of her pictures in the latest issue of their newsletter. This is social media actually delivering on its promise – although some might argue that a corporate think-piece is not the highest of callings or most prime of […]

Mandatory labelling for “truthiness”

“…The more audiences move off trusted sources of information and into the hard-to-reach regions of the blog, the more media purveyors should return to core brand-values and seek to extol the virtues of truth and its sibling, accuracy … … Content labelling can work on media websites just as food labelling works on cans and […]

Yoga, retail and public relations; Vancouver style

You’d like Lululemon. It’s a crunchy granola kind of high-end leisure wear chain based in Vancouver. The stores have a nice open design with plenty of piles of warm fuzzy workout clothes to touch, fondle and hold to your cheek. The clothing labels are clear and emphatic. The staff is well-trained and practices what it […]

Designers and online conversations, with a bit of David Byrne

David Byrne may have begun by talking about album cover art, but his observation applies to any creative discipline struggling to deal with an interactive and interconnected online environment. While some may mock the pastel colours and rounded corners that characterize Web 2.0 apps (myself included), at least online conversations are finally moving beyond the […]

Long tail marketing: it’s not about the money, it’s about the idea

Roger Martin, business professor and consultant, speaks to the intersection of design and strategic planning – with surprising insight for marketers and communicators grappling with the rigour and market targeting demanded by a “long tail” economy: DL: They were hired to produce the marketing material? RM: Right, but the company was bankrupt and could hardly […]

Paul Harvey: got more hits than Sadaharu Oh!

Paul Harvey, master salesman. Ten years ago, I was working as a media analyst preparing the morning clippings package, summarizing media coverage of interest to my department, and downloading the abbreviated NYT from Pointcast. I had to be at work at 4:30, so that meant the early morning broadcast of Paul Harvey’s “the end of […]

Wave Babies, lyin’ on the sand

May 24. Victoria Day up here in Canada. The rule of thumb is usually “no white shoes before Memorial Day”, but we get a jump on the official start to summer. As Joey says, “commence the wearing of the white pants.” My treat to you: a video that has always meant summer to me. Honeymoon […]

Multi-author blogs and Strumpette

The biggest challenge for blog authors is creating a unique “voice”: what is the identity you wish to portray? The values you want to embody? The personality traits your writing will personify (albeit in shallow two-dimensional form)? As the blog format morphs from a personal and interactive medium to a corporate communications vehicle, it will […]

Hey client! Two minutes for looking so good, you handsome devil!

Is a public relations counsellor’s primary motivation to “make their client look good?” That was the point offered during a favoured podcast this week, and I found myself disagreeing quite animatedly with my car dashboard. “Looking good” is certainly the goal for marketers, bzz agents, publicity agents, cosmetologists and Maurice Richard. On a superficial level, […]

Integrated marketing communications at the local Co-op grocery

A fulsome and detailed discussion of integrating marketing, public relations, not-for-profit management and membership relations can be found in “Coordinating Communications: Media Consistency strengthens co-op branding,” from the latest issue of Cooperative Grocer magazine. I’ll tease you with only a snippet (really, there’s quite a bit more good advice in the article itself): “… An […]

MESH 06: the intellectual and motivational hangover

A refreshing couple of days, that MESH conference in Toronto. There’s a danger in designing a conference around the obsessions of a large number of fanatics, afficionados, enthusiasts, devotees, and hangers-on. In most cases, the result is a packed agenda of seminars and “break-out” sessions where ideas and themes work in tight concentric circles, with […]

MESH: a room full of sweaty and nervous idealists

Day two of the MESH conference. A roomful of serial entrepreneurs, marketing types, online advertising specialists, public relations hacks (agency, corporate and us government types) and venture capitalists (who, you should know, hog the microphone during the interactive sessions). The recurring themes, often not stated explicitly: – why are readers avoiding my treeware publications? – […]

Social Media for the 70s – with a satin jacket and leather pants

Before there was MySpace and other social media, there were fan clubs and fanzines. If you had a personalized desktop, it meant you had plastered your desk with stickers and magazine covers of your favourite star, then covered it with plastic sheeting. The only custom ringtone popularly available was fifteen seconds of hissing and static […]

Maybe I’ll see you at MESH …

Despite all the initial carping, I think MESH is shaping up to be a very interesting event – May 15 and 16 in Toronto. Maybe I’ll see you there!

How to avoid customer cooties

Retailers may just have a problem with cooties and/or lurgi, that imaginary childhood plague that infects by association. The perception that an item has been handled or – gasp – even tried on can significantly affect a costumer’s decision to buy. Customers may want to handle, sniff or feel while making their buying decision, but […]

Crisis for activism in Finland?

According to Helsingin Sanomat, civic activism in Finland is suffering from poor Q scores among the Finnish public. Late on the night of April 30, a fire destoyed a railway warehouse complex frequented by activists (or demonstrators, depends on your point of view). “No matter who started the fire, the public image of civic activism […]

Ridin in my 5.0 … Riding in my 3.8 four on the floor with three gas plasma monitors

I know, I know. If something’s made it to the front page of the WSJ, it’s likely old news to the trendhunters. So today’s coverage of “donk stye” LeSabres, Impalas, Cutlass Supremes and Caddies isn’t surprising to anyone who knows what Xhibit’s been doing for the last few years. Still. Nona and Nono now have […]

This stale PR-driven survey just needs some BBQ sauce

The surefire forumula for winning some soft feature coverage: take a common activity (like BBQ’ing). Add a methodologically suspect but topically appeallling survey. Time the release of your results to anticipate interest by feature editors preparing seasonal stories. That seems to be the strategy for Weber Grills, who surveyed Canadians about their grilling habits. Great. […]

Yves Behar: hints on bringing ideas to life

Soem thoughts from Yves Behar, the famed designer, which apply equally well to public relations professionals who truly want to provide creative and strategic advice – not rehash old plans and work off standard scenario templates. ” … In order to innovate, you need to work closely with all the different people in this product […]

Online communities, bikers and the 1% rule

Loyal. Dedicated. Vocal. Eager to win new converts and open up new territories. Am I describing a valued customer and contributor, or a hardcore biker? A theory is developing that many online communities depend on that one in a hundred user to populate and popularise the site. Just like the larger biker gangs fascinate and […]

Hacked and unmonitored transit advertising could undermine your campaign

Last weekend, rail commuters in Toronto were befuddled by hacked in-car electronic displays that, instead of traffic and advertising notices, repeated “Stephen Harper Eats Babies” every three seconds. You may not know that Stephen Harper is the Prime Minister of Canada. Apparently, the signs were not password protected and could be reprogrammed with a easily […]

Strumpette and Flava Flav – Don’t Believe the Hype!

Strumpette continues to rail against the PR blog establishment and their reaction to that blog’s satirical, sarcastic and often biting commentary. The latest jab, Championship PR Midget Toss Sets Record, apparently hit a little close to home, prompting a critical backlash (in the limited volume only possible in the insular world of PR blogging). Among […]

Once again, Laura Ries is wrong. This time about donuts.

Laura Ries thinks Dunkin’ Donuts should reposition itself as the fast alternative. That its strategy to “move out of breakfast” is misguided. That its efforts “chasing the latest trends” in bagels, sandwiches and soups will only result in “products for which they have no credibility.” In her mind, Dunkin’ Donuts should really corner the market […]

Apologize or go to court: how much does that hurt?

You’ve screwed up. You, or one of your employees, or your suppliers, has screwed up big time. The moment has passed for a quick 10% off the bill or the promise of a free shake the next time you pop in – it’s time for the company’s public relations counsellor and the lawyer to face […]

“Girls on Film” and your nosy neighbours

An exercise in difficult community relations: when your suburban cul-de-sac becomes a shooting location for porn movies, and how your neighbours react. In the LA Times.

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