What If the Whole World Could Vote?

The U.S. is one of the most powerful countries in the world, so it’s not surprising that there are lots of non-Americans who share our intense interest in the U.S. presidential election. The Economist is giving them a voice through a nifty web-based global version of the U.S. Electoral College.

The fact that the Economist is doing this speaks to the world impact of our government — an interesting point in view of the almost universal “U.S.-bashing” over the past eight years. It also underscores the financial magazine's recognition of the importance of its nearly 700,000 U.S. subscribers and the need for continued growth here.

In an interview with Ad Age, the Economist’s Ron Diorio is quoted as saying, “We're trying to recognize that the U.S. has a significant role in the world's economy and politics and offer people a way Continue reading "What If the Whole World Could Vote?"

What If the Whole World Could Vote?

The U.S. is one of the most powerful countries in the world, so it’s not surprising that there are lots of non-Americans who share our intense interest in the U.S. presidential election. The Economist is giving them a voice through a nifty web-based global version of the U.S. Electoral College.

The fact that the Economist is doing this speaks to the world impact of our government — an interesting point in view of the almost universal “U.S.-bashing” over the past eight years. It also underscores the financial magazine's recognition of the importance of its nearly 700,000 U.S. subscribers and the need for continued growth here.

In an interview with Ad Age, the Economist’s Ron Diorio is quoted as saying, “We're trying to recognize that the U.S. has a significant role in the world's economy and politics and offer people a way to get a little bit off their chest.”

The authentic U.S. Electoral College is comprised of 538 electors, the equivalent of the total membership of both Houses of Congress (435 Representatives and 100 Senators) plus 3 electors allocated to Washington, DC. Each state has as many electors as it has Representatives and Senators in Congress. Since the most populous states have the most seats in the House, they also have the most electors.

The Economist’s version gives 195 of the world's countries — including, of course, the U.S. — a say in the election, by allocating a minimum of three electoral-college votes to each, plus one vote for every 700,000 citizens in the country. For example, China, with a population of more than 1 billion, has 1,900 votes; the Bahamas has 3. The U.S. has been allocated 432 votes out of the 9,875 vote total.

Voting in the Economist's Global Electoral College will close at midnight London time on November 1, when the candidate with most votes will be declared the winner.



Technorati Tags: U.S. presidential election, Economist, U.S. Electoral College, U.S.-bashing, Ad Age, Ron Diorio, Congress, Global Electoral College, business, communications, public relations

An Urgent Transparency Concern

I have an urgent transparency concern that impacts all political parties, our government, the entire nation and the world.

It is brought to mind by the current publicity noting whether McCain's health records have been fully exposed, that only 20 reporters were invited to a three-hour only session last May to review 1,173 pages of these records without the ability to take copies. Of course, the records refer just to McCain's physical health, and the review time allotted and the number of reporters involved seem inappropriate in view of the gravity of the situation.

But why pick on McCain? True, his melanoma history is an issue, but what about the physical health records of all four candidates running? Further, what about their mental health records? Why aren't they vetted and presented in an organized way simultaneously for all to see?

Shouldn't there be an election law requiring that certain standards Continue reading "An Urgent Transparency Concern"

An Urgent Transparency Concern

I have an urgent transparency concern that impacts all political parties, our government, the entire nation and the world.

It is brought to mind by the current publicity noting whether McCain's health records have been fully exposed, that only 20 reporters were invited to a three-hour only session last May to review 1,173 pages of these records without the ability to take copies. Of course, the records refer just to McCain's physical health, and the review time allotted and the number of reporters involved seem inappropriate in view of the gravity of the situation.

But why pick on McCain? True, his melanoma history is an issue, but what about the physical health records of all four candidates running? Further, what about their mental health records? Why aren't they vetted and presented in an organized way simultaneously for all to see?

Shouldn't there be an election law requiring that certain standards be met in the release of both physical and mental health records to the media? And once elected shouldn't presidents and vice presidents have a required mental health check up the same way it is now traditional to have a physical health check up--with results reported to the public?

According to NYU’s Scienceline blog — which is produced by graduate students in the university’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program — the medical records of presidential candidates are shielded by federal law. No candidate for commander-in-chief is legally required to disclose any medical conditions. Nevertheless, I feel strongly that the public has a right to know if a candidate suffers from any physical or mental condition that impedes his or her ability to govern … and that includes the ability to make a rational decision.

For 20years, mental conditions were hushed up, insurance did not cover psychiatrist visits, and the voting public would tag anyone as "crazy" if he or she had a psychological consultation. Many remember the removal of Tom Eagleton as a Democratic VP candidate in 1972 because it was discovered that he once had had shock treatments. Yet, according to a 2006 study in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 18 US Presidents suffered from a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse.

Fortunately, times have progressed, we are more sophisticated and understand the wonderful miracles that can be wrought by medical treatments of many kinds. That does not mean that certain conditions may not, indeed, warrant removal. On the other hand disclosure should not necessarily mean termination of a candidacy. But standards for disclosure should be set, and the degree of detail that is required. The 20 reporter, 3-hour limit McCain imposed should not be at his discretion. Today, sitting presidents customarily go through an annual physical with personal physicians, but the examination is not legally required. And even in this enlightened age, there is no law requiring a public report that our leaders are still of sound mind and body.

It was shocking for me to learn in Doris Kearn Goodwin's book, No Ordinary Time, which focused on the domestic impact of World War II, that Franklin Roosevelt had not had a complete physical checkup for years during his presidency, and only did so at the insistence of his daughter, as he became increasingly listless during the latter part of his third term. His physical showed that he had been suffering from an increasingly serious case of congestive heart failure over three years---undetected until that checkup. If my memory serves me correctly, the book revealed that this information was never released to the American public. Roosevelt was reelected for a fourth term---and then died within a year after the election.

Our nation's survival may be dependent on legislated transparency when it comes to the health condition of our candidates and leaders.


Technorati Tags: transparency, McCain, health records, presidential election, election law, Scienceline blog, Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, Tom Eagleton, mental health, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Doris Kearn Goodwin, Frankin Roosevelt, business, communications, public relations

Current Financial Chaos Spotlights Ineffective Crisis Communications Planning

Bad news abounds. Banks are failing as in the case of WaMu. Lehman went bust. “Shotgun” mergers a la Bank of America’s recent takeover of Merrill Lynch have taken place. All at a dizzying pace. This has led me to wonder how prepared were our government officials and the managements of these companies to deal with these crisis situations? From where I sit, not very well.

Given the amount of money at their disposal it is inconceivable to think that those in charge of these entities could not have afforded to retain crisis communications specialists. If they did have access to such advisors, they probably weren’t used effectively. Often, bankers and investors can delude themselves into thinking that the good times will last forever, never planning for the inevitable downturn.

For nearly 30 years we have advised clients on how to navigate a crisis, many have been severe. Many of Continue reading "Current Financial Chaos Spotlights Ineffective Crisis Communications Planning"

Current Financial Chaos Spotlights Ineffective Crisis Communications Planning

Bad news abounds. Banks are failing as in the case of WaMu. Lehman went bust. “Shotgun” mergers a la Bank of America’s recent takeover of Merrill Lynch have taken place. All at a dizzying pace. This has led me to wonder how prepared were our government officials and the managements of these companies to deal with these crisis situations? From where I sit, not very well.

Given the amount of money at their disposal it is inconceivable to think that those in charge of these entities could not have afforded to retain crisis communications specialists. If they did have access to such advisors, they probably weren’t used effectively. Often, bankers and investors can delude themselves into thinking that the good times will last forever, never planning for the inevitable downturn.

For nearly 30 years we have advised clients on how to navigate a crisis, many have been severe. Many of these clients did not have a crisis plan in place before coming to us. We prepare our clients for the worst case scenarios. We brainstorm with them and encourage them to think the unthinkable about every possible situation that could impact their businesses. Then we develop a plan. About half of what you need to navigate a crisis can be done well in advance of it hitting.

While I could fill pages with advice, I will offer a few helpful management tips:
  • Manage expectations – This might be too daunting a task given how rapidly things change in times of a crisis; however, communicating appropriate expectations about the degree of a problem on an ongoing basis will earn management a degree of credibility and speed the recovery process for the company’s reputation.


  • Know your stakeholders and rally the troops – Although it may be too late to build a relationship with key stakeholder groups once a crisis hits, it is not too late to reach out to them to reassure them and address their concerns. All stakeholders are important but employees are critical to the firm’s ability to weather the storm, therefore, special attention needs to be placed on employee communications during times of crisis.


  • Speak with “one voice” to all stakeholders – Simplicity, clarity and frequency are the name of the game here. Companies benefit from a consistent delivery of a message of stability, control and a plan to rectify the situation.


  • Increase management visibility – In times of crisis, the senior management team needs to be visible, project a level of control, tackle the tough questions, offer plans and solutions, and instill a level of confidence in all stakeholders to foster the belief that the company can emerge stronger than ever.


  • “We don’t comment on rumors” doesn’t apply in crisis situations – If unfounded rumors regarding the health of an organization are causing investors and other stakeholders to act irrationally, the firm has an obligation to publicly address their concerns for the benefit of all stakeholders.

A crisis plan is like your last will and testament; you need one but hope you never have to use it.



Technorati Tags: crisis communications planning, financial chaos, WaMu, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, mergers, crisis plan, management, stakeholders, business, communications, public relations

Bridging the “Green Gap”

The gap between values and behavior represents a significant reputational risk for individuals, institutions and entire industries. It’s true for the Presidential race. It’s true for Wall Street. And it’s no less true for corporations’ role in addressing climate change, according to the results of a study released by our firm today.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the 2008 Makovsky Green Gap Survey of 150 leading executives at Fortune 1000 companies found that the vast majority (80%) of top American executives say they are “personally concerned” about climate change. Despite the fact that they believe that climate change is real — and a threat to future generations — as a group they are not driving their organizations to act on those convictions. For example, 76 percent say that their companies should be collaborating with industry groups, suppliers and/or customers to address CO2 emissions standards, but only 57 percent are doing so. Continue reading "Bridging the “Green Gap”"

Bridging the “Green Gap”

The gap between values and behavior represents a significant reputational risk for individuals, institutions and entire industries. It’s true for the Presidential race. It’s true for Wall Street. And it’s no less true for corporations’ role in addressing climate change, according to the results of a study released by our firm today.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the 2008 Makovsky Green Gap Survey of 150 leading executives at Fortune 1000 companies found that the vast majority (80%) of top American executives say they are “personally concerned” about climate change. Despite the fact that they believe that climate change is real — and a threat to future generations — as a group they are not driving their organizations to act on those convictions. For example, 76 percent say that their companies should be collaborating with industry groups, suppliers and/or customers to address CO2 emissions standards, but only 57 percent are doing so. While 71 percent say that their companies should be educating employees on climate change issues, only 49 percent are following through.

This is the “green gap.” What accounts for it? It’s not what you would think … it’s not that there is no perceived pay-off for responsible environmental stewardship. In fact, the vast majority (73%) of senior executives link environmentalism with business success. Sixty-one percent say that actions taken by corporations can, in fact, effect change on the environment. What’s more, three out of four (75%) think their company’s action on climate change issues could improve their corporate or brand reputation, strengthen sales and ROI (67%) and improve employee recruitment and retention (58%).

With such a substantial pay-off, why is there a “green gap” at all? According to the respondents, it’s a matter of resource allocation (cited by 60%) and cost (47%).

In her post on BusinessWeek’s Green Business blog, Associate Editor Heather Greene quotes, Makovsky EVP Robbin Goodman as saying, “American business leaders as a group are deeply concerned about global warming and believe that responsible environmental policies make business sense. The challenge moving forward, however, is to unleash these convictions.”

I couldn’t agree more! American businesses see shared responsibility when it comes to remedying the effects of climate change; individuals, the federal government and foreign governments also need to do their part. But it’s up to U.S. corporations to start the ball rolling. We need to bridge the “green gap,” especially when the pay-off represents an increased investment — both financially and emotionally — in the corporation by its stakeholders.


Technorati Tags: green gap, climate change, Harris Interactive, 2008 Makovsky Green Gap Survey, climate change issues, environment, business success, resource allocation, BusinessWeek, Green Business blog, Heather Greene, Robbin Goodman, business, communications, public relations

Passing Up the “National Pastime”!

I always thought American baseball took pride in being known as the “national pastime.” To me “national pastime” means the sport of the American family; the sport that — regardless of gender or age or origin — almost anyone can play; and finally, the sport that brings millions of Americans together, regardless of income level and regardless of whether you are a participant, a fan or even have passing interest.

As ardent a capitalist as I am, I can’t understand why Major League Baseball would permit the Mets and Yankees (and probably other teams) in their new stadiums to charge nose-bleed ticket prices, thereby dramatically eroding our national pastime’s image by closing out the opportunity average families have to buy good seats, unless they want to “burn in the bleachers.”

We recently learned that the average cost for the most prized Mets seat at Citifield will be $494, Continue reading "Passing Up the “National Pastime”!"

Passing Up the “National Pastime”!

I always thought American baseball took pride in being known as the “national pastime.” To me “national pastime” means the sport of the American family; the sport that — regardless of gender or age or origin — almost anyone can play; and finally, the sport that brings millions of Americans together, regardless of income level and regardless of whether you are a participant, a fan or even have passing interest.

As ardent a capitalist as I am, I can’t understand why Major League Baseball would permit the Mets and Yankees (and probably other teams) in their new stadiums to charge nose-bleed ticket prices, thereby dramatically eroding our national pastime’s image by closing out the opportunity average families have to buy good seats, unless they want to “burn in the bleachers.”

We recently learned that the average cost for the most prized Mets seat at Citifield will be $494, Continue reading "Passing Up the “National Pastime”!"

Passing Up the “National Pastime”!

I always thought American baseball took pride in being known as the “national pastime.” To me “national pastime” means the sport of the American family; the sport that — regardless of gender or age or origin — almost anyone can play; and finally, the sport that brings millions of Americans together, regardless of income level and regardless of whether you are a participant, a fan or even have passing interest.

As ardent a capitalist as I am, I can’t understand why Major League Baseball would permit the Mets and Yankees (and probably other teams) in their new stadiums to charge nose-bleed ticket prices, thereby dramatically eroding our national pastime’s image by closing out the opportunity average families have to buy good seats, unless they want to “burn in the bleachers.”

We recently learned that the average cost for the most prized Mets seat at Citifield will be $494, a 79% increase over current rates. And at Yankee Stadium: $2500. They go down from there – as no doubt will middle-class fan attendance.

Is this the way to grow the game, inspire a broad fan base, encourage children to participate, build support and compete with other sports? As baseball caters to corporate expense accounts, they lose the largest segment of society from where their fan base has emanated.

While football is no less guilty, there are only roughly 16 games per season compared to more than 10 times that number in baseball. Greater supply. Lower demand. More affordable pricing. Isn’t that the smarter strategy?




Technorati Tags: National Pastime, baseball, sport, Major League Baseball, baseball ticket prices, middle class, Mets, Yankees, business, communications, public relations

Getting Mad for Nothing!

One of my earliest experiences as an agency person was seeing an angry client rail about pulling his ads from a particular publication because he didn’t like something in an article about his company. I can’t remember the precise issue that roused his ire, but I remember that it was relatively minor and that, even if it weren’t, there were a whole host of reasons not to threaten someone on the editorial side with pressure on the advertising side.

With the advent of the internet, having a hissy fit about editorial content just expands the audience for an unflattering depiction of your company and its executives.

There was ample proof of this last month when Mad Magazine published a four-page parody of a Circuit City ad. You can see the “Sucker City” spoof on the Consumerist blog.

A thin-skinned Circuit City executive named Elizabeth Barron ordered all stores to “immediately remove all issues and copies” of the magazine from the sales floor and “throw them away.”

Her email was picked up by thousands of bloggers and hundreds of mainstream media and read by hundreds of thousands more, who added their own snarky commentary to the mix (such as this one: “Way to go, Circuit City. Your response to this means it's the first time anybody has paid attention to Mad Magazine in fifteen years.”)

The whole brouhaha calmed down the very next day, when Jim Babb, a savvy Circuit City communications pro, wrote an absolutely charming letter to the Consumerist that showed he had a sense of humor:

I spotted the article about Circuit City and MAD Magazine on your site.

Fyi, I became aware of this "situation" only this morning, and I have sent a note today to the Editors of MAD Magazine.

Speaking as "an embarrassed corporate PR Guy," I apologized for the fact that some overly-sensitive souls at our corporate headquarters ordered the removal of the August issue of MAD Magazine from our stores. Please keep in mind that only 40 of our 700 stores sell magazines at all.

The parody of our newspaper ad in the August MAD was very clever. Most of us at Circuit City share a rich sense of humor and irony...but there are occasional temporary lapses.

We apologize for the knee-jerk reaction, and have issued a retraction order; the affected stores are being directed to put the magazines back on sale.

As a gesture of our apology and deep respect for the folks at MAD Magazine, we are creating a cross-departmental task force to study the importance of humor in the corporate workplace and expect the resulting PowerPoint presentation to top out at least 300 pages, chock full of charts, graphs and company action plans.

In addition I have offered to send the MAD Magazine Editor a $20.00 Circuit City Gift Card, toward the purchase of a Nintendo Wii...if he can find one!

A sincere apology … delivered swiftly … with a convincing promise that the problem will not recur. That’s the essence of good media relations and great crisis communications.



Technorati Tags: Circuit City, Mad Magazine, Sucker City, Elizabeth Barron, Jim Babb, Consumerist, business, communications, public relations

Getting Mad for Nothing!

One of my earliest experiences as an agency person was seeing an angry client rail about pulling his ads from a particular publication because he didn’t like something in an article about his company. I can’t remember the precise issue that roused his ire, but I remember that it was relatively minor and that, even if it weren’t, there were a whole host of reasons not to threaten someone on the editorial side with pressure on the advertising side.

With the advent of the internet, having a hissy fit about editorial content just expands the audience for an unflattering depiction of your company and its executives.

There was ample proof of this last month when Mad Magazine published a four-page parody of a Circuit City ad. You can see the “Sucker City” spoof on the Consumerist blog.

A thin-skinned Circuit City executive named Elizabeth Barron ordered all stores to “immediately remove all issues and copies” of the magazine from the sales floor and “throw them away.”

Her email was picked up by thousands of bloggers and hundreds of mainstream media and read by hundreds of thousands more, who added their own snarky commentary to the mix (such as this one: “Way to go, Circuit City. Your response to this means it's the first time anybody has paid attention to Mad Magazine in fifteen years.”)

The whole brouhaha calmed down the very next day, when Jim Babb, a savvy Circuit City communications pro, wrote an absolutely charming letter to the Consumerist that showed he had a sense of humor:

I spotted the article about Circuit City and MAD Magazine on your site.

Fyi, I became aware of this "situation" only this morning, and I have sent a note today to the Editors of MAD Magazine.

Speaking as "an embarrassed corporate PR Guy," I apologized for the fact that some overly-sensitive souls at our corporate headquarters ordered the removal of the August issue of MAD Magazine from our stores. Please keep in mind that only 40 of our 700 stores sell magazines at all.

The parody of our newspaper ad in the August MAD was very clever. Most of us at Circuit City share a rich sense of humor and irony...but there are occasional temporary lapses.

We apologize for the knee-jerk reaction, and have issued a retraction order; the affected stores are being directed to put the magazines back on sale.

As a gesture of our apology and deep respect for the folks at MAD Magazine, we are creating a cross-departmental task force to study the importance of humor in the corporate workplace and expect the resulting PowerPoint presentation to top out at least 300 pages, chock full of charts, graphs and company action plans.

In addition I have offered to send the MAD Magazine Editor a $20.00 Circuit City Gift Card, toward the purchase of a Nintendo Wii...if he can find one!

A sincere apology … delivered swiftly … with a convincing promise that the problem will not recur. That’s the essence of good media relations and great crisis communications.



Technorati Tags: Circuit City, Mad Magazine, Sucker City, Elizabeth Barron, Jim Babb, Consumerist, business, communications, public relations

U.S. Open: Close Minded?

Talk about poor customer relations, deceitfulness, close-mindedness, bad public relations and not thinking strategically!

Whatever you want to call it, the 2008 U.S. Open, one of the prime worldwide sporting events, chose to commit a silly and yet insulting blunder.

What happened? The U.S.T.A announced last Thursday that there were no tickets left for the weekend. But, according to The New York Times, tickets were on sale on Friday morning.

The senior director of PR for the U.S.T.A. explained that indeed there were “200-300 seats available for Friday and probably 300 combined for Saturday and Sunday.” In explaining the previous no-ticket announcement, the PR director said, “We were looking to avoid a huge buildup of people, and people going away disappointed.”

Talking straight to potential ticket-buyers would have prevented disappointment at the box office. It would also have prevented Continue reading "U.S. Open: Close Minded?"

U.S. Open: Close Minded?

Talk about poor customer relations, deceitfulness, close-mindedness, bad public relations and not thinking strategically!

Whatever you want to call it, the 2008 U.S. Open, one of the prime worldwide sporting events, chose to commit a silly and yet insulting blunder.

What happened? The U.S.T.A announced last Thursday that there were no tickets left for the weekend. But, according to The New York Times, tickets were on sale on Friday morning.

The senior director of PR for the U.S.T.A. explained that indeed there were “200-300 seats available for Friday and probably 300 combined for Saturday and Sunday.” In explaining the previous no-ticket announcement, the PR director said, “We were looking to avoid a huge buildup of people, and people going away disappointed.”

Talking straight to potential ticket-buyers would have prevented disappointment at the box office. It would also have prevented a huge “builddown” in credibility both for the U.S.T.A and its senior PR director.



Technorati Tags: U.S. Open, poor customer relations, bad public relations, U.S.T.A, credibility, The New York Times, business, communications, public relations

Ikea: Smart PR, Smart Business

It is refreshing to see that Ikea, the Swedish/International furniture store, is community relations sensitive, as evidenced by its actions in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York. The store has distinguished itself, particularly in light of protests which have kept other major chains from entering key markets (e.g., residents of Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx have kept Wal-Mart out; and Manhattanites have kept Costco out.) The New York Times tells the story in its front page article on August 11, “Brooklyn Neighbors Admit a Big Box Isn’t All Bad.”

The protests against competitors obviously inspired Ikea’s benevolence but, regardless, its unique community strategies have inspired Brooklyn residents to embrace Ikea rather than turn away, as many opponents did — before Ikea acted — who felt the neighborhood would lose its character.

What I like about what Ikea did is that its management Continue reading "Ikea: Smart PR, Smart Business"

Ikea: Smart PR, Smart Business

It is refreshing to see that Ikea, the Swedish/International furniture store, is community relations sensitive, as evidenced by its actions in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York. The store has distinguished itself, particularly in light of protests which have kept other major chains from entering key markets (e.g., residents of Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx have kept Wal-Mart out; and Manhattanites have kept Costco out.) The New York Times tells the story in its front page article on August 11, “Brooklyn Neighbors Admit a Big Box Isn’t All Bad.”

The protests against competitors obviously inspired Ikea’s benevolence but, regardless, its unique community strategies have inspired Brooklyn residents to embrace Ikea rather than turn away, as many opponents did — before Ikea acted — who felt the neighborhood would lose its character.

What I like about what Ikea did is that its management demonstrated wise strategic thinking, which is what one would expect from an established enterprise but often does not get. Management’s tactics addressed multiple audience segments beyond its basic customer base, focusing on those who influence customers, as well: young, old and even the general public. In doing so, the “resistance mat” has become a “welcome mat,” diluting anger through what I call a “community give-back program” focused on building current support and future customers.

Specifically, here are the magnificent moves Ikea made, according to the Times:

  • Built a grassy waterfront esplanade featuring benches with a view of the Lower Manhattan skyline, which is catching on as a neighborhood gathering place

  • Provides free N.Y. Water Taxi service between Red Hook and Manhattan, an appealing alternative to the subway

  • Offers a bus shuttle service taken by many people who are not even planning to enter the store

  • Allowed local Red Hook residents to apply for jobs at Ikea before others could

  • Selling 50 cent hot dogs in its café and offering free soda refills
One resident said Ikea’s actions are bringing badly needed visitors to the area who will spend money at other local stores. Another said Ikea may be a role-model for a future where people are less dependent on cars — and for building more developments on the waterfront. “There is a ripple effect,” he said.

But there is a ripple effect for Ikea as well. What it did has already appeared on the front page of the Times, not an easy achievement. That in itself is a magnet for customers. These moves will undoubtedly give a jump-start to business at the new store. Further it positions Ikea as a community leader, thereby sprinkling “stature dust” on it, providing a perception change among both advocates and adversaries, as well as the community at large. Said one resident: “Everyone was talking about it before — now no one talks about it anymore, which is nice.” Smart public relations is more about doing than talking.


Technorati Tags: Ikea, Red Hook, Brooklyn, Wal-Mart, Costco, NY Water Taxi, The New York Times, smart public relations, business, communications, public relations

Using the Internet as an Employee "Weapon"

This is the story of how the internet has been used as a "weapon" by employees to publicly embarrass a CEO.

Escalating charges and countercharges are not unusual in labor-management disputes, so it was no surprise when United Airlines pilots reacted — loudly — to UAL Corp.’s refusal to negotiate a new contract and the company’s announcement of plans to eliminate 950 pilot jobs and ground some aircraft to help offset the rising cost of fuel. The pilots union countercharged that the airline’s poor maintenance was responsible for four recent aircraft engine failures.

But the battle didn’t stop there. The United pilots launched a website called “Glenn Tilton Must Go,” “as a daily reminder to everyone invested in a positive future for United Airlines exactly where the source of our problems lies.” According to the pilots, that source is the CEO of United who, they say, has neglected Continue reading "Using the Internet as an Employee "Weapon""

Using the Internet as an Employee "Weapon"

This is the story of how the internet has been used as a "weapon" by employees to publicly embarrass a CEO.

Escalating charges and countercharges are not unusual in labor-management disputes, so it was no surprise when United Airlines pilots reacted — loudly — to UAL Corp.’s refusal to negotiate a new contract and the company’s announcement of plans to eliminate 950 pilot jobs and ground some aircraft to help offset the rising cost of fuel. The pilots union countercharged that the airline’s poor maintenance was responsible for four recent aircraft engine failures.

But the battle didn’t stop there. The United pilots launched a website called “Glenn Tilton Must Go,” “as a daily reminder to everyone invested in a positive future for United Airlines exactly where the source of our problems lies.” According to the pilots, that source is the CEO of United who, they say, has neglected the company’s day-to-day operations for two years, while he attempted to engineer mergers with Delta, Continental and US Airways.

The new website highlights the carrier's poor operational and financial performance, encourages passengers to report any problems they’ve had while flying on United and demands Tilton’s immediate resignation.

Readers have responded. Gerry Braun, a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, for example, tells the tale of a family unceremoniously bumped off a flight the mother had booked six months in advance so that her grown children could visit their dying father in a hospice just once before he died of cancer.

Not only was the launch of the “Glenn Tilton Must Go” website bruited all over the blogosphere, it’s been widely covered by the mainstream media, including BusinessWeek , USA Today, The New York Times, the UK’s Guardian.

As of today, there’s been no official response from United. But the website strategy employed by the union has served its purpose. Tilton has, no doubt, lost support among his employees and the public. The speed of destruction was enabled by the internet and is there for a long time to come for everyone to see. Years ago it might have been a one shot press release covered once in the print and broadcast media.

Technorati Tags: internet, United Airlines, labor management disputes, pilots union, Glenn Tilton, Gleen Tilton Must Go, Gerry Braun, business, communications, public relations

By: hdw

Color changes, even extremely subtle color changes can be used too, but white space is one of the more important factors.

A lot of people worry about too much color, or too much design, but that’s rarely the problem. Bad use of color and design is much more common. It’s one of those design mysteries that sometimes you need to add color or design elements in order to look minimalist.

Good luck.