Sometimes You Wonder

September 2, 2014

by Roger Pynn

We’ve had a long commitment to internships over our 30 years in business.  In fact, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a young student working side-by-side with our team of professionals learning the real world application of what their professors were teaching in the classroom.

We’ve been fortunate to hire many of them.  But the vast majority, who must now number close to 100, have gone on to other things … many to very good careers where we have been able to watch them grow as professionals with other companies.  But you can’t help wonder, “Did we make an impact?”

Late last night one former intern took the time to send an email that made my day.  We had run into Jon Hanson last week where he now has a very promising job with one of our clients, Electronic Arts Tiburon.  He got his “dream job” working in the video game industry he loves.

“Great seeing you the other day,” he wrote.  “I shared a story with one of our new employees today of the lessons learned at Curley & Pynn.  Namely, taking complicated stories (I’m looking at you, Florida High Tech Corridor Council), and making it easy enough for an eighth grader to understand.  My time with your team has proved invaluable, and helped set me up for success at EA.”

In this improving economy, talent may be the most important issue facing employers.  Internships are a great way to pay back all those who gave you a chance … and have an impact on the quality of workers transitioning from college to career.  The key is to make sure you are giving them a meaningful experience that leaves them with a portfolio demonstrating their knowledge and with you the knowledge you’ve paid it forward.

First Rule of Public Relations: Do the Right Thing

August 28, 2014

by Dan Ward

Those who work at Curley & Pynn are often reminded of their responsibility to lead in their profession and lead in the community.

I’m glad to say that we have many here who do both.  My colleague Kerry Martin, APR, begins today as president of our local chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, for which Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, will serve as state president in 2015/2016.  Our team serves on boards and committees for both professional associations and charitable organizations.  I’m proud to serve as a board member for the American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region.

Such involvement is almost always among our recommendations to clients, as well.  Leading in one’s profession and in the community is a critical component of public relations.

But why do we really do it?  What makes it important?

Yesterday morning, the Red Cross directors met a young woman named Shaneka, a mother of three who had been living in a car with her family until that car and all her family’s belongings were destroyed in a fire.

The Red Cross and its volunteers found temporary housing, provided clothing and meals, established relationships with a potential employer, and provided ongoing assistance and counseling to Shaneka in her time of need.  And Shaneka was so touched by that experience that she took a bus across town just to say thank you to a volunteer board made up of people she had never met, and to express her intention to give back as a volunteer to help others.

When we advise our staff and clients to lead in their communities, there is certainly an element of enlightened self-interest.  It allows you to build beneficial relationships.  It creates opportunities for business development and professional development.

But the real reason?  Because it makes you feel good.

Hashtag Politics

August 19, 2014

by Kim Taylor

Political campaigns have entered an entire new arena with the addition of social media to a candidate’s campaign.  Campaign advertising on television is now heartily supplemented by Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.  And, nowhere is that more apparent than in our own state governor’s race … in particular, in Charlie Crist’s second attempt at winning the seat.

If you’ve seen at least one of Crist’s ads on TV, you might’ve noticed the catchy #ShadyRick hashtag referring, of course, to his opponent and current governor, Rick Scott.  It caught my eye because it’s the first time I recall seeing a hashtag deliberately used as part of a campaign.

And, while hashtags can often be abused and overused, their intentional use can be very effective.  The incorporation of hashtags into other mediums such as Facebook and Instagram make them even more powerful.

Suppose you’re not really into politics or are unfamiliar with a candidate.  A simple search of Crist’s #ShadyRick hashtag will yield pages and pages of reading material.  An added benefit for the candidate is that popular hashtags often become trending topics garnering a topic even more attention.

Of course, as with all social media, results can’t always be predicted and since the use of hashtags is organic and can be used by anyone, you can expect an outlier or two.  I’m almost certain the #ShadyRick pictured below is not our current governor.  Choose your hashtags wisely.


Anticipating Sales with Social Media

August 5, 2014

by Vianka McConville


Does posting to Facebook or sharing a tweet contribute to the bottom line? Let’s see…

A recent blog post from TrackMaven (a data company for marketing professionals) highlights a statement from J.Crew’s annual S.E.C filing:

“J.Crew customers who engage with us via our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram) generally spend approximately 2x more than the average J.Crew customer.”

How did J.Crew track data to make such a statement? TrackMaven pointed out that products with direct links to buy online were included in posts, but these posts were not frequent, meaning there is another measure for sales from social media. Does a magical tracking system exist?

The S.E.C. filing goes on to note:

“We believe our success depends in substantial part on our ability to originate and define product and fashion trends as well as to timely anticipate, gauge and react to changing consumer demands.”

J.Crew’s methods in tracking data are not revealed – therefore we might never know if a magical system exists.  However, we are given a hint as the company alludes to mastering the ability to anticipate as a key component to sales. Perhaps the connection between social media and customer spend (at least some part) is that social media can create a great data mine for a much better understanding of what to anticipate, i.e., what product to mass produce for high revenue.

Social media can often be looked at through a lens of “likes” and “retweets,” but perhaps its real value is in the amount of data that it can reveal about current and potential customers.

Want to Avoid Negative Reviews? Provide Better Service.

August 4, 2014

by Dan Ward

Mashable reported on Monday about the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, NY, which threatens to fine guests $500 for negative reviews.

In what will be a surprise to no one except the Union Street Guest House management team, this policy has resulted in an increase in negative reviews, mostly from people who have not stayed there but who believe the policy to be absurd.

Here’s a thought for the Guest House team:  if you’re upset about negative reviews, provide better service.  You might even try listening to what your guests are telling you and making changes to provide a better experience.

The Guest House explains on its website that it is not for everyone, and that its vintage look is sometimes unpopular with guests.  Instead of fining those who don’t like the look, the Guest House should try targeting its message to those who will.

The Ethical Gut-Check

August 1, 2014

by Kerry Martin

Almost every industry or profession has a moral standard to which they adhere.  Doctors have the Hippocratic Oath, lawyers have the Bar Association with its Rules of Professional Conduct and the clergy have a pretty big book.  For public relations practitioners, we have a code of ethics – both developed by the Public Relations Society of America and the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA).

Yesterday during a breakfast meeting of the Orlando Area chapter of FPRA, Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, gave the room of PR professionals a pop quiz on their knowledge of the Code of Ethics.  While no one could recite any of the 14 principles from rote memory, in every business scenario he posed to the group, the audience could point out the ethical dilemmas and what lines were crossed.

Throughout the presentation, I saw PR practitioners studiously reviewing the principles of adhering “to the highest standards of accuracy and truth,” dealing “fairly with the public” and exemplifying “high standards of honesty and integrity.”  But what Roger offered the group was perhaps more helpful than any pneumonic memorization device:  a mirror.


Roger’s advice:  If you want to know whether you are doing the right thing, take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.  That’s the ethics gut-check you really need.

Don’t Repeat Negative Language

July 29, 2014

by Dan Ward

One rule of media training that we stress time and again in our Message Matrix® program is “don’t repeat negative language, even to deny it.”

The reason for that rule was illustrated today by President Obama’s answer to a question about our relationship with Russia. When asked “is this a new Cold War?” after announcing new economic sanctions, Obama responded, “No, it’s not a new Cold War. It’s a very specific issue related to Russia’s unwillingness to let Ukraine seek its own path.”

So what were the immediate headlines and tweets?


When you repeat negative language, you give media the headlines THEY want, rather than headlines that convey a message you want to communicate.

The President had a lot of important things to say today, but many people will only hear two words.


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