Effective Advertising

February 10, 2016

by Kim Stangle

We’re all too familiar with the junk that floods our Facebook timelines.  I scroll almost subconsciously past anything that resembles advertising in search of something meaningful from a friend.  And, occasionally, something pops up that breaks through the clutter and stops me in my tracks.

This time that credit goes to the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots nonprofit organization whose mission it is to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, for an effective ad showcasing how plastic is destroying our waters. 400393_10150536150633305_285777870_n

It’s a simple, but clever image and an even simpler message that hit home.  Is your advertising breaking through the clutter?


#RightToSpeak

February 9, 2016

by Dan Ward

I’ve long been a Jeb Bush fan, but his latest comments about campaign finance may just be the “Jump the Shark” moment in his presidential campaign.

My two cents:  Jeb! is just plain Wrong! when it comes to Citizens United, which he vowed on Monday to “eliminate.”

It’s not a popular opinion, but I still stand by what I wrote on these pages six years ago in responding to criticism of the Citizens United decision: “deal with it … the freedom of speech is meant to be expansive, not restrictive.”

I’m no happier about the role of big money in campaigns than the next voter.  But infringing upon First Amendment rights is not the answer. Citizens was an unpopular decision, but it was in keeping with our Constitution.

Given the money Jeb’s #RightToRise PAC has raised, his comments raise some interesting questions.  If the floodgates have opened for “Big Money” to influence campaigns, why is Jeb stuck at 3 percent in the polls?  And why is a Democratic Socialist senator with millions of small-money donors running neck-and-neck with a candidate backed by the greatest political fundraising machine in the country?

Convenient or not, our First Amendment guarantees the #RightToSpeak.


On Managing a Crisis: Chipotle

February 8, 2016

by Vianka McConville

Is my Chipotle burrito safe to eat?

After many months, I’ve decided that, for me, the answer is yes.

Since August 2015, Chipotle has battled food safety concerns from outbreaks of norovirus, Salmonella and E. coli in numerous states.  I will admit I was one of those people who stayed away from the chain for the past six months due to a fear of getting sick.  However, I’ve changed my tune and can’t wait to devour a burrito in the near future.

Here’s why I’ve decided to give Chipotle another try:

Communication about the incidents has been transparent and readily available, information is thorough, and apologies feel heartfelt and honest.

The level of effort that Chipotle has put into communicating to me that the chain has taken every possible step to ensure my safety earned back my trust.

That’s good public relations.

The battle is far from over for the Mexican chain.  The good fight continues today with a company-wide meeting on food safety that shuts all restaurant doors until 3 p.m., but invites everyone in on the conversation by live-tweeting the event.  As a competing Mexican grill, Moe’s ran a full-page ad in USA Today touting its restaurants would be open all day.

There’s a long road ahead, but Chipotle has a great compass in hand.


Social Confusion

January 27, 2016

by Roger Pynn

As social media companies struggle to figure out a sustainable business model, this word from Fast Company that Twitter may be treating its “most valuable” users to an ad-free environment adds to the perception that media companies are wandering in search of a “promised land” rather than sticking to their knitting.

How do you explain to me, as an advertiser, that the people you say are really important are off limits to my paid messaging?  Has it struck Jack Dorsey that exposure to those eyeballs is perhaps the most important asset he can sell?

Are online giants like Twitter going the way of newspapers … chasing their tails to attract new members to their tribe and abandoning the most loyal warriors?  Newspapers long ago tossed their print subscribers to the side of the road.  Will Twitter be next?


Who Writes the Headline?

January 20, 2016

by Roger Pynn

As part of our Message Matrix® training program, we often tell clients who are preparing for media interviews to try to “write the headline.”

In other words, imagine what you would like – in your fondest dreams – to be the headline of a story about you or your organization or product, and then speak in terms of that dream.

I’ll give Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller a bit of the benefit of the language barrier, but I’m sure the last headline he wanted to see was “We are not a criminal brand” as appeared in USA Today after he appeared at an event in Detroit in conjunction with the Detroit Auto Show.

Here’s a tip:  assume that the meatiest thing you say will make the best headline and make sure it is well done.  If it is blood-dripping rare, you’ll hate the headline.


Winning

January 12, 2016

by Roger Pynn

Throughout 2015 our team at Curley & Pynn took pride in celebrating our 30th anniversary.

That’s a long time considering that so many small businesses fail in their first year.  But we were blessed and we won.  Why?  Largely because our people are so committed to the concept that our job is to help our clients win.

And so at the end of our year of celebration, VP and Partner Kim Stangle set out on a mission to create a digital magazine in tribute to what we’ve learned over the past three decades.  And in a brainstorming session she asked, of course, “What should we call it?”

You can imagine that we played with all kinds of names relative to our 30-year history … “30,” “Thirty,” “Decades,” etc.  But when Associate Strategist Vianka McConville said “FTW,” everyone got it … the popular term that stands for “For The Win.”

So, here’s our magazine and a collection of thoughts from our entire team on what it takes to maintain a winning attitude.


Giving

December 28, 2015

by Roger Pynn

By the nature of our business we are often involved in helping clients create meaningful strategies for charitable giving, community involvement, sponsorships and the like, so it was no surprise to see the 2015 Community Involvement Study from the Corporate Citizenship Center at Boston College report that more companies are focused on enlightened self-interest.

The thirst for corporate support – whether in the form of philanthropy or sponsorship – has never been greater.  And regardless of a company’s status (public or privately held), sales volume or size of employment base, there has never been a time when its community involvement will contribute more to its bottom line.

Nowhere else on earth is philanthropy (personal and corporate) so important.  In other countries, social support is far more likely to come from government than from the generosity of individuals, families and companies.

Having a clear and well-communicated strategy for your giving as a company is critical for a number of reasons, but two stand out:

  1. Because it will attract opportunities to give, rather than a constant flow of requests unaligned with your business objectives; and,
  2. Because even those you cannot help will become aware of your good work and more likely to share your story.

The Boston College study notes that “community involvement contributes to key business goals including improved reputation and the attraction and retention of employees.”  I can’t think of two more important reasons than to make a commitment to a clear strategy for corporate involvement a major New Year’s resolution.


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