A Lesson from College Football: the Camera is Always On

January 4, 2018

by Katie Gomes

For many Americans, the holiday season is synonymous with college football.  From bowl games to playoffs, there are numerous opportunities to kick back and relax, and watch America’s favorite sport.  Last week, college football also provided an opportunity for America to learn a valuable lesson in public relations when University of Texas’ head football coach, Tom Herman, was caught mocking University of Missouri’s quarterback, Drew Lock … on national television.

As a Missouri native and fan of Mizzou, our 33-16 loss to the Longhorns was a shame to see, but even worse was Herman’s disrespectful gesture, waltzing along the sideline while imitating Lock’s touchdown celebration move.

Not only did he exhibit poor sportsmanship, but he also encouraged the team to join.  Before the display ended, fans were already reacting on social media, either in disgust or in defense of Herman’s actions.

Whether he meant to openly taunt Mizzou or was genuinely caught red-handed, what Coach Herman quickly learned was a lesson we often teach in Curley & Pynn’s Message Matrix® program: “assume the cameras are always rolling.”

But wait … there’s more:  role models should model the best behavior.

Here’s to hoping other teams take note as they prepare to compete in the championship game next week.


The Making of a Holiday Message

December 18, 2017

by Dan Ward

Each year, Curley & Pynn attempts (and usually succeeds) to develop a holiday card that ties back either to the practice of public relations or, more frequently, to issues that have made news in the past year.

We mailed a “hanging chad” card after the 2000 election, made fun of news polls that missed so badly in 2016, and lampooned the ACA rollout by launching our own FrostyCare Marketplace.

This year, we set out to find something from 2017 that we could turn into a positive, and hopefully funny, holiday message.  And we failed.  We pored through headline after headline, and became increasingly depressed.  Political fights, natural disasters and dozens of harassment claims do not lend themselves to fun, festive jokes.

And then it came to us.  What we all need after a year of depressing headlines is what we all turn to (some of us secretly) to lift our spirits … pictures of kittens and puppies!

And so we present the C&P 2017 holiday card, featuring headshots of our own four-legged friends and family.  We hope it brings you a little “Paws-itivity” for the year ahead.  And we also hope you can pay it forward with a little pawsitivity of your own.  Share photos of your own furry, fuzzy family members with the tags #CandP #Pawsitivity.  We can all use some positive news and images this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our thanks to Jim Hobart and Macbeth Studios for a fun, tail-wagging photo shoot!


Roll Out a Big Check

December 11, 2017

by Roger Pynn

In our business, many things have become passé, including oversized check presentations, groundbreaking ceremonies with dignitaries lined up in hard hats and armed with shovels … and most certainly, ribbon cuttings.

But wait … there’s more … more life for old standby photo opportunities … see proof below in the clip from OrlandoSentinel.com:

In their “Latest Video” section, a ribbon cutting was the online headline for a story that all public relations people know is hard to illustrate.  Technology stories are almost always static and provide little that’s visual.  But the fact that the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) opened a new solar energy farm and plans to build more of this renewable energy production is news.

Many in our business would have resisted the ribbon-cutting visual.  Kudos to the OUC team for realizing that it is far more about the story on the other side of the ribbon.


Reflecting on Leadership

December 11, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

I learned a lot about myself during a recent session of LeadershipFPRA, “Leading and Managing.”   Far from your typical presentation of leadership definitions and management styles, what transpired was an inspiring weekend of self-reflection among like-minded colleagues with shared goals.

One of the most empowering takeaways was realizing that leadership stems from social influence – not authority or power.  Anyone can be a leader in any department at any level of an organization.  This is true at Curley & Pynn, where we each encounter opportunities to be a leader every day.  The key is knowing yourself and how to leverage your strengths to motivate and influence others to achieve common goals.

To help the LeadershipFPRA class better understand ourselves, leadership coaches from The Maue Center kicked off the session with an exploration of our individual strengths and how they can be leveraged to mold us all into great leaders.  Each class member completed a “Strengths Profile” and shared the results in intimate conversations about how these behaviors have shaped our lives and our careers.

As my top strength, growth drives me to constantly seek new opportunities, learn new skills and invite feedback on my performance in the pursuit of personal and professional development.  I feel most energized when I’m performing these activities, which certainly explains a lot … like my desire to be in FPRA and an ambition I’ve experienced since childhood that caused me to take school and extracurricular activities so seriously.  Thanks to our leadership coaches, I now understand how to better employ growth and other strengths to be a more effective leader for my team and our clients.

Learning about strengths and how to see them in other people was invaluable – and just the beginning of a session that plunged even further into emotional intelligence, accountability, time management, managing up and so much more.  The agenda also included time to brainstorm solutions to the barriers holding us back from leadership success, as well as the opportunity to develop individualized leadership development plans.

I’ve never been to group therapy, but I’m sure members of the LeadershipFPRA class would agree that this session sure felt like it.  I drove home with an entirely new perspective, feeling invigorated and truly privileged to have begun this journey with such an outstanding group of colleagues from around the state.  I can’t wait to see what the next session has in store.


Location, Location, Location

November 21, 2017

by Dan Ward

When planning a special event, the walk-through is critical. You look at the space and account for placement of signage, locations for media and VIPs, sight lines for cameras, background music that could interfere with your plans, including anything outside of your control that could impact your event.

Unfortunately, the event planners at The Weather Channel missed a couple of steps, and it offers a lesson for all of us.

The Weather Channel set up a live stream to broadcast the implosion of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, with what appeared to be a great wide shot of the dome.  Everything was great for about 40 minutes, right up until the first explosion.  That is when a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) bus pulled up directly in front of the camera.

So instead of a livestream of a massive demolition, viewers saw a bus … with some dust in the background.

Lesson: for your next event, make sure your audience has an unobstructed view.


Your Next Crisis May Have Already Happened

November 7, 2017

by Dan Ward

Professional communicators realize the importance of a crisis communications plan, guiding companies and clients on how to maintain the timely and accurate flow of information in a crisis situation.

We plan for the things that might occur in the future that could affect our clients’ business … weather-related events, workplace accidents, etc.  But the allegations that have made for breaking news since the first Harvey Weinstein story was published point out the need for companies to plan for emerging crises that may have been smoldering for years.

Perhaps the best thing to have happened as a result of the Weinstein scandal (aside from putting a stop to his alleged predatory actions) is the creation of an environment in which many women (and some men) feel for the first time that they are safe to call attention to their own stories of harassment.  And though media stories have focused primarily on the entertainment realm because of the celebrity status of both the accused and the accusers, we should expect more allegations to be made public in the corporate world.

Those in charge of corporate communications for their companies and clients should be doing two things immediately:  1) connecting with HR to ensure that corporate policies for preventing and reporting harassment are up-to-date and that proper training is taking place; and, 2) updating crisis communications plans to account for potential harassment claims.

This can be a difficult discussion to have with the CEO, but it’s a critical discussion to lead.  As with any crisis, our job is to prepare for the worst even if we believe the chances are slim that the plan will ever be put into action.  Preparing a response to a potential harassment claim is not an admittance of guilt or a suggestion of impropriety.  It is simply proper planning.

I listed the conversation with HR first, because a company’s actions in a crisis are much more important than its message.  The lack of a harassment policy can itself lead to a crisis of reputation for your company, so it’s critical that you ensure a policy is indeed in place.  Is the policy clear in defining harassment and prescribing penalties?  Does your company provide training for both supervisors and employees?  Is the process for filing complaints clear, and are complaints taken seriously?

Don’t let your discomfort with an issue that has long been taboo keep you from making the right decisions for your company and clients.


Dangers of Cut & Paste

September 26, 2017

by Roger Pynn

I always feel bad when I’m reviewing résumés and come across an applicant who self-eliminates with a stupid mistake.  I feel bad because I long ago decided it isn’t my job to teach someone to read what they write before sticking it in the mail.

Today’s example was a chap who appeared to be a pretty good fit for a job we have open (see description below if you are someone interested in joining a really good PR firm that demands excellence of itself to provide excellent service to excellent clients).  However, he sent a cover letter along with his résumé and some writing samples in which he clearly had cut and pasted a paragraph from another cover letter he’s using in his job search.

His opening paragraph was OK: I am writing to express my interest in the position of Communication Specialist with Curley & Pynn. As a communications professional with over a decade of experience reaching out to the public I know what it takes to get people talking.

But two paragraphs down things went south: I will love to be able to bring my assets to The Florida Bar Foundation as your next Marketing Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator.  I am excited about this opportunity and welcome the opportunity to discuss with you my credentials. Please contact me to arrange an interview. I look forward to meeting you and thank you for your consideration.

No … the boldface and underlines were not his, but added for emphasis.  I just wanted to make sure you saw it.  I let slide that this guy actually said, “I will love to be able to …”  Lord, this guy has a college degree!  Albeit, from an online school I’ve never heard of before.  He positions himself as a Seasoned bilingual communications professional experienced in network, cable and local news, with both English-language and Spanish-language speaking audiences.

Now … to the real reason I wrote this post.  We’re looking for good talent.  Please see below, email us or pass the word.  Extra points to those that get our name right.


It’s time to stop “working” and start getting paid to do what you love.  At Curley & Pynn – The Strategic Firm®, our award-winning team of creative thinkers is excited to offer you this opportunity.  As a communications specialist, you can do big things in an environment that will challenge you to contribute 100 percent every day, while empowering you to succeed.

Our specialists play a critical role in the implementation of communications strategies for clients from varied industries.  No two days are the same at Curley & Pynn, but there are several things you can expect to do:

  • Research, research, research.  It’s the bedrock of every communications plan.
  • Write compelling stories about our clients, their products and services for news releases, blogs, social media posts and more.
  • Publicize those stories by pitching them to news media, developing eye-catching collateral, planning and executing events, and more.
  • Brainstorm new and innovative ideas that bring our strategies to life.

What you need:

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, public relations, journalism or a related field.
  • Overwhelming desire to grow your career.
  • Writing skills stronger than the Hulk.
  • Annoying obsession with details.
  • No fear to call a reporter, get rejected and call again.
  • Confidence to raise your hand and take responsibility for new projects.
  • Penchant for to-do lists and ability to juggle.

Ideally, you’ve had some on-the-job experience and are ready for the next step in your career.  Solid internships and a high level of maturity go a long way, too.  Experience with graphic design and digital marketing will earn you bonus points.

What we have:

  • Experienced, friendly and enthusiastic mentors who will always have your back and are invested in helping you grow.
  • Long-standing relationships with some of Florida’s most well-respected organizations, including globally recognized brands.
  • Generous benefits:  a competitive salary, health benefits, three weeks of paid vacation time, financial support for professional development activities and reimbursement for continuing education.
  • Work-hard, play-hard mentality, which often leads to cookie breaks, birthday celebrations, happy hour and more.

Interested?  Email your resume, writing samples and a meaningful cover letter to Dan Ward at dward@thestrategicfirm.com.  In your cover letter, tell us which of the Five Steps to Professional Success you have applied on the job.


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