Hmmm …

June 20, 2017

by Roger Pynn


I’m not sure how I feel about this Forbes article by Cheryl Conner, with whom I so often agree.

On the surface, it mirrors our longtime practice of trying to avoid taking on startups as clients.  It is so hard to meet the expectations of someone who is caught up in the euphoria of creating a “new baby” … and you feel like telling them they really ought to be putting that money away for the kid’s college education.

Our firm thrives mostly in that space beyond startup.  In fact, I often marvel at our good fortune to represent some of America’s finest brands.  But that doesn’t mean we cannot help a small startup organization.  It only requires a great deal of candor going into the relationship to establish realistic expectations of budget vs. output and outcomes.

What I know that @CherylSnapp and I do agree on is that if you are shopping for an agency you need to make sure you will have a relationship with its leaders long after the ink is dry on your agreement.  For more than 30 years we have insisted on a “partner on every account” rule and the client must agree that part of the fee goes toward our involvement.

I’ve always believed that’s one of the reasons why we have so many long, long, longstanding clients.

Government Cat Herding

March 2, 2015

by Roger Pynn

Remember when the U.S. succumbed to global pressure (and that of the engineering community) to abandon the inch, the foot and the yard?  The rest of the world, went the argument, uses the metric system and we ought to get in line.

It was in 1975 that the Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act.  Although some still claim we are in the process of converting, it may be simply the most stunning example of failed government regulation in our history.

But we may be about to witness something even more doomed to failure than mandated metric conversion.  For those who are saddened by the approval by the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality and the havoc it could wreak on the wild west of the Internet, take heart.

Mark Hendrickson, a Forbes contributor and self-described libertarian economist, suggested in a post today that net neutrality has about as much chance of success as the old Soviet price setting bureaucracy.

The Internet has led to the most stunning transformation of communication since Gutenberg invented movable type.  A day doesn’t go by that we don’t see someone invent a new way to take advantage of its open, endless possibilities.  Hopefully net neutrality will prove to be the equivalent of a mandate for the government to herd cats.

Taking Credit for Handwritten Cards (Printed by a Robot)

January 27, 2015

by Kerry Martin

There is just something special about personal touches like handwritten letters.  I’m a big believer that showing appreciation for something takes more than a few keystrokes and pressing send on an email.  Just as I love getting cards in the mail (inside actual envelopes with actual stamps placed on them), I hope people get the same warm fuzzy feeling when picking up the card that I send to them.

But let’s be honest.  If you have to send a lot of handwritten cards (personal or business), it can seem like a daunting (and hand-cramping) task.

Enter a new company called Bond ( that does it for you.  Forbes recently profiled the company’s technology that takes a four-page handwriting sample and translates that into an accurate representation of your handwriting that a robot then scribbles onto stationery.

This isn’t like creating a font where all the letters are uniform; even today most people are savvy enough to tell when a computer-printed letter with whimsical handwriting font is masquerading as a handwritten note because there is no variation in the letters.  Bond’s system is actually smart enough to add different spacing patterns and slight changes from one character to the next.

In effect, this presents an ethical debate:  if the recipient of the letter or card doesn’t know that it’s not a handwritten card, do you take credit for it?  Because after all, isn’t it “the thought that counts?”


Via Forbes

Wading Into the Floodwaters

May 17, 2011

by Dan Ward

If you have 10-15 minutes, read this great Forbes blog post by Larry Olmsted, describing the breathless coverage of the Great Memphis Flood.

Larry was in Memphis, standing alongside weather reporters from all the major networks. But instead of putting on his hip waders to step into the flooded downtown streets, he stepped back a few hundred yards and noticed that the flood actually impacted only one portion of one street. The flooded downtown streets were dry.

The story caught me by surprise, because I also had read and seen the news reports about the devastating flooding in downtown Memphis. But as Olmsted reports, only one stretch of a road alongside the river was closed to traffic, downtown remained unaffected, all but one tourist attraction remained open and the city’s largest annual event moved forward as scheduled.

Unfortunately, Beale Street was less crowded than normal, the bars and restaurants saw less business and hotels kept the “vacancy” signs lit. In Olmsted’s words, “I think it is safe to say that the damage to the city from the storm will be less than the economic damage from coverage of the storm.”

This is not to minimize the impact of the flood in other areas of Memphis and all along the Mississippi. But why not cover the very real impacts of the flood on residential areas instead of exaggerating the minor impacts in downtown?

We lived through a very similar scenario for Beaches of South Walton on Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast, where 24-hour news coverage of the Deepwater Horizon incident convinced many that the beaches were coated in oil, when in fact beachgoers continued to enjoy sun and sand each and every day.

When faced with journalistic hyperbole, it’s our job as professional communicators to show our most important audiences the big picture, rather than a collection of snapshots. It requires honesty, transparency and a willingness at times to openly contradict the narrative being shared on network TV.

What’s Your Press Release Worth?

February 14, 2011

by Heather Keroes

Recently I read an article in Forbes that calls press releases, in most cases, “a worthless bother.”  And I didn’t entirely disagree either.  Shocking!  No, I don’t believe press releases are worthless, although I’d venture to say that there are a large number of releases out there that probably never warranted creation in the first place.  These are (as I like to call them), the “our hotel just ordered new bedding” releases … the releases that no one really cares about and are done just for the sake of being done.  This is why the Bad Pitch Blog exists, people!

Anyhow, the writer of the Forbes article goes on to say that a two-sentence pitch to a few important news outlets secured amazing coverage for his client.  I’m a big proponent of doing more pitches than press releases.  However, I think some press releases still serve important informative purposes, when written as concise as possible and well.


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