The Personal Touch May be Making a Comeback in PR

Coffee - Face to FaceI had a conversation with a recent graduate I know who is working on a project that involves no small amout of public relations, marketing and promotional work. As you might expect, he gained a lot of traction from the start using social media sites that included Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

It was amazing to see how creative he was at leveraging the power of the many apps he used, much of which was done on nothing more than his smart phone.… Read the rest

When a Crisis Hits You Can’t Rely on a Template


As with any professional discipline, the way crisis communications is practiced can follow different approaches, or different schools of thought. This is particularly the case when it comes to crisis communications planning.

Just recently, I told a group of college students an old story for me of how I once had to rewrite a crisis communications plan where there was so much tutorial information up front that its Table of Contents appeared on page 36!… Read the rest

Where Branding Begins

EZTDBW croppedI once had a client which had an internal mantra that was usually only visible sporadically in company offices, or buried in the content of internal company newsletters. It was the acronym, “EZTDBW.”

It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?

It stood for the words, “Easy To Do Business With.” In spite of its poor grammar, the term and its acronym was the heart of a very successful and well-loved company.… Read the rest

Employees are Your Biggest Investors

shutterstock_129614810A doctor once explained to me the reason they call his work the “medical arts” and not “medical science.” He explained that while science plays a huge role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients, at the end of the day it was his call, or that of a medical team on what to do with all the information they receive. … Read the rest

Five Things to Do When Tragedy Takes Over the News Cycle

Crime Scene TapeLast week when two terrorists attacked and killed 14 people and wounded scores of others in San Bernadino, the story took control of all major media.  Cable news networks went live non-stop.  Regular programming on the major networks was preempted by “Special Reports.”  The Internet lit up with information, news, speculation, commentary and even efforts by people directly affected to connect with family and friends.… Read the rest

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving

Lincoln ReducedThe following post originally ran on November 20, 2012 on PR, Pure & Simple:

It was just a few years ago that I learned the Thanksgiving holiday as we know it today, at least the one where the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions aren’t playing football, is actually rooted in a decision by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.… Read the rest

A Ghostwriting Process that Works for Everyone

Media RelationsOne of the most common myths around the practice of ghostwriting is that they aren’t the speaker’s words.  When done right, nothing could be further from the truth.

The key to effective ghostwriting is to capture the essence, the tone, and most importantly the message the speaker wants to deliver and needs to deliver, and to create and execute a process for doing so without placing undue demands on the speaker’s time and attention.… Read the rest

Political Campaign Season Provides Lessons in “Optics”

Vote ImagesThis week brings another election day to my community, providing an annual reminder for me of the great democracy in which we live, and why I am glad I don’t work in politics. I’ve got many good reasons for not getting involved in politics, but  that doesn’t stop me from paying close attention to political campaigns from the largest national elections to the smallest campaigns for school board.… Read the rest

To Get People to Know, they Must Care. To Get them to Care, We Must Educate

Audience and LightsNot long ago, O’Brien Communications began to provide assistance to a nonprofit organization centered on marking a major anniversary of a historical event.  To avoid creating any confusion on the PR issues at play, for now I won’t name the project or get into its specifics.

It’s more important to explore the situation and the process because the communications challenges this nonprofit faces are some of the most common challenges most organizations face.… Read the rest