Communications

There has been much talk (online and off) about how Kayne West created a scene at the Video Music Awards recently. Apparently, Kayne stormed the stage when Taylor Swift was accepting her award for video of the year, grabbed the microphone and announced that he thought Beyonce should have won the award. You can read more about the incident on Rolling Stone.

Then, ABC news reporter Terry Moran tweeted that, during an interview with his network, President Obama called Kayne a “jackass” for his outburst. Turns out, the part where (allegedly) Obama called Kayne a “jackass” was off the record. ABC quickly pulled the tweet down, but not before it had been picked up by Politico.com. You can read a piece on it here and see the tweet here.

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Doug Schumacher has a good piece on iMediaConnection that showcases how valuable social media can be. He wraps it in the context that social media is safer than you think. I am not so sure that safe is a word I would use for social media, although he does make a good point about it.

Social media provides your organization with the opportunity to engage people that are interested in your brand, your services, your products, and in what you do for your community. It can create a solid support system from your followers and fans, but these are people with opinions and ideas that might not necessarily mesh with yours. Doug writes from an advertising/marketing viewpoint, so perhaps this is where we view the meaning of “safe” differently.

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Gerard Braud has an excellent article on the fallout of Whole Foods CEO (U.S.) John MacKay’s position on health care reform in the U.S.

There has been a huge backlash to MacKay’s letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal. There is now a movement to boycott Whole Foods – there is a Facebook page, a blog and you can follow the boycott on Twitter.

MacKay is entitled to his opinion. However, publishing that opinion in the Wall Street Journal might not have been the best use of his profile.

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I recently wrote a communications plan for a client that occupies a space filled with academics, intellectuals and thought leaders. Just prior to that, I had developed a plan for a client that provides services within a blue-collar industry. On the surface, these clients have little in common and the plans themselves were very different. However, our approach to the use of straightforward language in each plan was similar.

In both plans, we got rid of the corporate speak, we dumped the gobbledygook and we wrote in plain English. Straightforward, no words like synergy, leading edge, next-generation, dynamic interface, etc. This was a big departure from the style of other plans that were done for each client previously. Plans that had cost them a great deal of money were sitting on a shelf and weren’t being implemented. One of the questions I asked before starting the projects was why the previous plans weren’t being used. The plans were solid and they provided a good strategic foundation, but sat languishing on a shelf. It turns out that both clients found the plans overwhelming and had not been able to connect the theory to reality. There was no momentum to move the ideas in the plan into action.

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I have spent a lot of time in my professional life pitching story angles either as a journalist with an idea for an article, where I had to get my editor’s buy in, or as a PR person putting forward a pitch to media about a client’s organization. Since many of my colleagues and friends are either journalists or communicators, I also spend a fair bit of time discussing what makes a good story, even when it isn’t about a specific pitch.

One of the things that AHA clients rely on us for is to help them with media and blogger relations. In the new world of communication, it is important to understand how to pitch both mainstream media (most of which now have some kind of online component), as well as online media, which includes bloggers. At the core of a good pitch is the story.

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