A student and I were talking recently about the texts I had chosen for the class: The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott and This Is How You Pitch by Ed Zitron. The student liked their writing style, their use of intriguing case studies and the applicability of their advice. The […]

Profs use Four Moves model in classroom experiment Last week I shared with my class the story behind the bleeding Mexican cop meme that went viral in immigrant caravan conspiracy circles.  When I got to the punchline — that the photo of the bleeding officer was actually made six years ago in a Mexico City […]

  An organization that gets dragged into a tragedy needs to show heart. But Slide Fire Solutions, the prime source for “bump stock” accessories for semiautomatic rifles, has maintained silence since the Las Vegas massacre — except to say that it has not been able to keep up with demand since the shooting put their product […]

Photo by Frank Köhntopp on Unsplash When email was fresh and new, a newspaper editor once sent a recipe to several newsroom colleagues, among them his wife. Somehow, he accidentally included a love letter at the bottom of the recipe to another newsroom colleague who was not his wife.   Awkward.   This 25-year-old cautionary tale came to […]

Listen up, class! I have good news and bad news: Today’s snack is chocolate chip cookies! Unfortunately, we have only 25, so you kids whose last names end in W, X, Y and Z will once again have to go without.  If I lived in Wiggins, Colorado, and listened to state leaders talk about the […]

If the knock on you is your tendency to point fingers and avoid personal responsibility for error, every explanation you offer for losing an election is going to be cast in that light. You can’t win. If I were Hillary Clinton’s PR counselor, I would have urged her NOT to write “What Happened,” and instead […]

  Can any brand be more in the dumps than that of Congress? As they returned to “work” last week, let’s pause and consider their sad state. First, the obvious: you have the reputation you earn. And Congress has sorely earned its reputation for ineffectiveness, pettiness and venality. It’s like all those snoots you hated […]

The decision not to evacuate Houston in advance of Hurricane Harvey had to be a tough one. But once the call was made, everyone had to sing from the same song sheet. It’s basic crisis communication, as taught by FEMA to hundreds of crisis planners each year. Gov. Greg Abbott didn’t get the training, apparently. […]

Sticks and stones Let’s talk about name-calling: Specifically, the label “racist.” We apply it too freely, and as a result, we harden the hearts of the very people we are trying to reach. One New Year’s morning, I assigned a young reporter the traditional “first baby of the year” story. As I sent her on […]

Mark Levine knew manufacturing. Michael Dubin knew how to tell a story. Now, 2 million people wake up each morning and drag the pair’s razors across their beards. The Dollar Shave Club didn’t steal market share from Gillette because its razors are superior. They’re doing it because of their story. Levine and Dubin met at […]