Monthly Archives: December 2008

Why I hate asterisks*

I was on the subway yesterday looking at the sale ads and getting ready to score an amazing deal…on something. But my hopes were dashed when I noticed that fateful symbol perched on BIG OFFER’s shoulder. And though it’s barely visible, it packs a wallop that slaps you back to your senses. I’m talking about the asterisk. I don’t like asterisks because they represent exceptions. Exceptions, usually, to a screaming overpromise. What I resent most are the enticements that purport to ‘build me up buttercup, just to let me down’. Having an asterisk is like keeping people spellbound by a…

read more

The pod before Christmas

Well, today’s the day that Inside PR #143 is released. I think it’s a lively episode that touches on Twitter etiquette (Twitterquette?), media and conflict of interest. Not bad for a holiday show… From my perspective, I find it hard to believe I’ve been doing this for close to a year. And I have to say, I’ve had a great time sharing my thoughts, learning from and being challenged by my fellow podcasters and hearing from listeners. (I hope you’ve found the same.) It’s been a blast sitting in my study on Sunday nights in front of a Gzowski-esque mic,…

read more

Something’s in the air

we sent out our Palette e-holiday card – a pretty timely idea, if do say so myslef. (You may need to double click on the image to get the gist.) Then a few days later, a cartoonist from the Toronto Star published an illustration using the same joke. Now, since our card pre-dated their visual, one could assume they ripped us off. I mean, we distributed it first – it was out there for all and sundry to see and the next thing we knew, someone bigger was taking credit for it. Did we call our lawyers? Threaten a lawsuit?…

read more

A failure to communicate – and sell

My phone rang a few minutes ago. The gentleman on the other end said, I’m calling to renew your subscription to some magazine I had never heard of. Now, like most agencies, we get lots of publications. But as I couldn’t place this one, I told the rep that I didn’t think we had a subscription. Without missing a beat he said, OK, then will you be interested in a free trial? I answered quickly, succinctly and in no uncertain terms. Now, I love magazines and all media, for that matter. But I thought, this is yet another example of…

read more

Obfuscate injures communicate

I think we’ve all seen them – those subscription offers from various magazines that promise $1 million dollars (or more) – and perhaps even a visit from Ed McMahon… I actually had an aunt and uncle, who received a ‘you may already be a winner’ envelope and called up their relatives to say that their ship had come in (not in those words, of course, they were prairie folk). I didn’t have the heart to burst their bubble and they found out the truth soon enough. I recently got a note from a publisher which thanked me for subscribing by…

read more

Communicating in

This past week I was in Ottawa, taking part in a Federated Press conference on internal communications. (I was inside mostly so I missed the political fireworks on the Hill.) My talk featured a case study about a company that used a major transition as an opportunity to engage employees in a way it hadn’t done before. And a number of the key points I discussed were also highlighted by other presenters, including: Transparency – you’ve got to be upfront about both good and bad news Credibility – if you’re not honest or, even if you’re perceived as not being…

read more