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Big Questions

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Wins Positive Press for His Perfect Definition of Feminism

proxyThe word “feminism” can be a touchy one, especially given the wildly-varying definitions out there, and celebrities often seem particularly wary of stating their allegiance (or lack-thereof) to the concept. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, has no such qualms.

In a recent interview with the Daily Beast that’s now gone viral, the star explained why he considers himself a feminist, and then went on to give the word one of the most clear, simple, and positive definitions we ever remember hearing.

Gordon-Levitt was asked:

I read that you consider yourself a “male feminist,” and you credit your parents who are educators and really taught you about the history of feminism. But nowadays, you have a lot of young stars coming out against being labeled a feminist.

His response (below) has both women and men singing his praises in multiple publications and all over social media: Read more

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POLLING ALL PR TYPES: What Do You Want to Be Called?

Hello-my-name-is

Here’s a serious question: What do you want to be called by your colleagues in the industry, pals in the media, partners and clients?

Everyone in this not-quite-fabled industry has an idea of what they like and don’t like, what they hear and ignore, what they answer to and what they wish no one would ever call them.

Some are accustomed to the big agency titles of account executive, manager, director, supervisor, and other synonyms for “hierarchy.” Others are interested in the boutique titles of guru, ninja, expert, and other nom de plumes that mean “badass.”

Before you jump, think about it: If you had to be labeled, what would your label read?

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Can the ISIS Strikes Become a #PRWin for the President?

Iraq-Jihadist-flag

No one in their right mind (or in a public forum) would ever equate a declaration of war as part of a PR strategy, but it could be one of the side effects of what took place in the Iraq recently.

Without getting into the nuance of military and political goings-on, the terrorist group calling itself Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) doesn’t play well with others. They almost certainly like American even less than they did after the U.S. military bombed ISIS’ ammunition stockpiles to help our “friends” in Iraq defend themselves.

To wit, ISIS released a video proclaiming that they will “raise the flag of Allah over the White House.

Read more

Is the Public Statement of Advocacy the New PR Stunt?

rainbow_targetMinneapolis-based Target hit a direct bulls-eye with an interesting blog post from Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jodee Kozlak. In the post, she notes her retail chain had signed on to a recent federal amicus brief.

Nothing too exciting, until you see that Target now stands side-by-side with Apple, Nike, Starbucks, and Facebook in support of judges striking down bans on gay marriage in Wisconsin and Indiana.

This announcement came as a stunner to many in the press as the organization has been unclear about its stance on the subject for many years. Target executives do not talk about it, which is why many assumed that they were not supporters.

Then this blog post happened, inspiring headlines everywhere. And a few hacks and flacks of the more cynical nature were left wondering whether it was a sincere statement or a stunt.

Read more

Can This Software Write a Better Pitch Than a PR Pro?

18gnoncgzm93xjpgPR professionals are invaluable; their ability to create a positive public image for a company stems from a detail-oriented nature, a willingness to fine-tune an approach with finesse based on past experience and the study of data, and picking up on minute cues that can help determine which publications, news sources and journalists might be most open to their message.

Crafting a successful pitch is an art form, something that can certainly never be outsourced or automated…right?

MIT graduate Dan Siegel, co-founder of Cambridge-based PR firm Spokepoint, doesn’t quite see it that way.

The company, which was founded in early 2014 as a traditional PR firm geared toward helping small startups get their names out into the world, has been using its own software program that analyzes thousands of data points to predict whether a journalist will respond positively to a specific pitch. It also allows the user to search for and contact journalists based on topics they’ve previously covered, and even tracks whether or not a pitch is successful.

Realizing the market for affordable PR services for small entrepreneurial endeavors, tiny companies that can’t afford a PR pro, and time-crunched crowdfunding campaigns, Siegel and his company made a decision – rather than just using this software to help companies write pitches, Spokepoint has made the software available directly for use by such businesses, so that they can successfully create, manage and track their own PR campaigns — no PR firm or outside pitch-writer needed.

Scared yet? Read more

Firm Exposes ‘Billion Passwords’ Breach, Peddles $120 Service to Potential Victims

hackersIn case you missed it, the New York Times reported yesterday that a Russian gang of 20-something hackers has amassed 1.2 billion username and password combinations, plus more than 500 million email addresses. This isn’t Heartbleed—it’s a heart attack.

The records were discovered by the Milwaukee-based firm Hold Security, which also helped uncover the Great Adobe Identity Theft of 2013. 

Here’s what’s super scary about this particular scenario:

“Hackers did not just target U.S. companies, they targeted any website they could get, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites…And most of these sites are still vulnerable.”

And yes, the threat is authentic: the Times enlisted the help of a third-party security expert for confirmation.

Adding fuel to the hysterical fire is the fact that we don’t know whose email addresses are included or which sites are affected—and Holden “[WON’T] NAME the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable.”

What will he name? A price.

For as low as $120 a month, you can pay Hold Security to find out if your site has been affected by the breach.

Read more

Will the Ebola Virus Solve Big Tobacco’s Image Problem?

ebola tobacco

Please be aware that I wrote this post’s headline with my tongue pressed firmly to my cheek. As a former smoker who finally quit the nasty habit, I’m happy to have the positive reinforcement of tobacco’s negative health consequences in the news as much as it can.

That said, this bit of breaking news is quite interesting: Ebola Drug Made From Tobacco Plant Saves U.S. Aid Workers.

Somebody, somewhere out in Marlboro Country is giving a yippee ki yay. Methinks it might be coming from the PR department. Read more

The 4 Culprits Behind PR’s High Turnover Rates

revolving doors

Today we bring you a guest post from Laurent L. LawrenceAssociate Director of Public Relations for the PRSA in New York.

A few weeks ago, Patrick Coffee asked a pretty good question: Why Does PR Have Such a Big Turnover Problem? It’s a question I’ve heard far too often. I anticipated a blend of pontification and vitriol-laced responses from all corners of the industry. I waited for the senior pros and agency owners to blame Millennials’ lack of loyalty, while young and new pros would chime in with a heated stance on an industry in need of “disruption.”

Yet, there seem to have been few who were willing to comment in response to his question. Coffee even offered an option for anonymity… still, nothing.

Maybe no one heard the good Mr. Coffee. Or perhaps no one is really sure how to answer. I figured I’d help prime the pump with my thoughts.

Read more

Top 5 Ongoing PR Industry Debate Topics

Create-The-Debate

Let’s do this! (Image: The Parliment [U.K.])

There is a potpourri of things that make up this great industry: people from all walks of life; diverse experiences creating premiere skill sets; campaigns that make you proud to be a PR professional. You are probably thinking of some now to fill in those blanks.

Whatever they are, cherish those memories because they make public relations what it is today.

On the other hand, if you don’t have those memories, it is probably because you have been involved in any number of inner-agency or in-house-team spats about principles of public relations. Some have come, others have gone, but at least five of them show no sign of going anywhere.

Read more

Do Celebrities Need Publicists in the Age of Instagram?

beyonce instagram

Are Beyonce and Jay Z divorcing? Is that trouble-making sister Solange to blame? And what’s going on with Bey’s career?

A picture can silence a thousand words. Read more

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