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Interviews

Tim Cook Almost Apologizes to Celebs for iCloud Leak

timcook-300x258There’s been a lot of news about Apple this week, and there will be even more news about the company next week when it introduces the world to a watch, a new version of iOS, a new iPad model, a new iPhone and a bigger iPhone (according to Kevin Roose).

On the “celebrity scandal” front, we’d like to turn your attention to the interview with CEO Tim Cook that went live on The Wall Street Journal last night. It’s particularly striking given the company’s “we’re looking into it” statement from Monday.

It also fits very well with the narrative provided by our anonymous “insider” source, who told us that Cook is looking to put a friendlier — and more apologetic — face on the company he runs.

Let’s just say Steve Jobs would not have given an interview like this one.

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PR Veterans Weigh in on Apple Expose

apple-logo-pngPardon us for being all Apple today, readers, but it’s hard to look away when the world’s most influential company makes waves (especially since we had a revealing conversation with someone close to its international communications team yesterday).

Earlier this week we reviewed takeaways from the extensive 9t05Mac piece on the company’s comms operations, and today three industry influencers gave us their impressions.

Dan Lyons, journalist-turned marketing fellow at HubSpot and creator of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs:

I think it was a great series. Very insightful. There is still more work to be done in exposing the collusion and coziness between Apple and certain bloggers and members of the mainstream media.

In fact, I have no problem with Apple being as manipulative as it possibly can. That is what PR is supposed to do, and Apple is very good at PR. The real culprits are the reporters and bloggers who play along.

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The Denver Post Marijuana Editor Gets Some Interesting Pitches

Weed 420 bro

In case you weren’t aware, public perception of the world’s most popular weed is changing.

Since the states of Colorado and Washington effectively legalized the possession and consumption of cannabis, an endless number of related businesses have sprung up to take advantage of a market newly illuminated by the (grow)light of day.

In fact, just over a month ago we spoke to friend of the site and Clear founder Andrew Graham about his plans to launch an advocacy group best described as “the NRA for Cannabis.

But what about the journalists covering this brand-new industry?

Glad you asked: we recently spoke to Ricardo Baca of The Denver Post. He serves as the head of The Cannabist, or the first news vertical dedicated entirely to the culture and business of marijuana.

Selected quotes after the jump.

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Chipotle Co-CEO Turns His Nose Up at ‘Cheap, Irrelevant’ Fast Food Chains

chipotle-ingredients-are-better-billboard

It’s difficult to hate on the rollers of the edible fatties, Chipotle. It tastes great, it’s “all natural”, and it’s good for you (as long as you only consume 25% of a given burrito). Even if you didn’t dig the food, the company’s advertising and CSR work is splendid (good work, Edelman).

If anything could possibly damage Chipotle’s sterling reputation, it would be perceived snobbery.

For example: “My food is better than your food. And now, let’s make fun of your diabetes.” Stressing the quality of your ingredients should not be a big deal; Papa John’s Pizza tries to do the same thing.

So guess what happened?

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Is the Press Release Ready for Its Latest Makeover?

Tiny Pitch

We know, we know: you’re tired of reading stories about whether the press release is dead or not. So are we!

One of the most/least surprising findings in the Business Wire survey we posted on last week held that “traditional” releases are still quite valuable for journalists covering big-name corporate clients.

And yet.

We’ve covered Jason Kintzler‘s PitchEngine a good bit in the past thanks to his ongoing efforts to convince PR “to do more than attach a word doc to an email when it comes time to pitch.”

He does have a new product called Tiny Pitch to show you, but we were interested in a longer conversation about the state of the pitching process and the blunt instruments we use to do it.

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INTERVIEW: David Meerman Scott Discusses the Art of Newsjacking

DMS header

Last week, we offered ’5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Newsjacking.‘ While many PR folks appreciated the knowledge, we heard from others who were new to the term itself. And so, I issued a tweet to one David Meerman Scott, the guy who coined the word in the first place.

To my delectation, he responded in about two minutes (I may have squealed a little).

In his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas Into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media CoverageScott touches upon this growing social media strategy with keen insight. He humored me with some great responses to a few questions about the growth of newsjacking, its benefits and drawbacks, and the magic of real-time decision making in the process.

Get your notebooks ready. His Q&A with yours truly is after the jump…

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‘Influence’ vs. ‘Expertise’: Which Is More Valuable?

influence

Everyone in contemporary PR knows that online “influencers” can, in some cases, be more powerful than any journalist or pop star in terms of delivering a client’s message — especially if the audience that client wants to reach is between 13 and 25 years of age.

While this fact has been obvious to some for quite a while, the recent lawsuit filed against beauty influencer Michelle Phan and a Variety survey which found that the five best-known celebs among American teens happen to be YouTube stars confirmed it for everyone else.

Yet, as we move forward, we will pay more attention to the difference between two words in the brand advocacy space: influence and expertise.

How are these terms different in meaning and application? We talked to Robb Henshaw, headof comms at content platform provider inPowered, for more insights.

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Ashley McCown Runs Down 2014′s Biggest Crises to Date

It’s time for another rundown of the worst offenders in 2014′s PR Crisis Sweepstakes.

In this exclusive clip, Solomon McCown president Ashley McCown runs down the ones you know: GM’s self-made safety nightmare; Donald Sterling’s racist breakdown; Malaysia Airlines dual tragedies.

We’re most interested in the #1 crisis — the one surrounding Boston’s Market Basket and the family disputes that led the company to fire popular president Arthur T. Demoulas.

The company’s board meets today, with New Hampshire/Massachusetts governors Maggie Hassan Deval Patrick attempting to broker a cease-fire of sorts in the interest of avoiding all unnecessary drama.

How do you think the dispute will resolve itself?

Q&A: Top Firms Expanding into the Asia Pacific Region

World Map

It’s not exactly news that the Asia Pacific region is one of the biggest opportunities for international firms looking to expand and serve a more global audience. Allison + Partners recently opened an office in Singapore while firms like Edelman and Ogilvy have maintained a presence in China for some time.

Still, much of the market remains untapped by top Western firms, and the act of reaching the billions of consumers living in the Asia Pacific region presents significant challenges for many US-based organizations.

Siegel+Gale recently announced a partnership with Gramco, Japan’s largest branding firm, in the interest of better serving the Chinese public.

We spoke to Jason Cieslak, president of Siegel+Gale’s Pacific Rim operations, to get his take on the trend.

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More Career Advice for Upcoming PR Professionals

PR block

As hot as PR may be right now (check out the growing gap between communicators and journalists), young professionals still face considerable challenges in navigating their way around the industry.

Last week we spoke to Courtney Lukitsch, principal and founder at Gotham Public Relations, to learn more about how she evaluates junior-level candidates. This week she shared more insights on what applicants need to know and the ways in which the industry will change in coming years.

PR is a rapidly changing business. What is your advice to those just coming on to the scene?

Do your research upfront. If you walk in cold and unprepared to an interview, a PR pro will smell it on you and disqualify you almost immediately.

It’s a confidence and intelligence game. Plus, at most firms, a candidate will be interviewed by different members no less than three times. This is true even at the junior level given team dynamics, but it’s even more crucial when interviewing for mid-level and higher jobs.

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