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Archives: June 2013

CEOs Share 10 Key Topics They Focus on During the Day

Lots of concerns keep CEOs up at night, as we know from this well-worn query often posed to top corporate leaders. Remarkably, neither the moderator nor members of the audience asked that question to a panel of CEOs at IABC’s World Conference on Tuesday in New York.

The four current and former CEOs were still forthcoming, offering views on corporate strategy, industry trends monitoring, turnaround plans, work style, philanthropy and corporate culture. They even revealed stunts their companies have used to motivate employees.

At face value the following principles appear rather intuitive. However, they’re not so simple to follow, as evidenced by the volatility of entire industries and recent market fluctuations, even among growing companies.

1.Use forward-looking strategies: “You owe your company a picture about where the world is going”, noted Bill McDermott, SAP’s co-CEO. “Most of our current revenue comes from areas that didn’t exist a few years ago”. Peter Cuneo, turnaround specialist and former CEO of Marvel Entertainment, said he spends three-quarters of his time developing future strategies.

2.Don’t rest on prior laurels. “Many CEOs fall in love with the past and their cozy business models”, McDermott said. When it doesn’t look good, don’t pretend it does. You need to think about cannibalizing your own business model. If you don’t, someone else will do it for you.”

3.Check out trends in other industries. Study other categories, advised Dolf van den Brink, Heineken USA’s president and CEO. “The beer industry was too insular and missed trends like premiumization and segmentation. Major beer brands now have different nationalities”. (Heineken’s Dos Equis brand features the popular ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ ads; spokesman shown here).

4.Celebrate recent successes more. This isn’t done often enough, observed Shelly Lazarus, O&M’s chairman emeritus (and no relation to this PRNewser contributor). Companies are often too busy to do so, she said, “but it’s important that employees feel something good happened. It builds momentum and it’s good for the soul.”

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Paula Deen’s Carnival of Disaster Finally Hires Renowned PR Professional

Oh boy. That was painful. As you know Paula Deen appeared on the Today Show recently after abruptly cancelling an interview with Matt Lauer last Friday.

By now everyone in our industry has formed their opinions regarding Paula Deen’s rapid demise and her subsequent barrage of awkward apologies and wayward explanations. This entire situation is sad. There are no winners here. So we’re hesitant to jump in the media melee and add energy to this sadness, but as PR experts it’s our job to deconstruct this ugly mess.

These are emotional times for the Paula Deen empire, and emotional PR situations must be handled with logic, sincerity and intelligence. That means showing up and treating the public like adults. For Paula Deen the folksy, southern “aw shucks” shtick may sell Virginia ham, but it doesn’t sell the truth. Read more

Roll Call: Golin Harris, Democratic National Committee and ‘National Journal’

GolinHarris announced the appointment of Tarun Deo as managing director of Singapore and regional managing director of South-East Asia. He will assume the leadership role from Christina Cheang, who is stepping down from the role after five successful years with the agency. Deo starts his new assignment on July 1. Deo brings with him more than 20 years of communications and brand building experience from across Asia Pacific and is regarded by many as a trusted senior counselor. He has worked across many industry sectors and for some of the world’s largest brands. Most recently Deo served as managing director and senior partner of FleishmanHillard’s operations across Southeast Asia and India, based in Singapore. Previous roles include senior vice president for Market Development and the Technology Group for Asia as well as leading strategy to build Fleishman’s regional Digital and Social Media capabilities. (Release)

Brad Woodhouse, after nearly five years as Democratic National Committee communications director, senior adviser to three chairs, and strategist for both Obama presidential campaigns, will be stepping down from his post this Friday. Woodhouse led the rapid response and bracketing operation at the DNC during both Obama runs, and helped lead the party’s earned media efforts around the passage of Obamacare. Beginning in July, Woodhouse will become president of Americans United for Change (AUFC),  a position he held before he entered the Obama orbit in 2008. (Politico)

National Journal has promoted editorial booker Emma Angerer to the position of communications director. Emma joined National Journal nearly three years ago and single-handedly built an extremely successful booking operation–from scratch. According to the company, Emma has a reputation for credibility and great news sense among producers in DC and New York. An internal memo says that she “has boundless energy, is deeply loyal to our brands and is always brimming with smart ideas—qualities that will make her an excellent communications director for NJ.” (FishbowlDC)

The Ticker: Men’s Wearhouse; ‘Dumb Ways to Die’; Car Sharing; Starbucks; Journalism Woes

PR Jobs: Quirky, SupersonicAds, GreenRoom Social

This week, Quirky is hiring a public relations manager, while SupersonicAds needs a marketing director. GreenRoom Social is seeking a PR account manager, and Pixability is on the hunt for a marketing manager. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great PR jobs on the PRNewser job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented PRNewser pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

NBC and Tour de France: Lance Armstrong Never Happened

As PR experts we specialize in reality. Our job is take reality and put it into a context that works best for clients. The very first, and oftentimes the most difficult step, is to convince clients to accept reality. This can be a daunting challenge.

Judging from NBC’s commercials promoting the Tour de France, reality is something they have yet to face. Lance Armstrong happened. You can’t ignore him or the decade of controversy and scandal that resulted from his horrible behavior and the sport’s inability to regulate itself and maintain even a semblance of sportsmanship. Sure, today all professional sports are tainted in one way or another, but Lance Armstrong was a disaster for the Tour de France and the sport of cycling.

In order to move on the sport, the tournament and NBC must address the Lance Armstrong issue. It is still at the forefront of the public’s consciousness and any mental images we conjure of the Tour de France involve Lance Armstrong. You can’t ignore reality. In public relations, when you ignore reality you’re giving it power. Acting like nothing happened is what guilty people do. The public knows what you’re up to, because we were there for the Lance Armstrong debacle. We were part of it.

So NBC and the Tour de France should start there: in reality. Acknowledge what happened and build a vision for moving forward. Start all over. Elevate the people in the sport who don’t cheat and give them a platform, even if they are less than spectacular. The public doesn’t want a superhero; it wants something real—a person we can all relate to. And it wants the Tour de France to come clean.

Lance Armstrong tried to hide his drug use. Now the Tour de France is trying to hide Lance Armstrong. But the public knows better. The commercial above showcases the history of the Tour de France, and Lance Armstrong is part of that history.

History is an important part of reality.

The Ticker: Wal-Mart Rant; Neiman Marcus; Hulu; Facebook vs. Privacy; Serena Williams

Carnival Cruise Charts PR Course with Travel Agents

The cruise ship industry is an anomaly to much of the public. The bigger and more gargantuan these ships become, the less they have to do with the actual seas on which they are sailing. Who needs to be floating in the Atlantic to play blackjack or water slide into a swimming pool? Can’t you do all of that on land? Oh, yeah, and what’s up with all the diseases, power failures and accidents? Those are a concern, too.

Carnival Cruise is responding to the industry’s strained relationship with the public by taking the PR offensive. The brand is implementing a strategy named Carnival Conversations that targets travel agents. That’s right. Despite the digital revolution, travel agents are still around and Carnival views them as a vital lynchpin in booking customers. The outreach will include visits to the travel agents, road shows and efforts to solicit ideas and opinions via the brand’s website,

The compelling PR angle here is that Carnival isn’t directly targeting customers, but travel agents. We live in a connected world where technology allows passengers to book their own flights, rentals and make their own travel plans. Yet, the cruise industry has this unique dynamic that still heavily relies on travel agents.

Is Carnival making the right PR move by focusing its efforts on travel agents, or should it make a direct appeal to customers instead?

The Ticker: Paula Deen; Twinkies; Magazine Covers; Airlines; Nike & LeBron James

Did You Waste Time Stockpiling Twinkies? They’re Coming Back To Stores July 15

All those tears shed. All those boxes bought.

Many were upset to learn last year that business troubles (the workers blamed the management, the management blamed the unions) were pushing Twinkies off of store shelves. Attempts to restructure ended in November and brands were sold. Twinkies was among those that went to Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management for $410 million.

Less than a year after fans grieved the loss of those eternally fresh spongy yellow cakes, they’re headed back to the grocer on July 15.

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