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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Kwittken’

Lessons in Media Relations from Derek Jeter

Sure, Derek Jeter is a great athlete…but can he teach us anything about communications and media relations strategy?

Kwittken + Company CEO/friend of the site Aaron Kwittken’s most recent Forbes story says “yes”. In fact, Kwittken goes so far as to call the veteran shortstop “one of the greatest communicators of all time.”

His points:

  • Jeter sidestepped the sports media entirely by announcing his retirement on Facebook (which he primarily used to promote his charity in the past), prompting The Boston Globe to call him “the Yankee you can’t hate
  • When the frenzy around his search for that 3,000th hit got too hot in 2011, he turned not to ESPN but to HBO, which made a documentary about the story:

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Social Media 101

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Kwittken + Company Sponsoring College Fellowship

Kwittken + Company (KCO) announced today that it is sponsoring the Columbian College’s Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowship at The George Washington University. The school is Aaron Kwittken‘s alma mater (he’s the CEO and managing partner at KCO). And though the description of the fellowship makes no mention that the recipient’s research must be PR-focused, Kwittken envisions that’s where the money will go.

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Despite Scandal, There Are Brands That Can’t Be Broken

In the world of public perception, a scandal can knock a brand down for weeks. But Wal-Mart, which is currently facing a public relations problem with a bribery scandal in Mexico, has fared better than other brands like Taco Bell and Target, according to data from YouGov BrandIndex, which measures “buzz score” on a point index.

YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

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Kwittken Makes First Acquisition Outside North America

As we mentioned in this morning’s Ticker, kwittken & company has made its first acquisition abroad, sealing the deal with London’s Epoch PR, increasing the firm’s U.K. presence from four to 15 people. Here’s a little more detail.

Kwittken opened its European HQ last year. The firm has grown revenues by 45 percent and staff by 75 percent since it became a kbs+p partner company. The financials of this deal weren’t disclosed.

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The Many Layers of the B-M/Facebook Smear Story

The news that Burson-Marsteller/Facebook whisper campaign story unfolded before our eyes this week. And as it did, there were so many details that added so many layers that reaction, understandably, has been tremendous.

At this point, Facebook and Burson are no longer working together, The New York Times reports. And, The Daily Beast writes (h/t to PRWeek) that  the two Burson publicists that handled the campaign, former CNBC reporter Jim Goldman and former political writer John Mercurio, will receive another copy of the firm’s code of ethics (along with everyone at the firm) in order to get a refresher course on right and wrong. Interesting that two former reporters couldn’t clearly see the impropriety of this from the beginning, but we digress.

Reaction from the PR industry has been both critical and exasperated, with many on Twitter expressing a “you know better than that” tone with both the situation and Burson’s statement in response.

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Using Groupon in Your PR Campaign

Groupon is hot, and news today that the company wanted to file its IPO this week with a $25 billion valuation speaks to that. So does the number of Groupon-like companies and programs that have spawned over past months. But as many publicists know, jumping on board what’s hot isn’t always a sound communications decision.

Julie Mossler, Groupon’s director of communications, tells mediabistro in today’s PR, Perfected feature, “We never sell ourselves as money-making; it’s much more about exposure. We guarantee foot traffic.”

To that end, a Groupon offer should be part of a bigger PR strategy rather than the entirety of it.

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Guest Post: What’s Good for Clients is Also Good for PR Firms

After Dow Jones analyzed which firms got the most traditional media coverage in 2010, the info zipped around the Twittersphere. Also, the question of whether it was a good thing for a firm to get its own media coverage arose, with nearly two-thirds of respondents to our PRNewser Poll saying it’s a positive thing.

One industry exec who definitely believes it’s a positive is Aaron Kwittken, CEO and founder of Kwittken + Company. In today’s guest post, Kwittken talks about why the firm launched its own PR program and why other firms should as well. Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject in the comments.

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UPDATE: MDC Partners Acquires Majority Stake in Kwittken & Company

kwittken logo.bmp MDC Partners has acquired a majority stake in Kwittken & Company, a deal worth an estimated $10 million to $15 million, according to The New York Times. Kwittken will become an operating unit of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners (KBS&P), the company’s second largest agency behind Crispin Porter & Bogusky. The story says that Kwittken has annual revenue totaling about $10 million and counts Thomson Reuters among its clients. Aaron Kwittken will continue as chief executive and managing partner, reporting to Lori Senecal, president and chief executive at KBS&P. The firm will retain all 22 of its employees.

The deal is the third in five months between MDC and a PR firm. The others were Sloane & Company in April and Allison & Partners in May. The transaction is the sixth overall for MDC since last September.

“P.R. is taking on a higher strategic importance based on its unique role in amplifying a brand’s message in today’s digitally focused, social media world,” Senecal tells the Times.

Update: PRNewser spoke with Jason Schlossberg, president of Kwittken & Company, about the impact of the transaction.

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Kwittken On BP CEO: ‘I Think He Needs to Stop Speaking’


Aaron Kwittken, CEO of mid-size agency Kwittken & Co., appeared on CNBC this morning to talk BP and the Gulf Coast oil spill.

“You have to give (BP CEO Tony Hayward) credit for stepping out in front when a lot of CEOs hide in times of crisis,” he said.

However, now that he has stepped out, Kwittken says he needs to step back. “I think he needs to stop speaking and have others speak on his behalf.”

For now, Hayward is not stepping back. TVNewser has details on ABC News’ exclusive interview with him, which aired last night.

Did Goldman Sachs Do Anything To Help Itself Yesterday?

Goldman staffed up its PR counsel in advance of yesterday’s Senate hearings, which looked at the company’s role in the financial meltdown. Specifically, as ABC News reports:

The Securities and Exchange Commission brought fraud charges against Goldman this month and claimed that the company bet against its own clients and helped create the housing bubble that preceded the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

So far, it seems, people are not pleased with Goldman’s performance. Sean Cassidy, president of DKC — formerly Dan Klores Communications — told PRNewser:

I thought Goldman’s performance was absolutely terrible. From what I saw, I don’t think they defended their business practices at all… The executive testimony ranged from ludicrous, occasionally wishy-washy, denials that lacked credibility to an inability to answer seemingly basic questions. Overall they came across like rich guys who got caught.

TIME‘s Barbara Kiviat wrote:

What really frightens me in all of this is that it didn’t seem like a legal or PR strategy. It seemed like these Goldman executives genuinely had no ability to take a step back and make observations about the system in which they operate.

Aaron Kwittken, CEO of Kwittken & Company recently said Goldman should open their Kimono, just a little. He told PRNewser today:

It is not at all surprising that Goldman is standing their ground on Capitol Hill. They have no choice. At the same time, however, PR needs to be part of their triage mode, working behind the scenes with third party groups and media to provide context around the business of their business. It is likely they have done nothing wrong, but that doesn’t matter. The operative issue here is that the general public, especially media and grandstanding politicians, don’t have a clue as to how the business works.

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein appeared on ‘Good Morning America,’ today, in addition to other TV interviews. PRNewser’s weekly poll asks, “Will Goldman Sachs’ Words Do Anything To Change Your Perception of the Company?” Cast your vote here.

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