Friday, July 24, 2009

Talking off-the-cuff. Not such a good idea.

It's been a while since I posted. Maybe you see that as a lack of commitment. In fact, I recently read a posting about just that. Something along the lines of, if you don't post regularly, it shows lack of commitment. People who read you are then led to think, "What else is he not committed to?"

I don't see it that way. In fact, my feeling is just the opposite.

Why post if you have nothing to say? Posting for posting's sake is kind of like that annoying kid in class who would ask a question just to insert him/herself further up the teacher's butt. Or, the annoying bigger kid in a meeting who will speak but add nothing other than an over-complicated summary of what everyone else just said...

So, I don't post for posting's sake.

Shifting gears, sort of...

Question: When does it make sense for the President of the United States (Yes, always capitalized.) to comment on a local police matter?

Answer: Never.

I was shocked that President Obama found it necessary to comment at all about the arrest of Harvard Professor Louis Henry Gates. (Capitalized because it's a title, as opposed to Louis Henry Gates, a Harvard professor.) To me, it seemed like the President acted stupidly. Perhaps, because Gates is Obama's friend, the President wanted to stick up for him. Nonetheless, one would think the President would have the wherewithal to say something like, "I'm not sure of all the facts and I have every confidence the Boston PD will work it out. Next question." But he didn't. And now, there's another thing on the President's plate that will take him away from real work he should be doing.

In public relations it's equally important to know when to keep your mouth shut.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More on naming

For me, the name "Bing" will forever be associated with the last column in Fortune magazine. Microsoft chose that name for its new search engine.

As reported in a recent issue of BusinessWeek, the amount of effort that went into the naming process notwithstanding, the good folks in Redmond could have done more vetting.

What does all this mean? No matter how much prep you do, at some point you're going to have to hold your breath and jump right in.

Same holds true for public relations. By its very nature, it's impossible to guarantee anything. We plan, strategize and consider and, eventually, we just go to it. And, no matter how much we plan, there's always an unforeseen outcome.