Author Archives: cary

Southwest Airlines Delivers Goodwill

southwest airlines

Things have not been good for Southwest Airlines on the PR front lately, but Ronn Torossian says a recent decision may just put them back on even footing. It’s the sort of thing that used to be called “customer service” but is fairly rare these days. A thing that Southwest can justifiably be proud about.

Here’s the story, as reported by travel correspondent Andrew Der:

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Filed under Choices, Juda Engelmayer

Why are iPad Sales Falling

falling ipad sales

Remember when the iPad was the undisputed Future of Computing? Not that long ago, really, but since the summer of 2013, Apple has been on the defensive, trying to explain away plummeting sales and a shifting place in the consumer mind. Even the competition got caught up in mobile madness. Tablets were being advertised toe-to-toe with laptops and notebook computers, daring the larger “bulkier” machines to strike back. Well, apparently the honeymoon is over. At least for the iPad.

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Filed under Branding, Cutting Edge News, Technology

The Need To Be Responsive


You may have heard the word “responsive” when it comes to the internet and the public relations industry. But what does it really mean to be responsive? Catering to the needs and demands of your customers by creating a customized experience through your products and services is what it’s all about. Because of the wide range of devices and technology that is available today, it is more important than ever to make sure that your company website and digital media is user friendly across many different platforms.

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Filed under Education, Juda Engelmayer, Public Relations

Nike Negates Infringement Claim

nike infringement juda engelmayer

The eponymous Nike “Jumpman” logo is arguably even more famous and revered than the omnipresent swoosh. The image adorned Michael Jordan, basketball royalty and one of the richest athletes – from royalties – to ever play any game. Of course, Nike also made untold billions thanks to the “Jordan-Jumpman” brand, a fact that has them back in court defending every nickel of those millions from an artist who says Nike stole his work.

Jacobus Rentmeester sued Nike in federal court claiming copyright infringement. His suit demands profits associated with some $3.2 billion in retail sales (from 2014 alone), but Rentmeester did not stop there. The aggrieved photographer also wants Nike to halt current sales of any products featuring the Jordan brand.

At the heart of the complaint is a photo session Rentmeester says he shot while Jordan was warming up for the 1984 Olympics. Life Magazine had commissioned the work, but Rentmeester says the rights to the images remained his own. After the images had been published, reports indicated that Nike’s Jordan brand designer, Peter Moore, paid less than two hundred bucks for “temporary use of the photo slides.”

According to the suit, Rentmeester argues Nike used his photo to recreate the shot with Jordan wearing his NBA Chicago Bulls gear. The Chicago skyline was added to the shots Nike used, but Rentmeester claims the work is still fundamentally his own. According to media reports related to the suit, the claim states: “Mr. Rentmeester created the pose, inspired by a ballet technique known as a grand jete, a long horizontal jump…”

Subsequent to that initial use, Nike used the image additional times, how many depends on who you ask, as does the amount and reasons why Rentmeester was compensated on those occasions.

This case is an example of how a legal dispute can – and often will – spill over into the court of public opinion. While the case itself will be decided in the court system, the culpability and credibility of each party will have long since been decided by the fans watching this case.

Plus, public opinion will not be limited to perspectives on Nike and the photographer. Opinion and perspective will spill over onto any other athlete who is paid to sport the Jordan brand. This presents a multi-faceted branding and PR scenario requiring both a winning narrative in court and a strong positive message to offer to the court of public opinion.

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Filed under Branding

Citi Fails to pay Debts


Few things kill a reputation faster than failure to make good on legitimate debts. Particularly when you have not only committed to pay them, but also received a more lenient consequence because you agreed to pay them. That, says Ronn Torossian, is the situation in which Citigroup itself is in at the moment.

According to a recent report in Bloomberg, Citigroup failed to send settlement checks to more than 20,000 borrowers who were judged to be eligible for payment as a result of the Independent Foreclosure Review. Media reports quoted two people “close to the matter,” saying the bank is “preparing to send out settlement checks to affected borrowers” … but they have not yet. It’s the “not yet” that is creating the extensive PR damage here. While the amount owed – reportedly $20 million – is substantial, it is a relatively small number compared to many of the others that have been tossed around in the mortgage fiasco.

Further, it’s not that high total that has people hacked off. It’s the apparent flippant view Citi seems to be taking with their money. It’s kind of like a kid who knows he’s going to be punished but refuses to accept that punishment. That’s not the time to try to save face. It’s the time to pay up and move on. If there was a time to either delay or refuse payment, it would have been BEFORE the judgment was leveled. Once the penalty was agreed to, Citi only stands to worsen an already shaky reputation by dissembling.

While Citi’s PR position is negative and bordering on a crisis, there is no need for this scenario to lead to that threatened public relations storm. The company need simply make good on its debts, treat its current customers well, and this situation could quickly dissipate. However, if the company continues to flaunt its obligations, expect there to be long-term bad blood…and expect competitors to swoop in and snap up justifiably angry customers.

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Filed under Public Relations

Four Ways a Strong Public Relations Campaign Can Help Build Your Brand

Help Build Your Brand

Public relations campaigns can have a huge impact on a business. They can change public perceptions, increase sales, and improve a business’s viability. However, a strong public relations campaign can also help you to build a brand. Here are a few ways.

Create a Narrative

The best brands have a story. Everyone knows Bill Gates‘ unlikely story of success; it is part of the narrative we associate with Microsoft. Similarly, Whole Foods uses their ads to tell stories about the farmers and suppliers who work with their stores, giving a human face to a large corporation. A strong public relations campaign will not only build sell products and build consumer loyalty; it will create a story that is positively associated with your brand.

Educate Your Consumers and Clients

Many companies use public relations and advertisement as an opportunity to educate the public. These campaigns not only are more likely to go viral, but more likely to build a positive brand. As your educational materials are shared, they will reach more people. In addition, consumers and clients by nature view educators as experts. Most brands can benefit from being viewed as an expert in the field with an interest in helping and educating the public. For this reason, many major financial companies include financial education as a major portion of their public relations budgets.

Add Some Personality

A strong public relations campaign has personality. Whether you choose to use humor, wit, or poignancy, these personality characteristics are what make a campaign memorable. In addition, they can add substantially to your brand. This is the reason that it is so important to plan public relations campaigns that complement your brand and reflect brand characteristics. This is the chance to show who you are!

Create a Connection

A strong public relations campaign make your target audience feel connected to your business. This will create an interest in and connection to your brand at the same time. When your customers feel engaged and connected to your company, you have an incredible opportunity to promote your brand and create a lifetime of loyalty.

While you may see a strong public relations campaign as an end in itself, it is actually a beginning. This is your chance to promote your brand and create a relationship with your target audience. Every campaign is an opportunity that you cannot afford to miss.

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Filed under Branding

Communicating Via Skype: Quotes on the Power of Skype

communicating via skype

With the blizzard in the Northeast, many people will now resort to Skype calls. Some quotes on how SKYPE has changed the way people communicate.

· “Skype is not a top-down communication channel. It offers free conference calls. Thus nine people can communicate and interact simultaneously online. This way, one person’s message gets transmitted to a lot of people – who can immediately react and give the original communicator their feedback.” Mark Gwilliam

· “The most obvious benefit to Skype is the amount by which it lowers costs. This is especially valuable to businesses that have to make international calls or simply have to make a lot of calls in their business, saving you money every day.” Kay Kinsella

· “Business can be done around the globe in an instant thanks to communication tools such as skype.” Elie Hirschfeld

· “Your office will likely become more productive when you can have everyone sign on to Skype and join a conference call, rather than calling everyone in a room to host a meeting.” Gurdeep Pall

· “You can work remotely anywhere with your computer and conduct business with people all over the globe. Make a call, enable a video chat, try instant messaging, or even send photos and files. Doing business through Skype makes work more effective.” Mindy Kingswood

· “When you communicate using Skype, its software encrypts your communication to prevent hackers from deciphering its contents. Then, the communication travels across a network of fast and powerful computers running Skype until it reaches the recipient.” Timothy James

· “It’s beautiful for multitasking when you have a client on hold and need an answer fast.” Kelly Fallis

· “I don’t have to pass up the opportunity to help people who are far away.” Sharon Jakubecy

· “With Skype, clients get a sense of who I am as a person since face-to-face communication is the most persuasive and comprehensive.” David Mitchel

· “Employees and business contacts feel more empowered because they are more included with Skype. Since up to nine participants can simultaneously interact online through video conferences, people are given more opportunity to react, give feedback, and express their ideas on the spot.” Mindy Kingswood

· “More clients use Skype to call me now than my actual phone. If I’m on a business call and don’t know the answer to a question, I can simply add another person from my office to the call who will know the answer, without either of us having to even be in the same building.” John McCarthy

· “Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business.” Gurdeep Pall

· “Skype assists business communication through simplifying the means of inner-office communications, simplifying national and even international communications, and making these connections possible with less financial impact than other common business communication services.” Linda Richter

· “Between its core service and the add-ons you can install, Skype can essentially handle any type of business communication.” Adam Ostrow

· “Skype obviously has benefits, otherwise we would not be using it. We see great value in being able to communicate with external partners and development groups in other countries at low cost.” Kevin Fitzpatrick

· “We put a lot of time into surveying customers last year and one thing that came up was that approximately 25% of our 61 million registered users rely on Skype for business purposes.” Saul Klein

· “Skype can improve your customer service if you provide clients with a Skype button, allowing them to contact you and letting them know when you are available to talk.” Kay Kinsella

· “Skype has changed the way that many businesses conduct meetings, interact with clients and interview new recruits.” Anthony Oster

· “I’m going on vacation soon for 20 days in a different country. Normally, I might only take a one-week vacation. I can meet with my team, talk to clients, chat with investors and set up business deals all while on the road.” Spicer Matthews

· “I’m able to work from home a lot, and Skype lets me stay in contact with my partner, freelancers, contractors and clients. Without Skype, I don’t know what we’d do, although I’m sure it would involve more office hours.” Kari DePhillips

· “Skype group calls provide a convenient (and often free) alternative to conventional phone conference calls. You can set one up with other Skype users, of course, but you can host group calls even if you’re the only one on Skype.” Ural Cebeci

· “Employees and business contacts feel more empowered because they are more included with Skype. Since up to nine participants can simultaneously interact online through video conferences, people are given more opportunity to react, give feedback, and express their ideas on the spot.” Mindy Kingswood

· “Skype simplifies business communications because it allows everyone in the business to use the same platform. With everyone using the same platform, all you need to do is add new employees to a master list, and distribute this list to your employees accordingly.” Gurdeep Pall

· “With two Skype accounts, if one is placed on auto answer you can call when you are away and it will answer, allowing you to see around the room the computer is in. This is especially convenient for people going on holidays or leaving offices unoccupied for periods of time.” Kay Kinsella

· “I do business all over the world and I use Skype to contact everywhere, with extremely high quality lines.” John McCarthy

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Filed under Branding, Career and choices

Swiss Currency Hurting Citigroup Consumer Relations

citi group swiss

Financial market watchdogs expect Citigroup to lose more than $150 million because of the roller coaster ups and downs of Swiss currency. But Ronn Torossian says the NYC-based currency trading company is not alone. Many top companies were caught entirely unprepared with the Swiss National bank surprisingly removed the cap on the value of the Swiss franc.

There is a larger issue, though, than the momentary – if momentous – financial setback. Now Citi – and several other financial companies – are waiting on a bailout. If it happens, the bailout will be from a private company, but that fact would not help much in the market of public opinion.

Consider, if the general public – or many news agencies – hear the words “financial company” and “bailout” in the same sentence, that could lead to an immediate PR hailstorm for the entire financial industry.

Most average investors – those with basic 401K’s and other retirement accounts – don’t understand all the facets and intricacies of the various domestic and international financial markets. But they know how they felt when their retirement accounts took a dive in the last decade. And they understand that these companies got “bailed out” by the government. Meanwhile, the average Joe got nothing for his nightmare.

That combination of functional financial illiteracy and poisonous buzzwords could make this situation very difficult for Citigroup and the other financial companies facing what could otherwise be a fairly pedestrian scenario. Yes, they need help, and, yes, they need that assistance from an outside company. But neither scenario is anything close to what happened prior to the federal bailout of investment companies after the real estate bubble burst.

But, strictly from a PR perspective, that “difference” is less than nuance. Worse, that situation could create more unrest among consumers who still blame investment banks for a very bad last few years. And worst, Citi and the other companies are not even sure the bailout will happen. They are already reportedly talking about contingency plans. That increases both this story’s time in the new cycle and the likelihood that it will get reported outside the financial news circles. Both scenarios further increase the risk of a negative response from people who will react to the news viscerally, not logically.

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Filed under Corporations

Quotes on the Importance Of Medical Research: Elie Hirschfeld, Carl Atkins & More…


Research is paramount in the medical field, and every respected doctor knows this. Research is what benchmarks Doctors and helps propel their strategies to the next level. I have compiled some of my favorite quotes on Medical Research to help serve as inspiration for anyone who is hesitant about the deep importance of Research.

  • “In every world, perhaps medical more than any other world, research matters.” Gil Lederman
  • “Medical journals help to shape our medical knowledge by supporting a theory, by challenging a theory with facts, or by deliberately pointing to new theories.” Jan P Vandenbroucke
  • “General medical journals should carry both original research, so that practitioners in the relevant fields can update their skills and knowledge along the lines of the latest international thinking, and clinical studies, so that clinicians can exchange experiences.” Joseph Ana
  • “A journal can play a very important role for airing ideas at the fringes of what is known.” David Gorski
  • “Although the Internet will undermine the news function of journals, it will greatly enhance their importance as vehicles for peer-review. As the Ingelfinger rule is relaxed and new sources of medical information appear on-line, we will be confronted with masses of medical content of unclear provenance and quality.” Elizabeth Leef Jacobson, MD
  • “Journals serve an important role as repositories of medical information. The aggregate of biomedical journals can be viewed as the accumulated knowledge of the field, more complete than any collection of textbooks and more up-to-date.” Michael Jacobson, MD
  • “A brief glance through almost any recently published medical journal will show that statistical methods are playing an increasingly visible role in modern medical research.” Dr. Jayadevan Sreedharan
  • “Print journals continue to be the most important information sources to physicians, according to the Sources & Interactions Study, September 2013: Medical/Surgical Edition.” Jaime Brewster
  • “Scientific journals play a central role in the dissemination of research results; at the same time, the importance of scientific publication in advancing the careers of research scientists has given them.” Hooman Momen
  • “Medical journals aspire to select, through peer review, the highest quality science. To achieve this, the entire peer review and publication process must be thorough, objective, and fair.” Ethics Committee of WAME
  • “Medical journals and their editorial staffs are important components of the medical profession’s infra-structure. In order to advance in academia, publication is crucial.” Elizabeth Leef Jacobson, MD
  • “The current system of journal publication has a number of advantages. Subjecting manuscripts to peer review, for all its faults, does tend to weed out reports and reviews that are flawed or weak so that publications in peer-reviewed journals are for the most part relevant, scientific­ally sound, and credible.” Timothy C. Rowe
  • “The journal receives the majority of its submissions from developing-country authors and tries, within its resources, to stimulate publication by these authors without creating double standards.” Hooman Momen
  • “Journal clubs are a good way of introducing students to science as a dynamic experimental subject and to illustrate scientific reasoning.” Eugene Lloyd
  • “Research is paramount, but in medicine – it’s vital.” Elie Hirschfeld
  • “Journal clubs are also an accessible way of supporting lifelong learning. They help you to keep up to date with relevant literature and give you the confidence to formulate your own opinion on topics through critical analysis of the literature.” Charlotte Hellmich
  • “General medical journals have been instrumental in making medicine and medical research accept medical ethics and medical ethics committees, if only by stating that they would no longer publish experiments on human beings unless they had been approved by an ethics committee.” Jan P Vandenbroucke
  • “Consumers doing homework rely upon medical reports.”  Eric Vainer
  • “Keeping a medical journal or log is an important step to  being a pro-active participant in your own health care or  that of your family members.” Venky Kulkarni
  • “The role of journals as elements of the medical hierarchy will depend on their ultimate place in the medical information marketplace. The Internet magnifies the leverage that can be gained by having the right information at the right time.” Elizabeth Leef Jacobson, MD
  • “Institutions rely on publications in peer-reviewed journals when making decisions about appointments, promotions, and accreditation, and it would be hard to find a reliable substitute.” Timothy C. Rowe
  • “The main target audience of general medical journals is practitioners and the ultimate aim is to improve patient care.” Khalid S. Khan
  • “I read journals partly to learn, but also because I enjoy reading about my field of interest and being stimulated by new ideas. Physicians need editors to keep us reading.” Carl D Atkins

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Filed under Healthcare

Sony Movie Profit Destroyed by Cyber Attack


Sony was hoping for another comedy hit in their stocking this Christmas. Maybe they will get the box office magic they are expecting from the Seth Rogen – James Franco comedy “The Interview.” But any profit will be mitigated by the fact that they are getting annihilated by a cyber attack that has opened the books of the company in an unprecedented way.

Reporters are saying that “it’s very clear” a nation state has committed this cyber crime. Some tech experts are blaming the Sony hacking scandal on North Korea.

Why would North Korea care about another slapstick yuckfest from these guys? Well, the plot of the movie is simple: Two reporters are hired to interview the head of North Korea. Then the CIA recruits the idiots to kill him. Hijinks, reportedly, ensue.

While most nation states would look at that plot, roll their eyes and get on with life, North Korea is NOT most nation states. First, they are totalitarian in every sense of the word. Next, their leader is not a political official. He is revered as a deity. In fact the current leader, Kim Jong Un, is the third in a theocratic line. Folks over there don’t take too kindly to anyone poking fun at their godlike president.

Of course, all that could be nonsense speculation. Nobody is currently certain who pulled off the worst cyber attack…ever. Well, at least nobody who is talking to the media. Somebody certainly knows. And that somebody could include various nations’ cyber crime organizations.

But that’s neither here nor there, really. The real lesson for everyone here is that you truly don’t know who’s listening in when you do what you do online. Could almost literally be anyone. Including a national government with a chip on its epaulette-bedecked shoulders.

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Filed under Social Media, Technology