.... my 2 cents ....
musings on marketing, media, public relations....and life,
by David Reich
Reich Communications, Inc.
Reich Communications, Inc. is a boutique public relations agency in New York City offering full service in a variety of areas, with specializations in business-to-business; advertising, marketing and media firms; transportation safety; non-profits, and select consumer products and services. . . .
For more info, call us at (212) 573-6000, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 914-325-9997. .
We are located at 228 East 45th Street, Suite 11-South, in New York City 10017. .
For some examples of our work, scroll down to "Categories" below and click on "What We Do..."
Despite all the talk of changes in the media landscape and continuing bluster about "fake" news, 2018 should present many of the same old challenges for the Public Relations practice.
Media remain media, whether traditional or "new" media. The editors and content producers still want material that will draw the attention of readers and viewers. That means that we in PR must think like editors and provide story ideas and background that's relevant. We must spend time to develop a good pitch that clearly and succinctly outlines what we are offering and why it is relevant and timely. These days, a good email subject line is crucial.
How we in PR maintain contact with editors and producers has changed from when I first got into the field. Way back, you had meetings and lunches with editors, in order to pitch your story ideas. These days, media people have little free time for lunch or even desk-side meetings. They take pitches by email and sometimes via Twitter and other social media. And since the news cycle is 24/7, journalists often respond by email during the "off" hours of the evening or weekends. Long gone is the 9-5 business day.
Relationships with key journalists are still important, but many of those relationships are now digital or by phone only. The relationships come from reliably providing story ideas and/or interview subjects.
Planning is still important, since non-breaking stories are often determined days or more in advance. Yet we must remain alert to fast-breaking things happening in the world and online, including what's going around on social media. There seems to be a lot more to try to keep track of.
What has changed most during the past two years is that the entire news cycle can be -- and often is -- totally disrupted by a presidential tweet. Despite all the planning, relationship-building and carefully crafted pitching, journalists can at the last moment be totally sidetracked onto other stories. Or the time and space that might normally be allotted for your story may disappear as seemingly every moment or column inch gets devoted to a tweet and its fallout.
That's the new reality in the news and PR business. That's not to say PR hasn't always been a challenging field whose results often rely on things beyond our control. The challenges have changed a bit.
But when it works, public relations can be powerful and cost-effective in shaping thoughts and actions.
Here's something I posted two years ago, but I feel it's worth repeating at this time of year. I hope you enjoy it.
My daughter Jennifer was taking her older son Jack, 10, to school recently and, as he got out of the car, he asked a question that worries many parents at this time of year. His question -- "Is Santa real?"
Jen didn't have a simple answer, so she said it was complicated and she'd tell him when he got home from school. She thought about it and wrote down her thoughts in a beautiful letter that I'm sharing below, with Jen's permission.
An interesting side note... Jen is Jewish and her husband Jon is Christian. The boys, Jack and his brother Gabriel, 6, are being raised with traditions from both faiths. Not necessarily the religious dogma, but traditions like lighting the menorah on Chanukah, having matzoh for Passover and, of course, at this time of year decorating the Christmas tree and waiting for Santa.
I am so proud of my daughter for expressing her thoughts so beautifully and helping keep alive a beautiful tradition that makes this time of year magical for so many people -- especially children. Wouldn't it be nice if in this way we could all retain our inner child?
Here's Jen's note to my grandson Jack...
You asked a really good question earlier and I didn’t have time to answer it then. It is a question I knew was coming sooner than later, and I had a feeling it might come around this Christmas. It is a question that parents all over the word have to face at some time, and it is bittersweet. So I came home and gave it some serious thought and here is my answer to your question, “Is Santa real?”
Yes and no. Your image of Santa, as a big, fat, jolly man in a red suit and a beard, flying all over the world in s sleigh, is not real. You are a smart kid and you probably have questioned for some time how that could be possible. The presents under the tree that are from Santa are in fact from Daddy and I, and we fill the stockings too. After you and your brother go to sleep on Christmas Eve, Daddy and I are hard at work, sneaking quietly to make Christmas magical- just like Grammy and Poppy did for Daddy, and their parents did for them.
And that is where the other part of the answer comes in- Santa may not be real in the way you thought, but the spirit of him is a real part of Christmas. The story of Santa has been around for hundreds of years and the magic his story creates for children is a beautiful thing. And for adults too! I know that Santa is not real in an actual sense, but I still believe in his spirit as a grown up. I still feel the beauty and magic and love on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, even though I know the truth. And I hope you will too.
Santa teaches love and magic, and hope and happiness. He creates the ability to believe that anything is possible, that there are miracles in the world, and that giving to others freely is the surest way to fill your heart- and theirs- with joy.
So while now you may know that Santa himself isn’t sneaking down our chimney at night, I sincerely hope that you can still believe in the magic and beauty of his story. I hope that Christmas still feels special for you and that one day, you will make the Santa story come alive for your own children.
Learning about Santa is a big step in growing up. I have to admit, I shed a tear or two writing this as there is a certain part of childhood you are leaving behind. But here is the neat thing: you now get to be a creator of this magic, a helper, and elf, if you will. It is important to let each child realize the Santa story on their own, or the magic can be ruined. You are now a guardian of Santa- like Daddy and I have been for you. You must keep his story alive for those that still believe, like your brother and your friends. It is a really big responsibility but one that you must take seriously. You can now help spread the love and the belief in miracles and the magic of Santa- you are now on his team, as Daddy and I have been for all the Christmas mornings you can remember. Welcome.
You may have more questions, and I am happy to answer them. Or you may just need to let this sit for a while. Just know that while the Santa you see at the mall surely is not real, the love and generosity and spirit of kindness and giving that he instills in people is very real and very important. Be sure to carry the Santa story with you in your heart forever.
A story in Sunday’s New York Times about elevator operators in New York prompted some memories I’ll share here. I think it makes for a welcome change from my usual marketing-related posts peppered with posts complaining about what’s happening with our government these days.
The Times article says out of 69,381 passenger elevators in the five boroughs, probably fewer than 200 are the old-fashioned manually operated kind. Years ago, there were probably thousands.
I have two memories of those manual elevators, usually run by uniform-clad operators.
First memory… I was one of those uniform-clad elevator operators.
One summer during college, I worked as a doorman/elevator operator at the Parc Vendome, a beautiful old complex of four apartment buildings surrounding an interior courtyard on 57th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. I had a uniform, complete with a hat, and among tenants who were my passengers were gossip columnist Earl Wilson, the acerbic comedian Jack E. Leonard, a couple of long-ago movie actresses whose names I can’t remember now, and the grandmother of one of the Monkees – Michael Nesmith, I think – who used to visit her occasionally.
It wasn’t a bad job. When I worked the elevator, I was able to sit and read while waiting for calls. Working as the doorman, I had to stand outside, so I couldn’t read, although I did enjoy people-watching, especially the pretty young actresses who worked on the soap operas then taped at the CBS Broadcast Center on the next block.
The Parc Vendome had elegant wood-paneled Otis elevators, run by a throttle with two speeds up and two speeds down. No inside door, just a metal gate I’d open and close by hand. On my first day on the job, one of the regulars took me on some training runs, teaching me how to get the floor of the car exactly lined up so passengers wouldn’t trip as they stepped in or out. Early on, I’d get to the floor and then have to make a few little ups and downs to get the cab lined up properly with the floor.
The buildings had 19 or 20 floors and the guy training me said I needed to keep count of what floor I was on so I’d know when to slow down for a stop. And, he said, be especially careful when you’re getting to the top or bottom of the elevator shaft, because “you don’t want to crash through the roof or slam into the basement.”
What?! For the first day, I was terrified, with visions of crashing into the basement, injuring or killing myself and my passengers. I’d be focused on the floor numbers painted on the elevator shaft as they’d whiz by past the metal gate, praying I didn’t lose count. After a day or so, I asked one of the other operators if he’d ever lost count. He said, yes, all the time, but then he explained that the elevators had safety devices so if you got too close to the top or bottom at full speed, the cab would automatically slow down and stop before hitting anything.
I had fallen for the rookie elevator operator prank.
My other memory of manual elevators was from several years later, when I worked at a PR agency in Rockefeller Center – 630 Fifth Avenue. Back then, all the Rock Center buildings had uniformed elevator operators, although I think those machines were just two speed jobs – one speed up and one down. They were more modern than the ones I ran at the Parc Vendome, and much easier to operate and get a smooth landing with the cab level with the floor.
One of the operators on the elevator bank going to my office was a guy named Spencer. He was a short, older black gentleman with short white hair and a wonderful smile. The amazing thing about Spencer was he knew the name of everyone on his elevator bank. There had to be a few hundred people or more who took Spencer’s elevator every day, and he would warmly greet everyone by name. If, during the brief exchanges that could take place between the lobby and your floor, you mentioned something about your family or about something you were doing, he’d remember and ask about it on the trip up or down the next day.
Spencer made the start of each day a good one. It was sad to see progress come in and replace the manual elevators with automatic ones that no longer required an operator. Spencer was put on one of the freight elevators, so I didn’t see him much after that except when I sought him out.
Going to and from work just wasn’t the same, though.
As a moderate liberal, there’s an awful lot happening in government that makes me frustrated, angry and sometimes demoralized about where our country is headed.
I could (and eventually will) talk about things like the crazy and unfair tax plan, the dismantling of laws and agencies designed to protect us from financial, health and environmental harm caused by business and government, attacks on personal freedoms, freedom of the press… and lots more.
But today, I offer up a humble proposal to protect one of our fundamental rights – a free and unfettered ability to vote – that has come under attack. I am not talking about possible collusion with Russia by the Republicans and specifically the campaign of our sitting president, although that certainly needs continued investigation. Related to that, however, is the broader issue of foreign interference in our elections.
There is mounting evidence that Russia had been playing games to impact the 2016 election, and there’s no reason to assume this will only continue in future U.S. elections. Despite the total lack of interest or concern about this from the Oval Office, both houses of Congress have committees looking into what may have happened. And since both investigations are controlled by the ruling Republicans, the investigations are in jeopardy of being shut down without any real conclusions drawn or any recommendations for actions to prevent future foreign meddling in our elections.
What can we do? What should we do?
If the Congressional committees fold with no real conclusion and/or if the president foolishly fires Mueller and tries to end the special counsel and FBI investigations, Democrats in the House and Senate should simply take matters into their own hands. Even without official Senate or House support or sanction, Democrats (and possibly moderate and fair-minded Republicans) should continue to conduct their own independent and honest investigations. It will be difficult at times, since they won’t have official power to call witnesses, but they should continue nonetheless.
And as they do so, information should be made public, directly and via the media, even in the face of claims of fake news, partisanship and worse sure to fly from presidential tweetstorms.
Hopefully, it will not come to that. But if Senate and House and FBI investigations are shut down by a White House that is seemingly more and more authoritarian – actually, more Nazi-like – by the day, drastic actions will need to be taken. Short of anarchy and storming the White House and Capitol, a Democrats-led investigation may be a solution, however imperfect it may be.
Even as the president continues to refer to it as the ‘failing New York Times,’ the “newspaper of record” is enjoying record-breaking readership and subscriptions.
A memo from the Times’ top editorial team says the paper now has 2-1/2 million digital subscriptions, a million print subscribers and more than 130 million readers every month. That’s twice the paper’s total audience only two years ago.
Ironically, the president probably has something to do with The Times' ballooning audience. With all the lies and "alternate reality" coming from the president and his White House henchmen, more people are now looking to media outlets they can trust for real and accurate news...The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major papers.
So thank you, Mr. president, for helping the New York Times grow. Its digital revenues jumped from $400 million two years ago toward its goal of $800 million by 2020, hopefully offsetting ongoing drops in print ad revenues that are hardly exclusive to The Times.
The editors have declared 2018 as “the year of audience,” which means they intend to do their best “to compete for audience time and attention and demonstrate to readers that Times journalism is so valuable it’s worth paying for.”
130,000,000 readers a month....if that's what "failing" looks like, then keep on failing New York Times. We need you now, more than ever.