Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Presidential Endorsement

I am always in tune to comments that leaders make about communication and its importance. As you can imagine my interest was piqued when President Barack Obama broached the subject with CBS News earlier this month.

I read about the President’s comments in professional communicator Robert J. Holland’s recent blog post, “Storyteller-in-Chief.” And just as Mr. Holland states in his post, I must stress this is NOT a commentary on politics. Asked to name the biggest successes and mistakes of his presidency to date, President Obama cited a failure “to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

Regardless of what you think of the President’s remarks or his time in office, there is a point that we all can take away from this. It is about the value of communication and perception.

I have seen this notion in the corporate world many times. There is always a need to highlight progress and achievements to superiors and investors, to illustrate for them how you have delivered on what you promised. There is always a need to help employees understand business objectives and the role they play in reaching them. And there is always a need to show customers the value your products and services provide. In other words, what does it all mean and why does it matter?

Stories give us this context. Using them to present your work in way that is meaningful and relevant to your constituents is essential.

Journalists and good PR people have known this for a long time. We do it well.

Thanks for the endorsement, Mr. President.

Crisis, anyone?

It would be an understatement to say this has been a rough week on the PR front for Penn State, Chick-fil-A, and even the girl from Twilight whose name I don’t remember. Maybe it’s a case of when it rains, it pours. Maybe it’s just a slow news week. Whatever the case, I cannot think of a time in recent history when more PR crises have unfolded within such a short span of time.

Fortunately for those of us who are tired of hearing about it all, Olympics coverage begins tomorrow and a happier, more unifying mood should reign…at least on our TV screens.

All that said, I find it interesting that AIG, poster child for the beginning of the U.S. financial crisis, chose today to launch a rebranding effort aimed at repairing its image. The insurance company is using a series of YouTube videos to tell us they have changed, they have paid back their debt to the American taxpayers and then some, and they are going to do better. Here are two of the videos:

Maybe a release date of July 26 has been circled on their calendars for months to take advantage of the fact major media outlets will be focused on the Olympic Games. Maybe they considered the pro-American spirit that the Olympics always seems to bring out in our country and thought it could make us more receptive to the “we stand by our promise to the USA” themes in their messaging. For that matter, we may even see similar TV ads from AIG wedged between Rhythmic Gymnastics and Ping Pong.

If this date wasn’t carefully chosen, they are awfully lucky. At worst, AIG’s campaign may receive some public backlash in the Twitterverse, but it won’t make many headlines. And it isn’t just Michael Phelps they should thank. There is so much attention focused on other high profile reputation crises this week, not to mention a movie theater massacre, most Americans will hardly take notice. AIG, who?

Timing is everything.

What do you think? Was AIG’s YouTube campaign carefully timed to take advantage of the Olympics and minimize any negative response? Or are they just lucky to be one of many in a PR-challenged crowd this week?

Open for Business


First dollar collected – July 2012

I am very excited to announce that Amy Minchin Creative is open for business. Earlier this month I left my corporate job of 13 years with a great company to pursue a long time dream of working for myself as a freelance writer and communications consultant. I am hanging out the proverbial shingle. So far I am having a great time meeting new people and working on new projects. I plan to use this blog to pass along updates and insights related to business, communications, marketing, social media or whatever I find interesting. Thanks for visiting and please leave a comment or question any time!