Sword and the Script

Without Tension, there is No Storytelling



by Frank Strong

Without Tension there is No Storytelling

“Your company isn’t just an organization. It is a story,” according to a Storytelling Guide by Nasdaq Media Intelligence.

The paper, which is quick and easy primer on storytelling, defines a story as “a character in pursuit of a goal in the face of some challenge or obstacle.”

It seems simple enough, but corporate communications often stops with just two parts of a three-part framework – a character in pursuit of a goal.  This happens because corporate leaders tend to get hemmed up over revealing obstacles, or what Lou Hoffman often refers to as tension in storytelling: Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Fish Out of Water: Shark Week, Science and Storytelling



by Frank Strong

Fish Out of Water Shark Week Science and Storytelling

Stories are entertaining and people are hardwired to retain stories.

Journalists, PR pros and increasingly of late, marketers, are increasingly focused on telling stories as a technique for getting information across.

Fill up an article, video or presentation with compelling statistics and a few stories to go along with it – and people won’t recall the statistics, but they will remember the stories.

There’s a certain danger, or responsibility perhaps, that goes along with storytelling. The danger exists when the mix between information and entertainment – leans more heavily on theater than it does on facts.

It’s a dangerous combination Neil Postman called “infotainment.”  Entertainment gets the ratings, but we haven’t learned anything.  In fact, we might be dumber for the consumption. Postman said we were “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

What if NYC Made WTC BASE Jumping an Annual Event?



by Frank Strong

What if NYC Made BASE Jumping an Annual Event

In 2013 three BASE jumpers snuck into the World Trade Center in the wee hours of the morning, climbed to the top, and jumped off with parachutes.

The trio filmed the stunt, were later tracked down by authorities and charged with criminal offenses including a felony.

About two years later, in June 2015, the three were acquitted of the felony but found guilty on lesser counts. The bottom of an NBC 4 New York article summarizes the issues succinctly:

The New Yorkers pleaded not guilty to felony burglary, reckless endangerment and other charges in the leap, which was captured in a YouTube video. The stunt raised questions about security at the then-unfinished skyscraper.

The parachutists acknowledge making the jump. They said that they didn’t imperil anyone and that the charges are overreaching by embarrassed authorities.

Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

What Native Ads Mean for PR



by Frank Strong

What Native Ads Mean for PR

Following the likes of BuzzFeed, Gawker and the WaPo, among other media outlets, CNN is going all in on native advertising with an in-store studio or so to speak.

Writing for a WSJ business blog, Steven Perlberg reported:

CNN is creating an in-house studio that will produce news-like content on behalf of advertisers, a move that reflects marketers’ growing desire for articles and videos that feel like editorial work.

About a dozen staffers (made up of journalists, filmmakers and designers) will help launch the new unit, called Courageous. The division will fashion and distribute “branded content” across CNN’s fleet of properties, from TV to the Web and newer platforms like Snapchat…

…But the idea now is to work more closely with companies to highlight things that may have news value, such as the building of a manufacturing plant or a philanthropic effort, according to Otto Bell, the lead of the studio and former creative director at OgilvyEntertainment.

Mr. Bell said that his team would be staffed with “folks who have journalistic instincts” who would go into a company and “find that newsworthy element and extract that.”

Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

6 Ways to Get More from your PR Agency



by Frank Strong

6 Ways to Get More from your PR Agency

I’ll never forget that new CMO.  He had just moved to Virginia from San Francisco to take the top marketing job at tech start-up.  California tan, cufflinks and all the “I’m from Silicon Valley” swagger he needed round it out.

He also had an incredible amount of pressure. As a new CMO, he was in the hot seat to make something out of nothing, to put that start-up on the map and help it figure out how to win some customers and define a market.

It wasn’t just business, it was personal:  he had moved his whole family from one coast to the other.  It’s a 3,000 mile trip for anyone counting.

At the time, I worked for a PR firm he inherited from his predecessor. He seemed willing to give us a go (where the CMO playbook usually involves switching agencies after the second down), and there’s no doubt we were enthusiastic about it, but there was one big problem:  a lack of everything. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

8 Corporate Communications Tips for Hiring a PR Firm



by Frank Strong

8 Corporate Communication Tips for Hiring a PR Agency

Hiring a PR firm for the corporate communications mix is a sizable undertaking but it usually boils down to picking the right people. As such identifying and selecting a firm is a big decision that deserves a thorough examination of the proposed team.

As the employers I’ve represented have grown larger, the firms I’ve engaged have grown smaller. That’s not by accident, and though I’ve managed a half-dozen or so firms in my tenure, including international firms, I tend to favor a smaller shops, that are nimble, highly responsive, provide access to the firm’s leadership and by virtue of being a small business, have some of their own skin in the game.

My views on hiring the best PR firm for an organization are pretty strong and I’d like to believe based on a broad perspective.  Here’s what has worked for me and I hope of assistance to you. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

The Steep Mental Exercise of Child’s Hill



by Frank Strong

The Steep Mental Exercise of Child’s Hill

The team was undefeated but race with a formidable opponent was coming up soon.  The opposition has the “home field” advantage in that the next cross country meet would be held in their town, on their 3.1 mile course, of which the last mile was virtually all uphill.

The hill had a name that would mislead the casual reader, or even, the casual runner: Child’s Hill.

For most of the season we’d been able to do what most could not: get seven runners over the finish line faster than any other team in the league.  At this next race, Child’s Hill was to be the difference, according to the opposing coach as reported in our town newspaper.

The Hardest Sport in the World

Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

5 Things that College Didn’t Teach Me about PR



A contributed post by Sydney Holmquist

5 Things that College Didn’t Teach Me about Public Relations

College is simultaneously the longest and shortest time period for young adults. Wanting to be done with the endless exams and thick textbooks while not really being ready for the unexpected “real world” that creeps closer by the day. The truth is though that no amount of schooling will ever really prepare you for the real world as it’s a completely different ball game.

As a public relations major in college I practiced writing press releases, read about case studies and grasped the big differences between PR and other fields such as advertising. My professors were great and I loved my classes – but it wasn’t until I started my last internship, which ended up segueing into my first job in the PR field that I began to discover the inner workings of PR.  Quickly, I realized how different it is from what you learn in school.

Below I’ve outlined 5 things that college cannot teach you about public relations: Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More

Visibility is a Commodity; Trust is the Ultimate Conversion



by Frank Strong

Visibility is a Commodity Trust is the Ultimate Conversion

It was the third comment this week.  The comment was vaguely related so as to give the appearance of relevance. It was also exuberant in its enthusiasm so as to pass as complimentary.  And it dropped a hyperlink.

For many that manage blogs, news sites and other online media, comments used to be welcomed as a sign of interest, engagement and resonance.  Today comments have become a part of a two-ways scourge, sometimes vitriolic and the rest simply spam.

Both varieties are useless, but the difference is remarkable.  The former is driven by passion, however misguided, and the latter is likely a service for which an unsuspecting buyer is paying. Read More…

Be Sociable, Share!
Read More
12345...1020...»