Can a PR leader ask for feedback without losing authority

Leaders need to be detached. Which means getting off the dance floor and going to the balcony.

There is a strong correlation between asking for feedback and the overall effectiveness of leaders. But  can you ask for feedback without risking your authority?

Sensitive to criticism?

At times I admit to having being sensitive when people  critiqued my PR efforts. You may have experienced something similar.  Invariably we try our best so when we do fall short, it can be uncomfortable when someone highlights our failures. Yet when people offer feedback it’s a terrific opportunity to improve performance.

PR managers may have substantial authority but they are only human.
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Donald Trump: Master Messenger?

donald trump make america great.pngRight now Donald Trump leads the polls for the Republican nomination for President even though the US Presidential Election is a year or more away and early primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire are off in the distance.

Not only is he leading – and if major US polls are right – doing so by impressive margins.

People who follow US politics and who live elsewhere can only wonder how a candidate like The Donald is a serious contender for the Presidency. Particularity with a campaign performance that so far would sink any mainstream politician.

Trump is bold, brash, full-on and often offside and ventures where other Republican candidates dare not go but soon are tamely forced to follow.
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The man who invented content marketing – in 1917

Today content marketing is all the buzz but its origins go back to 1917 and a newspaper man named George Creel.George_Creel_view1

America dons khaki

When the the Unites States declared war on Germany in April 1917, the Allied Powers had been fighting since 1914.  America mobilised over 4 000 000 military personnel and the infusion of American manpower and materiel into Europe changed the course of the war.

Close on 2 000 000 Americans served in France and by November 1918 nearly 10 000 soldiers or doughboys were arriving in France every day. By the end of the War America had suffered 110 000 deaths – almost twice as many as the number of Australians who died in that brutal conflict.
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Does shopping shorten women’s lives?

Does shopping shorten women’s lives?  Yes! By 30 days each year according to John Henry Austral, Freda Gates and Mavis Bronson, fictional characters in a Freeland Advertisment 19471940s radio serial that is an early example of content marketing in Australia.

Image: State Library of Queensland

Image: State Library of Queensland

The three starred in the serial John Henry Austral which ran on Australian radio from February 1948 to December 1949. The Liberal Party of Australia sponsored the show in a bid to win the 1949 Election and warn listeners about the socialist direction the (then) Chifley Government was taking.

Today we would call John Henry Austral content marketing. 
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Groupthink kills good PR and marketing

It’s very easy to let ‘groupthink’ infiltrate PR planning.

Cass Sunstein is a Professor of Law at Harvard .

Cass Sunstein is a Professor of Law at Harvard

Statements such as I like something therefore other people must like it too (egocentric bias) can derail communications planning even before it gets properly underway. And a communications leader must be ever alert to the dangers of letting his or her team slip into repetitive patterns and not challenging assumptions.

US legal academic and former Obama official Professor Cass R Sunstein of Harvard University writes:

” People tend to ignore the long term; to be unduly afraid of losses; to display unrealistic optimism; to make self serving judgements: and to deal poorly with risks.
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5 tips for non-PR bosses approving PR plans

What happens when the Communicator-in-Chief lacks a PR or marketing background?

Some time in the new year someone will ask you to endorse your organisation’s communications plans for 2015. Which is fine.  You either manage the communications team or are responsible for its PR campaigns.

The decisions you make will determine how the dollars are spent, the priorities for your staff and, most importantly, how your brand is expressed. Yet you may have no training or imagebackground in communications or be new to the job.

Communications is a top role for CEOs. I’d say along with strategic planning it’s the single most important thing you do! 
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Paint it red: the power of posters

Recently I visited the Propaganda Poster Art Centre in Shanghai and was reminded of the power of simple in communications.

Propaganda art poster - factory workers

The Centre holds over 5000 propaganda posters mostly from the Maoist era and the Cultural Revolution and shows visitors the popularity and power of this art form in China.  The Chinese Communist Party used this medium for decades.

Today anyone can use digital media to create and share imagery in an instant.  But from 1949 – when Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Communists came to power on mainland China till the 1980s – posters were popular tools for government communication.
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3 content marketing wishes for 2015

2015_desk_calendar_pc_103721

Courtesy of joyfilleddays.com

Happy New Year!

Here’s three things I wish for content marketers wherever they are … and for you personally.

Firstly, may your campaigns succeed.  There’s no greater buzz than when your communication efforts really take off and the numbers roll in.  That could be media impressions, new customers, comments or clicks.  However you measure success I hope you get to experience that excitement at least one time this year.

Secondly, I hope you have the opportunity to learn at least one new communications skill this year.  The world is moving so fast and the crucial question to always ask is am I moving at the same pace or trailing behind? 
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Who’s telling your story?

Australians expect Ministers and CEOs to shoot for the positives and downplay the negatives when presenting an issue. But do we trust authority figures and could ordinary people do a better job?

Jules and Amber

Real people can be the best spokespersons. Norma, Adrian, Amber and Jules spoke during the Cocos campaign.

Who’s your spokesperson?

Default setting

Most organisations choose a default setting when it comes to presenting an issue to the public. They choose the most powerful individual in their agency or company, then he or she steps forward to speak on everything for everyone.  It’s fine if they succeed but if they don’t then everyone in the organisation tumbles over the metaphorical cliff.
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