Can Border Force regain reputation?

Australian Border Force (ABF) is only weeks old yet its first major public relations effort has been a disaster.


Yesterday a strong community and media backlash quashed plans for Operation Fortitude where ABF officers were to join Victorian Police and other enforcement officers to crack down on anti-social behaviour in Melbourne.

The ABF’s role appears to have been to check on people overstaying visas.

Poorly conceived

Putting darkly clad public servants on city streets to check immigration papers was never going to be popular.  There is no Australian precedent and while compliance raids have taken place for years previously they were targeted at specific, suspected illegalities and announced after the fact.
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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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Why ‘unplugging’ should be Your New Year’s resolution

Leslie Grossman, Vistage Chair to CEOs and author of Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chair of Lasting Connections, blogged recently about the need to restore balance and get off the digital treadmill.

Leslie GrossmanHere’s her wise words – reprinted with her permission.

Isn’t it ironic? With an estimate of 500 million tweets/day, Twitter says that among the top 10 New Year’s resolutions tweeted by their users, ‘Unplug’ is the 5th most popular.   As expected, ‘work out’ and ‘lose weight’ are number 1 and 3. ‘Be happy’ and ‘stop smoking’ are number 2 and 4. For the first time, ‘unplug’ has made the top ten.
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3 content marketing wishes for 2015


Courtesy of

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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Communications during Sydney siege

In a time when trust is low Australians can be reassured by how Government and the media communicated the drama of the Martin Place siege.

The hostage siege in Martin Place ended at around 2:00am this morning with three people tragically killed.  As the necessary legal processes take their course it will be sometime before the complete picture of what happened is known.  Already some communications issues have emerged.martin-place-siege-sydney

Authorities respond well

Well done to the national and NSW State authorities from the Prime Minister down for the way they managed communications. Throughout the 16 hour siege they communicated with clarity, confidence and compassion – the hallmarks of effective crisis communications.
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Caveats are killing our communications

The fictional Malcolm Tucker of the UK series 'In the Thick of It' was a master at masking communications

The fictional Malcolm Tucker in the UK series ‘In the Thick of It’ was masterful at manipulating communications

Overusing caveats is one reason trust in government and corporates is disappearing fast 

Today so much official communications is shrouded in caveats and it’s getting harder to separate substance from spin.

Phrases like these are commonly used by spokespeople, ministers and managers to stall media, protect reputations and hide information: We can’t talk about this because the matter is:

  • Before the courts
  • Commercial in confidence
  • Impinges on privacy
  • Involves national security
  • A decision has not been finalised
  • Negotiations are continuing

I’m sure each probably originated for perfectly good reasons, but now they are often the response of first choice and thrown up as barriers and reasons not to communicate.
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Malaysian Airlines PR faces further tragedy


(image courtesy of Bloomberg)

Our hearts are broken for those who died on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on Thursday. The instant that air to ground missile hit the plane, hundreds of lives ended and families around the globe were plunged into despair.

Also spare a thought for Malaysian Airlines staff now forced to deal with another calamity. Company communicators may have just gotten over the heartbreak surrounding the disappearance of MH370. Now they must communicate through another tragedy.  The pressure from world media for information will be enormous as these communicators struggle to come to terms with their personal loss of colleagues, possibly friends.
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