Do you know what 'Greenwash' means? It is a portmanteau (= a new word formed by joining two others) of green and whitewash. It means the actions of a company, which advertises positive environmental practices while acting in the opposite way.
For instance, when more money or time has been spent advertising being green, rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices.
'Clean coal' is a good example of greenwash. Clean coal means coal chemically washed of minerals and impurities with the purpose of eradicating sulfur dioxide and other pollution. It designed to enhance the environmental acceptability of coal use.
Prominent environmentalists believe that the term clean coal is misleading: "There is no such thing as 'clean coal' and there never will be. It's an oxymoron".
Let us see it schematically. This is how the general model
'From Input to Output' looks like:
This is a more specific model when you have some Dangerous Phenomenon as an Input,
you fulfill your Action (PR move = Decoration),
and finally you receive your result (= you present the initial Dangerous Phenomenon as a Friendly Phenomenon instead):
Now you specify the initial general model even more. The Input (= Dangerous Phenomenon) turns to be "Coal", the Action (= Decoration) is Greenwash, and the Output (= Friendly Phenomenon) is "Clean Coal":
This is a simple PR tactics of giving something dangerous a more friendly name.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
What is the "Cultural Globalization"? Cross-cultural contacts; consuming and enjoying foreign ideas; participating in a world culture.
So how does it apply to me and my family?
I have bought an album of the band 'HaBanot Nehama' (= 'consolation girls'). Three girls singing with acoustic guitar. Very fresh music. What impressed me that these girls sing in two languages: both Hebrew and English, this language transition taking place very naturally inside a song. I mean first of all their song 'So far'. I even don't always pay attention which language they sing at the moment.
I think this is a good product of the Cultural Globalization.
I have given this album to my daughter to listen.
I see this language transition as a fine PR move.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I am going to change my usual theme: instead of writing on PR tips in the public life, I am writing now about my recent experience with my family. Specifically, with my daughter. Positive experience is worth talking about. We learn from it.
So now I am talking about an event with my daughter. It is about some cultural / spiritual experience. It is about an attempt / effort to actively construct an educational situation.
The background is this: there was a movie on TV last Sunday about Jan Vermeer, a Dutch painter (1632 - 1675). 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' is the movie's name. It is about a Vermeer's painting with the same name.
So, I used this situation to connect several resources into one psychological / cultural / spiritual / educational move. These resources were:
a. The above-mentioned movie on TV.
b. My daughter (15 years old) is taking lessons on painting. So there was a ground for discussing the paintings shown in the movie.
c. I found the painting 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' on the web, showed her, and discussed with her.
d. As it turned out later, my daughter knows about the actress Scarlett Johansson (playing one of the main parts in the movie). So this helped her to feel connected to the movie.
e. Additionally, there is an interesting psychological point in this movie. I mean the main character, the painter Jan Vermeer. His personality is very interesting. His manner of talking to the girl serving in his house (the same girl we see on the painting) is worth learning if we wish to learn talking non-aggressively.
For example, when he orders her to grind paints for oil-colors, she answers she has no time because she is very busy with her main tasks as cleaning, shopping, cooking. How does he answer her? Does he show any aggression? Nervousness? Irritation? No. He just tells her: 'Make time'.
When you have a chance and resources to create an educational situation / move, do it.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
What do you prefer: to draw the crowds or to get the votes? Jim Horton has noticed that Barack Obama is drawing the crowds but Hillary Clinton is getting the votes. Why?
Not all the population is likely to vote. The essential voters are only those who are going to vote, and they are a minority of the population.
So you don't need to reach all the voters, it is certainly not anyone in your state. There are only certain groups of public you must reach.
PR tip is to focus on targeting the right groups of public at the right time.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
When you look at the overhead aerial image of the building of a Naval base in California, you see a strange thing: this building, which from above, looks like a swastika (= the symbol of Nazism).
This instance is about a negative effect. However, I am trying to derive a positive effect, a positive PR tip: pay attention how you look from every possible angle.
Use overhead aerial images of buildings in the way you prefer.
Friday, September 28, 2007
I have read about General Musharraf saying there is now genuine democracy in Pakistan.
Once I wrote already: Want the people to think you are a genius? Just tell them about it.
Now we see the similar principle in the above instance of General Musharraf.
Want to promote PR on a specific point? Just say it.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Three months ago I wrote about information viruses. Now we have a new instance of such a virus.
When asked why democracy was not taking hold in Iraq, Bush said that it was because the people of Iraq are still traumatized by Saddam’s rule, and that Saddam killed all the Mandelas. (Nelson Mandela was a freedom fighter in South Africa.)
This Bush's saying 'Saddam killed all the Mandelas' being right or wrong, still people repeat it. So this is the main point in public relations: to build a construction to be repeated by the public.
A PR tip to make the public talk about you and propagate your words is to launch an information virus capable of self-propagating.
As you know, the 2008 Summer Olympics will be celebrated in Beijing, People's Republic of China. However, concern has been raised over the air quality of Beijing and its potential effect on the athletes.
The Chinese will do something before the Olympics. One of the moves is to erect Solar panels. Even if they will be mainly for show. Putting a few Solar panels won’t cure any pollution issues but will be a good public relations move. Beijing will definitely try to show that they are committed to the environmental cause to all the visitors and the media.
So, which PR tip can be derived from it? Raise a small but visible piece to display you care about a big issue.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
President Putin has been photographed bare-chested, with his perfect muscles on proud display. It was quite audacious demonstration of political self-confidence from a political leader. Vladimir Putin certainly absorbed everything one needs to know about psychological warfare. How many of the politicians do you estimate would emerge enhanced if their torsos were laid out for all to see on a summer fishing trip?
What Vlad’s tactical strip has revealed is the continuing role that nudity plays in male power relations.
However, not only the nudity is the point. If you have anything good to show - show it. That's a PR tip about it.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
This book by Carol Pearson, Ph.D., and Hugh Marr, Ph.D., WHAT STORY ARE YOU LIVING?, is talking about so called Archetype. We are all heroes of our own life stories. We live according to some archetype (Innocent, Orphan, Warrior, Caregiver etc.).
So what is the PR tip about it? When you appeal to some specific public, learn the archetype of that public. What does that public think of itself? What story is it living?
Friday, August 17, 2007
When you don't update the content of your web site, the customer may find wrong information. It's frustrating. The customer asks whether the information can be trusted. See this article of Jim Horton about it.
So what is the PR tip here? Update your site at least monthly. And, more important, let everyone know the very fact that you update your site.
Friday, August 10, 2007
This article advises to remember faith-based communities when identifying target public.
Faith-based communities are large, active, and influential. They are well organized and have regular methods of communicating via websites, newsletters, direct mail, and face-to-face interactions. For example, if your restaurant is near a church, make sure your hours and staffing can accommodate parishioners before and after church services, and let the church leaders know you are happy to serve their members. If you are near a Jewish temple, you may want to offer some authentic Jewish and kosher food items.
The PR tip here is to remember faith-based communities when identifying target public for your PR efforts.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
In an extraordinary public admission in July, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (popularly known as Lula) confessed that he fears for his life when flying under the current conditions.
"It's no secret to any Brazilian that we have an aviation crisis," he said. "Personally, when the airplane door closes, I deliver myself to God. Even with my luck in the hands of God, I confess I'm afraid. I confess this publicly because I am not embarrassed to say we are afraid." Silva vowed to "do what has to be done and spend what has to be spent" to make air travel safe in Brazil.
The PR tip to induce the public to talk about you is to make an extraordinary public admission.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Jessica Simpson’s (an American pop singer and actress) recent divorce further increased her popularity. Why? Because people wish to relate to others. They wish to relate to somebody facing similar problems. Ordinary people are struggling all the time, and they wish to see they are not alone.
So, showing you struggling improves your image.
The PR tip is to share your own personal challenges, battles and triumphs, because you inspire your target audience to continue working to overcome their problems.
Friday, July 27, 2007
A Russian expedition set sail on July 25 for the North Pole, where it plans to send a mini-submarine crew to plant a flag on the seabed and symbolically claim the Arctic for the Kremlin.
The objective is to be the first to put a flag there, a Russian flag at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, at the very point of the North Pole. Legal and defence experts see the move as part of a Russian push to assert itself globally and equally, a canny public relations move.
How are they going to fulfill it? If all goes according to plan, the nuclear-powered icebreaker Rossiya will smash through the ice, leading the way for the main expedition ship, which will launch the submarine. We are talking about a small submarine for three members of the team. A Mir submersible vehicle will delve 4,000 meters to the bottom of the ocean beneath the pole.
Which PR tip can we learn from this example? Wish to claim your rights to some territory? Wish to make PR about your success in a new scope? So stake a visible/ concrete/ real/ physical object to prove it.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
These are alternate titles for PR people you can find in the media:
Digital Media Manager
Communications Planning Director
Media and Advertising Coordinator
Director of News and PR
PR pro (= professional)
PRO (= public relations officer)
PR trend setter
So which name is the most appropriate?
Thursday, July 5, 2007
After the BBC's Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston's release on July 4, Hamas made a great PR on his release. David Miliband, Foreign Secretary praised Palestinian leaders, including Hamas: “I fully acknowledge the crucial role they have played in securing this happy outcome."
You should learn to make such PR moves when necessary. First, encourage somebody (let's call him an X-person) to fulfill a dirty work (= take a hostage etc.). Second, remove/ eliminate the X-person, solve the problem and show/ portray/ present yourself as a great leader/ hero/ liberator.
To present yourself as a great hero, encourage an X-person to fulfill a dirty work, then eliminate the same X-person.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Everyone is talking about Katsav's (= Former Israel’s president, Moshe Katsav) plea bargain. What do I say? Is he guilty or not? I don't know exactly. I know only what I hear and see on the media. So I hear that in January Attorney General (= State Prosecutor) Menachem Mazuz announced he planned to indict Katsav on charges of rape. But he allowed Katsav's attorneys (two famous lawyers of high caliber) to appear before him at a hearing in May to plead their case. After that hearing he changed his decision (new evidence was presented, he told, but did not give further details). Now according to the deal, Katsav will plead guilty to several counts of sexual harassment. The more serious rape charges have been dropped. Harassment instead of rape. Suspended jail sentence.
I suppose: much depends on your attorneys ability to persuade. The persuasion means not only new evidence. It means, first of all, presentation to the State Prosecutor the ability to distress his life if he does not obey.
The real principle to persuade a high rank person is to present/ show/ demonstrate to him/her your ability to distress/ trouble his/her life afterwards.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Avigdor Lieberman (Strategic Affairs Minister of Israel) said on June 22 he was opposed to government plans to funnel funds and arms to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to embolden / prop up his security forces. Then he added a statement which caused a lot of PR noise: "It has been proven that transferring arms and money to Fatah strengthen terror elements. Even if we supply Abbas with F-16 jets, he has no ability and no chance (to fight Hamas)".
What happened next, all the news releases began repeating his phrase on F-16. As well as a computer virus is capable of reproducing itself, an information virus is capable of spreading itself.
I am talking neither about the essence of the matter on F-16, nor about my personal attitude.
I am talking only about the capability of self propagating.
The PR move to propagate your idea is to build an information virus.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Rudy Giuliani (one of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates) released his so-called Twelve Commitments to the American People. War on terrorism, end illegal immigration, fiscal discipline etc. No matter what exactly. The matter is to set up a lot of public talk around his candidacy. It sounds good: 'Twelve Commitments' resembles 'Ten Commandments'. And twelve is a lucky number (unlike thirteen).
The PR move to raise a public discourse is to release a brief number of concise propositions/ statements/ promises.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It appears that ancient Romans were great public relations makers. When they wished to promote a certain understanding, they used to invent a new word (or a new couple of words) and to imprint it onto the public opinion. Examples are: vox populi (= voice of the people), and res publicae (= public affairs), from which we get our term 'republic'.
Today we call this phenomenon 'buzz' or 'buzzwords'.
The very fact of the word existence convinces the public of the necessity of that social phenomenon in real life.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
The article ANNALS OF MARKETING by ARON HELLER is talking about revealing new sides: liberal, cool and funky – of a country's international image. Call it "a new face", or "framing a new look", or "rebranding", or "an image makeover". You may call it image marketing. In this case he is talking about Israel. The following PR moves should be reminded:
1. Sending unofficial envoys to improve an international image; focusing on their personal stories to create basic empathy.
2. Portraying Israel as a desirable tourist destination.
3. Sending women, Ethiopian immigrants and Israeli Arabs into high-profile positions.
4. Presenting Israel as a vibrant, modern society - with recent Nobel Prize winners in chemistry and economics, cutting-edge medical industries and innovative companies traded on NASDAQ.
5. Shifting away from the conflict and focusing instead on Israel's successes in business, medicine, science and technology. Separating the issue of policy and everything else. Reporting exclusively on Israeli achievements and non-conflict issues.
The PR move to reframe a country's international image is to reveal its new sides: liberal, cool and funky.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
What do you think of the term PR relations? Isn't it a tautology (= redundancy, useless repetition)? PR means public relations, so why to repeat relations twice? Nevertheless, this term became common: 10,600 search results for PR relations in Google.
You see, the formal logic is not enough here. The real life is stronger than formal logic. If the real language practice feels it needs some expression, it will invent it.
Today there are plenty examples of buzzwords (= a neologism commonly used, like Web 2.0, podcast etc.). Buzzwords often have unclear meanings. They are typically intended to impress one's audience with the pretense of knowledge. They are often universal. They make sentences difficult to dispute, on account of their cloudy meaning.
So you too don't be afraid of inventing new expressions when you need them.
Friday, April 13, 2007
The Hebrew word Hasbara (it literally means "explanation") entered the common language.
E.g. Bled Manifesto on a European Communication Policy in 2006 uses this word like this: "In Israel the use of Hasbara fuelled a movement toward a new nation state and a new national identity".
If you go to Google search, you will find about 188,000 results for "hasbara".
The PR move to promote a new point of view, a novel context of the problem, an original attitude towards something is inventing a new term / buzzword of your own.
Monday, April 9, 2007
What is the Google's term "PageRank"? What does it stand for? Does it stand for the word "page" (= a page of an Internet site)? Or for the name of the Google's cofounder Larry Page?
At the end of the day, it makes no difference. You invent a new word pointing both to your personal name and to the technical/scientific/political term.
Another great example is the memorable PR move of Russian tsar Peter the Great. He founded the city of Saint Petersburg in 1703. What's the official explanation? That it was named after Saint Peter the Apostle. Then why not to name it after Saint Paul? Because Peter himself named it.
A fresh Internet example is Craigslist (a centralized network of online classified advertisements) founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark.
When you invent a new term / buzzword, try to think about your own personal name.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
The speaker of Russia's upper house Sergei Mironov made a proposal to amend the Constitution and allow one person to be president for three consecutive terms.
With one year left before the 2008 presidential elections, there has been broad speculation about President Vladimir Putin's possible reelection for a third term, considering his high popularity ratings. But Putin has repeatedly denied any possibility of running for a third term, saying he would never violate the Constitution.
However, it does not matter for Mironov, if Putin runs or not for a third term. What does matter, is that Mironov knows: any proposal to extend Putin's term in office would be welcomed by society considering the high presidential ratings. Mironov's proposal was a PR move designed to promote his party before the parliamentary elections due in December 2007.
The unbeatable PR move is a proposal certain to be welcomed by electoral society.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
In January Pizza Patron (Dallas-based company) began accepting Mexican pesos.
The company's goal was to sell more pizza to its Latino customers. But the company's action attracted public attention. The promotion has been a boon to the company. In January and February sales were up more than 35% compared with the same period last year. The experiment in pesos was to end in February, but then the company extended it through April.
I am not arguing the controversy of using foreign currency in the United States. The very fact of using foreign currency points (in the public judgment) to some broad-mindedness.
So, the PR move for various social, ethnic, racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural groups / communities is to present your image to these groups as tolerant & broad-minded.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
In 2004 Google Labs published so called GLAT - Google Labs Aptitude Test.
Readers were asked to mail in their answers and promised that they would be contacted by Google if they scored well.
The declared reason was to attract high quality people into their ranks. Actually, it was a clever PR move which generated a lot of interest from it.
First, the public gets the idea that the company (= Google Labs, in this case) is hiring only very clever folks.
Second, the public gets the reminder that the company is on the map.
Third, you get much buzz, interest and involvement about this point. Public involvement is necessary for good PR. You may call it even 'viral marketing'.
The PR move for brains, intellectuals and know-it-all guys is to publish a test as if you were hiring folks.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
A crisis stalled JetBlue Airways (JBLU) over nearly a week following a Feb. 14 ice storm in New York. Hundreds of passengers were stranded and flights canceled in the wake of the storm.
Not only JetBlue printed an apology to customers in a handful of U.S. newspapers but also the chief executive of JetBlue David Neeleman issued profuse public apologies on network television, on the video-sharing site YouTube, and on the JetBlue website. Most importantly, Neeleman looked and sounded sincere in all his public appearances.
Let us divide all the tenets of sound crisis management to three parts:
1. Before the crisis: Be prepared, know that all companies will have a crisis. Know your crisis team.
2. During the crisis: Run to it, avoid "duck and cover." Avoid saying "no comment." No vacuum.
3. After the crisis: Make a sacrifice, don't want to win it all.
(As you know, Duck and Cover was a method of protection against the effects of a nuclear war which the US government taught to generations of school children. Immediately after they saw a flash, they had to get on the ground and assume fetal position, lying face down and covering their heads with their hands.)
The good PR move to face a crisis is to run to it, to avoid "duck and cover".
Monday, February 19, 2007
In January 2007, the Mayor of the city of Saskatoon (Canada) Don Atchison expressed a desire to see a mounted police patrol (= officers on horseback), saying it would be beneficial and a great public relations move.
First, "In any city where I've seen a horse patrol, people have been drawn to the animals. You never see them running away," said Atchison.
Second, positioning officers at such a height above large crowds improves their safety and gives them a clear view of what's going on. The horse can go where a patrol car can't and can move faster than an officer on foot.
So, once more we see the PR move to present one's image as animal-friendly. Wish to make the public feel good towards you? Present yourself connected to an animal.
Friday, February 16, 2007
From time to time we hear of a person having visions.
Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 - 1824), the German Nun, claimed to have had visions in which she talked with Jesus.
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772) was a Swedish scientist. At the age of fifty six he experienced dreams and visions. He felt he was appointed by the Lord to write a doctrine based on a reformed Christianity. He claimed that the Lord had opened his eyes, so that from then on he could freely visit heaven and hell, and talk with angels, devils, and other spirits.
Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805 – 1844) was an American religious leader who founded Mormonism.In autobiographical accounts of his life, Smith said that during his adolescence he had a number of visions, including a theophany (= an appearance of God to man, or a divine disclosure) in his early teens. Smith said that from about 1823 to 1827, he had been visited by an angel named Moroni.
Nat Turner (1800 – 1831) was an American slave, a leader of slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. He frequently received visions which he interpreted as being messages from God.
My question is: how do we know they really had visions? The answer is simple: they themselves told us.
So I remember a joke:
"Our rabbi carries conversations with God every day."
"How do you know?"
"He himself told me that."
"What if he lies?"
"How could a person lie while every day he carries conversations with God?!"
What is my point? Just learn a PR tip on building your PR image from these examples. Want the people to think you are a genius in your field? Just tell them about it.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Glassware magnate Max Riedel and Oregon pinot noir makers have announced the design of a new glass specifically for Oregon Pinot Noir (pinot noir = dry red table wine made from purple Pinot grapes).
What makes this glass special? It's a large-bowled, tulip-shaped glass that flares out gently at the top. Tasters say that the slightly narrower opening of this glass seems to focus aromas.
What is my point? It is not about the aroma, nor about the special shape. My point is the main idea of this PR move: every wine should get its own glass. As if it's really so important!?
This is your way to promote your main production, as if it is so 'special', so exclusive that one cannot fully enjoy it without special equipment.
You can further develop this idea: every car should get its own tire, every breed of dogs its own dog-collar, etc.
So the PR tip is: Add some accompanying article to your main production.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
We read on the new innovation, synthetic surfaces for horse racing. They are combinations of materials including shredded fibers and chopped plastics coated by wax. First in the UK, then in the United States and Australia they are replacing traditional dirt racing surfaces.
The most important reason is safety, both of the rider and of the horse. Smoother surfaces cause less physical stress on horses.
When horses suffer major injuries in front of large crowds, it makes very negative impression. So providing better conditions for horses is a positive public relations move.
So the PR tip is: Wish to make the public think your innovation is good? Promote it as animal-friendly.
Friday, January 12, 2007
In November 2006 the Philip Morris tobacco company announced a new advertising campaign: begging the movie industry not to use Marlboro cigarettes in movies. You thought there is more smoking in the movies now than ever before? You thought smoking in the movies increases adolescent smoking? You thought the tobacco industry has worked hard over the decades to get smoking into the movies? You thought they take advantage of the movies extensive, under-the-radar advertising value?
No and no. You are mistaken. They are "good guys". They do the opposite. They "beg" not to use cigarettes in movies.
So the PR move is: Wish to make the public think you are a good guy? Do the opposite to the expected.