What are your four-minute blocks?

One of the reasons I enjoy sports is because they sometimes serve as a kind of management simulator. For example, Michael Lewis’ great book, Moneyball, is not just about how the Oakland Athletics baseball team selected players, it’s also about how any company can compute the value that an employee adds to the company – and beyond that, how rationally or emotionally we make decisions. Continue reading

The two-week Super Bowl ad window

My wife and I have hosted an annual Super Bowl party for almost 20 years now. I remember the first one when our daughter was five. A little before the party started I told her, “So the rule for this party is that you can talk during the game but be quiet during the commercials.” And she replied, “Oh dad!”, as if I was kidding her. But when the game started she saw that that was in fact how we watched. Millions of other people do the same thing. Continue reading

Trump’s effect on corporate communications

Things change fast. Less than two weeks ago “no drama Obama” left the White House and now it’s 24/7 Trump. President Trump, and his administration, are producing new challenges for corporate communications and marketing.

Already a number of companies have seen their stock prices tank or jump because of a critical or embracing tweet from Trump. (Go back in your time machine 10 years and see if anyone understands that sentence.) Continue reading

The social media decisions that fueled the women’s march

The evening after Donald Trump was elected president, Teresa Shook got some friends near her home on Maui to show her how to create an event on Facebook. Although usually not very political, she was so upset with Trump’s election that she decided that there should be a march on Washington after the inauguration to protest it. When she went to bed she already had about 40 people coming and 40 maybes. When she woke the next morning it had exploded to 10,000 coming and 10,000 maybes. Continue reading

The death of the Ringling Brothers brand

A few days ago the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it is closing down. The combined circuses have been operating in one form or another for 146 years.

There was a time when they and other circuses were a big deal, showing their audiences animals and acts from exotic places that they could only dream about. They had a great PR stunt of parading into the town where they were to next perform. Continue reading

How REI won Black Friday with its unconventional #OptOutside marketing campaign

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is known for sales, lines and crazy shoppers. Except at REI.

Last year recreational equipment retailer REI announced that they were closing all of their stores on Black Friday, giving employees a paid day off, and encouraging them and everyone to take the day to get outside and do something fun. They promoted it with the hashtag #OptOutside Continue reading