Archive for November, 2009

Tiger Woods: A Social Media Perspective

Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: Crisis Response, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s been pretty widely trumpeted that Tiger Woods’ handling of his accident over the weekend has been lame in terms of accepted PR/crisis response best practices. Page one of the Sunday New York Times sports section proclaimed it — and so did many other media and blogs. But how can we think about his relative silence – except for yesterday’s statement on his website – in social media terms?

 Tiger Woods is known as a very private personality who seeks out media attention rarely and on his own terms as much as possible. So in a sense, his reaction to the current situation is consistent with his public persona. In other words, he’s being authentic Tiger Woods as we’ve known him.

Putting out a statement on his website is consistent with other important statements he’s made about his personal life – including his engagement to his wife. It implies that he cares most about his fans. If you read the language of the statement carefully, it appears that he sat and wrote it out himself without excessive input from handlers or minute wordsmithing by pros. Very personal.

The wisdom of this move is evident when sampling some of the thousands of comments from fans and other site visitors. The comments for the most part are hugely supportive. A commenter who gives credence to the tabloid reports fueling controversy in this incident gets slapped down by fans in subsequent posts. In their opinions, it’s the media and the police who are out of line. Tiger’s entitled to privacy and, ‘leave their man alone’!! Tiger’s core community is coming to his rescue.

However, when you get into the Twittersphere and other social venues not monopolized by fans, support is overcome by other sentiment. Negative speculation about Woods’ marital fidelity from individuals and blogs abounds. For example, one much-re-tweeted link celebrates his ‘downfall’ with schadenfreude and raises the idea that Woods’ private approach and concern for his brand are only about protecting endorsement deals.

This afternoon legal commentators on cable news have opined that there is little legal fallout that could come out of this, however the media fire storm rages on. It will likely grow for awhile, fueled further by Tiger’s doubling down on privacy and pulling out of his charity golf tournament later this week.

So what else could he do to remain true to his chosen course of public action – or inaction – that would dampen down the flames?

Hopefully Woods and his team are measuring sentiment pro and con – throughout the traditional and social media worlds. And I imagine they are working behind the scenes on his business relationships with sponsors and the brands he endorses. Should unfavorable opinion grow to a level that might shake those relationships, it seems to me that he could further acknowledge the trust he has in his fans by asking them to share with these companies what’s really important to them about Tiger. I’ll bet that the people who cared enough to post on his official website would be happy to post on a brand or product’s fan page on his behalf.

What do you think? It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out from a social media point of view.

I chose Harold Arlen’s Ill Wind (You’re blowin’ me no good) sung by the incomparable Billie Holiday as the musical companion to this post. Think it’s an appropriate theme. It runs 6:14 and I know you’ll read the post faster than that. So maybe you’ll use the extra time to post your comment – or just relax and listen for a couple of minutes. Billie is amazing and the other musicians are so superb…Harry “Sweets” Edison on trumpet, Ben Webster on tenor sax, Jimmy Rowles on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar, Joe Mondragon on bass and Alvin Stoller on drums.

Enjoy and see you soon!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Spanning the Online World: From Exaflood to the Digital Divide to Public Policy

Posted on November 16, 2009. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Internet Research, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Late last week I attended a seminar that blew my mind on several levels. It was titled Connecticut and the Future of Broadband: What to think about Net Neutrality, Bridging the Digital Divide and are we really ready for the “Exaflood”. The event was conceived and presented by the Connecticut Technology Council, a high-powered group that is firmly in the lead when it comes to supporting technology innovation in my state.

 I’m going to blog about this seminar more than once, starting with an overview now and an introduction of the three panelists. They were:

  •  Bret Swanson, Senior Fellow & Director, Center for Global Innovation; President Entropy Economics, LLC. Bret blogs at and I encourage anyone interested in the future of the web to make a beeline.
  • Curtis Hill, Director, Concepts for Adaptive Learning. Curtis retired as a Hewlett Packard exec to start a non-profit engaged in bridging the digital divide, one teacher at a time, one parent at a time, one child at a time. Learn more at
  • Jeff Blodgett, Vice President of Research, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center. Go to

 Ironically, the meeting room turned out to be the only one in the conference center not equipped with Internet access. And one of the moderators who was to dial in from a hotel on the West Coast was unable to attend due to a power outage. These glitches reminded us that technology isn’t perfect and that we’re all still human – a happy consequence. We all flexed, and the morning powerfully engaged us nonetheless.

 Mindblow #1 came with Bret Swanson’s presentation that compared a 2008 visionary study he was involved in with a recent two-year study of global Internet traffic and usage by Arbor Networks and the University of Michigan. The latter pretty much confirmed the predictions of Swanson’s study. Just to highlight…Internet traffic has grown 45% in the study period. The Arbor study analyzed 264 exabytes of global Internet traffic to reach conclusions on everything from which ISP’s have gained enormous ground (Google and Comcast) to what traffic will look like in 2015 – wow!

 Before the seminar I didn’t even have a handle on what an exabyte is. Consider that a kilobyte is 103, an Exabyte is 1018. In other words, if the Library of Congress contains 20 million books – which it does – an exabyte is what it would take to store 50,000 Libraries of Congress. Driven by video and rich media, it’s likely that Internet traffic will continue to grow at a 50-60% annual rate – a phenomenon dubbed the “exaflood” way back in ancient 2001. We’re at an advanced – and at the same time infantile — state of the Web. Future opportunity abounds!!

 Next, Curtis Hill brought everyone from the 50,000-foot view to the sidewalks of Connecticut’s cities, where thousands of disadvantaged families live without computers, let alone connection to the web and the world of information, knowledge and opportunity that it offers. Hill’s organization is attacking this digital divide on several levels. It trains teachers to use technology in education. It places computers in the homes of poor families in partnership with corporations like ComCast and A.T. & T. whose foundation is supporting free annual Internet access to go with the computers. It trains parents to use the computers so that they can help their children use them for research, homework and other educational pursuits. In a wonderful off-shoot of the endeavor, the parents – many of whom are jobless when the computer arrives – are using their new technology to search for and connect with jobs!!

 Jeff Blodgett had the task of sharing how public policy is bridging the vision of a world connected by unimaginable technological advances and the realities of society’s economic gaps. Unfortunately, public policy doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with either the need for enormous investments in technology infrastructure to maintain growth – or the far more modest investment in bringing the Internet to the small percentage of as-yet-unconnected citizens. That’s not only sad, but potentially tragic in terms of lost opportunity and impeded forward progress. But with enough foresight and will – and agreement that our future growth is tied to the online world — we can hopefully overcome any challenges.

 As hot a topic as it is, Net Neutrality, was an appendix at this event, addressed in the Q&A session in the interest of time and in the face of three compelling presentations. It’s probable that it will become a topic of its own at a future seminar. 

 To end on an upbeat note – which you can pretty much always count on from me -the idea of exaflood made me think of the iconic Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim’s song Aguas de Marco – Waters of March – his impression of Brazil’s annual rains and consequent floods. As nature is random, the music, though it sounds somewhat repetitive, never repeats a phrase exactly. The sheet music goes on for about ten pages. The recording you’re listening to is by Brazilian-born jazz pianist Eliane Elias. She couples Waters of March with another Jobim tune – Agua de Beber, Water to Drink — a song about nurturing — in this post a tribute to Curtis Hill and his excellent nonprofit. If you visited last week, you’ll know that I’m on a big Brazilian kick! I’ll try to diversify next time, but oh do I love the music of Brazil!!!

Enjoy! Hope to see you soon!!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Inbound Marketing: 3 Tips for Retaining Perspective While Navigating Thru Chop & Churn

Posted on November 9, 2009. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I read the news today, oh boy. Beatles references from the 70’s notwithstanding, I read a number of items today that speak to the volatility of the times we’re in. Here are a few from just one source I read, the daily feed from Media Post’s SearchMarketing Daily.

  • Murdoch Rages Against the Machine, Calls Search Giants ‘Kleptos’
  • Google to Acquire AdMob for $750 Million
  • Microsoft Bing Gives WiFi Users Free Search
  • Search Engine LeapFish Merges Real-time Data & Social Content
  • Attention Holiday Shoppers: Google Introduces Commerce Search API

 This doesn’t touch the 20 links from Twitter posts that I clicked – most of them imparting valuable information. Or the reviews I read about the new Motorola Droid smart phone from Verizon.

Marketing is navigating through turbulent times. For me the speed of evolving media, online tools, marketing tactics and strategies produces both anxiety and exhilaration. It’s like being on the back of a Harley on a thruway. There’s the anxiety-producing possibility of annihilation coupled with the life-affirming thrill of being one with nature and a machine at the same time.

Pardon yet another metaphor in a post in danger of metaphor overload, but I have to navigate back to my nautical post title. You’ve probably noticed that we’re in a period of change. This means that as communications/marketing pros we have to chart a course for our clients through constant chop and churn.

We work hard to keep up with the shifting winds and waves (including Google Wave ;-} ) that may influence a safe course for our journey into the future of marketing. But when, at times, it all seems capable of capsizing our ship, it’s time to set our anchors, check our compasses and get some perspective.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty metaphored out. Hope you’ll cut me some slack and decide that I’m ‘nautical but nice’ when I share a few tips for coping.

  1. Separate tools and tactics from strategies and objectives. Mostly what’s changing at breakneck speed here is technology. Then there’s the conflict and noise created by those pushing to commercialize it. No sin in that, but let’s not get distracted by it. Let them do their thing. Let’s you and I figure out what your needs and objectives are. Then we’ll go after the most opportunistic tools of the moment to help you get where you’re going.
  2. Focus on some constants that won’t change or vary as the new marketing winds shift. How about your brand values and the audiences who connect with them? Keep your eye on the horizon formed by your loyal stakeholders, as well as those who don’t know you yet, but can benefit from your products and services. Keep steering toward the True North of your brand promise, regardless of the tools you implement in the process.
  3. Loosen up. In times like these, flexibility translates to bottom line gains. Back to the nauseating nautical references: Put out a spinnaker and let the wind pull you fast. But make sure your putt-putt engine is in good shape and stow a few oars in case you lose mast, sails and rudder and have to get back to port on the limp. At least you’ll live to sail tomorrow with the best of them.

The music this time is Brazilian composer, pianist, vocalist Ivan Lins performing his song Velas – translation: Sails. Not only does this selection tie in nicely to the nautical theme, but Lins made his mark writing protest songs during the reign of Brazil’s military junta in the 60’s. So he knows a thing or two about navigating through turbulent times.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Sorcerer’s Apprentice Part Two: Remembering John R. Walsh

Posted on November 1, 2009. Filed under: Jazz, Newspapers, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

John Walsh & Sonia Henie

OK. Here’s what really got me thinking about mentors when I wrote a post about my inbound marketing teachers earlier today. On November 1, 2007 – hard to believe it’s two years ago — my own, dear personal mentor died. His name was John R. Walsh and he was one of the unsung giants of PR. He led small New York PR agencies with and without partners that broke a lot of new ground from the early 1960s through the mid-1980s.

John created amazing PR programs for major brands. These included Colgate Palmolive’s women’s golf events – the Colgate-Dinah Shore and the Triple Crown match play tournament, precursors to what we now call sports marketing. When Dinah died and AP stories pictured her on the 18th tee of Mission Hills Country Club in Palm Springs, home of the tournament, former Colgate CEO David Foster wrote John a personal note pointing out that the tournament continued to shine a positive spotlight on the company years after it ended.

He turned the staid nautical marketing image of Cutty Sark Scots Whisky on its ear when he convinced its distributor to give him ‘one billboard’s worth of budget’ to sponsor a star-studded men’s fashion awards event in collaboration with the Men’s Fashion Association. The Cutty Sark Menswear Awards were nominated and voted by the fashion press, ran for years and boosted the careers of designers like Gianni Versace, Alexander Julian, Jhane Barnes and many others. It also sold a lot of scotch.

Baroness Philippine de Rothschild became John’s friend as well as client when he handled the Smithsonian-sponsored US tour of the original art work for the Mouton Rothschild vintage wine labels. These are only a few examples of his brilliant campaign creation.

 He was a commanding presence who had Fortune 500 CEO’s, Hollywood stars, the press and other influential personae falling in line with his ideas. He was a great producer of shows, played a mean piano (in the key of ‘C’ only) and composed some terrific songs (also in ‘C’). He thrilled at hearing the overture to a Broadway show – which is why the music you’re listening to here is the overture from the original cast album of Mack & Mabel – one of his favorites – starring Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters.

John recognized that writing was a natural talent of mine and convinced me of it too by giving me heavy-duty writing assignments when I was just a kid really. He taught me to see the relationships among seemingly un-related dots – and then to connect them. When I decided to start my own PR consultancy he assured me that it was a no-brainer and that I’d certainly succeed.

 The proudest media success of my career was the role I played in writing his obit and placing it in the New York Times. The archives somehow detached the accompanying photo of John skating with Olympic gold medalist and movie star Sonja Henie so I’ve posted it for you to see. I forgot to mention that he was her partner in her touring ice show.  Other details of his life and career – including the fact that in an interesting turn he became my stepfather – are in the press coverage.

Thinking of you, John. I miss you and love you.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

Inbound Marketing Mentors: Sorcerer’s Apprentice Redux

Posted on November 1, 2009. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I guess I must be suffering a Halloween hangover this morning – despite an extra hour of turn-back-the-clock sleep. For more than a year, as mentioned before, I’ve immersed in the world of inbound marketing, social media and the other tools that will help clients communicate effectively and profitably in the years ahead. In this really interesting and exciting pursuit, I’ve become a willing apprentice and have gratefully accepted mentorship in all of the forms that it’s generously been offered.

While a relative newbie compared to some, this is still a pretty new turn in our industry so I feel something like a pioneer at the same time. As I make my way with everyone else who’s busy ‘trying to figure this all out’, I’ve found myself sitting at the feet of brilliant and talented people who have hacked out the rugged path for my covered wagon.

For the past month or so, since a great Social Media guy Walter Elly introduced me to it at Inbound Marketing Summit 09 in Boston, I’ve been listening to and studying the webinars offered in a free certification curriculum — Inbound Marketing University.

This formidable effort was put together and is offered by HubSpot ( as a way to start credentialing people who have committed to becoming knowledgeable in the ways of marketing on the Web. Rebecca Corliss of HubSpot has taken charge of IMU, which leverages the webinars they had been offering over time featuring such experts as Chris Brogan of New Marketing Labs and, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk of, and Avinash Kaushik, Google’s analytical guru and author of the new Web Analytics 2.0. IMU covers the wide array of topics that comprise the complex Inbound Marketing approach.

For those who clicked on the play button for today’s jazz selection, let me take a moment to explain why I chose it for this post. The group is one of the many configurations over decades of drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Blakey is known as one of the top mentors and nurturers of jazz talent who ever lived. In a musical art form based on apprenticeship and passing down learning from generation to generation, Art Blakey was one of the most prolific teachers.

The tune you’re listening to is Moanin’, composed and played here by pianist Bobby Timmons. In addition to his mentor Blakey, Timmons is accompanied by fellow mentees who all went on to make an enormous mark on jazz — the great trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, and bassist Jymie Merritt. It’s from an October 30, 1958 recording session, making it a particularly apropos selection for Halloween weekend.

Anyhow – I look forward to sitting soon for the exam that will hopefully result in my being recognized as a Certified Inbound Marketing Professional. Thank you to all of my teachers and role models for helping me as I shift my experience and talents into this new direction. I promise to put what I’m learning – and will continue to learn — to good use and pass it forward to others who decide to follow this road. Check out IMU at

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

  • Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Thanks for your support!

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: