Thursday, December 30, 2010


"My Three Cents" is taking a year-end holiday! Best to all for a terrific 2011! We will be back on Jan. 3!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Message For Our Time

Giving to and helping others has always been a recurrent theme in the Holiday Season. But this year, as the 2010 "farewell" retrospectives were presented on various TV news shows, one message was constantly on the lips of newscasters because of the death of its author, Ted Sorensen: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." (Sorensen was the gifted advisor to John F. Kennedy, who made the famous quote a focal point of JFK's Inaugural speech.)

Written at a time when we had elected the first president born in the 20th Century - a man who was addressing a "new generation" - the "Ask" quotation acknowledged the importance of collaboration among the citizens of our country to meet the challenges ahead in space, education, fighting poverty, foreign policy and health. Kennedy was seeking to unify the nation by asking us to abandon our selfish impulses, while underscoring the critical importance of each individual American's power to create positive change. He was advocating that we come together and make some sacrifices, becoming a team that contributed to the greater good. We must be a nation of "givers" not "takers."

And so I thought what a perfect world it would be if we could extend this famous message by substituting other important institutions in our life for the word "country" - for example, "marriage," the name of the company that you work for, the extracurricular organization that you belong to, the church or synagogue you are affiliated with, and so on. Think of the pride and satisfaction you would feel!

Now take one more step. Imagine the actions that will follow. Then: act.

Technorati Tags: Ted Sorensen, John F. Kennedy, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Next-Gen Holiday Wish from Makovsky + Company

As we celebrate 30 years of success as one of the nation’s leading public relations firms,
we look forward to what the next 30 years will bring.
We sponsored a holiday card design competition for students at
New York’s LaGuardia High School for the Arts, innovators of the next generation,
to help us envision the future.
Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner, Malissa W.

Monday, December 20, 2010


President Barack Obama’s visit to India has had strong public relations impact, in that it delivered a message to business communities on both sides of the world that opportunity abounds and deeper engagement in nearly every sector is on the docket. But this trip was overdue, as actions between the two countries long before this trip have given credence to optimism about the future. The economic impact on the U.S. already has been significant.

Here, based on a report just issued by the India-US World Affairs Institute, are some facts which may surprise you. They explain why we at Makovsky are looking into establishing an “India Desk” in New York with Concept, our IPREX partner in India.

• U.S. manufactured exports to India were linked to 96,000 jobs in the U.S. in 2009.

• From 2004 to 2009, U.S. exports to India grew by a total of 269% and have grown faster than exports to practically all other countries. India’s exports to the U.S. grew by 136%.

• During this same period, 90 Indian companies made 127 greenfield investments — investment in a new factory or new business worth $5.5 billion and created 16,576 jobs here.

• 239 Indian companies made 372 acquisitions in the U.S. in these 5 years. We already know that 40,000 jobs have come from 85 of these transactions.

• A Duke University-UC Berkeley study found that Indian immigrant entrepreneurs had founded more engineering and technology companies here between 1995 and 2005 than did immigrants from Britain, China, Japan and Taiwan combined.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. According to The Economist, India is growing by 9%, compared with 3% for America and 2% for Europe. And it's obvious that India has a defined U.S. investment strategy.

The Makovsky Concept goal is to provide marketing services to companies in the expanding U.S.-India space, bringing benefit to all.

Technorati Tags: Barack Obama, India, India-US World Affairs Institute, philanthropy, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky

Thursday, December 16, 2010


In PR education, we’re fighting an uphill battle.

Of the $303.75 billion in donations made by Americans to charities last year, more than $100 billion — a third — went to religious organizations, according to Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy. Less than a tenth went to colleges and universities … down nearly 12% over the previous year and the single greatest annual decline since the Depression, according to data compiled by the Council for Aid to Education.

And what about PR? A report issued on Dec. 7 by the Commission on Public Relations Education noted that philanthropy for public relations education reached $15 million since last reviewed in 2006.

Clearly, philanthropy for public relations education is in its infancy, which is not surprising given the youth of the profession. But as firms continue to expand and multiply — there are thousands today — contributions should grow accordingly. Further, as our service makes greater impact for the corporate and organizational sectors that employ it, it will become a larger portion of their total “give.”

The report’s author, Dr. Kathleen S. Kelly of the University of Florida, documented 64 major gifts ranging from $10,000 to $2 million. Market value of endowed funds range from $12,300 to $3 million. The bulk of the gifts are for undergraduate scholarships, and there is a need to diversify.

To expand these donations, the educational institutions that feature public relations programs need to become more ambitious in identifying potential donors and posing suggestions for strategic gifts, the report advises. The Institute for Public Relations, a leading research and educational organization, could take the lead in shaping a program that will build awareness of the need, encouraging partnerships between firms and educational institutions, stimulating a donor outreach effort and demonstrating how grants and donations are applied for maximum result.

The future of our profession — and the talent it urgently requires — are dependent on aggressive action.

Technorati Tags: Indiana University, University of Florida, public relations, philanthropy, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky

Monday, December 13, 2010


It was shocking to read the lengthy article in The New York Times on December 10: “In Tapes, Nixon Rails about Jews and Blacks.” This refers to secretly recorded tapes now being released by the Nixon Presidential Library -- according to plan -- covering conversations of President Richard M. Nixon, who made disparaging remarks about Blacks, Jews, Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans. Nixon focused on negative stereotypes of each group.

What is most troubling about this revelation is that our image here and worldwide is based on the United States’ being a melting pot. Immigrant groups discriminated against in their own countries came here seeking the tolerance that was fundamental to the American way of life.

Therefore, it is humiliating and embarrassing in front of the whole world — albeit nearly 40 years later — to see President Nixon, leader of this great nation, and several of his advisors, reveal themselves as bigots behind closed doors.

Technorati Tags: President Nixon,The New York Times, United States, reputation, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Wisdom of the Streets

The English language gives us so many options. We never have to use the same word twice within the same paragraph or certainly the same sentence. There is “dragging,” and there is “tired.” There is “smart,” and there is “sharp." And I could go on and on.

But yesterday I discovered a new one. Have you considered a synonym for “homeless?” Well, as I was walking on Fifth Avenue, I came upon a disheveled man sitting on the sidewalk near a Fifth Avenue building who was wearing a sign that said “dwellingly challenged!” Can you top that?

Technorati Tags: communications, public relations, business, Makovsky

Monday, December 06, 2010

Qualities That Take a Business Forward

As we come to the end of the firm’s 30th year in business, I am thinking about the qualities that will take us forward for the next 30.

At the very foundation is entrepreneurship, the ability to strike out and take a new idea, strategy or approach to market. When it’s enacted inside a company, it is referred to as intrapreneurship. It’s a value that will always take us far. Thus, I encourage those who are part of our family to seize opportunities when they arise.

Another important quality is the ability to change and adapt to the demands of the marketplace. Helping clients change is our business. But we can’t be like the proverbial shoemaker’s children, who go without shoes. We have to be prepared, ourselves, to embrace the change we urge on our clients.

Change involves two elements: logic and emotion. When it is clear that we must change — and even what we must change to —emotion often stops us. We are comfortable with the way things are. Who knows what will happen when the change hits? Our gut tells us to act … and then we do. My uncle told me once that more people have brains than guts. Probably true. Let’s be among those that make the call or take the step that others would be too timid to do. Let’s not over-think when we know what must be done.

Resiliency is critical. Sometimes our plans go awry. Bounce back quickly. There will always be darts. Give yourself one hour for depression — if the puncture warrants it — and then move on. Depression stifles progress. Get going!

You must respect those with whom you work, otherwise there is no point in going forward. It is the basis of all we do.

Plan. An unplanned business is not a business. Occasionally, the best laid plans of mice and men … well, you know how that ends. Reorganize and establish a new goal —and a roadmap to get there!

Finally, nothing replaces the qualities of optimism and confidence. They will help you over the toughest hurdles.

Technorati Tags: reputation, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Is the U.S. Perceived as Corrupt?

Transparency International, a global anti-corruption group based in Germany, recently released its 2010 Corruption Perception Index. The annual rankings survey ordinary citizens and business people in 178 countries and grade each nation on a 0-to-10 scale. This year, the cleanest states were Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore (which were tied at 9.3). Among the most corrupt: Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia, with scores of 1.5 or less.

The United States scored a disappointing 7.1, tying with Belgium and falling in behind Japan, Qatar, the United Kingdom and Chile. And this was before the midterm election ( elections often influence opinions about corruption).

The U.S. needs to take a good look in the mirror to figure out why it is not ranking among the cleanest countries. Could it be the financial crisis, the BP oil spill, our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or ethical issues in some multi-national corporations? What do you think?

Read more here.

Technorati Tags: Transparency International,anti-corruption, United States, reputation, communications, public relations, business, Makovsky