Monday, August 31, 2009


I was talking to one of my sons the other night about what makes a sound professional — in the context of his career or, for that matter, any career. The first word that came to my mind, among many, was "consistency." I coached him that it is the most fundamental of qualities: that high standards be maintained every time you come to bat. Variations due to your moods, energy level, desire or the weather are verboten. In that regard, consistency becomes a habit, and it builds reputation.

There is only one standard, and that is the "best." One performs at the highest level for every client, whether large or small. Those who work with you come to know what your brand represents. There are neither factual nor proofreading errors, for example. True professionals always aim high, and the repetition in and of itself raises the bar. Repetition is indeed reputation.

I truly like the comments on consistency made by Tom Seaver, the great former Hall of Fame pitcher of the New York Mets baseball team. He succinctly sums up my feelings and the message I would like to convey to my son and all of the professionals at and clients of Makovsky + Company: "In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics, you get shortsighted. If you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end." Amen.

Technorati Tags: professional, Hall of Fame, Tom Seaver, New York Mets, Business, Makovsky, Public Relations

Thursday, August 27, 2009

George Washington: Image Conscious

By age sixteen (in 1748), George Washington had copied out, by hand, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. (You can see a facsimile in his own handwriting here.) Guess what! Many relate to effective public relations and are still relevant in 2009. Here is a brief selection:

• 1st — “Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.”
• 35th — “Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.”
• 56th — “Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad Company.”
• 73d — “Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.”
• 110th — “Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience. “

Not only a great military man and president – but also a public relations visionary!

Technorati Tags: George Washington, Civility, president, BusinessMakovsky, Public Relations

Monday, August 24, 2009


I wrote a blog about the importance and benefits — especially in difficult economic times — of seamlessly integrating all the elements of your marketing program, including social media, direct response, traditional publicity, person-to-person communications, printed materials, visual media and even strategic advertising.

While reading The New York Times recently, I came across a very interesting one-voice, one-brand campaign that is truly “firing on all cylinders.”

The US Army, recognizing that it has an abundance of recruits but few officers, just launched a campaign designed to encourage ambitious college graduates — who don’t typically consider the military as a career option — to consider becoming an officer.

According to The New York Times, in addition to a new website, the campaign will feature TV commercials starring high-ranking corporate executives who formerly served as Army officers. According to Times’ reporter Douglas Quenqua, the Army is also partnering with Major League Baseball to produce a series of interviews with “Leaders of the Diamond” and plans to sponsor panel discussions at universities around the country this fall where students can dialogue directly with officers.

It’s a smart approach that recognizes the importance of clarity and consistency to achieve impact.

Technorati Tags: The New York Times, US Army, social media, advertising, recruits, campaign, Douglas Quenqua, Major League Baseball, blogMakovsky, Public Relations

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Are the Top 100 CEOs Playing in the Sandbox?

An article in Reuters led me to some fascinating research by Ü which examined who among 2009’s Fortune 100 CEOs were using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, or had a blog. The stunning conclusion: they were mostly absent from the rapidly growing social media community.

People continue to spend more time on social networking and blog sites than ever before, according to Nielsen, with total minutes increasing 82% year-over-year and the average time per person increasing 67% year-over-year. Yet the ÜBERCEO study found only two CEOs with Twitter accounts. Eighty-one percent of chief executives did not have a personal Facebook page. Only 13 had profiles on the professional networking site LinkedIn. Three-quarters of the CEOs did have some kind of Wikipedia entry, but nearly a third of those had limited or outdated information, such as incorrect titles, or failed to provide sources. While some CEOs contribute to other blogs, not one Fortune 100 chief executive had his or her own blog.

While not every CEO has the skills, inclination or regulatory freedom to blog, it’s worth remembering that the social media represent a powerful opportunity for a company — or virtually any other entity— to really connect with its most important stakeholders.

Technorati Tags: Reuters, Ü, social media, Fortune 100 , Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, blogMakovsky, Public Relations

Monday, August 17, 2009


I know we all want the President of the U.S. to be a role-model in every aspect of life. But in the U.S. it is of particular importance, even a basic value, that our president be a moral leader and a family man, one who demonstrates sensitivity as a husband and father. Barack Obama appears to me thus far a paragon of virtue in these areas.

Nevertheless, according to what I have been reading in the press, the critics are out: why is the family traveling during a recession; why are they taking their daughters sightseeing in Paris when the president is asking Congress to focus on healthcare? And the beat goes on.

Apart from the point that the president claims he is paying for all personal sightseeing out of his own pocketbook, I believe that the first couple has achieved role-model status as parents. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the couple has established an enviable summer program for their two daughters: history lessons (e.g. a visit to a slave port in Ghana — Mrs. Obama is a descendant of slaves); touring the Eiffel Tower, participation in a community service activity; visits to critical sights in Rome and an introduction to Pope Benedict; a Jonas Brothers concert, and many other pleasurable activities. These are parents who have even decreed that computers and TV are inappropriate at certain times.

Recession or not, every family should share its circumstances with others in the family and offer opportunities to the children that will have short- and long-term benefit. If you are president, your child gets to meet the Pope, and rightly so. There are advantages for families with position. Some other family may have equally meaningful activities in Italy but not meet the Pope. And that is the way family life works. The point here is that the image of our president and first lady shaping a program so that their children can have a meaningful summer is one that we all should emulate.

Bill Clinton was rightly criticized for being a family role-model deficit because of his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. Now we have the Obamas creating a standard and an image that no doubt transcends most first families in the world. Rather than criticize, let's nurture that role-model.

Technorati Tags: Barack Obama, recession, The New York Times, Bill Clinton, role-model, michelle obama, first lady , Makovsky + Company, public relations

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Firing On All Cylinders

head with gearsHow do you achieve a one-voice, one-brand campaign that resonates and sells product?

By crafting a marketing program that fires on all cylinders, seamlessly integrating a variety of communications techniques -- including social media, direct response, traditional publicity, person-to-person communications, printed materials, visual media and even strategic advertising -- to encourage dialogue and provide clarity, consistency and impact.

Over the years integrated marketing -- the blending of multiple techniques -- has fallen in and out of fashion. It is no longer fashion but necessity that rules the day. We strategize and create websites because every client's constituency goes there first. All the other public relations techniques we employ -- any of those noted in the previous paragraph -- must be compatible with the site, if trust is to be established with our client's customers. At root, we are true to our client by firing on all fronts simultaneously -- and true to their clients, as well.

It just makes sense. Reinforcing messages makes them more likely to be heard. And there are cost-efficiencies to be had when you balance high cost channels with those that are most cost effective.

Technorati Tags: one-brand campaign, public relations, social media, direct response, traditional publicity, person-to-person communications, printed materials, visual media, strategic advertising

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Where Credit is Due

In a tight credit market companies can no longer afford to keep their strengths to themselves. Maximizing value requires revealing more, not less.

Intangible assets like patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets comprise at least 50% of the S&P 500 market value. Yet many businesses are clueless about how to promote them.

Bruce Berman is CEO of Brody Berman Associates, a firm that for more than 20 years has been focusing on helping companies, executives and investors convey their intellectual rights. I asked Bruce, who has produced four books on IP and business, about new opportunities for greater understanding.

“Companies that utilize communication skills to disclose the assets in their patent portfolio, and how they monetize them, are in a better position to increase profitability, enhance their reputation and access capital markets. They also are more likely to impress stakeholders, such as customers and the supply chain.

“Like shares of stock the value of IP often are in the eye of the beholder,” continues Berman. “Shaping perceptions is integral to success. IP communications turns positive stakeholder awareness into competitive advantage. It also minimizes the risk that regulators will require more disclosure. Intangible assets are poorly understood in the c-suite and on Wall Street.

“Businesses are learning there is more risk associated with hiding IP performance than in revealing some of it,” concludes Berman. “Companies already proven successful in IP communications include IBM, Qualcomm, HP, Microsoft and Philips. Intel Inside® is an example of employing managed disclosure to establish a worldwide technology brand, the Pentium® processor.”

The timing is excellent for companies to recognize and share their hidden value. Executives who step up and disclose wisely can score a win for their company and stakeholders alike.

Technorati Tags: Makovsky + Company, patents, trademarks, copyrights, Bruce Berman, Qualcomm, IP communications, microsoft, Brody Berman Associates, business, public relations

Monday, August 03, 2009

What’s Missing?

mets baseball It is not only the New York Mets team that is in disarray, but its fan relationships are suffering, as well.

Try this one on for size. Makovsky + Company is a season ticket holder, having spent outsized sums on this luxury. We have been waiting four months for either Fred Wilpon, the owner, or his son, Jeff Wilpon, to answer two complaint letters. Why did our 40 game plan not include opening day tickets – when that was never specified at the time of purchase? Further, why ask fans to choose between Mets-Yankees games or one playoff game, when for one-quarter the price and matching games in previous years we automatically got playoff tickets? Regardless of the answers to these questions, there is no excuse for a $912 million, fan-dependent business to lack the systems to respond to letters from fans.

Another hiccup? A Sunday Mets-Yankees game was shifted to a night game while our season tickets had a 1:10 PM time printed on the ticket. How hard would it have been to send a courtesy email to season ticket holders noting the change? The Mets only made a public announcement via its web site, so we planned our day around an afternoon game.

A further indication of insensitive management is the Jackie Robinson Rotunda where the Dodgers, rather than Mets, are featured as fans enter the ballpark. Excuse I heard? Wilpon is a big Dodgers fan. Where is the homage to the Mets? To be fair the Mets have had some bad luck this year with its star players getting injured. Nevertheless, the Wilpon family is challenged every year with another problem. Once again we have to ask, is the family really working hard enough for the fans?

Technorati Tags: Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, Mets,Yankees, Jackie Robinson Rotunda, Makovsky + Company, playoff game, communications, public relations