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30 Sep 2022

Nobody Knows Anything Substack

The Democrats are poised to sweep the midterms. Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen are on the outs. The feud between the princes has resulted in sobbing princesses and King Charles’ decision to banish Harry’s children from the Kingdom. And Trump and Putin are in big trouble now. I know these things because they are nano-bites […]

28 Sep 2022

Watch out DeSantis; The Media Loves to Declare a Crisis to be “Mishandled” Whether it is or isn’t Substack

There are crises, and then there are CRISES. If you’re a corporate CEO, it’s one thing to put together a plan for managing bad media driven by a consumer group, and it’s another thing to manage a factory explosion.  In our world, we make distinctions between chronic attacks (a company in a disfavored industry under […]

26 Sep 2022

You Have to Believe It to See It Substack

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” – Joan Didion It’s hard for me to stomach political news these days, but certain things are tough to ignore. Donald Trump’s recent rally in Ohio, where he embraced QAnon tropes got my pulse racing. I’m nervous about anything that smacks of collective brainwashing. This is a […]

20 Sep 2022

“Why Can’t We Do What the Russians Do?” Substack

A friend sent me an extraordinary article from this weekend’s New York Times about how Russia orchestrated an attack on a 2017 Women’s March in opposition to Donald Trump. After what was, by most accounts, a successful event, the march’s organizer began receiving a bombardment of hate tweets focusing on her status as a pro-Palestinian […]

15 Sep 2022

Watching Succession(s) Substack

When asked what his new film, The Godfather, was about, director Francis Ford Coppola answered, “Succession.” Indeed, the movie chronicles the bloody drama that must take place to ensure a leadership change that must appear smooth to the outside world. As King Charles III succeeds Queen Elizabeth II, it all seems like a matter of […]

12 Sep 2022

The Queen of Crisis Management Substack

One of my favorite mental parlor games is war-gaming what it would be like to have certain institutions and people as crisis management clients. I confess to having had several thought-bubble exchanges with Queen Elizabeth II to these ends, which probably looks peculiar when I’m driving.   I based my side of the dialogue on how […]

26 Aug 2022

Navigating the Business News Farce Substack

We know the algorithm for political news: Headlines that blast “_____ Sparks Outrage.” Articles that confirm that [Insert hated group] is as awful as you think they are and who deserves your wrath. It’s all designed to get your dander up and hook you into coming back for another dose of pique. There hasn’t been […]

10 Aug 2022

As America Heats Up, Other Stuff Gets Get Bland Substack

A few things have converged in my mind in the past few weeks as I count down to my sixtieth birthday. They involve shopping malls, the impending finale of Better Call Saul, and comedy. Saul’s purgatory for his Breaking Bad-era crimes is working at a Cinnabon at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska. Saul’s mall […]

05 Aug 2022

Polarization and Public Relations, Part II Substack

Last month, I wrote a piece for World Trademark Review on polarization and its implications for brand managers and corporate leaders. I republished the first half here, Polarization and Public Relations. The second half is below. The full column examines four truths to consider when assessing one’s reputation: The median consumer is more likely to […]

29 Jul 2022

Stream This: Political Ads and the Coming Battlegrounds Substack

Hulu has decided to run political ads after Democrats protested the Disney-owned streaming service had rejected its issue-oriented commercials. Political ads have been around for a long time, but the public collision between big companies and social issues is just getting started, as I discussed recently on CNBC’s Squawk Box. Eric Dezenhall, Squawk Box WED, […]