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21 Sep 2023

When Bad Things Happen to Good Intentions Substack

Being kind and good is becoming a real problem. It’s not genuine kindness and goodness that’s causing all the trouble. It’s the smarmy desperation of high-profile people and institutions to be seen as wonderful that’s leading to futile and stupid gestures, to quote Animal House’s Prince of Smarm, Otter. Take Sam Bankman-Fried. A recent Bloomberg […]

12 Sep 2023

Before You Pick a Fight, Beware the Ghost in the Machine Substack

Almost every person or institution under fire believes they have a good story to tell. Those are the exact words they use, too. “Good story to tell.” It’s only natural because we are hardwired to think the best of ourselves and the groups we belong to. The challenge is that the outside world rarely thinks […]

29 Aug 2023

The Investment Startups Can’t Afford to Miss

Startups are undeniably the driving force behind the American economy’s growth and dynamism. They’ve fueled job creation, fostered innovation, attracted international capital, imbued a culture of entrepreneurship that promises continued economic resilience and adaptability in the future, and introduced products and services into our lives we can’t imagine living without. Startups chart a distinct course […]

24 Aug 2023

How Are You Engaging with Your Enthusiasts? Substack

Last weekend, I took my niece and nephew to Cedar Point, the greatest amusement park in the United States and perhaps the world. As someone born and bred in Northwest Ohio, this park is a source of immense pride and joy; as much as I love the City of Sandusky, it’s not often a town […]

22 Aug 2023

Damage Control Doesn’t Have to Be Made for Cinema Substack

In the mid-1980s, I worked on one of my first major corporate crises. It involved allegations that the Audi 5000 sedan took off like a rocket of its own volition, causing murder and mayhem. The syndrome — and a syndrome was needed to sell it — was called “sudden acceleration,” and it destroyed the Audi […]

26 Jul 2023

Crisis Management Barbie – Come on Barbie… Back in the Box Substack

Spoiler alert: The following contains spoilers about Barbie, the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie and want to be surprised, leave this unread in your inbox until then. Additionally, this is not a sponsored post. However, it would not be surprising if it was because the Mattel and Warner Brothers marketing teams have put […]

18 Jul 2023

Credible Brand Activism Starts Internally Substack

In an age where a single tweet can ignite global controversy, a company’s reputation and values have become intrinsically linked to its market value. The public’s dual role as creators and consumers of content in the social media era has dramatically amplified the importance of a company’s intangible assets. This shift necessitates synchronizing of internal […]

13 Jul 2023

The Tylenol Tale Gets an Ending Substack

James Lewis, the only known suspect in the 1982 Tylenol murders, was found dead a few days ago in Massachusetts, aged 76. His death appears to be from natural causes. It’s a whimper of a coda to a bizarre case where seven people were killed after taking Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide. No one was […]

10 Jul 2023

The Impact of AI: Iron Sharpens Iron Substack

Before diving into this piece, I recommend checking out the first article in our Digital AI series, “Ghosts of Crisis Management Past and Future.” In today’s business landscape, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic, dominating podcast discussions and happy hours across America. The opinions surrounding AI generally fall into two camps: […]

07 Jul 2023

Could Bud Light Do Anything Better After the Blow-up? Substack

Anheuser-Busch has taken a lot of hits lately since its debacle with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney went supernova. Reports abound of stock plunges, sales drops, and Bud Light’s dethroning as the top-selling beer in the U.S. Nevertheless, there has been a development worth noting: news reports that Kid Rock, who was filmed shooting cases of […]