You don’t have to look very far to find a bad press conference, just look at any press conference run by a football or basketball coach. It was especially apparent when Mike McCarthy lost his cool at the post-game press conference after the loss last week. Mccarthy Press Conference

Why are coaches so bad at public relations? I think it is simple, they fail to follow their own coaching advice (or, as my southern grandmother used to say, “They are too big for their britches.”) Here are the PR fails by coaches:

  • No game plan: Now that press conferences are live streamed, you get to see how poorly prepared coaches really are. There are no talking points. There are no notes. They also seem very surprised at the most obvious questions.
  • Don’t practice: You can tell that the coaches have not practiced answering tough questions. Practice keeps you from looking foolish and saying foolish things.
  • No goal in mind: What are you trying to accomplish at the press conference. Most look like they have no goal other than to end the press conference.
  • Blow a gasket: When you see a coach do that, you know the question was what everyone was thinking. Being prepared keeps you from losing your cool. It shows poise under fire, it shows toughness, it shows preparedness. When you “go off” on a reporter, you are only setting yourself up for problems later.

Here is a good saying to remember coaches: There are no stupid questions, just stupid people who answer them. It’s time you start putting your own coaching philosophy into practice in the things you are required to do as a coach.

PS: Winning cures a lot of bad PR behavior, but when the winning stops…time to go back to the PR practice field.



For years, advertisers have searched for the twist of phrase, visual pun and clever humor for advertising messaging. Now, clear is the new clever.No Dog Poop

A research article by the Nielsen Norman Group summarized today’s copy by saying, “Users won’t read web content unless the text is clear, the words and sentences are simple, and the information is easy to understand.”

The web changes everything again. David Ogilvy fans will find the dictates of the new world copy order a little less than creative:

  • Use large fonts, “tiny text dooms legibility”
  • Use a clean font
  • Use 8th-grade reading level
  • Use short sentences. Avoid compound sentences with subordinate clauses and conjunctions.
  • Use user-centric language
  • Use inverted-pyramid writing style

Headlines continue to be very important for readability and comprehension. Headlines are also is key to attracting eyeballs to your copy.

In addition to writing new, clear copy, you must also insert enough keywords to make a search engine optimization (SEO) difference.  So “Clear, search-optimized copy is the new clever.”


The “visual center” of any page is just slightly above and to the right of the actual (mathematical) center of the page. Some call it the museum height. There is also the divine composition of the Fibonacci Ratio to bring a balance to your images and the simplicity of the rule of thirds. And finally there is video. too much information

What happens to us when we design for television, video or YouTube?  This is the age of distraction, but do we really need to cram every possible fact on the screen? Where is your eye flow to go? What should you read first? Should you listen or read the scrolling information at the bottom?

TV news stations will squeeze back the screen to show sports scores, stocks or other information not important enough for the anchors to read. Besides making the image on the screen smaller, the squeeze-back effect tends to visually add 10 to 20 pounds to the anchor on the screen.

Eye flow and design are just as important in video image as they are in paintings or print design. The elegance of the Fibonacci Ratio is the same for an artist as it is for a videographer–the only problem for the videographer is that the rule of thirds should be applied to each and every shot and the on-screen application of graphics.

It is happening more than you think; people are searching for businesses online and then are thwarted by the “failed” local search experience. Yext attempted to determine the size of the problem in an infographic.Apps, media and other information flying around a smartphone

Yext estimated that the cost for missing listing information was $10.3 billion per year.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 18% of listings have missing or incorrect phone numbers
  • 30% of the insurance industry had missing or incorrect phone numbers; 64% had missing or incorrect addresses
  • 43% had missing or incorrect addresses
  • 41% of banks were missing web urls

Incorrect data is a problem, but just missing information takes you completely out of the digital game. Yext found incorrect local business information in search, maps and apps.

It’s surprising how much time we all spend laboring over website designs and words, when the devil is really in the details.


For many, creating an advertising budget is based on a percentage of revenue. It’s a simple calculation: Your gross revenue is $3 million, so your marketing budget should be around $240,000 or 8%*.Increase Sales banner and icons

There are as many ideas about the correct percentage as there are about how you should measure the marketing efforts. Yet, here is a new way. According to research conducted by Hubspot, we have an average cost per lead (CPL) by category.  So you want 1,000 leads in the financial services category, then you need a budget of approximately $272,000 ($272 CPL X 1,000 leads).

Here are few highlights of the survey by category:

  • Marketing Agencies  $173
  • Manufacturing & Industrial  $235
  • Healthcare & Medical  $286
  • IT Services  $370

The average is $198 per lead.

According to HubSpot, by defining marketing-sales roles dramatically reduces customer acquisition costs by 50%. US companies with a formal sales-marketing agreement can cut the CPL in half.

*Recommended by SBA

It’s funny, we tend to remember things and moments when we were surprised: A startle, an angry outburst, a close call, an unexpected moment. The moment of surprise heightens our senses and makes an indelible mark in our mind. 20170820_104941

For most of advertising’s existence, the art of surprise has rested in the use of humor. A catchy turn of phrase or a visual joke technique has been the crutch to carry the surprise moment. The differentiation is not in the product, but in the laugh.

Yet sometimes the surprise is subtle, and in some cases more effective, than a joke. I saw one of these micro-surprises at the grocery story. I observed (not in a creepy way) several shoppers stop and look at the floor-mat ad and then look at the new product. 1 of the 2 people I observed bought the product.

The floor-mat achieved the element of surprise: It really stood out on the high gloss floor. And it contained a very important word to drive the differentiation home. And that word is “new.” In a world of yogurts, how do you differentiate? You start by surprising your customers, even if it is a micro-surprise. This surprise doesn’t need to be remembered, but it needs to tweak the mind just long enough for the customer to take a look at the new product.

Meeting people right where they are and not through a separate medium can have a strong impact on message communications and differentate you from all the yogurts in the world.




I saw a video digital benchmark study about VCR (ha!, not the old VCR, the new VCR of Video Completion Rates). It showed that most people (more than 90%) will complete watching a 15- and 30-second format at about the same rate.

Yet I’m surprised by the digital industry that has its sights only on internet carriage. I know this is anecdotal, but some of the most powerful video messaging happens in unexpected places: at the checkout, in store displays, in one-on-one presentations and at the gas pump. 20170805_100102

While driving through Mississippi, I was greeted with video content at the gas pump. And it is weird. After I cleaned off the windshield, I found myself watching the screen. When I looked around, I saw a few others watching the pump with great interest.

What lengths work best at a gas pump? Not 15- or 30-seconds. It has to be longer content with a mix of real content and ads. But I really wondered why the C-store had not used the opportunity to sell what was inside the store instead of news content from a local station.

So what can you learn from this blog? First, the medium effects your message length. Carefully craft your video message for the audience, use, event and outlet. Also consider the screen size — tiny sports scores don’t show up well in the gas pump format.