That’s Not What I’m Here To Discuss

Also known as “No Comment”

nocommentHere’s some PR analysis from Matt Wilson at Ragan.com on a recent interview with former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. As reported at Mediaite, after MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell posed a question about spying, Oren’s earpiece (conveniently?) had “technical issues.” Coincidence?

Another approach could have been to state, “Sorry, but I’m not going to offer you any insight there…” then steer the discussion back to his message: “what I can tell you is…” and then: key talking points.

Other phrases useful in this situation:

  • “I’m not going to speak to that, but…”
  • “I understand your question, but we’re here today to talk about…”
  • “This has been addressed elsewhere (only if so), but right now…”

The lesson here is to acknowledge the inquiry directly and politely, but not offer any additional information — then promptly get the conversation back on message. It can be tricky in the heat of the moment, especially on a controversial issue, but this can also be a more honest approach in the direction of getting PR right. It’s more likely to help ensure an interviewee’s points are heard, and is far friendlier than a blunt “no comment.”

Check out these additional options offered by Ragan’s PR Daily: Alternatives to “No Comment,” and see this video of awkwardness compiled by Huffington Post of politicians dodging reporters.

What do you think? Have you ever been asked something where your only answer was “no comment?” Do any examples of question-dodging come to mind? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Is Kodak the Next PBR?

Could a flavor for the vintage be a win for Kodak?

Kodak-PBR LogoFull disclosure: my first camera was a Kodak, both in film and digital. And their business allegory is one for the ages in terms of a Shakespearean rise to dominance and a spectacular fall from greatness. So it was with keen interest I noted this story at Marketplace on modern film directors wanting to shore up Kodak film for motion picture production. Similar to the way Pabst Blue Ribbon is a long-standing brand that has developed a retro-cred cachet, or the way General Motors is evolving the Cadillac brand — an iconic namesake being reworked for modern relevance — the thought is that there’s enough of a desire for “the way things used to be” to make this happen for Kodak. As one with an active creative pursuit involving photography and image-making, as well as an understanding of corporate communication and PR, I think this could happen, but only, as Marketplace notes, if investment indeed goes toward innovation, rather than propping up the status quo: Personally, I have great nostalgic fondness for brands like Kodak, and have to respect the call of talented creators like Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams furthering this cause. Good on those guys, who, like me, have appreciation for the past and feel that some things are worth keeping around, especially in the name of art.

What do you think? Do you have a preference for anything being done “the old-fashioned way?” Are there any brands you immediately think of as nostalgic yet still with us? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Stuart

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This is Stuart, the neighborhood cat. He technically lives (i.e. gets food) a couple of houses down, but really, he lives where he, himself, lives; does his thing where he gets it done; and sleeps where he sleeps – in this case, my porch, which happens to be in his territorial patrol. He always has a friendly word and is amenable to a quick head scratching. And then he’s on his way again – sometimes back on patrol, sometimes to cat dreamland.

I think he sets a good PR example: do your own thing, in harmony with your environment and community, in a non-overbearing way that’s confident and content yet friendly. That’s something we all can aspire toward.

What do you think? Ever learned or observed a broader concept from an animal or pet of your own? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Tomatoes, I Have Never Understood You

Nor you me…

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But I am enjoying these heirloom summer babies pretty much on the regular lately. All shots here produced via Hipstamatic.

New Music: Dessa. Thanks, Night Vale.

Sweet sounds from a surreal podcast: “Call Off Your Ghost” by Dessa

I’ve long been a fan of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast. Part of the broadcast is a segment called “The Weather” where music is featured. I’m not a huge fan of this part in general, however, a recent episode proved to be a huge exception, thanks to Dessa.

A Minnesota based singer/rapper, Dessa’s live performance of “Call Off Your Ghost” from Welcome to Night Vale’s live show in New York City’s Town Hall had me rewinding it multiple times to hear again, until I finally just bought the whole album.

Here’s video of a similar live performance, which I believe is actually even better than the one on the podcast. “Call Off Your Ghost” kicks in at 3:59:

You can find out more about Dessa at her Bandcamp site.

What do you think? When is the last time you discovered new music in an unlikely place? Have you ever sought out a musical artist based on hearing them for the first time? Let us hear from you in the comments.

If Facebook Can Experiment, So Can You

Change up your own social algorithm and see what happens.

The Many Faces of FacebookThe world has been aghast lately at the revelation of Facebook’s creepy social experiment. Sure, it’s weird at best and borderline unethical, but it got me thinking: what if we took a cue here and did some experimenting of our own? Can something good come of this?

Smile More

In the past few months I’ve been making the conscious effort to smile more at others. I travel on business regularly, so I’m constantly in front of zillions of service or travel industry workers, whom I’ve been smiling at more so lately just to see what happens: simple grins and a little eye contact for everyone — not weird, extended fake smiles — just friendly, quick expressions at a drive-thru, coffee counter or lunch table.

And you know what? I’ve seen more smiles as a result. So what if it’s a conscious effort on my part? It’s simple enough and is a basically effortless way to give & receive some positivity.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about my informal experiment, but it’s interesting to me that I’ve been doing some content altering of my own here lately and have gotten some useful qualitative feedback, especially in light of the latest Facebook debacle. Here are some more non-scientific but interesting examples:

Making people smile on the London underground

High Fiving Strangers

What about you? Ever changed up your routine or made a conscious effort to see how a certain behavior makes an impression on others? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Only So Much To Say

Only So Much To Say - Richard Smith - rsmithings.com

Stream becomes portal. Tree becomes a mountain range. Leaf becomes Dalí’s mustache. Best viewed at full size.

This is a photomontage I created about a year ago, practically forgot about, then came back to appreciate more completely only later thanks to Pinterest. I remember it taking not very long to compose, and having all the elements come together serendipitously, which, for me, is my favorite manner. This one appears more abstract from a distance, so it doesn’t have the instant recognizabilitly, and therefore sudden popularity, of many of my other pieces — but the reward is there for those with an eye and desire for detail. The abstractedness gives way to a surrealist blending of natural scenes and forms, offering a rich level of intricacy not immediately apparent in a smaller view — which is just the way so much of our digital art world is at first blush on Instagram or many other image sharing destinations. And that’s the inspiration for the title: in the smaller format, there is only so much to say, just a limited amount, for a fleeting few seconds… while further exploration reveals so much more. Check out the originals at Flickr.

Originals at FlickrWhat do you think? Have you ever created something you thought was OK at the time only to come back later with a different appreciation? Do you regularly revisit art or music you’ve experienced in the past and come away with a new interpretation? Let us hear from you in the comments.