The Right to “Free Speech” But Only If The Words Are Your Own


The role of unbiased journalism has never been more important, nor more confusing. First Amendment Free Speech

Just what is a “journalist”? When anyone can start a blog or report on events with cell phone images and Tweet-sized reports – we need consumers to know the difference. We must have news resources that do not interject personal opinion, who do view all sides of an issue and report professionally.

Informed consumers, and communities, come from quality reporting. In the article below Caroline Little, talks about the role the law plays in keeping content from being reused without permission. Caroline’s article is offered here verbatim, with no changes to her copy.

Ultimately journalism must be profitable so news organizations can spend money on smart reporters, topic experts, news photographers and news video. As marketers we must support the protection of the right of the news media to own their content.

This is a topic about accountability, credibility and the future of honest and fair reporting – something our companies and organizations depend on.

Strong Copyright Law supports journalism and informed communities
By Caroline Little, Newspaper Association of America, president & CEO

Every day, city hall reporters at local newspapers distill hours of city council meetings into cogent stories that inform readers about how their elected officials are spending their tax dollars. Sports reporters document the successes of the high school team. Investigative reporters dig through thousands of pages of documents to expose government corruption, waste or ineffectiveness.

This journalism plays a vital role in local communities and in our nation’s democracy. But it also costs money: newspapers continue to invest more than $5 billion a year in journalism, far more than any other medium in the United States. Newspapers deliver news and information when and where readers want it, in print, digital and mobile platforms.

To do that, we must have fair copyright laws to enable newspapers to receive fair compensation in support of this journalism.

This year, the House Judiciary Committee, the Commerce Department, the Copyright Office and others are looking at potential changes to the Copyright Act. The newspaper industry applauds these efforts to ensure that copyright law is best suited for the digital age. We hope that any changes to the Copyright Act will continue to ensure that content creators – including those who invest in journalism – receive fair compensation.

This continued protection is particularly important today because some companies exist solely to aggregate content from the websites of original publishers for the sole purpose of selling this content to business users at a considerable profit.

Newspapers’ concern in this area is not the personal use of newspaper-generated content but rather its use by businesses that benefit financially through the unlicensed monetization of that content. By taking newspaper content without paying for it, these companies undercut the fundamental economic model that supports journalism that is so important to our communities.

As an example of the importance of copyright protection, consider a case last year that was decided by a federal judge in New York. The case involved Meltwater, a for-profit service, which scraped Associated Press articles from the Internet and resold verbatim excerpts to subscribers.

The AP sued the news service for copyright infringement, and the court properly found that Meltwater’s customers viewed the service as a substitute for reading the original articles. The court found that the re-publication of these articles was not “fair use,” a defense that provides a limited exception from the general rule that content users must receive permission from copyright holders to use their content. This case demonstrates that the Copyright Act’s fair use test is flexible enough to allow courts to reach the right decision.

While targeted enforcement actions focusing on business ventures that take and resell our content may continue to be necessary, the newspaper industry is also determined to find business solutions rather than legal remedies. Ultimately, the best approach for fairly compensating newspapers and other publishers is through the licensing of news content for business purposes.
The most convenient way to request permission to copy and distribute material is by contacting the publisher of that content. In addition, clearinghouses exist, like Copyright Clearance Center and Burrelles Luce’s Compliance Article Program, which provide an easy way for business users of content to obtain redistribution rights.

Since our nation’s founding, newspapers have played a central role in sustaining a well-informed public and healthy democracy. We are confident that licensing arrangements and fair and strong copyright protection will ensure our ability to continue to play this role for centuries to come.

With sincere thanks to the Newspaper Association of America for sharing this editorial for blogger use.

Demotivation? This ‘new’ word has a lot to say about marketing


OK Marketers — our job really is to motivate isn’t it?  Motivate to consider or try or buy – without motivation, our companies could be in big trouble.  Thus my head-snap when I recently read a piece about consumers becoming ‘demotivated’.motivations illustration

Let’s take a closer look at why a consumer can become demotivated and that should give us clues on how to reverse the trend back to motivation.

Demotivation does NOT come from lack of interest; nothing has changed in that department.  Consumers still love new clothes, sporting events, and so many other things we spend our money on.

Demotivation DOES come from a lack of reasons.  Start by asking yourself “why should a consumer buy our product or service”?  sports fans watching TV

Consider this:  Why go to a movie when you can rent one? The movie is the same, quality about the same but a big ticket price cannot win over convenience and comfort.  Thus the value proposition is to stay home to watch a movie. No commercials, no rude audiences, even the popcorn you can get from Orville Redenbacher (or your new Williams-Sonoma popping machine you bought online) is superior.

Consider this too:  Sporting venues and promoters have not kept up with what fans want.  Small seats, long lines at the bathrooms and concessions, inconvenient parking are all reasons to NOT go to a sporting venue.  Big screen TV’s at home or sports bars beat the venue experience in most cases.  Oh did I mention ticket prices?  You can buy a new big screen TV for the cost of a couple of tickets and an afternoon at the game!  And there is near panic these days on the college level and some team owners that they are losing ticket sales, logo item sales, concessions, parking and more revenue… why?  Demotivation at work here too.

So what cool ideas are others using to MOTIVATE the consumer to get up and have a live experience!ski valet

  •  - Ski Valets to assure lugging all that equipment doesn’t mar your downhill
  •  - Sports cars for use at upscale hotels
  •  - Vending machines with intuitive touch screens, face recognition and custom wraps to match interior décor
  •  - Bank lobbies open after “business hours”
  •  - Brand advocates who learn a customer’s wants, needs and styles

Doctors who know your name – just hopeful on the last one, but you get the idea.  It’s all about not only understanding the consumer, but truly knowing what they value.  If you can add being able to know when the customer wants your product or service or new idea – well then we all win.  Win big too.

So how do you motivate and stop the demotivation?  Well it really is frighteningly simple:  you ask.

Be ready to listen because the consumer is happy to tell you.

You too need to be motivated; motivated to change, be flexible and hear what the consumer is asking you for.  So get motivated and put all that technology to work.  Use email, social media sites, events, survey intercepts and even the US Post Office and start the conversation!

What is a PSA? If you do know; read on. If you don’t; definitely read on



PSA stands for Public Service Announcement and they are about to be back in a big way.  All of us want to be smart and informed consumers, and corporations want to engages us, connect with us, and sell to us!  If a multi-platform campaign gives us an education and reasons to buy a product; all the better for everyone.

The selection of messages “in the public service” is 100% the responsibility of the leadership and the PR team of any organization.  Some smart pros couple that with a budget and a supportive ad and social media campaign, just like L’Oreal is doing in a well -timed campaign to kick off for summer 2014.

Yes it is OK to tie your brand message to a public service message.  Add a compelling story and you have the perfect marketing cocktail.Public service

The story at L’Oreal is a personal one; their VP of Communications was diagnosed with melanoma when a mole examination turned out to be melanoma, aka skin cancer.

Her research showed that melanoma is the #3 and rising cause of death from cancer – and from here a smart and compelling marketing campaign was born.

Promoting a L’Oreal product that included sun screen was a perfect tie in too.  They decided to base their campaign on educating women, especially young women, about the benefits of protecting their skin.  The campaign is called “It’s THAT Worth It” and features not only actress Eva Longoria but the L’Oreal executive as well.  Smart, credible, personal.

Here are the tie-ins that cross platforms, demographics and will get this L’Oreal public service message out in a big-big way:

-          PR, advertising, crowdsourcing, merchandising, events, social media all come together

-          Twitter hashtag #itsthatworthit

-          Celebrity endorsement, Eva Longoria

-          Outreach to Hispanic community too with Longoria as a Latina spokeswoman

-          Diane Keaton to reach an older demographic and Lea Michele are also involved in the campaign

-          Credible story, L’Oreal executive with melanoma (now in remission thankfully)

-          Tie in with nonprofit Melanoma Research Alliance

-          Selection of May 20 as kick off day (great summer timing)

-          Initial large donation to the Melanoma Research Alliance, with an event

-          Ongoing donations to the Alliance for each product purchase or crowdsourcing sign up

The primary goal is to educate consumers that protecting your skin is seriously important.  The L’Oreal sales will be small, and possibly grow, but the image enhancement is brilliant.

It starts with a story, has a very real core message and yes it is a public service.

Congratulations L’Oreal team – and to my readers watch out PSA’s are about to be a big part of your lives too!

Important Things They Don’t Teach You in Marketing Classes



For all my friends who ask me if their child should major in marketing, or those who are investigating second careers and think my career looks like fun … here is What I Wish I Knew in College About Marketing:marketing button

-        Being accountable counts.  But isn’t easy.  I wish they had taught us at least one exceptional answer to this question:  “How do you know this idea will work?”

-        This is a major for “learning junkies” – if you always want to know more, this might be for you!  You might be surprised how often someone asks you “why didn’t you know that?”  On a great day someone will say “how did you know that?”.

-        Marketing translates to almost every profession and it might make you crazy when it seems no one around you seems to know the most basic things about communications or customer relationships.  That doctor that keeps you waiting every single time with only out of date magazines in the waiting room?  The advertising you see that doesn’t include contact information?  The places you frequent that have never asked your name!” The businesses you deal with and how many times you will think to yourself “why haven’t they tried this?”  Aaargh – seems like it is so obvious doesn’t it?

-        Spelling is a big deal.  I had no idea in college that spelling would be part of every web address I type or every Google search I make.  Having gone to Catholic schools luckily this was part of my training from day one, but I am now more grateful than ever.

-        Who you know is everything.  Pick a great school, get to know as many people as you can, join anything that interests you and keep an open mind to all cultures, new ideas, history and opinions – they will all come back to you sometime during your marketing career!

-        Your expertise will be in demand – from writing the resume of a friend’s friend, to that nonprofit that would really love for you to volunteer – what you know as a marketer is what makes the world (and money) go around.

-        It really is all about the money.  If you wonder how something came to be… trace it back to where profit was made or will be made – and bingo you will have your answer.

marketing is businessAhh. That explains why marketing is part of the college of business in almost every university in the world – we do help make the world go around.  The professors never told us that either!

Who Are You? What Your Fact Sheet Says About You – or Not!


2014At the end of every calendar year I do two things;  #1 is I change the footer on all my client websites, and my own, to reflect the new year.  #2 is I take a look at all the media materials we utilize to send our client messages to not only update but improve on them.

Both of these tasks assure I am letting the customer and the media know that we are on top of things and pay attention to details.

This year I will update this information at least four times, and maybe more. As we are almost half way through this year, let’s take a look at what we need to stay on top of and it all starts with our organization’s fact sheet.

Task #1 speaks for itself, but task #2 got a little trickier this year.

Everyone wants visual messages.  Tell the story through images or charts – where possible link to video with audio.  Engage.  Enchant and Inspire!  Got it – now let’s look at what it takes to do it.

Usually I Google a phrase that might give me inspiration on what smart marketers do.  I like this because marketers in Thailand might do a better visual job and sometimes creativity might show up in Kansas or Sweden – however it comes I am always grateful for Google!

I tried searching for corporate fact sheets, oh my they looked lifeless in too many cases.  So I thought ah-ha I will search for countries and how they present their fact, another disappointing find.  Then I searched for hotels and found inspiration.

So in the spirit of sharing and hoping you too might be inspired here is my visual offering of “best” and “needs help” fact sheets:

Best example from the restaurant category – Bob Evans
fact sheet bob evans

Cheesecake Factory can do much better. Same industry, same opportunity for telling a story visually.
fact sheet ex of boring restaurant one

And here is a rather dreary presentation of facts from FPL and Duke:

fact sheet fpl

fact sheet good Alcoa

A worthy example of a very well done corporate fact sheet from Alcoa.   If the goal is to capture attention, then all of us know which ones engage us and which ones could use some review and updating.

So take a few minutes and do a table top review of your materials – print them all out, everything your media contacts or a consumer might see about your corporate message – put them all on a big table and step back.

Is it time for updates?  I have never done this that one piece did not stand out as overlooked and in need of updating words, images, contact names, dates … you’ll see what I mean.

Tell Me Whhhhyyy Oh Why … 5 Paths To a Boomer Consumer’s Heart


Tell me WhyIf you are old enough to remember that song, then this week’s post is for you because you are a Boomer, born after 1946 and before 1964 … making up 25% of today’s US population.  You (we) are the generation with the most money right now in our pockets.

In the words of John Lennon’s Tell Me Why song:

Well I gave you everything I had
But you left me sitting on my own
Did you have to treat me oh so bad
All I do is hang my head and moan

And because Boomers will be going strong as consumers for the next 10+ years, here are 5 ways to win us over, get us to spend money with your organization and capture our loyalty:

1. Tell me why something is a good product or service. I call this “talking to the consumer, not at the consumer”. Boomers want the facts, the more the better. Knowledge supports our purchases.
o Great Example: Travel websites that present unstaged photos from recent guests, reviews from real people and insights into what to ask for at the front desk or which seats are best on an aircraft.

2. Does this purchase help something or someone? If so there is one more reason to care about your product or service.
o Great Examples: Target who gives a percentage of what is spent in a community, back to that community and BP who puts solar panels on the roof of their gas stations.

3. Is there additional value here? Can this product take the place of two others maybe or is this product a better version of a competitor?
o Great Examples: Warby Parker glasses. Not only is this web-based glasses provider fun to deal with, but when a consumer buys a pair of eye glasses, another one is donated. Other companies do this like Tom’s Shoes who donates a second pair of shoes to a needy and deserving child.

fine print4. Don’t box me in. Offers that have restrictions make Boomers nuts. If I can only buy on Wednesdays between 2 and 4 and if I bring in a coupon – you have lost this sale.

5. Images matter. Do not under any circumstances use words that speak to Boomers and photos that look like 20-somethings. We are proud to be this age and will identify with images that look like us, even if they are the beautified versions.

o Great Examples: Car dealers that show luxury cars with amenities Boomers ask for and then it is being driven by a young business man. When was the last time you saw a 55 year old woman behind the steering wheel in a car commercial?

After all it was the Beatles that came out with Tell Me Why in 1964 (ironically the last year of Baby Boomer births) and recently 22 year old Taylor Swift came out with her own song called Tell Me Why.

Each of these examples could work for other age groups too – after all we just want to believe we are good people, making intelligent decisions and that the seller cares just a little bit about who we are and what we need. Not too much to ask.

Picture This?


Did you see the recent news announcement about Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg starting to put her brand on stock photos? You might be thinking “sheesh must everything be branded?” In this case I say “thank you Sheryl!”

Working businesswoman

If you haven’t looked for stock photography of women in a while, you might be surprised that there are very few images of women in business situations, politics, leadership or other “non mommie” images. There are also precious few images of older woman in any of the above.

Try this: do a Google image search for “professional women over 40” and you get mostly celebrities, with the first row being all Jane Fonda. But these celebrity images are faces, beautiful ones yes, but they are not DOING anything. What kind of message are we sending the next generation of women?

The photo in this blog is an example of what I got when I asked iStock (owned by Getty Images) for “professional women” – oh my.

Sandberg, and let’s admit Facebook is all about images, is in a position to know that stock images make up most of the advertising, sales materials, websites and yes Facebook content.

The success of her book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” has really touched a nerve but maybe it also uncovered a lack of images she could include in her book too. This photography branding is being managed by her nonprofit

She has partnered with Getty Images, which is a main source of stock photography and they claim to have 2.4 million customers, many in marketing I would guess, including me.

What does your marketing depict? Maybe it is time to allocate some of your 2014 budget to gather more relevant photography of real people using your product or service – it will surely resonate with your consumers and make you stand away from the stock images of yesterday!

As I watch the Winter Olympics and see records fall and women enter the ranks of men-only sports (women’s hockey?) I know we are moving in a positive direction – but when we change the visual images with ones that are appropriate and empowering, well we will all have leaned in the right direction. And that direction is not lying down!