Me and Lou Albano and a Bottle of Whiskey

I have some sad news to report: Lou Albano is dead. You might ask, who is he? Lou was a professional wrestler and managed other wrestlers. He even played Cindi Lauper’s father in her music videos.

As a child, my father took me to the professional wrestling matches in Philadelphia (go Phillies, you can catch up in the World series!) and I hated Lou. He was one of the dark characters played out in the ring. However, while we bought tickets to the cheap seats ($5) we often exchanged them for close views of the wrestlers. That’s because my dad knew an usher and he moved us from the cheap seats to the primo locations that had not sold out.

To show his gratitude to this usher, my father would give him a pint of whiskey (I don’t advocate drinking liquor anymore) to show our appreciation.

The PR laugh for me is that marketers and public relations professionals are so keen on social media and new ways to spread our clients’ messages. And while that is very important, there’s nothing like remembering the positive impressions that come from showing appreciation.

That’s why whether it’s a writer at the New York Times or a blogger in Chicago, I insist that our staff show appreciation, with at least a sincere note (handwritten is preferred). That’s the ultimate way to spread your message virally.

Law Firm Taglines: Tasteful and Tacky

Any legal marketing professional will tell you how they feel the home page artwork for many law firms makes them cringe. That’s because so many use almost identical stock photos of court houses or scales of justice. (What justice, I was not able to participate in the Cash for Clunkers program with my 2003 Toyota Corolla, nothing just about that, anyway…)
Recently, Law.com has a story called “101 Damn Fine and Not-So-Fine Law Firm Taglines.” And they did a great job of summarizing the original posting from Stem Legal. The post speaks for itself, however, here’s an excerpt:
Five Law.com likes:
Shepard Mullin: Our Mission is Your Success
Arnall Golden Gregory: Not If, But How
Ervin Cohen & Jessup: It’s Not a Common Practice.
Lawrence Graham: Lawyers. Just Different.
Womble Carlyle: Innovators at Law

A couple not easily forgotten:

Foster Townsend Graham: Damn Fine Litigators.
Harris Beach: Lawyers you’ll swear by. Not at.
Harrison Pensa: In any case.

Some the writer felt were possibly made up by a four-year-old:
Dickinson Wright: Great Lawyers. Great Law Firm.
Mischon: Not just any law firm.
Here, your choice clearly boils down to Leadership versus Experience:
Alston & Bird: Leadership. Creativity. Results.
Crowell & Moring: Experience. Creativity. Results.
Harry Potter Wisdom Division
Locke Lord: Practical wisdom, trusted advice

Where’s the PR laugh here? Well, it depends. It’s only been in recent years that law firms have taken more marketing seriously. So while I would love to poke fun at self-serving tag lines like
“Great Lawyers, Great Law Firm.” I can’t. (Actually, based on marketing guidelines by individual states on how you can describe your firm, that tag line might be illegal, but that’s another post).

What I can chuckle about is how so many lawyers think they are marketers. While some are great self-promoters, some of those same lawyers need to rethink how their marketing efforts make them look sophisticated or silly.


PR Rules from Kindergarten

A good friend I made initially from on-lines communications is Dr. Toy. She is one the people I respect most when it comes to children and play. I even contacted her when my wife was pregnant to get advice on how to best interact with an new infant!
Recently, Dr. Toy sent me a link to a blog posting: PR rules my daughter learned in kindergarten. I could not have said it better, that while everyone is all a whirl about social media and on-line networking, public relations will always boil down to some basic communication skills we should have learned early in life.
When I first started my public relations agency, one of my media contacts told me that learning public relations should have started when as a child we were taught to “send a ‘thank you’ note to Aunt Sue for the red sweater.”
I read a report titled: The State of the Public Relations Industry prepared by Paul Holmes. I loved what the it said about how public relations is changing in the face of social media and how it remains the same:

“Historically, public relations people have identified those people most likely to influence their client’s target audience, told the client’s story to those individuals, and then relied on those individuals to tell their story to the wider audience. Traditionally, those individuals have been journalists—relatively easy to identify, with obvious needs and interests. Today, those individuals can be bloggers, citizen journalists, or indeed anyone with influence: a hairdresser in the case of women’s products, a priest or minister in the case of a social issue. They are harder to identify, and understanding their specific information needs and desires requires more work, but the process remains the same: identify them, tell them a story, rely on them to tell the story to others.”

The laugh for me is that people think public relations in the 21st Century is all about technology. And I agree, you need to know the features and benefits of electronic communications. Yet it’s really a means to an end.
On the bus today, two young people bump hard into me and did not even apologize or acknowledge what they did. I don’t care how robust their Facebook pages are, they missed setting up their “personal profile” when they did not learn some basics back in in kindergarten.