Archive for November, 2011

Mother of the American Thanksgiving

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 23, 2011 by innovativemediapr

As we all prepare to gather with family and friends for our Thanksgiving feast, I thought it would be nice to pay tribute to Sarah Josepha Hale, the mother of the American Thanksgiving holiday. Sarah was the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. An influential writer, she was the author of the Nursery Rhyme, Mary Had a Little Lamb. An advocate for women’s education, especially higher education, she also helped in the founding of Vassar College.

Thanksgiving was largely a regional holiday, celebrated first in the New England colonies and then spreading across the country. Back then, each state scheduled its own holiday, some as early as October and others as late as January; it was largely unknown in the American South.

Hale began her national lobbying efforts to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1846, a quest that lasted for 17 years. During that time she wrote to five U.S. Presidents, starting with Zachary Taylor and moving on to Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and then Abraham Lincoln. Her letter to Lincoln finally convinced the president to support legislation establishing a national holiday of Thanksgiving in 1863. It was considered a unifying day after the Civil War. Prior to this, the only national holidays in the United States were Washington’s Birthday and Independence Day.

The following is taken from Sarah Josepha Hale, “Editor’s Table,” Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1858
OUR NATIONAL THANKSGIVING

“All the blessings of the fields,
All the stores the garden yields,
All the plenty summer pours,
Autumn’s rich, o’erflowing stores,
Peace, prosperity and health,
Private bliss and public wealth,
Knowledge with its gladdening streams,
Pure religion’s holier beams —
Lord, for these our souls shall raise
Grateful vows and solemn praise.”

We are most happy to agree with the large majority of the governors of the different States — as shown in their unanimity of action for several past years, and which, we hope, will this year be adopted by all — that the LAST THURSDAY IN NOVEMBER shall be the DAY Of NATIONAL THANKSGIVING for the American people. Let this day, from this time forth, as long as our Banner of Stars floats on the breeze, be the grand THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY of our nation, when the noise and tumult of wordliness may be exchanged for the laugh of happy children, the glad greetings of family reunion, and the humble gratitude of the Christian heart. This truly American Festival falls, this year on the twenty fifth day of this month.

Let us consecrate the day to benevolence of action, by sending good gifts to the poor, and doing those deeds of charity that will, for one day, make every American home the place of plenty and of rejoicing. These seasons of refreshing are of inestimable advantage to the popular heart; and if rightly managed, will greatly aid and strengthen public harmony of feeling. Let the people of all the States and Territories sit down together to the “feast of fat things,” and drink, in the sweet draught of joy and gratitude to the Divine giver of all our blessings, the pledge of renewed love to the Union, and to each other; and of peace and good-will to all men. Then the last Thursday in November will soon become the day of AMERICAN THANKSGIVING throughout the world.

 

Herman Cain Shows How Not To Use PR

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 3, 2011 by innovativemediapr

Once again a national personality has failed when it comes to effectively using public relations.
Herman Cain, the surprising frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination is right now facing a firestorm of questions surrounding the alleged sexual harassment complaints that were filed against him during his time as an executive with the National Restaurant Association.

Cain has largely used the power of public relations in his climb from fringe candidate to frontrunner status with his 9-9-9 tax mantra and his congeniality and folksy approach during the nationally televised candidate debates.

Portraying himself as a different type of candidate, Cain has connected with his followers, especially conservative voters looking for an alternative to Mitt Romney. However, just as Texas Governor Rick Perry has faltered in the way he has handled himself in the televised debates, opening the door for Cain, the former Chairman of Godfather’s Pizza has also failed miserably in how he has dealt with this crisis.

Why has this “new” type of candidate failed?  Basically, because he has strayed from the basic tenets of public relations, something many individuals and companies do whenever they are faced with a crisis.

Let us explore the ways in which Herman Cain has failed PR 101.

When the news first broke, Cain quickly dismissed the charges saying they had no validity. He did so by going on television and then giving a talk at the National Press Club. Within a couple of hours he changed his story as he seemingly recalled some of the facts associated with the decade-old cases.  He also claimed not knowing about any settlements and then started estimating what he thought was the settlement.  The national media, now smelling blood did their job and began investigating the facts, showing in one case that one of the accusers received a year’s salary as a payout.

Never, should a company or individual be flippant when a controversy emerges. These are big stakes now for Cain. To dismiss charges automatically and then have to fill in the blanks with information on an hourly basis is not the way to handle a crisis.  It makes one beg to reason, where’s the truth?  By not addressing the charges head on and not putting out the correct information and instead, winging it, Cain opened himself up to further scrutiny.

Cain should have met with his staff and conducted a full download of the history of the cases with them. He then should have come
clean and admitted that his actions at the time were deemed questionable and he felt badly that they were interpreted that way and in no way does he condone harassment in any form.  This should all have happened before he addressed the media.

Playing the race card and making himself a victim was another cardinal sin.  It may have helped him raise a large amount of campaign cash but in the end, it will ultimately hurt his candidacy severely, as other past victims are tempted to come forward.

By also blaming his opponents, notably Rick Perry for launching this smear campaign against him, Cain continues to play the victim. This is certain to provide for great theater during the next televised debate. However, whether his candidacy survives will largely rely on how he deals with the continued fallout.

Cain has appealed to voters because they see in him a successful CEO that has built businesses and is proposing bold economic change with his 9-9-9 tax reform plan.  However, they are also looking for leadership. As his poll numbers have climbed, Cain
has faced intense scrutiny on every issue coming his way.

A true leader gets out in front of issues. Making things up along the way and dismissing serious issues is not the way to become
president.

Companies and individuals that overcome crisis situations are those that recognize the vital importance of the issue facing them, gather up all the facts, and come out with an honest response.  They take the lead on the issue and do not allow it to lead them.

Which way will Herman Cain go? He can still use the public relations tools at his disposal, only he must be consistent and use them in a positive fashion. Blaming others and not recognizing the seriousness of the issue will not fly.

Tom Cosentino

 

 

From the Coast Guard to the Green Room

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2011 by innovativemediapr

Guest post by Andrew Hartung

After being found ‘not seaworthy’ to work in search and rescue with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), I returned to school and found a new career that I felt I could be just as passionate about, public relations, which I would choose as my
next and hopefully final career.

At 40-years old, I was extremely excited to graduate from Seton Hall University in May 2008 but was discouraged to discover that it was very difficult to find employment. I had just spent the last 36 months in school but had absolutely no experience in the field. School taught me to network heavily, both in person and online via LinkedIn, and my work paid off with an internship at iMedia
Public Relations
. I now found myself with Tom Cosentino, my new boss, who doesn’t wear stripes on his sleeves or act as if he were made of salt water like my previous supervisors in the USCG.

My task since first arriving a month ago has been to raise awareness for “The Caesars Tribute II: A Salute to the
Ladies of the Ice,” with different media outlets. I have found that pitching an ice skating event in October, when it’s not even cold outside, is like trying to sell ice cubes to an Eskimo. Some editors entertained the prospect of interviewing a world famous skater but many nicely declined.

Building a rapport with the media was useful in receiving my first bite. One planning editor/producer at FOX
Television
in Philadelphia, Berlinda Garnett, grabbed onto my story. I quickly built a connection with Berlinda and was able
to initiate a friendly and comical dialogue. After a few conversations, she took to the story of interviewing a skater but soon after I sold her on the story that ‘ice cube’ melted. However, the skater, who we planned to bring to town as part of the media tour, was unable to make the scheduled date.

A week ago, Tom informed me that he had scheduled Sarah Hughes for an appearance on “Good Day NY,” a Fox5 morning show,
and invited me to come with him to the interview. Sarah is a gold medal Olympian and as a participant in the Caesar’s Tribute, was booked to promote the event.  Tom’s job was to ensure everything went smoothly at the morning show.

The night before the show, I was very anxious knowing I had to be up at 4:30 a.m. to meet Tom for the drive into Manhattan.  I had met some important people throughout my life but meeting an Olympic Gold Medalist, who worked their entire life to gain such recognition, still put me in awe. I tried explaining to my daughter, Abigail, who is five-years old, what I was about to do. I showed Abigail a You Tube video of Sarah’s ice skating performance and she thought Sarah was a princess.

When we finally arrived in NYC the next morning and met Sarah with her mother, I was astonished to see how down to earth she actually was. She came across like any other young girl, if not friendlier than most. We were immediately escorted to hair and make-up which was even more exciting. Never in a million years would I have ever entertained the idea that I’d be in this kind of situation a year or two ago. I was dying to take pictures or videos the entire time so I wouldn’t forget a minute, but knew I had to restrain myself. The halls of Good Day NY were filled with past celebrities autographs who had visited over the years. It was
amazing.

After make-up, Sarah went to get her hair done. Tom, her mother, and I went to the Green Room (which was actually brown). As I stepped through the doorway, I saw someone who looked very familiar, Theresa Caputo, a psychic medium. Her ability to talk to the dead is the focus of a new show on TLC called “Long Island Medium.” Literally two days prior, I watched about 15
minutes of this show for the first time. She made everyone’s hair stand up as she explained to a pregnant assistant producer that someone was ‘visiting’ her.

This assistant was in tears and barely able to stand. Soon she turned her attention towards Tom and claimed his father and cousin were there. It was very strange.

Soon we were called into the actual studio. Sarah was already sitting next to Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly preparing to go
on air. The count down started; three, two, one and in minutes it was over. Since it was my first time to witness such a production, I had no idea how it went but it all looked good to me. Tom said she did well, he is the expert.

I look forward to my new career and many more similar experiences like I had my first time in a Green Room.