Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Public Relations: Is This AT&T Letter A Good Call?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

We opened an envelope displaying nothing more than an address and AT&T’s logo. We were initially wary. Some companies send such envelopes, hoping their lack of information will increase the chances of people opening them. Also, we recently read that some cell phone companies are trying to quietly raise revenue with new fees. Most likely, we assumed, the letter would promote services.

The letter’s first line states, “I’m Vicki Martin, the Vice President and General Manager for AT&T in the Arizona and New Mexico area.” Beginning the letter this way was refreshing. Most big businesses don’t even try to take a personal approach.

The letter’s purpose is to let us know “what we’re doing” and “how we’re contributing to the community.” Seeing a company write in plain English also is refreshing.

The letter goes on to explain how AT&T is helping promote education, uphold human rights, protect the environment and prevent the dangers of texting and driving. The letter does not end with a catch. You know how some managers deliver compliments to employees simply as a bridge to deliver unfavorable requests?

Cynics might argue AT&T is up to something. They will assume the company is attempting to deflect negative impressions and will scoff at the idea that simply printing Vicki’s name on a piece of paper makes it personal. We also can’t verify the extent of the efforts the company outlined in the letter.

But this letter is still one step ahead of many other businesses. And moving companies from robotic to personal communications takes one long step at a time. Instead of constantly criticizing, the public must find moments, when appropriate, to applaud big business’ approach to building customer relationships. For this letter, we say good call AT&T.

The Flip Side Searches For An Intern

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

The Flip Side Communications LLC is a Scottsdale media company offering professional video, media/public relations, media training and employee communications. Keith and Loren Yaskin own The Flip Side. Keith was a TV reporter for 17 years, primarily as an investigative journalist. He won three Emmys and three first place Associated Press Awards. The AP once named him Arizona’s TV Reporter of the Year. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he received the Gary Cummings Memorial Award as the top broadcast student. Loren specialized in marketing and public relations at Edelman Public Relations and Delta Dental of Arizona. She was an internal communications consultant at The Vanguard Group and an employee communications manager at PetSmart. Loren also graduated from Northwestern.

We are searching for an intern who is creative, willing to question conventional wisdom, able to come to the table with plenty of ideas, comfortable with tight deadlines and eager to learn. Strong social media skills and a willingness to come up with new concepts on how to use social media on behalf of businesses are important. We are searching for someone who wants an opportunity to go beyond the conventional internship and instead play a strong hands-on role. Responsibilities include:

  • Pitching stories to the media
  • Developing story ideas
  • Helping write blogs
  • Helping write news releases
  • Posting to social media sites
  • Monitoring social media sites and tracking industry-specific information on the Internet.
  • Identifying public relations opportunities
  • Identifying media outlets to pitch stories to
  • Tracking news events related to clients’ industries

Please send information to Thank you.

WATCH THIS: Is A Call To Action Really That Critical?

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Keith Yaskin of The Flip Side Communications in Scottsdale, Arizona and Duncan Matheson, President and co-founder of BissettMatheson Communications in New Brunswick, Canada, discuss if a call to action is really critical.

YouTube Preview Image

10 Questions To Protect Privacy When Shooting Video

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

In this picture, I’m shooting video for Crisis Response Network of Southern Arizona. One of our important responsibilities was to build an engaging video without unintentionally identifying anyone turning to the center for help due to a crisis. Businesses and organizations are full of private and proprietary information they wouldn’t want the public to see. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Can viewers identify people in the background who are not part of the video?
  2. Can viewers read information on computer screens in the video?
  3. Can viewers read paperwork on desks or hanging on walls?
  4. Is it OK for viewers to recognize other employees in the background who are not the main focus of the video?
  5. Does audio of employees at their desks or on the phone include any information (names, numbers, addresses) that would identify people or organizations?
  6. Does any of the video show telephones that might display caller id and someone’s telephone number?
  7. Does the video show any license plate numbers?
  8. Does any “file” video inadvertently link outside organizations to this video?
  9. Does the video show any areas of the facility that the organization would not want the public to see?
  10. Did you ask someone to double check the video in case you missed any of the above concerns?

I’m Speaking About Using Video To Market Your Business

Friday, January 18th, 2013


Click here for details.


Public Relations: Talking Teeth And Sharing Some Wisdom

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Public Relations:  Talking Teeth And Sharing Wisdom

Scottsdale pediatric dentist Dr. Lee Weinstein, the dental director of Arizona’s Medicaid program, spoke in a small room with young adults at Jewish Family and Children’s Service. At first, I wasn’t sure the conversation would lead to much. Some of those at the table made it clear dentists do not conjure up positive experiences. One young woman, the mother of a six-month-old, even described scary sounds of a dentist’s office. But the more everyone talked, the more a door opened. Some listened in surprise as Dr. Weinstein explained just how early parents should start caring for an infant’s teeth. Questions followed about wisdom teeth, Medicaid, jobs available in a dentist’s office and the safety of traveling to Mexico for dental work.

Dr. Weinstein invited everyone to see his office by showing them a video of him at work with patients. Before an hour had passed, I got the sense the meeting offered, at a minimum, a shared insight of each other’s different worlds. This was especially true when Dr. Weinstein told the young mother it is essential she find a pediatrician and challenged her in a friendly way to do so by Christmas. There was even a broader conversation about how, in every day life, asking careful questions of others is key when making important family decisions. Everyone even found a way to laugh when someone asked him, “What are you?” Some noticed Dr. Weinstein’s East Coast accent and found it fascinating.

Back To School! Speaking To Arizona State University Students About Branding And Marketing With Video

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Back To School! Speaking To Arizona State University Students About Branding And Marketing With Video

Back To School! Speaking To Arizona State University Students About Branding And Marketing With Video

Back To School! Speaking To Arizona State University Students About Branding And Marketing With Video

Media Training And Politics: Did Biden Do What Obama Should Have Done?

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Our guest blogger is Duncan Matheson, President and co-founder of BissettMatheson Communications in New Brunswick, Canada. Here’s what he has to share after reading our blog on media training and the vice presidential debate. This originally appeared at

Media Training And Politics:  Did Biden Do What Obama Should Have Done?I mentioned in my last blog that I’m quite into the US election, and by extension, the debates. I must say that I was much more satisfied with the vice-presidential debate last night than I was with that awful performance by President Obama last week.

Joe Biden, I thought, did what Obama should have done – challenged his opponent at every opportunity, acted as on-the-spot fact checker when needed, reminded viewers of the 47% video, and generally came across as genuine and with solid messages, presented in a credible way.

But politics aside, there are lessons to be learned from both Biden’s and Ryan’s performances for anyone who ever needs to promote their business.

In his blog The Flip Side, Arizona communications consultant Keith Yaskin lists what he sees as these lessons.  I think his assessment is bang on, so I’m pleased to share it here.

  • Biden made crisp, key points on Libya. Businesses must do the same on the topics important to them.
  • Biden spoke with passion and used his hands.
  • Ryan made it personal early on by bringing up Scranton, Pennsylvania.
  • Biden told a personal story. Businesses should tell their personal stories.
  • Ryan told stories about his family. Business executives should not fear sharing personal stories to make a point.
  • Biden used the letters CBO. Executives: Don’t use lingo that many people in the audience won’t understand.
  • Both should have been more careful about facial expressions. Media love to show facial expressions which could have unspoken meanings.
  • Ryan told a story about someone he met in the military. Again, the media like to hear personal stories.
  • Both men got too detailed about Afghanistan. Afghanistan is very important, but too many details can lead to losing your audience. Concentrate on your headlines.
  • Biden says “he’s talking about my mother and father.” That’s how you take complicated issues and make them personal.

Those points complements of Scottsdale, Arizona communications consultant Keith Yaskin. It’s a good list.

But it wasn’t all good examples. When Biden pushed Ryan to identify specifically what loopholes his government would eliminate to afford the tax breaks he and Romney were promising, as has been the case throughout the whole campaign, Ryan dodged the question.

People see through that kind of thing. If you are a business owner, don’t do that. It will hurt your credibility.

Public Relations: AAA Impresses By Showing Us Some Equipment

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Public Relations:  AAA Impresses By Showing Us Some Equipment I was ready to try a new auto shop. A few years ago, a TV assignment took me to a AAA Auto Repair shop. I’m not referring to a shop “approved” by AAA. I’m talking about a series of auto shops owned by AAA.

This concept intrigued me. If one of AAA’s responsibilities is to help steer us toward honest mechanics, I assume honesty would be in its highest gear at a shop owned directly by AAA.

I hadn’t taken my car to one of these shops. None of the locations was conveniently close until a new one recently opened.

After an oil change at the new shop, a AAA Arizona service advisor named Dave recommended I consider soon replacing the car’s timing belt. I had a choice:  Do I play macho man and pretend to understand the mechanics of a timing belt? Or do I play reporter, acknowledge to myself that the concept of understanding cars skipped a generation and ask lots of questions? I decided to play reporter.

Due to a timing belt’s location, Dave couldn’t show me my car’s timing belt. However he took me across the lobby and showed me a model of an engine’s timing belt. I don’t recall, without requesting, someone before at an auto shop pulling me off to the side to show me a visual. Then he led me outside to another vehicle where someone had already removed parts allowing me to see a timing belt and how it works.

How many times have mechanics used their hands and words to try to describe car parts we would better understand by conducting a Wikipedia search? Dave went out of his way to help me understand a timing belt.

The cynical side of you may wonder why I’m going out of my way to praise an auto shop. AAA is not one of our clients. But cars are a big part of our lives especially when they are not working properly. I’ve conducted much research over the years trying to determine honest and qualified alternatives to dealerships. And when someone like Dave and AAA make a first good impression, I like to share this information.

Plus, any business, from a public relations point of view, can learn how small steps such as Dave’s can help you on the road to further success. A little extra effort can help secure a customer a longer time.

Shooting Video Rain Or Shine

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

A few rain drops did not stop us from shooting video in unusually cool Arizona temperatures. The umbrella is not for me. It is to protect the camera … of course.

Shooting Video Rain Or Shine

Shooting Video Rain Or Shine