Posts Tagged ‘Scottsdale’

Video Production: Shooting The Tour de Scottsdale

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Video Production:  Shooting The Tour de Scottsdale

Video Production:  Shooting The Tour de Scottsdale

Video Production:  Shooting The Tour de Scottsdale

Video Production:  Shooting The Tour de Scottsdale

Video Production:  Shooting The Tour de Scottsdale

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.

Response To Our Blog On Media Training And Bill Clinton’s Speech

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Response To Our Blog On Media Training And Bill Clinton's Speech

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 former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. This originally appeared at

I like speeches. Before I started writing them, I spent 20 years covering them as a reporter, and while many were great, some were dogs but the majority was mediocre. And despite all those times I was bored out of my gourd wishing to god the speaker would shut up, and even mediocre ones can do that, somewhere along the line I developed a fascination with speeches and how they were constructed and delivered.

I read books on speeches, I deconstruct speeches, I listen to speeches in a pretty weird way – I watch for the cadence, the alliteration, the pacing, how the stories are woven together, the optimism, the hope, whether the speaker is grabbing and holding the audience, the emotional ups and downs, how the key messages are resonating, the tone, and I look for what the audience is probably walking away with. In short, I’m pretty geeky when it comes to speeches.

So last night, sitting back in the lazyboy watching Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, I couldn’t help but marvel. I knew he was good, but I have never seen anybody deliver a speech with such mastery.

I am tempted to go on about why I found it so good but that would be redundant with so much that has already been written about it.

So instead, I want to offer a guest blog – not because I entirely agree with it because I don’t, but he does offer a good lesson that can be taken from Clinton’s speech. I will offer my take afterwards. Here then is Keith Yaskin, a media consultant in Scottsdale, Arizona:

Here’s my take. In this example, he’s absolutely right. Bill Clinton hit head-on the major criticisms of the Obama presidency, and he did it with a master’s stroke. In this case it was absolutely the right thing to do.

Such is not always the case. There is a downside to answering your critics. For one thing it can detract from your own agenda. For another it draws more attention to the criticism.

The better strategy is to objectively weigh the criticisms and decide whether there is more to be gained or lost by going there. If the criticism is the proverbial elephant in the room and it is the distraction, as was the case with Obama and how he handled the economy, then yes, you best deal with it.

But that’s not always the case.

Media Relations: A Brush With Fox10

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Fox10 in Phoenix shoots a story with our client about his toothpaste collection from around the world.

 Media Relations:  A Brush With Fox10

The Flip Side’s Video On A Business That SCORED

Monday, July 30th, 2012

On This Social Media Journey, We Won’t Stop Believin’, But …

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

On This Social Media Journey, We Won’t Stop Believin’, But …Several services offer to schedule your social media updates at times people are most likely to see them. This intrigues many businesses who worry their followers are missing important content.

I’ve tried several of these services. Some social media experts praise them often. Scheduling content for the following day has its benefits when you won’t have time to post in real time. But can a website actually provide me precise insight on the best times to Tweet?

People study this like a science and you can sign up for webinars to learn the secrets. However, many of the experts explaining the benefits of scheduling social media are in the social media industry. Don’t they benefit by convincing businesses that social media is not an exercise in randomness?

One service recommended I Tweet at times that most people, if they had to guess, would select anyway. The times were when most people get to work, eat lunch and start preparing to head home. Loren tried the same service, which provided her times similar to mine. Do our followers behave so similarly?

Another service indicated I should Tweet during normal business hours on weekdays. Is that truly insightful? The same service indicated what time of day I receive the most replies to my Tweets. But don’t I significantly determine when followers reply by when I Tweet to them?

Another site scheduled all my Tweets within a few hours of each other. For example, if I scheduled the Tweets late in the evening, the site scheduled all my Tweets within a few hours the next morning. Is this optimized Tweeting?

Maybe I don’t appreciate and fully understand algorithms. Maybe I don’t fully understand how these sites work, although I typically try them out after someone writes how easy they are for people to use.

Then there’s common sense. I don’t check Facebook and Twitter the same time every day. I doubt anyone could find a social media trend on me. I think the times I’m logged on are random.

It makes sense many people may check Facebook and Twitter at lunch. But if everyone posts at lunch, what are the chances followers will cut through the crap and click on your links? Is lunch really an optimized time?

I don’t doubt smart people have devised algorithms. But I’m not convinced the algorithms are telling us much more than we can figure out on our own with a pencil and paper. To me, strategically scheduling social media presents too many shades of grey.

But I’m not a curmudgeon. I’m opened minded and willing to continue to try websites with super insight. It’s unfair for people to miss our amazing blogs. I would love to know when most of my followers are checking their smart phones while ignoring their friends and family. We won’t stop believin’.

Public Relations: Did Twitter Save Me $50 When I Slept Over And Saw Fireworks?

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Did Twitter Save Me $50 When I Slept Over?

To celebrate the holiday, Loren booked a room at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. She booked the room through the hotel and not Expedia because the hotel offered a $50 food and beverage credit. At least that was our understanding.

When Loren checked in, the front desk told her the $50 credit was only good for a two-night stay. We were staying one night. I checked our email confirmation and, in what I consider small print, I read the two-day requirement.

The woman who booked our room didn’t mention the two-day requirement.

I Tweeted:  ”Woman who booked room at @fairmonthotels didn’t mention I needed to stay 2 nights for $50 F&B credit. I missed the fine print. Disappointed.”

Fairmont Hotels responded with its own Tweet. Impressive. They responded in two minutes. More impressive.

Fairmont Hotels responded:  ”@keithyaskin Can you email us a bit more on the situation Keith? Would like to help with this if possible.”

Then someone quoted my Tweet: “happened to me last yr!  RT “@keithyaskin: @fairmonthotels didn’t mention needed to stay 2 nights for $50 F&B credit. Disappointed.””

While I composed an email to Fairmont Hotels, Loren called Fairmont Hotels from the room. The first person indicated to Loren she wasn’t the first guest affected by this situation. But a supervisor told Loren the hotel couldn’t remedy the situation because Loren booked the room through a AAA promotion. Loren was flabbergasted the supervisor couldn’t just offer her a $50 credit. The supervisor simply began to repeat how the AAA promotion prevented her from helping. The supervisor said she could fill out some paperwork, but the situation might not be resolved for a few days. Loren indicated she was ready to pack up her bags. After putting Loren on hold, the supervisor then offered to sign her up for the “Fairmont President’s Club” which would offer two $25 credits. The supervisor explained the “club” membership would take about 30 minutes to become active.

I Tweeted:  ”Frustrating and confusing conversation with @fairmonthotels supervisor in trying to resolve dispute over $50 food and beverage credit.”

Someone later called back Loren, explained how someone entered the wrong “code” and that we would be receiving our original $50 credit.

I Tweeted:  ”@fairmonthotels resolves dispute & gives us $50 food and beverage credit. Thank you.”

Fairmont Hotels later replied:  ”@keithyaskin Email received, but it sounds like you’ve since resolved the situation on-site. ?”

Maybe my Tweets played no role in resolving this dispute. I’m happy Fairmont Hotels resolved it, although if I were the supervisor, I would have made the resolution less difficult to achieve. But even if we hadn’t solved this on-site, Twitter allowed me to check in publicly with someone at a much higher level.

That’s an option I didn’t have years ago. That’s an option businesses didn’t have to deal with years ago.

Media Training: Businesses And Politicians Can Learn From Javelinas

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Media training for businesses and politicians, who must maintain control of their message and tell their story.


As we walked our dog Molly and darkness quickly settled in, a shadowy figure galloped toward us, its feet “clip clopping” against the cement. A dog, I figured, escaped from his leash. But as the shadow approached, the little light remaining revealed this was no happy-go-lucky pup on a joy run. This was a pig, none other than what we know as the modern javelina. It was too late to escape. We prepared for hand to hoof combat. But with seconds to spare, the javelina adjusted course, scurried across the street as if deciding he was in no mood to tangle. He or she disappeared into the desert and we returned home after yet another sidewalk adventure.

During our next walk, I armed myself with an aluminum cylinder, refusing to surrender Scottsdale’s sidewalks to disgruntled pigs. We also took a lesson from Will Smith’s character in the film “I Am Legend.” His character set an alarm on his wristwatch, notifying him night soon approached and reminding him to swiftly return home before zombies began to stroll the streets. I set a smart phone alarm, alerting us to start our walk earlier than before. This time, we encountered only a rabbit and large lizard. This time, the javelina did not disguise itself as a dog as part of a devious plan.

  1. Don’t Lose Control Of The Message:  Javelinas lost control of messaging long ago. They owned the desert first. Humans built houses on their homeland. They earned the right to “clip clop” wherever their heavy hooves so choose. Instead of holding a grudge, they learned to co-exist with humans. But we approach them with fear, carrying weapons as if these creatures are neighborhood intruders. We compare them to Hollywood zombies. Businesses and politicians:  Don’t allow the media and opponents to define your existence. Focus on your key messages. Answer critics with your positives. You are a javelina, the hometown hero and compromising friend willing to reach across the aisle or change with the times.
  2. Tell Your Story:  You are not a stinky, ugly pig who bites when cornered. You are a family man or woman. In fact, people often see you about town taking leisurely walks with your spouse and children. While others hide behind walls and garage doors, you enjoy wandering the community, meeting strangers, even those who greet you with skepticism and aluminum cylinders. You also believe in discipline, following the rules and setting a strong example. When people see you stroll, the family is single file, the youngsters showing respect and learning from their elders up front. And family is important, so people should not blame you for confidently galloping toward them now and then to protect those precious loved ones. This is your home. You are willing to compromise. Family, community and discipline are important values. If people call you a pig, explain you are an important one, a leader of your kind. You are beautiful. And you smell great. Say it proudly:  “I am javelina.”

Speech To Video

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Shooting a speech more than an hour and 40 minutes long is a great leg exercise.


Shooting video of a speech

Shooting video of a speech

Shooting video of a speech

Shooting video of a speech

The Flip Side of the pitch: spreading the news to employees

Thursday, March 29th, 2012



Companies often spend so much time focusing on getting the attention of the media, they often ignore the value of sharing the news with their most important stakeholders:  employees. As brand ambassadors of a company, employees represent a huge opportunity to spread the word about new products, services and other company news.

Employees shouldn’t have to find out about company information from an external source or by watching and reading the news. They should hear the news first from the company. This builds trust and sends employees a message that the company sees them as a valued stakeholder who should be armed with important information.

The carefully crafted news release and media pitch should have an “equal and opposite” pitch for employees. Big budgets are often allocated toward PR campaigns that don’t always guarantee results while few resources are allocated toward employee communications that have a proven direct and positive influence on the bottom line.

The external communications folks working on the PR campaigns, press releases and pitches should partner with the employee communications folks. Here’s how:

  • Integrate. PR plans should have an employee communications component. How do they fit together?
  • Educate. What do employees need to know about the news topic? How does it fit into the big picture? How does it relate to employees? If they interact with customers, what key messages should they have in their hip pockets?
  • Collaborate. Ask employees for newsworthy or creative ideas related to the PR campaign.
  • Elaborate. Make news and PR efforts a regular part of department meetings and conversations. These are great opportunities to arm leaders with information to share with employees as well as for show and tell. Send links to TV news stories to leaders to show at their team meetings. Share articles on the intranet or in the employee newsletter. This is also a great way to spark conversations and perhaps even more newsworthy ideas.