Friday Random Thoughts: SMRs, Jobs, Toyota

Has it been a full seven days since my last post?  Where does the time go?  Full disclosure: I’m not spending hours watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, although I find the short-track speed skating and snowboard cross exhilarating.

For the record, I’ve kept up my regimen of a morning stroll followed by job-search related research and client writing/consulting projects.  For this last Friday of February, here are some random thoughts.

  1. I’ve Seen the Future: SMRs — It’s hard to be a “social media expert” these days because to me the rules of the game keep changing. But one related resource has remained relatively constant and is relatively easy to comprehend and incorporate into communications programs.  I’m referring to the Social Media News Release or SMR.  Rather than go into a lot of details here, read the piece I just got published on Hispanic Marketing & PR.   Comments and feedback are most welcomed.
  2. Job Seeking or Phishing? — My job search is now into its sixth month. I’m doing all the “right” things, including networking, taking on projects, staying active in PRSA Chicago and, of course, responding to appropriate online help wanted notices.  I’ve noticed some companies have been recruiting for the same job for almost six months.  Does it really take that long to recruit the “right” person in this market? Or are some companies just “phishing” for information?
  3. Advice For the Automaker in Trouble — Decades from now, public relations students will read about the firestorm that has embroiled Toyota the past few weeks.  Talk about a textbook case of managing a communications crisis.  And, from what I’ve witnessed, Toyota is not doing the best job; the brand will be damaged for a long time, and Toyota’s public relations and marketing counsel — from the international to the local levels — will have a steep challenge.  So, here’s some advice to consider: Re-brand the the name.  Competitor Nissan did it in the early 1980s, emerging from the old Datsun name.  (Note: I owned a Datsun F-10.  It was red, had front-wheel drive, got great gas mileage but was the biggest lemon I’ve owned.) Perhaps call the new company “Atoyot.”
  4. One More Job Thought — These past six or so months have been challenging. But we’re doing fine. I’ve learned a lot about business and the public relations industry. I’ve had the option to reconnect with friends and colleagues, and make some new ones. I wrote a short story (people say it’s good, and it’s entered into the Nelson Algren Awards sponsored by the Chicago Tribune). And, I’ve penned a few new songs. A few days back, I came to this realization: I have knowledge, skills and talents that have value in the business arena.  I am prepared to take the human resource known as Edward M. Bury, APR, and put it to work for a company or organization that will provide challenges, opportunities and just compensation.  In short, I will not “settle” for “a job.”  I remain active, vital, confident and prepared.

Note to Tiger: Just Phone it in

A lot of “worlds” will be waiting to hear what Tiger Woods will say tomorrow when he comes out of self-imposed exile to tell the world what he’s been doing the past 12 or so weeks.  More precisely, he’ll offer some insight on his life and times since November 27, 2009, the day he crashed his vehicle into a tree outside his Florida home.

There’s the sports world in general, the golf world in particular, the paparazzi/tabloid world, the business world, the media world and a lot more.   No doubt Tiger’s wife and family want to know what’s on his mind, too.

You’ve heard the agenda: Woods will not hold a press conference in the traditional sense.  You know, the kind where members of the media get to ask questions.  Tiger will deliver a statement to wire service reporters and pool reporters recommended by the Golf Writers Association of America.  There will be no questions.

Note to Tiger: Just phone it in.  Because, that’s in essence what you’ll be doing tomorrow.

The actions that led to Woods’ marital problems and resulting firestorm of coverage by the mainstream media and within the blogosphere constituted a nasty, immediate crisis.  The golf icon’s best strategy at the time would be to address the situation promptly and in person. He decided to issue a statement.

Tomorrow’s event won’t be much different in terms of its effectiveness because the message will be one-sided, static.  Hopefully, Tiger’s public relations counsel advised him to step forward and begin a dialog.  Delivering a monologue will only keep this incendiary story burning bright.

Why Hire Edward M. Bury, APR

On Friday, February 19, I will participate in the first Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO), an  online exercise to connect professionals seeking career opportunities with other professionals who are hiring or can provide leads, direction or insight.  This is a tremend0us endeavor, and I applaud Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon for initiating this forum.

My friend Gini Dietrich is one of the HAPPO “Champions” for Chicago, and she requested that we job seekers draft a blog post.  I’ve prepared my “elevator speech” before, and I attended an event and learned how to craft a “One Breath Strategy Statement.”   So, I remain confident that the following will persuade many to want to hire Edward M. Bury, APR.  Here are my Top 10 Reasons:

10. B2B senior public relations professional who most recently worked with top-level real estate professionals, providing sound counsel on communications strategies.

9. I’m diverse.  Career spans the agency, association and corporate arenas.

8. Introduced and managed successful marketing and public relations programs that embraced online, A/V, print and social media.

7. Managed a marketing team, developed many vendor relationships and coordinated dozens of special events and more than 50 trade shows.

6. Fearless (and successful) in pitching stories to media.

5. Tight with a dollar, especially if it’s not mine. I bring projects in on time, within budget.

4. Launched communications consultancy, Open Door Communications. Serving clients in real estate mortgage and destination management industries.

3. I’ve seen the future and harnessed it. It’s not Springsteen. It’s what keeps taking place on the monitor in front of me.

2. I’m a committed blogger, even though I’m not keen on the word.

1. I can write persuasive, intelligent copy, articles, presentations and content.  Faster and better than most.

Finally, I’ve demonstrated personal initiative by earning the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) designation and am Marketing Group co-Chair on the board that oversees and grants Accreditation.

Okay, that’s 11.  Math was not my best subject.  I’m industrious and show up for work on time, too.

Edward M. Bury, APR

773-463-9811 or 773-396-9773

Cohen Quits “For the Good of the People.” Really?

Here’s a first: Two successive posts inspired by politics.   But, hey, we’re talking about Illinois politics here.  There’s always something or someone provocative to write about.  Make  that “blog” about.

It’s been three days — since Super Bowl Sunday — that a political newcomer named Scott Lee Cohen announced he was relinquishing his nomination as the Democratic standard bearer for Lieutenant Governor in the November 2010 general elections.  He did so during half time, while seated in a North Side bar, his fiancee and children beside him.  Oh, and why was this maverick pawnbroker-turned-politician dropping out?

Well, this is Illinois, after all, and there were allegations of steroid use, failure to pay child support and his one-time girlfriend at the time charged him with assault.  (By the way, the girlfriend was once arrested for prostitution.)

Enough background. Here’s my thoughts:

1.  Cohen spent $2 million on the campaign.  Most probably was spent in advertising, but some was spent to enlist PR counsel.  I know because I received emails with well-written, well-conceived announcements about the candidate’s efforts to promote jobs by organizing job fairs.    Hiring a public relations team is not novel, but I’m glad he did.

2.  The Chicago Tribune, in an editorial, took some of the “blame” for Cohen’s rise to the nomination.  The editors noted that the media in Illinois did not properly investigate Cohen, who’s only real political involvement was to launch a web site last year promoting the ousting of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.  Kudos to the Tribune on this one.  I wonder if the Trib, Sun-Times and other “serious” media would have vetted Cohen if they had the seasoned political reporters on staff from a few years ago.  You know, before social media and bloggers decimated journalism.

3.  As I noted in my most recent post, my state is in dire straits for a lot of reasons.  We’re morally bankrupt figuratively, and nearly bankrupt literally. Cohen’s rise, fall and departure only communicates to the rest of the nation and the world that lots of things are, indeed, very rotten in the Land of Lincoln.

Not sure what public relations could do to help my state out.  I welcome any and all comments.

No More Politics as Usual, Perhaps

Today, we’re steering slightly away from the two themes of this blog:  The noble practice of public relations, and my unending quest to secure a tremendous new full-time position as a practitioner in the profession.

That’s because today is Election Day in Illinois.  More precisely, it’s the primary for the general elections slated for November.   I know, it’s also Groundhog Day; perhaps that will be the subject for another blog next year.

Those loyal readers from Illinois or familiar with our politics know that the Land of Lincoln is in pretty bad shape from a lot of perspectives:  The state is going broke, ranking just above California in terms of having the lowest bond rating of the 50 states; one ex-governor is in jail and another will stand trial in federal court this year; our flagship university has a hiring freeze and mandatory staff furloughs;  job losses mount, and companies are fleeing to states with lower taxes and more business-friendly policies.

This is our status in these recessionary times, despite having just sent a guy from Illinois to the White House and being home to a world-class metropolis.

At this writing, the race for governor is too close to call for either party.  Voter turnout today, a cold and snowy day in Chicago, was thin.   I won’t know until tomorrow which two men will battle the next 10 or so months for the governorship.   There also were races for very important offices, like U.S. Senate and for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

But it’s the governor race that hits home to me, speaking from a guy writing about public relations and seeking a new job.   Illinois can’t afford another governor who’s ill-equipped mentally and morally to take me and my 12.9 million fellow Illinoisans into the very challenging times ahead.  The nation and economy is on the rebound — I believe.  We need to be poised to take advantage of economic opportunities ahead.  We desperately need a leader with a strong vision, one who will not stand for the “business-as-usual” that has mired our economy for decades.

Side note:  In my lifetime, three Illinois governors have gone to jail; and, there’s a strong probability that a fourth will join that embarrassing cadre of failed, selfish, corrupt elected officials.

Here’s my offer: Whoever ends up with the nomination — from either the Democratic or Republican party — hire me to be part of your public relations team.  I promise to work hard, adhere to the ethical standards mandated by my membership in the Public Relations Society of America, provide sound strategic counsel and demonstrate an extremely high level of competency.

All I ask — along with being paid a salary commensurate with my experience — is that you run a campaign that’s transparent, ethical and based on the serious issues we face in this state.

A tall order, I know. But I can dream.