A Resolution for 2014: One More Great Thing

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

At dinner one Saturday earlier this month, a friend talked of plans for the future.  She’s contemplating closing the successful, boutique public relations firm she founded decades ago and relocating within the next few years to someplace warmer and much different than Chicago.

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What one great thing will you try to accomplish in 2014? Or, perhaps you’ll take on more than one?

The place she has in mind is an historic colonial town in Mexico located far from the tourist trail and populated by a healthy number of ex-patriot American artists.   (And, it’s probably a lot warmer than Chicago, where it’s 7 degrees as I write this.)

There, she would pursue her passion for painting abstracts and landscapes.

“I want to do one more great thing with my life,” our friend said.  One more great thing is a very achievable goal for a highly respected public relations professional, great business woman and very accomplished visual artist.  And, there’s not a doubt that our friend will accomplish this and other great things in her life — whether here, in Mexico or someplace else.

Future

Your future is in that direction. Set a goal, follow it and accomplish one great thing.

As the minutes of 2013 tick away, I’m inspired to look back on some noteworthy accomplishments and set sights on great things I plan to pursue.  First, here are four fairly great things I accomplished:

1. Landed a terrific new career in the academic arena.

2. Gained a renewed interest in exercise; I’ve been running regularly since summer.

3. Maintained a robust publishing schedule for The PRDude blog; today’s final post of 2013 marks 48 for the year.

4. And, as you might expect, demonstrated my continued passion for public relations and the Accredited in Public Relations credential.  I attended my first PRSA National Assembly and will again help members of PRSA Chicago interested in earning the APR credential.

As for 2014, I plan to begin earning my Master’s degree in English. That one great thing will take a few years, but it’s achievable.

What direction will your future take?  Pursue one great thing in 2014 and find out.

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Communicating to the Hispanic Market: Thoughts and Insight from Elena del Valle

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Way back in February of 2010, I (as in Edward M. Bury, not the PRDude) had the honor to have a guest post published in Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, an awesome site geared to the growing Hispanic market.  My post covered social media news releases, and it remains pretty high when my name is googled.   (We all do that from time to time, don’t we?)

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Elena del Valle, editor and host of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations.

Well, today I have the honor of publishing a Q&A post from a remarkable modern communicator, Elena del Valle, the Miami-based editor and host of HM&PR.  Full disclosure: Elena and I have never met, but we’ve communicated regularly online.

First, a biography on today’s interview subject.

Elena directed and edited Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations Understanding and Targeting America’s Largest Minority and is editor and host of the companion website and podcast.  Prior to founding her own marketing and public relations firm, she was a key member of the health care team and headed the Hispanic practice at the largest independent public relations firm in Florida. Before that, she attended law school nights while she was in charge of domestic and international Hispanic marketing and public 51TRTGNXFFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_relations for a major private South Florida health care company.

She is the recipient of the 2004 D. Parke Gibson Pioneer Award Multicultural Communications Professional Interest Section of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the 1988 Up & Comers Award in Public Relations.  Multilingual and a published author, she is a graduate of Leadership Florida, Leadership Miami, the Center for Creative Leadership, the National Hispana Leadership Institute, the Embassy of Spain Young Hispanic Americans, the Cuban American National Council, and the Harvard John. F. Kennedy School of Government leadership programs.

Elena is a graduate of the University of Miami with Master in Business Administration and a Juris Doctor and is founding president of the Hispanic Marketing & Communication Association.  She is past chairwoman of the National Public Relations Society of America, PRSA, Multicultural Section, a past member of the prestigious PRSA Counselors Academy, a past judge of the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards and a past member of the PRSA National Advocacy Committee. Most recently, she was selected to 100 Latinos Miami.

Given this impressive career, one wonders: When does Elena find time for sleep!  Seriously, we’re thrilled she found time for The PRDude.

Q.   What prompted the launch of Hispanicmpr.com?  Did you see a void in the market?

Yes. After the book was published there were updates about the market and the authors, and we wanted a place to connect. The website was initially designed to continue the conversation we began with the eponymous book (http://www.hispanicmpr.com/the-book/), the first Hispanic marketing title selected Choice Outstanding Academic Title.  In time, my fellow authors had no time to make updates and I took the lead. We added video capability. The website topics expanded to business and I launched a podcast program where I interview business leaders and news makers.

Q.  Is there a difference in strategies and tactics when launching communications to the Hispanic market versus the more mainstream market? If so, please elaborate.

As with any other market segment it pays to subdivide a target market into manageable segments or slices. The United States Hispanic market is so large that it makes sense to figure out which portion of the market you want to target before launching any campaign. For example, you can reach out to English dominant, Spanish dominant, bilingual Hispanics or SciFi lovers or soccer fans, wine lovers, new moms, students or any other number of groups.

At the end of the day, much of the growth in the country is coming from emerging markets, and among those the Hispanic market is considered by many the most prominent. This means anytime you reach out to the mainstream you are automatically reaching Hispanic consumers whether you mean to or not. The clearer you are about the characteristics of your primary market segment, the more effective you can be at reaching its members. That premise applies equally among Hispanic consumers as it does among mainstream and other market segments.

Q. In addition to the Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations book, you’ve written many articles about business, marketing and public relations and Hispanic markets. Let’s get your perspective on where the communications industry is headed.  What’s the next major development?

There are so many changes taking place that continue to revolutionize our lives and the way we do things it’s difficult to know what to expect for any industry. The places and ways we communicate, consume news and the media themselves continue to evolve. At the same time media outlets are struggling to keep up with the technology and consumer migration to digital formats while making a profit. No one knows what the solution will be in the long term. In the interim savvy business people will continue to remain aware and adapt.

Communicators will always play a role in society, I think, because there will always be people better at communicating and more inclined to communicate than others. Having said that, as the economy remains sluggish with hardly any growth (about 1 percent a year) in Europe and only slight growth in the United States (2 percent or so a year) efficiency in business and among communicators will be at a premium. It’s more important than ever to provide value and convey to senior executives, in a language that they understand, the significance of such measurable value within the company.

Now it’s your turn.  Do you have any thoughts to share regarding communicating with the Hispanic market?

What’s New to Say About Christmas: A Blog of Sorts

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

If you’re reading this post the evening of December 25, 2013, then one of the following scenarios must be taking place:
1. Your Christmas celebration is over, and you’re bored.  Very bored.

2. You’ve seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” so many times you no longer care if George gets his life back, or if Clarence ever gets his wings.Christmas-2013

3. You’ve given up on trying to assemble your kid’s new bike and need to do something sane — like stare at a flat screen monitor.

Or, perhaps you haven’t heard from The PRDude in a few days and you need some provocative, witty insight on modern strategic public relations before closing out your Christmas holiday.  You know, a “Christmas” blog.

Well, I had hoped to comply with a post offering new insight on some aspect of Christmas and public relations, but frankly folks, it just ain’t coming.  I’ve stared out into the cold, snowy Chicago night sky and all I see are streetlights and snow.  All I hear is quiet.

I’ve been successful in the past.

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What’s more commercial or artificial than a 6-foot “silver laser tree.” There was still one available tonight for $81.27

In 2009, I published this post sharing insight on Santa Claus’ use of public relations counsel.  That was followed by an admittedly sappy blog of “reflective” thoughts the following year.  And, a 2011 post was an account of my days as a young reporter working on Christmas Day many years ago.

Thoughts have crossed my mind:

  • Write about how Christmas has become decidedly commercial and artificial, pointing out how some public relations practices probably contribute! Yea, like that subject hasn’t been covered before.
  • Recount your favorite holiday songs! Which songs?  I like a lot of them; besides, none are about public relations, and I don’t believe anyone’s written “All I Want for Christmas is a Wall Street Journal Placement.”

So, this is what I’ve decided to do: Stroll out into the  cold, snowy Chicago night, amidst the streetlights and snow.  I hope all I hear is quiet.

If I run into you, I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas.

Who Cares About the “Best” When “Just Okay” is Good Enough

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

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Please! I’m not trying to be this guy.

Yes, it’s the holiday season and everything is supposed to be sweetness and light, unless of course you’re trying to find parking at a busy shopping mall.  So, I’ll be brief with these thoughts and try not to sound too much like Mr. Scrooge or The Grinch.

The days around Christmas and New Year’s are a truly wonderful time of the year, but they happen at the end of the year.  That means everyone from pundits to critics to reviewers to — yes, some bloggers — are compelled or ordered to draft their “Best of (fill in the blank)” report.  In most cases, it’s the 10 “best” selections.

Bartok

Mr. Bartok — you’re okay in my book.

Of course, being rated “best” in most of these instances is purely subjective, especially when rating artistic endeavors.  The late European classical composer Bela Bartok offered this often-quoted perspective on judging art and those who make it:

“Competition is for horses, not artists.”

Bravo, Mr. Bartok!  Although I am not familiar with your work, I love your perspective.

That’s why I’m proposing to all pundits, critics, reviewers and bloggers to dispense with future “best” lists.  To paraphrase Mr. Bartok, the “best” horse is the one that wins a race; there’s no other clear cut way to judge that kind of competition.

Best

Stop: Change this to “Just Okay” now.

Rather than offer your “best,” why don’t we start to categorize people, places, art, events and other stuff in a more encompassing, relaxed category, one that’s not so high and mighty: Just Okay.  Furthermore, ignore the nice round number of 10 and use another.  What’s wrong with identifying eight or 12 things that are just okay?  Or four?

I’d list a number of just okay public relations programs or practitioners for 2013, but none come to mind.  Full disclosure:  I don’t even subscribe to any of industry weekly publications anymore, so I’m somewhat removed from the best, I mean, “just okay,” PR programs or people.

And, you know: I’m okay with that.

How Would My Old Mustang Rate Against the 50th Anniversary Model?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

A few months after graduating from Illinois State University, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life: The purchase of my first car.

Short on cash — well, more accurately, being a few dollars away from penniless and living with my parents — I fully realized my budget would only allow for the acquisition of a modest vehicle.  Very modest, as a matter of fact, since my weekly salary at the City News Bureau of Chicago (my first real post graduate job) was just $100 per week.

After a few months of commuting solely by public transit, I made the plunge in mid 1977 and purchased a yellow 1967 Ford Mustang from a guy in the old 64BRCH00_smallneighborhood. The price: $200.

It had some rust, the radio didn’t work, the tires were mismatched and it burned oil — lots of oil.  But it was mine, and after a rebuilt starter, some new used tires and an oil change, it ran fairly well, getting me to and from news assignments, visits to ISU and back home for more than a year.  I have no recall as to the number of miles the vehicle had.

Built to be an affordable sports coupe, the Mustang was a phenomenal success, selling more than 400,00 units in its first year.  It had a long, sloping hood, bucket seats, a floor shifter and a pretty spirited V-6 engine; it was  affordable and sexy, even for a poor young reporter.  My old ’67 gave me mobility, and in retrospect let me partake in history in some small way.  I drove it — rust, bad tires and no radio — for around a year, before I sold it to another guy in the old neighborhood for $100.

The 2015 Ford Mustang: Still sleek and sexy after all these years.

The 2015 Ford Mustang: Still sleek and sexy after all these years.

On December 5, Ford debuted the latest version of the so-called “pony” car, which now in its 50th year, can truly be called an American icon.

The new red  model in the picture here certainly has the same lines as my ’67 and still features the galloping mustang logo, still one of the coolest and most recognizable ever for car.

Don’t think my Mustang would be able to keep pace with this modern beauty, which might have the optional 5.0-liter V8, 420 horsepower engine.  Still, if you offered me the keys to one or the other, I probably would pick my old ’67.

There’s something about your first that sticks with you a long time. What was your first car?