Perhaps Not as Historic as The Beatles’ 50th Anniversary …

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

appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” The PRDude is proud to announce that this marks the 200th post of this blog devoted to “The Lighter Side of Public Relations, Marketing & Communications (And Other Stuff).

Two hundredWhere to begin with some thoughts on this (seemingly) momentous occasion?

With Attributions. Many thanks to those who have taken the time to view my blog, which has acc0unted for 10,190 views as of today and 254 comments.  And, of course, a big shout out to the nice people at WordPress (whom I’ve never met) but provide this way cool open source platform.

On to Highlights. As a world-famous — at least in my own mind — Cutthroat twoblogger, I think every post is special.  But some are “more special” than others, most notably these two from 2013:  The July 13 post announcing my awesome new job (most single day visits at 115), and this one where I bashed the forthcoming “Cutthroat Kitchen” TV show, (585 views and counting.)

And, Some Favorites.  This blog was started way back in 2009, but I’ll share some recent posts that still catch my fancy.

In 2013,  I continued with an ongoing series of Q and A posts from friends and leaders from public relations and the communications industry:  Thoughts from a friend and colleague who transitioned from PR to real estate sales, insight from a leading expert on communicating to the Hispanic market, and the career and business perspectives of a successful independent PR pro.

The puzzle illustration of PR.

The puzzle illustration of PR.

And, I am fond of this February 2013 post on how PR can be employed to address falling space rocks, a June post on life values I learned by watching the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup, and a December blog inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang.

Clearly, I don’t always blog about public relations, marketing or communications.  “Other stuff” can certainly be intriguing.

Nice round numbers — like 50 and 200 — offer natural reasons to reflect and analyze.  And, I could go further, but I’ll wait until the next milestone.

Lots of analysis preceded The Beatles’ half-century anniversary appearance on American television, and deservedly so.  One could say the lads from Liverpool most assuredly got “some good PR.”

A Hat Trick: Three Values Learned from Watching the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks

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

Tomorrow, hundreds of thousands — make that millions — of Chicago Blackhawks fans will flood the downtown area for a parade and rally to celebrate a truly remarkable achievement: The Chicago hockey franchise winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.blackhawks

I’m certain many members of the Blackhawks faithful will don their long-sleeved team sweaters emblazoned with the name of their favorite player on the back.  This, even though we’re three days away from July.

I won’t attend, but will be there in spirit; something to do with avoiding crowds. However, I did attend the 2010 celebration.  Read about it here.

In a June 12 post, I predicted the outcome:  The Blackhawks would win Lord Stanley’s trophy, certainly the coolest in all professional sport, in six games against the surging and powerful Boston Bruins.  Hey, I was right!

Stanley CupAlong with the joy of cheering on to victory the storied hockey team from my city, I gained the following by following the Blackhawks through the playoffs:

  1. Perseverance Pays Off.  The Stanley Cup playoffs, like life for most of us, are filled with highs and lows — only done on ice by tough men on skates holding sticks while chasing a hard rubber disc.  Down 3-1 in the second round, the Blackhawks roared back to defeat the Red Wings, then the Kings and finally the Bruins. They didn’t give up, even after key players like captain and center Jonathan Toews was hacked and speared and cross-checked mercilessly at times, or when they couldn’t capitalize on power plays. They played through these adversities; they persevered and they won.
  2. Role Players Count.  Epitomized by players like Andrew Shaw, a 21-year-old winger with more guts than brawn, and Michal Handzus, a wily, veteran center, some members of the roster were on the ice to fill a role.  They may not get the glory afforded the team stars, but their very presence, grit and determination to fill that role made them indispensable and critical to the team’s success.  In sports, and perhaps in life, too, role players are like Tonto: There would be no Lone Ranger without them.
  3. Leaders Lead Best When It Gets Tough. During the quest for the Cup, the Blackhawks were bashed for losing faceoffs,  not scoring on power plays and for failing to push back hard when being battered by the usually bigger opposing players. That led to criticism of Coach Joel Quenneville, Towes and defensive leaders like Duncan Keith.  But over 21 playoff games, these leaders were calm, steadfast and assertive when responding to media questions. They lead through wisdom and example.

Now it’s time for a virtual faceoff:  What did you learn from watching the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup run?

Reflections of a Chicago Blackhawks Fan on the Eve of the Stanley Cup Finals

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

A few hours from now, Chicago’s NHL franchise will square off against Boston’s NHL franchise in a series that will determine who claims hockey’s greatest prize — the Stanley Cup.  Yes, it’s a battle between two of the original six teams that epitomized the very best in the sport for the past 80 or so years.

Like all of the major professional sports, the National Hockey League started started small — very small, in fact — then grew to build revenue and reach a broader market.

Will Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews get to hoist the Cup again?

Will Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews get to hoist the Cup again?

Of course, I’m rooting for the Blackhawks, a team I have followed (albeit mostly from the proverbial “virtual cheap seats” better known as television and radio) off an on since I could remember.  Growing up, my brothers, my Polish-born grandmother and I watched the Hawks on our black and white TV set Saturday nights while our parents went out for a night on the town.  The play-by-play guy was the legendary Lloyd Pettit, and I can still hear Lloyd bark in rapid-fire bursts about the action taking place on the ice.  No, we didn’t have high-definition, wide-screen television with theater-quality sound; but we had Lloyd and our imaginations to provide some realism.

My grandmother (they were known as “Busha” in the colloquial) didn’t really understand the game that well; but she liked Hawk star center Stan Makita because she thought he was from the old country.  Actually, Makita was originally from what then was called Czechoslovakia, but like most pro players grew up in Canada.

The stars of those early1960’s Hawk teams — most notably Bobby Hull, The

Certainly one of the coolest crests (don't call it a logo) in all of professional sport.

Certainly one of the coolest crests (don’t call it a logo) in all of professional sport.

Golden Jet — equaled baseball players in status to me and my friends, as we did our best at hockey played on a frozen section of Eckhart Park around the corner from our home on Walton Street.  Everyone followed the Blackhawks and played hockey, from Polish-American kids like me to Izzy Molina, who was from Puerto Rico.

For years one of Chicago’s strongest sports franchises based on fan support, the Blackhawks sunk hard and fast in the first decade of this century. Attendance at home games plummeted; and the team lacked focus, leadership and wins.

New management, better players and certainly outstanding marketing and public relations efforts — surely public relations played some role — have brought the team back to the pinnacle of hockey.   In a post from 2010, I chronicled some thoughts of that magical year, when the Blackhawks won the Cup for the first time since 1961.

My prediction: Blackhawks in six.  And, that ain’t just a bogus line of PR.

Your prediction?

Random Thoughts for a Friday on the Chicago Blackhawks

Here’s my challenge:  How to tie in an excellent business lunch in downtown Chicago today with observations made of the throngs of happy revelers celebrating the official victory parade for the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.   After all, the PRDude (aka Edward M.  Bury) writes about public relations and his quest for a new great full-time position.   (I’ll stop with the third person.)  But before I get to that, listen to this cool song by the Dick Marx Orchestra, “Here Come the Hawks.”   Don’t you feel like a fan?

Here goes, some random thoughts that will hold true to the nature of this blog:

  1. The Blackhawks Brought Good PR to Chicago. In 2006, Chicago’s NHL hockey franchise was deemed by some guy at ESPN the worst in professional sports.  Judging by lots of empty seats at the United Center, a streak of lousy seasons, poor drafts, management changes and more, there might have been some validity.  But no more.  The Blackhawks are one of pro sports most popular and exciting teams, led by young stars like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  Winning the Cup has brought a tremendous amount of positive exposure to Chicago; many will say, “that’s good PR!”  I agree.
  2. First Stanley Cup Win Since 1961 Opened Hockey to New Audience. As the team marched toward the Stanley Cup finals, momentum grew; but not just among the hockey faithful — those who followed the Blackhawks and the team for decades — but among an entirely new audience.  Along the parade route today, which ran through Chicago’s Loop to the North Michigan Avenue bridge, the streets were lined with all manner of people:  Whites, African Americans, Hispanics — most wearing a sweater (that’s what they call hockey jerseys) or T-Shirt adorned with the great Blackhawk native American logo or some slogan.  That’s good PR for the sport of hockey, especially if these fans continue to support the team and the game.
  3. Parade Part of a Hat Trick of Big Events. The raucous parade and celebration to honor the Blackhawks was just one of three big events taking place in Chicago today.   Along my city’s spectacular lakefront, music fans gathered for the 2010 Chicago Blues Fest.  This year, the world’s largest free music event dedicated to the blues is a tribute to the legendary (aren’t all old blues guys “legendary?”) Howlin Wolf — perhaps the rawest and most incendiary of the real Delta bluesmen.  I never saw the real Wolf belt out the blues, but I visited the Fest and heard some guy who did a credible job of matching Wolf’s growl on “I Ain’t Superstitious.” And, on the North Side, my beloved Chicago Cubs were taking on the White Sox in the Crosstown Classic baseball series.  This year, both teams, to put it plainly, stink.  And, the Sox took the first game 10-5.   But this rivalry brought out fans and generated some excitement for America’s pastime in Chicago.  Celebrating the blues, from which jazz, rock and country were born, and a long-running baseball rivalry reflect the diversity of this great city.  That’s good PR for Chicago.
  4. And, Finally, Just Random Thoughts. Before meeting my friends for lunch, here’s what I thought and observed:
    • Will the Blackhawks be able to return the Cup to Chicago?  It’s hard enough to win it once.
    • What was the turning point in the 2009-2010 season for the Blackhawks?  When did they believe?
    • What will happen to the sweaters and shirts, banners and flags after today?  Will people put them away until next year?
    • Just observing today’s celebrating and taking notes made be feel like a newsman again.
    • And, finally, we dined outside at the Park Grill, which is in Millennium Park.  We we seated in the patio that in around six months will be turned into an outdoor ice skating rink.  How poetic.