Is Your Communications Strategy More Than Lipstick on the Pig?

A communications strategy not built on the foundational elements of an organization’s vision, mission and the actions of its leaders and employees amounts to putting lipstick on a pig.


I had  a recent conversation with some organizational leaders about communications strategies and how to better tell their organization’s story. I had to manage some expectations because there was the idea that an integrated communications strategy can make everything better. And let’s face it, it can, but only if there is some substance to the organization worth communicating. Continue Reading

4 Ways corporate communicators can help CEOs succeed

Leadership expert John Maxwell once *wrote, “Everything rises and falls on leadership, but knowing how to lead is only half the battle. Understanding leadership and actually leading are two different activities.” Corporate communicators often find themselves standing in the gap between the two.

C-Level executive

C-Level leaders, and especially CEOs, are elevated to their positions of leadership for a number of reasons; being a person of vision is almost always one of them. Board members, stock holders, trustees, employees and customers all have an expectation that the CEO will make the organization more successful in every way, from profitability to the quality of the customer experience and overall work environment. Continue Reading

Social Media is not Pixie Dust

Social media continues to gain mainstream acceptance among the executive leadership of businesses and organizations. However, many (most?) leaders still do not understand social media and may not necessarily like it. However, they may concede where there is the proverbial smoke there must also be fire – and instinctively believe it is fire their organizations need to stay competitive.

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The reaction is often times to call in the human resources manager or director of communications and confidently mandate, “Get us some of that social media.” Unfortunately, a lack of understanding too often leads to the belief that social media is like Tinker Bell’s pixie dust: to have some sprinkled over your organization’s marketing plan magically makes you “fly” with your stakeholders. Continue Reading

What you say impacts branding

Leaders do not have the luxury to verbally swing and miss when it comes to branding their organizations. However, too many do, and when they do it isn’t as simple as, “opportunity lost.” In some cases it is reputation lost and job lost, and sadly many never understand what just happened.

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I was recently at a large convention where various non-profit organizations were giving annual reports to an audience whose attendees were largely responsible for their funding. The leader of one group launched into a speech that eloquently explained how the organization sometimes “gets it wrong.” I was expecting there to be some transition to juxtapose all that the organization did well. It never came. The longer he spoke the more he reinforced a negative image of his organization. It was a disaster! His associate sitting next to me nearly crawled under the table. Sad thing is this organization actually does some phenomenal work that unfortunately no one will ever know about (and may never support – after all, who wants to fund and organization that “gets it wrong!”). Continue Reading