Tag: public relations

So it took, of all things, the hyperbolic media coverage of Snowmageddonpocalypse along the East Coast recently to drag me back to my blog.  No promises, but let’s see if we can’t keep this going.

Unless you are living off the grid in a national park somewhere, you couldn’t help but be battered by a 24/7 informational assault to the senses earlier this week.  TV.  Radio.  Social media.  Internet.  All caps headlines. Flashing lights and sirens.  Warnings using words like “worst ever,” “life-threatening” and more.

All over a reasonably significant but hardly historic snowstorm.  In the Northeast.  In January.  (Jon Stewart has a great take on this.)

In fact, it seems like each new weather “event” is heralded by increasingly poignant language and dire warnings. Reporters standing in floodwaters.  Government officials urging citizens to buy powdered milk and D batteries.  That sort of thing.  And the result is that the target audience grows increasingly deaf and indifferent to their cries.   I wonder when (not if) one of the 24/7 infotainment channels will forecast that the sky is, indeed, about to fall.

This catastrophe, brought to you by...

This catastrophe, brought to you by…

So what does this have to do with your mortgage or title focused marketing or PR program?  Why, everything!

You see, for years, our choice of adjectives for our products or services–be it on our websites; in our news releases or in our ads–has been similarly hyperbolic.  As a result, once-powerful words like “revolutionary,” “game-changing,” “cutting-edge” or even, er…”powerful,” have become cliches.  In fact, some have taken on almost opposite meanings to the cynical ear.  It appears that each and every similar new technology lives on the bleeding, leading, cutting edge (must actually be a lot of room on that edge).  Pricing is “competitive?”  Uh oh…it’s pricey then.

Once upon a time, this was refered to as “puffery.” In selling one’s goods or services, one was actually expected to accomopany his/her pitch with trumpets and dancing bears.  But we live in a different world now.  The louder you yell, the less you’ll be heard…and even less you’ll be believed.

Stick to authenticity.  You don’t have to promote your weak points, of course, but be objective enough to understand that very, very few products or services in our world are truly “game changing.”  So choose your words carefully as you promote your brand…or you might as well tell them the sky is falling.

Psst.  I’m about to give up a trade secret.  Just don’t let the folks at PRSA know I’m doing it.  Ok?

Public relations isn’t as easy as some might think it is.  But it’s also not as complex as some would have you believe.  Wanna’ know what’s in the “secret sauce” that separates the successful from the, er….not so successful?

Common sense.   more

I’ll be the first to admit it.  Public relations folks (like me) aren’t usually the first professionals sought out by the top executives when the time comes to make a big decision.  And we’re generally not the first ones consulted on overall business strategy.  Maybe we should be.  Maybe we shouldn’t.  I’m not really here to argue that. more

I’ve been serving the good people of the mortgage and real estate industry now for about eight years.  Eight good years, mind you.  During that time, I’ve seen the industry discussion go from bundled services and Alt-A loans to RESPA reform to mortgage fraud and predatory lending to the subprime meltdown, servicing fiasco and reg-apocalypse.   more

This week, I’m going to overstep my bounds a little bit. That’s ok, I feel very strongly about this. Plus, I don’t work for the CFPB (in theory, they work for me, right?).  more

Let’s be honest.  There aren’t a lot of consultants or agencies serving the mortgage and title industry when it comes to public relations or marketing commmunications.  There are many reasons for this.  After all, this is a very “hands-on” industry.  Many simply choose to go it alone–even without an “in-house” marketing department.  Many of the smaller businesses place great value on everything but their own time.  I’ve seen small agency owners eschew a $300 plane ticket to make a 12 hour drive at an odd time, solely in the name of cost savings.  And I’m not necessarily condemning this.  But it helps explain why many of the more established PR agencies out there aren’t hanging out at mortgage and settlement services conferences. more

Happy New Year to all of my loyal readers (hi Mom!).  Only 12 days into 2011, it’s becoming plain to me that, while many of us hit the crowded gym, save a few pennies here and there, or take a break from the “see-food” diet (see food, eat food), many in the mortgage and title industry have a different resolution. more

Ok.  Now I’ve done it.  I’ve given myself away as a (deep breath) marketing guy.  (*sighs and groans of disappointment ensue*).  But I just have to do it. Today, I’m going to revel in my craft. That’s right.  Here’s what I saw this year in the title and mortgage industry in the way of marketing. more

As I prepare to attend a few trade shows over the next few weeks, I’m reminded of the things I like about them.  Let’s quickly dispense with the things folks don’t like about them first.  more

Just a slight departure this week from the world of social media strategy, key messaging and media relations.  And no, it will not involve my least favorite ex-Cavalier…

I’ve had multiple occasions recently (whether through some cosmic force greater than I can comprehend or perhaps just random happenstance) to be reminded of a career change I made about ten years ago.  As I mention from time to time, I was once an attorney.  I was privileged to work for a great firm managed by ethical, generous and capable people.  I was given adequate responsibility, compensated reasonably, presented regularly with good challenges and treated fairly and with respect.  Should be the end of a happy story, right?

But it wasn’t.  In spite of all the traditional variables required to make a job into a career and a career into a calling lining up in what should have been a rewarding fashion, I found myself trudging through the day, each day.  Each new accomplishment or win felt more like a completed task on a household checklist of chores.  Favorable ruling on motion for summary judgment?  Check.  Settlement well below plaintiff’s demand?  Check.  Garbage out on Tuesday?  Check.

I was most certainly challenged, but didn’t feel rewarded (and I don’t mean in terms of compensation).  And this was as a litigator.  There was definitely excitement.  Slowly, I came to the conclusion that, although I liked some of what I did, I didn’t—and wouldn’t ever—love it.

Jump cut to 2010.  On several occasions, I’ve spoken to old friends or relatives who don’t seem to be feeling it in their vocations or jobs.  One was even given the sage advice “Do what you do well, and you will love it.”

I categorically disagree.  Although there may be some overlap, doing something well and loving it aren’t causally related.  I know plenty of athletic people who hate sports.  Some people do their own taxes, and do them well, but I’m guessing many of them have no desire to prepare the taxes of others professionally.  I know plenty of people who go to work to pay the bills, without ever exercising, or even considering, their passions or interests.

When I was considering my new career, I met many wonderful people in the marketing and public relations field.  I also met some absolute idiots.  Such is the world.  But I would always, always marvel when an experienced professional would engage me in dialogue that, inevitably, came off this way:

Experienced PR Guru:     “So you were a lawyer?”

Inexperienced me:     “I was.”

Experienced PR Guru:     “And you want to get into PR?”

Inexperienced me:     “Absolutely.”

Experienced PR Guru:     (Incredulously) “Why?!!”

Inexperienced me:     “I think it’s something I could really love.”

Experienced PR Guru:     “But….you don’t make any money in this…”

…and so on.

Ten years later, I’ve come to prove them wrong.  There is money in ANYTHING one loves to do and does well, with persistence.  It is ok to take the path less understood by others to find and pursue your passion.  Doing what one loves isn’t just a path to better compensation (in some cases), it’s about something bigger.  It adds to one’s quality of life.  It amounts to an employee (or employer) who is more engaged, more excited, more creative…happier.  That’s contagious.  It leads to innovation.  It leads to happier clients, bosses, peers, and so on.

It’s not about doing what you do well.  It’s about doing what you love.  For me, it couldn’t have worked out better.