The Emmy-award winner is a PR masterclass, not just because of Alexis Rose

Actress Annie Murphy poses on a red carpet
Actress Annie Murphy poses on a red carpet
Annie Murphy Canadian Film Centre, Sam Santos / George Pimentel, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I do not think there has ever been a better analysis of the art of PR and the power it wields than the multi-award-winning TV show, Schitt’s Creek — not just in the character of Alexis Rose (Annie Murphy) who starts her public relations business, Alexis Rose Communications (more on this shortly). The show also uses strategic PR to mount a campaign that achieved breakout success and grabbed nine Emmy wins against better-funded competitors.

The Absolute PR Essentials With Alexis Rose

First, this is the best satire of modern PR ever done, with Alexis Rose and her mother Moira (Catherine O’Hara), an ex-soap star turned aristocrat. …

Your product is more than just a product—it has a job to do.

A person holds up two McDonald’s McCafe bags.
A person holds up two McDonald’s McCafe bags.
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

It is a strategy that changed the fortunes of brands everywhere. More than a decade ago, McDonald’s wanted to sell more milkshakes but were struggling. Being one of the largest, most global companies on the planet, they had tons of data but couldn’t understand how to refine the flavor of their classic shake to get more customers slurping.

Like many marketers, they had created personas of their typical milkshake buyers. They had sat them in a focus-group conference room and listened to their feedback about improving the dimensions of shakes.

However, the resulting changes, based on what customers said they wanted, made no impact on shake sales. The fast-food chain called in Clay Christensen, Professor at the Harvard Business School. …

#21 “unique” means, literally, of which there is only one

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Photo by Nina PhotoLab on Unsplash

“The first requirement of The Economist is that it should be readily understandable.” So says The Economist’s Style Guide, now in its 12th edition. It is a great guide to keep at your desk for any journalist, marketer or copywriter. It is funny and clever, and underlines the importance of understanding and double-checking every word we use. I always remember the example given to me (not in the guide)of the constant misuse of “fatal”, as in “fatal flaw” or “fatal decision” (only to be used when a decision actually results in a death). …

Pioneers at Google, Facebook, and Twitter reveal all

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Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Facebook’s data team was founded by Jeff Hammerbacher, a contemporary of Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard. Describing the way that social media platforms have invested in getting people hooked on their product, he famously said: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

In the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” defectors from the largest social networks — Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Instagram — lift the lid on the psychological tricks that the best and most expensive data scientists ever assembled use to keep us constantly reading, scrolling, and clicking. The documentary reveals that the major social media networks were influenced by alumni of the Stanford Persuasive Technology lab. These entrepreneurs went on to design features such as the “like” button, read notifications, the infinite scroll, and autoplay, to name a few. …

Now worth $2.3 billion, cutting prices almost crushed it

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Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

The story of Lacoste, a brand famous for its little crocodile on polo shirts, shows the dangers of one of the most short-term strategies in marketing: cutting prices. The decision to overextend its brand and bring down prices almost killed the company and took more than a decade to fix.

A Brief History of Lacoste

The Lacoste brand is among fashion royalty. In 1933, René Lacoste, a French tennis champion, created a white, short-sleeved tennis shirt for use on the tennis court. The shirt instantly became a hit and revolutionized tennis fashion. In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower, the president of the U.S., was photographed playing golf with legendary golfer Arnold Palmer in a Lacoste polo shirt with its crocodile logo. …

My exact 7-step process

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Photo by Sarah Boudreau on Unsplash

Since joining my most recent startup a year ago, the company has been featured in the New York Times, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, Guardian, CNBC, Fast Company, Wired, and Ad Age. This was based on creating a series of white papers for our niche. I thought I would share some of what I learned from the period from preparing an idea to pitching to journalists.

The Blockbuster White Paper

The channel I used to get media coverage was a “blockbuster” white paper. A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report, and represents a fantastic route to PR coverage. Executed well, it represents a brand of thought leadership that provides value for news audiences that this is not a stunt or sales fluff (one of the most famous such blockbuster pieces of content is Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, covered by most of the technology and business media for in-depth insights statistics and research). …

Words matter now more than ever

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Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Words matter in a crisis. With the death toll rising, there has been a vacuum of political statesmanship — Donald Trump, when asked to provide comfort to the nation, lambasted an NBC reporter, calling him “a terrible reporter.”

Instead, succor and inspiration have come from unexpected places and unlikely heroes. Few people would have thought that the most beautiful, rousing, and heartfelt message to the world would’ve been from the CEO of a global hotel chain. However, the words of Marriott International CEO, Arne Sorenson, in a 6-minute video, barely leave a dry eye in the house. Candid, vulnerable, humble, emotional, and hopeful, Sorenson (a cancer survivor who mentions his baldness as a result of recent treatment) was unafraid to show emotion about the toll that the coronavirus has exerted on a company that survived recessions and wars. The video (approaching one million views on LinkedIn) demonstrates sacrifice (Sorenson will take no pay for the rest of 2020, while his executive team is taking a 50% pay cut). His message underlies the why of his business, beyond simply making money. …

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Investment into legal technology platforms has hit a record $1 billion in 2018 as investors rush headlong to transform the last bastion of manual processes — the work of lawyers.

The more than $1 billion is distributed over more than 40 deals, compared to $233 million in investments in legalTech companies across 61 deals in 2017.

AI in legal funding

Interestingly, $362 million of this funding has been invested in legal solutions utilizing AI. This AI-focused funding alone in 2018 represents a bigger sum than the investment across all legal technology in 2017.

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Sales teams are behind the growth of all major companies. But the potential recruit entering the world of sales in Israel can feel a sense of trepidation.

The challenges include an overwhelming directness in culture (Intel’s advice for doing business in Israel includes expecting heavy interruption in any presentation). There is also the prospect of working late hours (to sell into the United States). Plus ensuring you do not fall into devil-selling such as binary options.

Israel: a sellers market

Nevertheless, for those looking for a job, there are plenty of legitimate and highly lucrative sales positions for English speakers. The constant demand for top sellers give opportunities to the huge numbers of immigrants into the country (an average of 3697 North Americans immigrate to Israel each year). …

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There has been an increase of 65% in legal tech companies utilizing AI in 2018

In The Curious World of Legalese author Adam Freedman notes that so alien are lawyers’ word choices that Congress, has been engineering dozens of “plain language” bills to regulate them. Such reforms have long been stymied, though, because many lawyers counter-punch that the law is just too complicated to reduce to “simple” words.

In this context, we still have the legal jargon, mocked by writers like Dickens in the nineteenth century, in circulation. Professor Carl FelsenFeld, at Fordham University Law School, points to words such as ‘witnesseth’, ‘herein’, and ‘duly’ which are commonly used despite the fact they “add no meaning”. …


Jonathan Marciano

Marketer and writer.

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