Communication is the heart of all human endeavour.

Posts Tagged ‘Communication’

Business, Political, Religious Leadership a Big Disappointment

In Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Leadership crisis expected to worsen, Ketchum global survey reveals

Canadians rate not-for-profit leaders best of a weak lot of leaders
Globally, business leaders rated first; bankers surprise
  Politicians rated worst on leadership; vast gap between expectation, reality
  Traditional media far outperforms social media for leadership credibility
 

 TORONTO, March 20, 2012 – Leaders in business, politics, religion, local communities and the not-for-profit sector fall far short of expectations around the world, according to a 12-country survey by global communications firm Ketchum, and we expect it to get worse this year.

The survey found a 28-percentage-point gap between respondents’ expectations of leaders and their view of how well leaders are meeting those expectations.

In Canada*, survey respondents were at least as harsh in their judgment of leaders as elsewhere, but rather than rating business leaders as the best of a weak lot, Canadians gave that recognition to leaders of not-for-profit organizations.

 Canadians gave not-for-profit leaders a mean score of 6, on a sale of 0-10, for effective leadership. Canada’s business leaders followed with a mean score of 5.6 out of 10. Canadians rated political leaders tied for last place, with celebrities, with a 4.2 mean score.

Besides showing the depth of the world’s lack of faith in our leader, the global survey also provides a roadmap for leadership effectiveness. Being perceived as an effective leader requires a combination of decisive action and honest, transparent communication, which is best achieved through a leader’s personal presence and involvement.

“Our study reveals for the first time the full extent of the world’s disappointment with its leaders across every category of human endeavour,” said Geoffrey Rowan, managing director of Ketchum’s Canadian operations and a partner in the global firm. “But the research is also full of practical insights – a clear blueprint for more effective leadership. One point of clarity was how inextricably linked effective leadership is to effective communication.”

A surprise finding outside of Canada, given the lingering global financial crisis, business leaders were seen as the most effective over the past year – beating politicians, not-for-profit bosses and religious leaders. But in Canada, not only did not-for-profit leaders get the highest mean score. They also got the highest number of “excellent” ratings (8 or above on a scale of 0-10) at 23 per cent. Globally, it was the business leaders who got the most excellent ratings, at 36 per cent.

“The key to leadership, particularly in the ‘social profit’ sector, is knowing what to do with it,” said Rahul Bhardwaj, president and CEO of Toronto Community Foundation, one of Canada’s most far-reaching not-for-profits. “When working to build stronger communities, cities, and, by extension, a stronger country, it’s important to remain focused, transparent and committed to open and authentic communication. You must be guided by and communicate strong values – be constructive not destructive. “Above all, don’t confuse managing with leading.”

Within the business community globally, knowledge-based industries were perceived as having the most effective bosses. Ranked highest on leadership effectiveness was technology, with a 44 per cent approval rating, followed by media (39 per cent) and telecommunications (36 per cent). Banking chiefs came in fourth overall in the poll worldwide with 32 per cent. The energy sector and financial services leaders were ranked fifth (31 per cent) and sixth (30 per cent) respectively. Consumer business leaders lagged far behind on leadership, with consumer packaged goods leaders being rated effective by only 20 per cent.

Perhaps most significant for the business community, the research makes a direct link between positive perceptions of leadership and business-critical decisions such as a willingness to buy stock, goods and services or recommend working at a company. This explains crisis response being seen as the most important area for business leaders to communicate personally (53 per cent), followed by financial results (48 per cent) and the state of the business (40 per cent).

Personal Leadership and Powerful CommunicationA Direct Link

Clear, transparent communication topped the table of key leadership behaviours globally. For 84 per cent, effective communication is extremely important to strong leadership, while 48 per cent rated it as the number one factor. In Canada, not-for-profit and business leaders tied for top spot in effective communication, at a fairly dismal mean rating of 5.7 out of 10. Political and religious leaders tied with the lowest mean rating of 4.6 on effective communication.

 Action also matters in rating leadership. Being able to make the tough decisions, leading by example and staying calm in a crisis rated immediately behind effective communication. The study revealed that the number one action leaders should take to restore confidence in 2012 is to be open and honest about the nature and scale of the challenge ahead (57 per cent US; 52 per cent Europe vs. 43 per cent China). By contrast, only 17 per cent indicated a preference for leaders to spare them the full picture to avoid panic.

Trustworthiness was seen as the number one source of leadership credibility for corporations, placed above quality of management and financial strength. In order to win that trust, the report found that the personal “presence” and involvement of a leader in communicating was vital. As a result, communication via face-to-face and traditional media left social media trailing. Face-to-face contact provided the greatest source of leadership credibility (50 per cent), followed by televised speeches (43 per cent), broadcast media (41 per cent) and print media (38 per cent). Digital platforms and social media were well off pace, with blogs at 20 per cent, Facebook at 16 per cent, advertising at 13 per cent and Twitter at just 8 per cent.

“We were a little surprised that mainstream media was still far ahead of digital and social media in conveying leadership credibility,” said Mr. Rowan. “The message we take is that most organizations aren’t using social media as a leadership channel. It’s mostly used to push marketing messages, and even when a leader’s name is involved, most people don’t believe it’s the leader who is actually communicating. This doesn’t mean we should write off social media as a channel for building credible leadership but rather that we have to make the authentic ‘presence’ of the leader shine through.”

Visit http://bit.ly/GAcy8S for additional survey information and materials. # # # About the Leadership Communication Monitor Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and Ipsos Observer, a worldwide strategic business line within Ipsos, conducted an online survey of 3,759 respondents in 12 markets from Dec. 14, 2011 to Jan. 10, 2012. These were the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, China, Singapore, India, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Brazil. The global margin of error is +/-1.6%. About Ketchum Ketchum is a leading global communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. Named 2012 Agency of the Year (PRWeek) and the winner of an unprecedented three consecutive PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC), visit http://www.ketchum.com. About the Canadian Survey From March 15th, to September 16th, 2012, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,003 Canadian adults 18 years plus, who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The Angus Reid Forum is owned and operated by Vision Critical. Individuals were sampled according to Census data to be representative of the Canadian national adult population. The full dataset has been statistically weighted according to the most current gender, age, region, education (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. The margin of error is ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. About Ipsos Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company. With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011. Visit http://www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos’ offerings and capabilities.

Contact: Sydney Dare —  416-355-7427 — sydney.dare@ketchum.com

* The Canadian survey – the 13th country – was conducted for Ketchum by Vision Critical. It was conducted later than the surveys in other countries and asked fewer questions, which may have affected results

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Talk about your ‘shoemaker’s children,’ PR is tongue-tied trying to explain itself

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

By Geoffrey Rowan

TORONTO, FEB. 17, 2012

Dear Father-of-PR Edward Bernays,

Please save us from ourselves.

In a smart blog post on the almost-always-helpful Ragan’s PR Daily  (http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/10869.aspx#) Steve Crescenzo wrote about the PRSA’s bulemic attempt to define PR. (Bulemic because the PRSA PR Definition Task Force took in a huge amount of material, which it has used to produce a bilious product.) Steve is a popular speaker, seminar leader and consultant who blogs at Corporate Hallucinations.com.)

The PRSA output is head-explodingly bad communication, exceeded only by the Canadian Public Relations Society in its attempt to violate every precept of human communication with this:

“Public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals and serve the public interest.”
Agree with Paul Nz that no one but a “task force” that believes it is doing life-defining work would use the word “publics.”

The PRSA is asking its members to choose from these offerings:

Public relations is the management function of researching, communicating and collaborating with publics to build mutually beneficial relationships.

Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

Public relations is the strategic process of engagement between organizations and publics to achieve mutual understanding and realize goals.

How about:
“PR is communication with purpose.”
Or “PR is communication to achieve something.”

The problem with saying something in five or six plain words instead of 20-35 self-important ones is that it doesn’t sufficiently mystify what we do. It doesn’t create a barrier to entry. If PR is just “communication to achieve something,” well, doesn’t everybody do that? Yes, everybody does that. And a lot of people participate in sports and the arts but they don’t do so at a professional level. Besides being dreadful communication, the association definitions reek of insecurity and desperation. (“Really, we do something special, we really do, and you don’t know how to do it.”)
Let’s differentiate ourselves by excelling in the art and science of communicating to achieve results, rather than by defining our craft with an arcane, impenetrable, self-aggrandizing, jargon-filled, uninspiring and meaningless bit of tripe that will never be used anywhere anyway.   Too much?

 

The Leadership Wisdom of Howard Stern

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm

You Don’t Get To Be ‘King of All Media

Just By Talking Dirty

By Geoffrey Rowan

Dec. 17, 2011

Disparaged and reviled by some as a “shock jock,” and adored by legions as the King of All Media, Howard Stern has created billions of dollars in value for the entertainment industry. He is a success by just about every measure and has created success for those around him. And he has done it through brilliant leadership – personifying the text-book traits of a great leader. If Stern’s empire was built on office supplies rather than edgy entertainment his leadership style would be studied at Harvard, INSEAD, the London School of Economics and all the world’s great business schools. It would be a must-read case study in the Harvard Business Review, mandatory for every executive education program. Here’s how Stern lives leadership.

Vision

His vision is clear, concise, and easy to understand. He communicates it often and he measures his performance constantly.  It is to be “the king of all media.” He has had best-selling books, a box-office hit movie, a top-performing radio show (broadcast and satellite) for decades, cable TV success and has just signed a lucrative contract to be a judge on top-rated America’s Got Talent.

Loyalty

Stern has navigated the notoriously treacherous egos, politics and business practices of the entertainment industry for decades, all while maintaining his core team, and in many cases elevating their abilities beyond any level they could have achieved on their own. He recognizes where team chemistry creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Supporting cast member Robin Quivers, for example, was a local market radio news reader. She lacks comedic talent but she was an early supporter and part of an ensemble that evolves over time but remains recognizable.

Stern’s loyalty seems personal and genuine, even when it’s difficult and possibly risky. He worked with comedian Artie Lange through Lange’s many lapses into substance abuse, and a suicide attempt. He suffered through the abuses of mediocre comedian Jackie Martling, who seemed to be constantly trading off his connection to Stern, sometimes at risk to Stern’s own brand.

But Howard’s most important loyalties are for his audience. He has never betrayed the core following whose support has been the foundation of his success. Forays into other media – even the prime time America’s Got talent – have always been built around his offering to his core audience. His brand extensions (into other media) always provide additional value to his base rather than depleting them.

The result is that Stern has a legion of brand ambassadors who are out in the world every day, promoting the Stern brand online, through prank phone calls to call in shows, or in water-cooler conversations at the office.

Honest feedback, accountability

His loyalty isn’t blind. Listeners to his radio show know that Stern gives tough, in-the-moment, and very specific feedback to his people when their performance does not meet the standards expected. That feedback is always in service of providing the best entertainment experience for his audience – an experience that is always pushing toward the vision to be “the king of all media.”

Innovation

Stern is an innovation engine. He created the so-called shock-jock genre. His version stands alone as a sophisticated and constantly improving iteration, head and shoulders above pale imitations. He pushes the boundaries of entertainment, whether with content – Crackhead Bob, the late Hank the Angry Dwarf, Eric the Midget et al – or technology, such as the Sybaran female masturbation saddle or Real Doll sex mannequins. But his biggest innovation, and risk, was the move into satellite radio.

He is slow to tamper with the core value proposition for his consumers, but is aggressive and demanding in seeking new ways to present and build on that value.

Risk

A leader decides what to do and what not to do. Throughout his career, Stern has made tough decisions always in support of his strategic vision. He has pushed boundaries past the breaking point, and as a result has been fired several times. He made the risky transition into satellite radio, knowing that it would mean some lost audience but betting that the value to his most loyal consumers would outweigh the loss of less loyal followers. He was also able to leverage that risk into a significant cash-generation opportunity for himself and his team, but at the same time invested significantly back into his core offer to produce a higher quality product. He has also declined lucrative opportunities that he felt could move him too far away from his core.

Confidence, with a willingness to admit weakness

One does not declare oneself “the king of all media” without a significant measure of either self-delusion or self-confidence. Stern has a track record of delivering. Those around him know that if he says he is going to achieve a goal, he will very likely achieve it. But his self-confidence is not pure egotism. He holds himself accountable to the same high standards he demands of others, and he willingly mocks his own perceived shortcomings, whether that’s penis size, a shopping list of neuroses, or a temporarily raspy voice from a head-cold or a late night.

Authenticity and Integrity

There is a mistaken perception that charisma is a significant leadership quality. Leaders may or may not have personal magnetism. Stern may or may not. That is a highly subjective judgment. More important qualities for effective leaders are authenticity and integrity.

Stern’s most powerful asset is that for his audience, he seems to have erased the line between his entertainment character and his real self. He is authentic, believable. He seems to be who he says he is. He seems to live the way he says he lives, by the values his character talks about every day. He has to. The people he seems to take greatest pleasure in ripping into are those he believes are hypocrites.

There is also a mistaken perception that integrity is synonymous with sobriety and conservative sexual and social mores. It is not. Integrity is the quality of living by the values you espouse – of doing what you say. Stern has courageous honesty. For that reason, he will never win over a segment of society with different beliefs. He rejects sexual hypocrisy – on one hand sex is a fundamental necessity to maintain human existence and we live in a highly sexualized society; on the other hand we demonize sexuality and vilify people who are open and honest about sexuality.

Leaders get in trouble when there is a gap between what they say and what they do. While Stern has built his media empire with no significant scandal, countless charismatic business, political and religious leaders have destroyed themselves by falling into the huge chasm between what they say and what they do. That matters.

Curiosity

Stern is child-like in his curiosity, whether it’s learning karate, chess, photography, or understanding the sex drive of lesbians. Curiosity keeps him fresh. It activates other parts of his brain, enabling him to approach issues from creative and ever-changing perspectives. It feeds his hunger for the continuous improvement.

Obsessive

A great leader almost has to be neurotic. He or she must obsess about quality, about competition, and about new opportunities. Is the leader getting the best out of individuals, teams, processes and tools? Where is the weakness? How can it be addressed? Stern plays out his neuroses in front of millions of people every day. He does it with too much thought and too much purpose to be insane. Therefore it must be courageous leadership.

When you strip away the content of Stern’s media empire – which some find too uncomfortable to deal with or morally reprehensible – what’s left are the values and behaviours of excellent leadership.

Stern has earned the leadership title King of All Media.

Nickelback makes love to goats, RIM gets pissed, Jack Layton touches our hearts

In Uncategorized on December 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

Ketchum Canada’s Best and Worst Communicators of 2011 show us how it’s done, or not

TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2011 – From the self-mockery (“we make love to goats”) of the Alberta rockers everyone loves to hate, to a moving farewell from a dying politician who so many grew to love, it has been a poignant, perilous and sometimes pathetic year for Canada’s public communicators.

This eighth annual ranking by Ketchum Public Relations Canada recognizes skillful, colourful and effective communication as well as the verbose, impenetrable and downright stupid. Every year, Ketchum PR professionals track hundreds of newsmakers as they deal with potentially damaging issues in business, government, news, sports, and the arts. The results reveal trends in communication and identify valuable lessons.

“When everyone with a cell phone is a potential publisher, there’s really no such thing as private these days,” said Geoffrey Rowan, Partner/Managing Director of Ketchum Public Relations Canada. “But today’s always-on world doesn’t excuse blatherskite from those with a duty to communicate with clarity, integrity and purpose.”

Here are the lessons we learned from Canada’s best and worst communicators in 2011.

 1.        Appeal to our better selves, with feeling

 When NDP leader Jack Layton had every right to be thinking about himself, just two days before his death, he was writing an encouraging farewell letter to Canadians. His final words touched our hearts because they showed that he knew the end was imminent for him but his thoughts were with those who would carry on. His was a simple, genuine message – part instruction manual, part poetry – delivered with grace and eloquence.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

  1. 2.       Don’t be arrogant unless you’re the only game in town, forever

A lot of lessons from former tech darling RIM this year. First is that you shouldn’t bank on your status as “tech darling.” The media and the world love to bring down darlings.

Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis found himself in hot water after the BBC posted a short video of him abruptly ending an interview because he didn’t like the questions — about government interference in India and the Middle East with RIM’s BlackBerry network security. “Not fair,” he complained. But when you take the public’s money by issuing stock, you don’t get to pick the questions reporters ask you.

Then the co-CEOs seemed to sleep through a reputation-crushing service outage. The good news was that a lot of people rely on Blackberries to conduct their daily business. The bad news is that the bigger the gap between what you promise and what you deliver, the madder your customers get. But that only becomes a problem for RIM if there’s ever some other smart phone alternative, and what’s the likelihood of that iHappening? It’s enough to drive employees to drink too much on airplanes.

3.       Good gravy, Mr. Mayor.

Last year we acknowledged Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for using a simple, clear, credible message to connect with the Toronto electorate. “No more gravy train.”  A year later, Mayor Ford’s battle with the gravy train has left him a hot mess.

There’s too much bad communication by Mayor Ford and his brother Doug to single out one issue. By all reports, when he’s not directing rude digital (middle-digit) communication at fellow motorists, he’s directing vulgar verbal torrents at fellow city employees after being confronted by fictional TV characters, or petulantly picking a fight with the Toronto Star. Governments should not play favourites when it comes to sharing information. Publicly-funded. Public information.  For a big, tough politician sometimes he seems pretty delicate.

Also, see above: minimize the difference between what you say you’re going to do (no service cuts, no layoffs) and what you actually do to preserve credibility.

4.       Occupy huh?

The Occupy Wall Street movement successfully communicated the ideas that the world isn’t fair and that some people are unhappy about that. Unless it transforms itself into something other than a forum for whinging, it is doomed to irrelevancy. After visiting the camps, reading the signs, watching countless hours of live, streaming video, poring over main stream media coverage and blogosphere journaling, we have been able to distill the essence of the OWS discussion:

“You suck! No you suck! Well, you’re stupid. Am not. You’re stupid! Drum break!”

Communication failures include: lack of focus, lack of anything new to say, lack of credibility, excess of irony (being photographed, Starbucks cup in hand, screaming at police about the evils of  globalization),  lack of direction, and in many cases lack of connection to the real world.

5.       We’re sorry you suck

Small wonder the OWS movement vilifies the business community when they see stories like this. A group of Montreal business school students painted themselves in black face and acted out insulting stereotypes of Jamaicans. A student of Jamaican descent found the performances degrading and offensive, given the history of insulting and degrading black-face performances by whites, and the fact that it was in fact insulting and degrading.

The response from this institution of higher learning?

“We spoke to the students and they found the reaction regrettable and are sorry.”

Really? They found the reaction to their incredibly offensive behaviour regrettable? They regret that people were offended by their offensiveness?

6.       In the thick of it, communicate well and often

Mining is a dirty business on a large scale that often takes place in remote, undeveloped areas and often involves enormously complex human, environmental, economic and political issues. Unless we decide we don’t want the products that mining enables, we have to accept its necessity and do our best to ensure miners behave responsibly.

Barrick Gold made front-page news when the world’s largest gold miner was involved in a scandal where allegations of sexual assault at its mines in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea came to light.

“The allegations were highly disturbing and will be fully investigated and publicly reported,” the company vowed. It pledged to fire any employee involved in human-rights violations, or who knows of human-rights abuses and fails to report them.

“These deplorable crimes, if confirmed, are neither acceptable nor excusable. They send a clear message to us that we have not met the promises we have made to the community, and to ourselves, to pursue responsible mining in every location where our affiliates and we operate. We can, and will, do more.”

Barrick is involved in some of the world’s most difficult mining environments, facing problems that defy simple answers. But it is consistently open about these difficulties, takes responsibility for finding solutions, and keeps the channels of communication open. That doesn’t mean it is beyond reproach, but it’s the best way to protect your reputation in an industry as big and dangerous as mining.

7.       Don’t wing it, or even chopper it

Even the most experienced communicator can’t afford to helicopter … errr phone it in. Defence Minister Peter MacKay, suffering lately from a bit of changing-story-itis over his use of a Canadian Forces helicopter to pick him up from a fishing trip, had another embarrassing gaffe this year. In an on-camera meeting with former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. MacKay observed that British Columbia and California share a border. If Arnold, or Sarah Palin, or some other American politician had displayed such geographic ignorance, Canada might have recalled its ambassador. Mr. Mackay got off easy, and has probably learned not to fish out any old statement without researching it.

8.       Don’t take yourself too seriously

It’s one of life’s enduring mysteries. How have Alberta’s three-chord rockers Nickelback managed to sell more than 50 million albums and regularly fill arenas around the world when no one on the planet will admit to liking their music. (We don’t, really.)

One of their biggest anti-fans, on learning the band would play the halftime show during the Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving game, launched a no-Nickelback online petition. Some 54,000 people signed it, hoping to get the appearance cancelled.

Rather than cursing out a 911 operator, or taking over a park and beating a drum until all meanness is removed from the Internet, front man Chad Kroeger and the band sat down on camera with their (faux) record label boss to address some of the roots of the “crisis.”

“We make love to goats,” corrected Kroeger, when asked about a particular nasty rumour making the rounds on the Internet. After brainstorming a bunch of ideas to appease fans in Detroit— such as playing Motown music as The Four Nickels — the band dressed up as different people and characters from Detroit, including RoboCop and Alice Cooper.

We liked it, we really liked it. (Now about that music …)

9.       Know what century you’re in. Hell, know what planet you are on.

We have three winners in the out-of-touch-old-guy category this year. Unfortunately one is the bright, young hope of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau. Trudeau said he was “uncomfortable” calling honour killings “barbaric.”

Eventually he apologized for his remarks, “if they’ve been interpreted by any one as dismissing or diminishing the serious and appalling nature of honour killings and other gender-based violence.”

  •  So, it’s our fault that when you dismissed the heinous nature of honour killings that we “interpreted it” as … dismissing the heinous nature of honour killings? Oops. We’re sorry, Justin.
  •  Cut to the Toronto cop who advised staff and students at Osgoode Hall law school “not to dress like sluts” if they want to avoid sexual assault.

The officer eventually “apologized,” saying he was “embarrassed” by the remark and that assaulted women are “not victims by choice.”

Our bad. Sorry for the discomfort you experience by being embarrassed. The good news is that Slut Walks have been held around the world to remind people not to blame the victim.

In contrast, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair stepped up right away, taking responsibility. “If that type of, frankly, archaic thinking still exists among any of my officers, it highlights for me the need to continue to train my officers and sensitize them to the reality of victimization.”

  •  Then there’s hockey icon Don Cherry, who lambasted some former enforcers as “pukes,” “hypocrites,” and “turncoats” when they spoke out against fighting.

Being an icon affords one some leeway. But Don cut it pretty close with this one. Ultimately, he pulled it out in sudden death overtime with an apology just like the man. It pulled no punches.

“I’ve got to admit I was wrong on a lot of things,” Cherry said. “I put down three enforcers, tough guys, my type of guys, I threw them under the bus. I’m sorry about it, I really am.”

10.   Learn from Nickelback and react appropriately

  Yes, take any complaints of wrong-doing seriously.  Assess the threat. Is it core to what you are, like an accounting firm getting caught cooking the books? Is it credible? Does it have legs?

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos caused himself more trouble than he needed by calling a press conference to deny rumours that the Jays were stealing signs (cheating.) The Jays were a mediocre (but exciting) team. The story would have died quickly but Anthopolous gave it legs by holding an emotional news conference. Something that few people heard about was spread to many people. A year from now al they’ll remember is something about the Blue Jays cheating.

The Best and Worst of 2012

If you would like to get in on the fun for Canada’s Best and Worst Communicators of 2012, send your nominations to our Twitter handle @KetchumCanadaPR, or to geoffrey.rowan@ketchum.com. Each nomination must contain the quote, its speaker, the date it was spoken and a verifiable reference to the media outlet where it was reported.

About Ketchum Public Relations Canada

An innovator in communication since 1923, Ketchum delivers seamless service around the globe through its 21 offices and 35 affiliates and associates in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America.  Ketchum is a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC; http://www.omnicomgroup.com).  Additional information on Ketchum, its award-winning work can be found at www.ketchum.com.