Hyperbole

May 24, 2016 — I spent Christmas 1990 in Ho Chi Minh City. One of the trip’s highlights was an afternoon at what was then known as The Museum of Imperialist Aggressive American War Crimes, which also cataloged the Vietnamese experience under the French. It’s now known as the War Remnants Museum The museum was, […]

Real Estate and Technology

April 28, 2016—On Monday, I moderated an event about real estate and technology that was organized by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and sponsored by KPMG. Several interesting things came out of the presentations and discussions, which featured representatives from a management consulting company and technology company and two businesses selling overseas […]

Media matters

In a recent interview with Germany’s Welt Am Sonntag newspaper, singer Bryan Ferry praised the Nazis’ iconography saying, “The way that the Nazis staged themselves and presented themselves, my Lord! I’m talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer and the mass marches and the flags — just fantastic. Really […]

Teachers

March 25, 2007 — In junior high school, I had a music teacher named Norman “Duke” McGuirl, who was a versatile, accomplished musician. His first love was the saxophone, but he could coax music from a bassoon or even a French horn. In a class that ranged from the offspring of professional musicians to the […]

Getting the best from your copywriter

February 27, 2007 — Here are 10 tips for getting the best from your copywriter when you produce brochures, newsletters, annual reports and other corporate communications materials. 1. Know your audience Good writing speaks to the interests and concerns of the reader. That means you and your copywriter need a clear understanding of the audience: […]

Cross-cultural myths

January 26, 2007 — Via a piece on Seth Godin’s blog about cross-cultural communications, here’s something I didn’t know about one the most enduring cross-cultural myths. Snopes.com explains that the old chestnut about the Chevy Nova selling poorly in Mexico because “Nova” means “won’t go” in Spanish is false. And while we’re on the topic […]

Marketing conundrum

December 20, 2006 — Over $100 million in new product has been damaged in transit between your factory and dealer network. The shipment is insured, but what do you do with the salvaged goods, some of which appear undamaged? If you’re Mazda and the product is 4,700 new vehicles that were stranded for months on […]

A golden rule, broken

September 21, 2006 — A golden rule when working with the media is “never say anything near a journalist that you wouldn’t want attributed to you on the front page of tomorrow’s paper.” To apply this concept, you need an idea of what might offend the important people in your life—shareholders, customers, voters, family, etc.—and […]

The Pope’s Apology

September 18, 2006 — From a communications standpoint, the Vatican has seriously miscalculated with the Pope’s apology. Here’s why: 1. Saturday’s apology was clearly written by a committee. When that happens, compromises are made to satisfy the committee and the lawyers who inevitably populate it. Those compromises weaken the apology with weasel words to the […]

There’s a word for it

September 12, 2006 — If you’ve ever opened a web page and seen gibberish where you were expecting text, here’s the word for it: mojibake. Wikipedia describes mojibake, which is a loan word from Japanese, as “the phenomenon of incorrect, unreadable characters shown when computer software fails to render a text correctly according to its […]