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Archive for September, 2014

Your Cell Phone Is Not Your Friend – Or Boss

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


Author Amy Alkon says, “Polite texting involves turning the sound down.” We say, “Pressing mute is only the first step.” Just because you may not be beeping and buzzing, it doesn’t mean you have a free pass to check your phone. But people check their text messages and emails during conversations, dinner dates, and even business meetings. It’s not okay.

Does this really need to be said? Apparently so. Nobody wants to see North Korea-style mobile phone guidelines rolled out in the US, and social shaming is a powerful tool in persuading people to act appropriately. So do the right thing and keep your eyes on those who are in the room with you – even if your fear of missing out tells you that greater, more important things beckon on your smartphone screen. They don’t, and meanwhile you’re alienating those you’re with. Be the boss of your phone, not the other way around, and don’t let it run – or ruin – your life.

Ann Keeling says:

Well said, Amy.  All you have to do is put your phone down and look around; observe in the line at Starbucks, in waiting rooms at doctors’ offices, even in the bathroom – there seems to be no place where people aren’t heads-down on their devices.  Sad, really.  Look at what you miss out on.  In Starbucks, how many times do you run into someone you know ? Or better yet, strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? That just won’t happen if your phone is your boss.

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Monday, September 29th, 2014


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Ask Ann

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Daryl Knauer is a creative director who has been in advertising for decades. He works as an independent marketing and advertising professional, consulting a number of clients throughout the Midwest.

Hey Ann,

Television viewership for pro football remains strong even as controversy swirls around the NFL. I’m just curious: Do you have concerns over someone else’s bad image tarnishing your clients’ brands? Do you have a rule of thumb about a client’s exposure in a controversial setting?

Ann Keeling Says:

Any advertiser or organization associated with the NFL right now is certainly watching cautiously, or taking some level of action.  With Anheuser-Busch, Pepsico, and P&G making public statements and pulling support sends a huge message. 

There’s always a risk when a brand aligns itself with an organization.  Before making a major decision to partner, there’s due diligence that occurs and oftentimes a deal is signed on that basis.  Many of these relationships are advantageous over time with very few ever resulting in a situation like the NFL is currently experiencing. Ultimately, it’s a judgment call for leadership within a brand whether or not to remain alongside their partner even when the waters are rough.

Larkspurs, violets and kittens — oh my !

Friday, September 26th, 2014


Just kidding.

Shot on an iPhone by Clare Whitaker.


Thursday, September 25th, 2014

The Public Relations Society of America has declared this September Ethics Awareness Month.

Gini Dietrich, founder of a marketing communications firm, today breaks down the issue of honesty in PR in only three lines:

Don’t be unethical.

Don’t tread the squishy grey line of ethics.

If it feels wrong, it is wrong.

Is it really that simple?

Ann Keeling says:

You can stay true to your beliefs most of the time, but sometimes you do just need to overlook or agree with things, particularly in business.  Quibbling over some minor clause in a contract could risk losing major business. Considerations need to be made based on the situation. 

As for someone telling an untruth on their resume – yeah, I’d fire them if they are a year into their job, but a VP at WalMart ? 

To Ms. Dietrich’s commenting that “If he’d been honest to begin with, he may not have gotten the job at Walmart and his future would have been altered,” I’d say the future of WalMart could have been significantly altered. Come on, the guy has been there forever and done incredible things to build their business. So he wasn’t completely honest on his resume, so what?  Clearly that’s a situation where someone was looking to oust the guy for something that had nothing to do with his resume; – obviously a blackball move.