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August 21, 2014

Why Global PR Firm Edelman Received Backlash for Recent Blog Post about Robin Williams’ Death

By Rachel Neppes, 11:16 am

Global PR giant, Edelman, has been in the hot seat lately due to a blog post that the firm’s Media Relations Strategy EVP, Lisa Kovitz, wrote just 24 hours after Robin Williams’ death. In it, she states that his suicide created a “PR opportunity” for groups advocating for better treatment of mental illness.

The post reads: His death yesterday created a carpe diem moment for mental health professionals and those people who have suffered with depression and want to make a point about the condition and the system that treats it.

It later goes on to read: At Edelman, we are in the business of helping our clients create or join public conversations. We know that appropriate organizations can elevate a public conversation to help those in need. We and our clients can learn from this situation.

Kovitz’s post has clearly left many outraged and baffled about why Edelman, an expert in reputation building, would think to put out such a bold and self-serving message. The majority of respondents criticized that the post was a distasteful PR stunt by Edelman to reinforce its own positioning and that it was simply published too soon after Williams’ death.

But, while the majority of respondents were clearly angered by Kovitz’s blog, a few others felt the criticism went overboard. One less-bothered reader commented:

No apology necessary or needed Edelman. Thank you for your courage to make the post. You saved lives, and that was clearly the intent. This was not a Justin Sacco moment, it was a MADD moment, and we need to force the dialogue you encouraged. Suicide is 100% preventable, just as fear and ignorance are too.

Buchanan Public Relations, Philadelphia public relations agency, Edelman, Robin Williams

If Kovitz’s intent was to genuinely spark conversations about the issue of depression in our society, as stated in the apology that the firm issued shortly after receiving a barrage of public criticism, where did she go wrong? After a quick glance at her blog post, the answer becomes abundantly clear. This PRSA article does a good job summing it up for us, as well.

  • First, all it takes is to read the headline, ‘Carpe Diem,’ to realize her distaste in that somebody’s death or tragedy should never be associated with a ‘Carpe Diem’ or ‘Seize the Day’ moment.
  • Kovitz is automatically assuming that Williams’ suicide was due to depression. While it’s probably a fair conclusion, that fact hasn’t necessarily been proven.
  • Stating that Edelman is in the business of helping clients create or join public conversations clearly reads like a sales headline and should never be associated with anybody’s death.
  • Kovitz states mental health professionals should have spoken up more about depression following the announcement of Williams’ death, as if to insinuate that efforts aren’t already being made in the fight against depression. Perhaps, these professionals were just trying to be sensitive and respect the privacy of Williams’ grieving family just one day after their tragic loss.

Kovitz may have been trying to create a dialogue about the pressing issues of depression. But words of wisdom from one PR professional to another – never connect tragedy to an opportunity, and next time, rethink the promotional plug for your own firm.

What’s your take on Edelman’s blog post? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

August 13, 2014

Hitting a Home Run with the Media

By John Reynolds, 2:37 pm

Professional baseball player. Public relations professional. The two couldn’t be more different, right? baseball

With this being my last week as an intern with Buchanan Public Relations, I thought about writing my blog post on a clichéd topic like “5 Things I Learned as an Intern.” But, what fun is that? So, as I started to write this post, I reflected on what I learned this summer about the PR industry. As an avid sports fan, my thoughts went immediately to sports, and I realized that public relations professionals are a lot like baseball players. (more…)

August 7, 2014

Public Speaking? No Sweat!

By Megan Keohane, 10:32 am

Wedding season is in full swing. This Friday, one of my dearest friends will be walking down the aisle and I’ll be right next to her as her Maid of Honor. Aside from planning her shower and bachelorette party, I was tasked with preparing a speech for the reception. This is nothing unfamiliar to me – I’m an old pro at being a bridesmaid. And writing a speech? Piece of cake. I banged it out in ten minutes. But public speaking? That’s a little bit more intimidating. Buchanan Public Relations, Meg KeohaneHere are six tricks that I’ve learned to calm (or at least hide) nerves when speaking to an audience:

1. Be prepared!
Easily the most important tip. Even the most seasoned public speakers have some sort of plan. Start planning the speech, or at least an outline, well in advance. Certainly do not leave it for the last minute. Feeling rushed will only add to any anxiety over speaking. Allowing ample time to prepare allows the opportunity to fine tune all points in the speech, practice over and over again and time to “study” past presentations by highly regarded speakers.

2. Dress the part
You’re excused if you HAVE to dress a certain way as a member of the bridal party. Otherwise, make sure to clean up nicely. While looks aren’t everything, looking polished and put together should be a priority. But dress for the audience – if speaking to a bunch of artists, no need to go all out with a suit and tie. But if speaking to lawyers, then definitely go for that suit and tie. Skip the flashy jewelry, funky shirts and anything that may serve as a distraction. Not to mention, dressing nice can boost confidence!

3. No ifs, ands or buts (or ums, uhs or likes)
This should be a no brainer, but cut out the filler words. Saying “um” before every other sentence is the easiest way to lose the attention (and respect) of the audience. The easiest way to avoid it? Talk slower. More often than not, filler words are used when the brain needs to catch up with the mouth. Slow and steady wins the race.

4. It’s all in the eyes…
Another no brainer, but be sure to make eye contact with the audience. This ties into the first tip about being prepared. Having the speech written word for word makes it too easy to look down at the paper throughout the delivery. Studying the material repeatedly should mean that reading the speech verbatim isn’t necessary. If a crutch is needed, index cards or an outline can be useful.

5. … And the rest of the face
Smile! Also, a well-timed dose of humor never hurts. The audience probably likes to smile, too.

6. Relax!
Deep breath in… now let it out. Do that five times before picking up the microphone. Relaxing before speaking is easier said than done, but it’s best to walk in with a clear head. We’re our own worst critics, after all. If a word is skipped, it’s unlikely that anyone will notice. Giving a speech is almost never a life or death situation – life will resume as normal regardless of the outcome.

Now knock ‘em dead!

July 31, 2014

Make Your Good Nonprofit Board a Great One

By Nancy Page, 10:19 am

“To make the greatest impact on society requires first and foremost a great organization.”                      – Jim Collins

Consider this view of nonprofit Board members:

  • Necessary evil (for legal reasons)
  • Impediment to progress
  • Source of busy work for staff
  • Meddlesome micromanagers
  • Power mongers

As opposed to this one:

  • Stewards of public trust
  • Guardians of the mission
  • Ambassadors for the organization
  • Strategic partners with staff
  • Experienced civic leaders

If you’re on the Board of a nonprofit, I’m sure you’d rather be viewed the second way. So what can you do to make your Board great? What skills and behaviors can you bring to the Board table to ensure that your organization’s beneficiaries are being served by the best Directors possible? (more…)

July 24, 2014

A Change Will Do You Good

By Emily DiTomo, 4:26 pm

I wrote this blog post from the offices of Buchanan PR’s PRGN Chicago affiliate, LC Williams & Associates. In the span of a two-hour flight, my daily view went from the habitually willful “can-I-have-a-treat?” faces of our office pups, Lacey and Romeo, to sun-drenched sailboats docked along Lake Michigan.Buchanan Public Relations, Philadelphia Public Relations agency, Emily DiTomo

The inspiration – not to mention effect on my productivity – was enormous. This got me to thinking: how can a change of scenery benefit PR professionals? (more…)

July 15, 2014

Dog Days Dos and Don’ts

By Karen Ivory, 10:31 am

It’s the middle of summer and it’s my turn to write a blog post. I don’t feel like writing a blog post. In fact, I don’t feel like doing much of anything. Did I say it’s the middle of summer?Buchanan Public Relations

So – how to stay motivated and productive during the dog days of summer, when frankly we’d prefer to be at the beach or in the mountains rather than sitting at our desks?


July 7, 2014

Beyond the Basics: Taking PR 101 to the Next Level

By Nicole Lasorda, 3:09 pm

Recently, I’ve  been lucky enough to attend some  amazing conferences in Philadelphia. These conferences have provided me the ability to do some great networking, as well as learn a lot about running businesses, using my talents and being a strong female leader. 

A common theme throughout all of the conferences, however, was that the skills workshops and forums tended to cater to  younger professionals, with a distinct lack of options in the advanced department. It got me thinking about what workshops I’d like to attend as an experienced PR practitioner. I also asked a few of my peers what they’d like to see in terms of professional development opportunities. (more…)

June 9, 2014

Fixing Data Breach PR

By admin, 11:58 am

This week’s blog post comes from David Fuscus, president and CEO of Xenophon Strategies.  Based in Washington, DC, Xenophon is a member of the Public Relations Global Network, of which Buchanan PR was a founding member.

Year of the Retailer Breach” was how Verizon recently described 2013 in its annual Data Breach Report, saying that it “was a year of transition… to large scale attacks on payment card systems.” The report documented 1,367 confirmed data breaches, the largest and most infamous of which was the massive amount of customer information stolen from Target during the busy Christmas shopping season.


May 29, 2014

The Inside Scoop from Our Media Colleagues

By Jess Emery, 4:22 pm

Public relations professionals are rarely offered the opportunity to gain insider knowledge from members of the media with whom we work every day.
Last week, however, as a member of PRSA Philly and a co-chair of the Nancy Bacher Long PR Institute committee, I was given the chance to mingle with a few of Philadelphia’s finest media minds at the annual media panel hosted at NBC 10’s studios. Top Secret

Moderated by Lee Marshall, a top-notch communications consultant, the panel actively discussed pitching preferences, thoughts on social media and tips for PR professionals working to build long-term relationships. Here are some key takeaways from the region’s top media professionals:


May 19, 2014

5 Reasons Why Babies are Like Agencies

By Blair Kahora Cardinal, 3:40 pm

I recently returned to Buchanan PR after giving birth to my son Carmen on New Year’s Eve. Upon careful observation over the past four and a half months, I reached the conclusion that working at a public relations agency is a lot like taking care of a baby. Seriously? Yes, and here’s why.


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