basketballUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard or seen the news about the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and their owner, Donald Sterling. Sterling’s now-famous comments to his girlfriend were taped and made public. If you have not heard about it, you can catch up here.

What followed this story were more stories (and more will come as this is not over yet) about the reactions from players, the NBA, Sterling’s wife and Sterling’s continued PR fails (How do you attack Magic Johnson?).

Today, however, I discovered 32 people who like basketball, the NBA, and they are decidedly not racist.

(Disclaimer: This post is restricted to just the NBA.)

This morning I attended a presentation titled, “Meet the Young Authors”. During this presentation, 32 diverse (in culture, skin color, etc.) second graders read aloud their very own stories that each wrote and illustrated. The stories ranged from aliens to animals, from dreams to fantasy, and from superheroes to sports. In fact, several of the stories were about basketball. (One of my favorites was by a young author who had Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan dunking on each other!)

After each story was read out loud, the author then shared a few items about who they were, what they liked/didn’t like, and what they wanted to be when they grew up. And yes, each author of a basketball story included being a player in the NBA as one of their items.

But, here’s the thing: each author has a different ancestry, a different culture, a different accent, and a different skin color. Yet they all love basketball and have similar favorite players.

Oh, to be so wise as these young authors.

flashboysI am currently reading Michael Lewis‘ new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. A quick overview of the book can be found here.


So why am I writing a post about the book if I have not yet finished reading it?

In chapter four, there is a section where it is shared that while the big banks, etc., are working to keep their actions confidential, “DIY detectives” were able to find all the information they wanted by connecting with bank employees on LinkedIn and reviewing their profiles, resumes, etc.

Knowing the ongoing discussions around companies wanting access to employees or potential hires’ social accounts, I found myself asking the following:

  • Will one possible ripple effect of this book be that companies attempt to crack down on employees’ LI profiles?
  • If so, can they do so? Legally?

Personally, I don’t know. It’s just a question that popped into my head while reading the book.

What do you think?

SpinSucksBookI don’t care how long you have been in communications – you MUST read “Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age”, by Gini Dietrich.


The communications and PR world has changed immensely and continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Too many professionals are not changing or evolving with it. Add to that the fact that there are people who think they “know how to do PR”, and you or your brand is at even higher risk of running into problems or failing at PR efforts.

This whole “spin sucks” thing? Well, yes, spin really does suck and you will get called out for it.

Enter Gini Dietrich. One of the PR industry leaders, she has shared PR’s secret – that there is no secret!

Open and transparent communication is what will earn you/your brand the credibility desired. Gini walks you through tools, best practices and case histories to show you how and why they work. She explains in simple but good detail with plenty of real life examples.

She’s done all the work for you by showing and sharing how to engage your audience, build their trust, grow your community and more. It’s not about typing facts into a release and hitting “send”. It’s about writing a story that compels your audience to act, and then delivering that story the right way – the way your audience wants it delivered. It’s about responding and being there for them. It’s about listening to them. The opportunity is there to engage with them one-on-one and measure it as well!!! As she says, “this is a marathon, not a sprint”. “Spin” is not required.

Regardless of how long you have been a PR professional, you NEED to and MUST read this book. You will be amazed at what you’ve forgotten and what you don’t know. After you read your copy, buy more copies and share with your team and executives. Reach out to employees with this latest knowledge and educate them as well.

You can also watch Gini describe why she wrote the book via this short video.

Amazon is just one place you can find “Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age”.

NOTE: I was honored to be asked to read the galley. Once I read it, I couldn’t wait to buy an actual copy of the book once it came out!


DSC_0083The other day I read a post by Shel Holtz, who wrote about an employee being fired after doing an interview with Advertising Age. Titled, “Jill Rowley’s dismissal could be a case of misguided adherence to 20th-century spokesperson policies“, Shel shared his opinion regarding authorized reps for speaking to journalists. Is it an archaic practice as he stated, or is it a practice that is dependent upon the company and its culture?

Does trying to control its brand/image require large companies to be strict in requiring employees to direct all media inquiries to the public relations (PR) group?

Or is it easier to for smaller companies to be stricter or more flexible?

Lots of questions that I invite you to weigh in on – please!

Here are my initial thoughts on this topic, but please be mindful I’m coming at this from experience in an industry-specific (such as Oil & Gas) example:

  • There should be a defined media policy for any company, regardless of its size
  • In-house PR should be the first contact for media (or an agency on record if you’re outsourcing)
  • With that said, it used to be that the only employees who were put through media training were executives. Today, media training should be expanded to as many employees as it can, anyone who may come into contact with the media. Take the time to select which ones should actually interact with the journalists, such as subject matter experts (SMEs), versus someone who is at a conference for a different reason, such as a graphic designer (I’m not being mean).
  • Due to social media, trade shows, industry groups, etc., journalists now interact with company employees at varying levels. It’s not always the CEO an industry journalist wants to speak with, especially regarding new products, services and technologies. They want the SME. In my experience, they want to speak to the person who knows the product inside and out, not just at a high level.
  • This leads to the fact that SMEs should be media trained so they can speak to a reporter if approached at a tradeshow, via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • With that said, the SME should notify the PR group and his/her manager ASAP, both as a professional courtesy and to keep them in the loop. You have to consider opportunities for follow-ups, requests for pictures or videos, etc., that the SME may not be able to get to because of travel schedules.
  • And, suggest the SME to always share the PR contact information with the reporter as well, again to increase ease of communication for follow-up questions, etc.

Jill Rowley commented on Shel’s post, reminding us that “…with the web, EVERYONE is a reporter”.

I concur, and urge companies to learn this quickly if they have not already.

What are your thoughts?

This post originally appeared on “Fumbling Towards Epiphany”.
Susan Cellura CEO of E. Marketing Communications, Susan Cellura is a marketing communications professional with over 20 years of experience.  She is a dynamic communications professional and enthusiastic team-builder, with a progressive history of success in designing and implementing communications programs for global organizations. A strategic thinker with the ability to understand the needs of multiple audiences and deliver solutions, Susan is a results-oriented problem-solver with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation abilities. Having worked in a variety of global industries, she has grown business communications in her current position via a strong mixture of strategic resources, including social media.
Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.


mime-attachmentAnother Emilyism!!

The other day we were discussing some clothes that she had picked out for me. (Whenever she puts an outfit together for me, I receive compliments.)

E: “Mom, I’m really glad you listen to me when it comes to your clothes.”

Me: “Well, you do a very good job of dressing me.”

E: “Thank you. But I feel sorry for Daddy.”

Me: “Why?”

E: (With attitude) “He has NO sense of fashion.”

Next (First?) Steps

puffinI’m starting a new adventure and know that I have a lot to learn. You know, “flying the plane while building it”?

Actually, it’s not that bad.

Basically I am heading out on my own again – from a business standpoint. I’ve learned quite a bit over the past few years and continue to do so.

I’m working on a new website, following up on some leads and opportunities, and basically, just believing in myself.

I’ll keep you posted and if you have any thoughts or want to share your start-up experiences, please do so!!!

Coach is “Coach”

daboLately I’ve noticed what is to me a disturbing trend. As documented in a #FF post on Spin Sucks, I am an avid college football fan. I mean, you can ask my husband – on Saturdays, college football is on all day long. (Clemson Tigers!)

Here is what I’m seeing and hearing. Before, during and after the game, a sports reporter does brief interviews on the sidelines with each head coach.

The reporter asks a few questions and usually ends the short interview with “Thanks, Coach”. Until this season.

This season I’ve noticed that when the interview is over, the reporter is saying, “Thanks, Dabo” (Swinney). Or, “Thanks, Nick” (Saban). Or, “Thanks, Steve” (Spurrier). No “Thanks, Coach”.

This gets my goat. Since when is it appropriate to call Coach by his first name? I must have missed that memo.

Here is my thought process: The reporter has a professional relationship with these coaches. Coach is the respectful term – it’s a title.

Reporters, please stop. Respect the coaches for who they are and what they are doing – being Coach.


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