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What do Tim Cook and LeBron James have in common?

Let’s say you’re a CEO and you wish to promote your company, your personal brand or, more altruistically, a cause. What do you do?

In years past, communicators would advise a number of options. One traditional approach: make a donation, issue a media release and call a press conference. Then ask your communication professionals to follow up with calls to reporters to attract further attention. If you were lucky, controversial or both, you got media coverage.

But that communications strategy is so “yesterday.” Today, you have more options. Write a blog post. Record and post a video. Or you can take the path Apple CEO Tim Cook and LeBron James both recently traversed with great skill to accomplish their objectives. First, leverage media relationships to write and…

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Enough with the gold stars: 5 arguments against CSR awards

It’s nearly impossible to work in CSR/sustainability communications and not be aware of the countless number of awards out there. According to one estimate, there are more than 150 third-party organizations ranking and evaluating CSR efforts! So perhaps it’s in part the reality of being inundated with requests to purchase apply for award after award, plus the recent work we did to pull them all together into a spreadsheet, that makes me skeptical (even though my colleague appears to disagree).

Here are a few thoughts about why it’s better to put down the award application and walk away:

1) Another gold star? Really?

We give awards for everything these days – and there are so many CSR-related awards that nearly every company that applies could probably win one. It…

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Don’t trust CSR awards? Here are five reasons why we really need them

EDIT: My colleague, Stephanie Harig, appears to disagree.

I understand why some people don’t like awards, contests, rankings, etc., especially when they’re related to corporate social responsibility and sustainability. They worry about the motives of awards-seeking organizations and are afraid that too much energy and talent will go into applying and winning – and “saying” the right things – with not enough left to focus on what really matters: “doing” the right things by being a responsible corporate citizen and engaging with stakeholders in a mutually beneficial manner.

I don’t despise awards, but I respect the cynicism. After all, there are dozens of CSR awards and almost all of them are “pay to play.” (Trust me, we’ve done a bunch of research to build the…

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Media are covering the shale oil and gas industry, but is the industry talking to the media?

You could spend a good number of hours out of your day tracking coverage of the oil and gas industry. Trade media, bloggers, local, national and international media are examining the industry from any number of angles. More often than not, the industry’s viewpoint is not being communicated with the same energy, and the results are damaging the industry’s public perception.

It is difficult to digest all the media scrutiny. If you want a good daily roundup, check out the news aggregator, Realclearenergy.org.

But what is abundantly clear is that the coverage is commensurate with the impact the industry is having, from shifts in the global economy down to the tiniest of tremors registered in a small Ohio town. Coverage often reflects public concern, government…

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7 tips for making the most of your analyst/investor day

Companies have been hosting analyst days for forever. While they have certainly evolved over the years, the premise – and promise – of these company-hosted events remains the same: the opportunity to tell your company’s story directly to a room full of key investors and analysts.  

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Sure. But our experience with our clients indicates that companies are looking for ways to get more of out their event. After all, a lot of work goes into making analyst days happen. The chance to be in front of such key people all at once is worth the extra effort.

‘Tis the season for analyst days, so here are a few tips for making the most of yours:

1) Reconsider the “day.”

Many companies are moving away from an all-day or even half-day event to…

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