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Posts by Scott Chaikin

Paying Back the Past and Betting on the Future

A few weeks ago we announced that our president, Chas Withers, will succeed me as CEO in July.  After working on the succession for several years, our focus gradually narrowed to a moment in time. But shortly after the announcement I was surprised by how quickly that moment gave way to the full sweep of D&E’s history.  More on that in a minute.

Chas has steadily taken on elements of the role, and he’s already proven he can do the job.  I’ll continue to work full-time as executive chairman, spending more of my time partnering with clients.  It has all the hallmarks of a win-win-win, and for that I feel a lot of gratitude to a great many people.

First, to Chas, who’s been a good friend and partner since well before we set him on the succession track in 2008.  And to…

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5 questions to answer before committing to a company name change

A name change is a rare opportunity for many organizations. It’s one of those events that creates a spotlight, capturing the attention of all stakeholders and causing them to take a fresh look at the company. It’s also one of the few such events that can be managed proactively to have the desired impact.

At the same time, a corporate name change is a daunting event. No matter how well it’s managed, it’s expensive, takes a ton of time and is a major distraction – and the stakes are high for getting it right. It’s important to begin with well-informed expectations and a good process. And to answer some fundamental questions before committing:

  1. The main reasons to change a company’s name are to eliminate a problem or unlock value. What is the problem or opportunity…
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Congrats to our colleagues on their promotions

It’s always one of my favorite days when we get to recognize the great work of high-performing colleagues by promoting them. We recently had the chance to celebrate three members of the D&E team, naming David Hertz managing director, Stephanie Harig account executive and Sarah Hihn director of human resources.

David, a former journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning editor at The Akron Beacon Journal, has been a member of D&E’s media relations group since joining the firm almost a decade ago. He puts his 20 years of journalism experience to work counseling clients on media relations, crisis communications and corporate communications strategy.

Stephanie is a member of the firm’s investor relations and sustainability practices, though colleagues pull her into projects…

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Three tips for CEOs getting started on social media (which is inevitable)

To CEOs who aren’t yet posting on social media: You’re not alone. Fewer than 6 percent of CEOs in a recent study use Twitter and less than 8 percent use Facebook. Sure, 28 percent have LinkedIn accounts, but fewer than one in five of these super-networked people have over 500 connections. Signed up doesn’t mean participating.

Social media participation is inevitable among CEOs because, unless you’re about to retire, you’re increasingly going to be drawn to it by important stakeholders. For most of you, the challenge will be how to get started.  

Twitter is a great first step. It’s easy to do, doesn’t demand a huge time investment and can generate the immediate reactions that will reinforce the benefits of participation.

Finally, here’s a piece of advice from

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The boardroom perspective on reputation

A couple of days ago I was the keynote listener in a discussion with a couple dozen members of corporate boards on the subject of reputation management. Here’s what they had to say:

  • They believe their boards are doing a good job on the process element of tracking reputation risk as part of overall enterprise risk management.
  • Not surprisingly, those who have experienced a crisis that made vulnerabilities more apparent have seen their companies increase the sophistication of their reputation tracking and related board discussions.
  • Specifically, some reported their boards are getting greater value by not just tracking and estimating reputation risk but by focusing less on process and more on substantial discussion around specific vulnerabilities.
  • There is clear…
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