How Ray Bradbury came to write an article for me

My Mattel business cardIt was the summer of 1986.

I was halfway through my four-year tenure at Mattel, Inc. Bad times were on the horizon. Soon, the company’s finances would suffer and leadership would implement cost-cutting measures, including a crippling experience with McKinsey & Company’s dreaded Activity Value Analysis. But for now, budgets were still untouched and the Employee Communications Department cranked out a monthly newspaper for all employees and a quarterly magazine for employees, shareholders, partners, and other important audiences.

The magazine, which I established soon after starting at Mattel in 1996,  was called Windows. The name… Read More »

Microcopy for masochists

A curious trend is proliferating around the web. You arrive on a site and, while reading whatever it is you came to read, a pop-up appears. You look for the prominent X to close it, and instead you see two options. One is the call to action, something like, “Yes, I want to know more!” The other insults and demeans you with a prompt along the lines of, “No, I’m not interested in doubling my income while saving innocent kittens from torture at the hands of terrorists.”

Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but nevertheless, closing the pop-up requires you to agree with a statement that basically suggests you’re an idiot for taking that path.… Read More »

Friday Wrap #137: New Trust Barometer, reducing hoaxes, bad words, an anonymous app for employees

Venice wrappedf up in 2011
Flickr photo of Venice wrapped up in 2011 courtesyt of Kristina D.C. Hoeppner
Greetings from 39,000 feet. I have a jam-packed day Friday, so I’m taking advantage of in-flight WiFi to crank out this week’s Wrap. As always the Wrap is a summary of the last week’s news, posts, and other good stuff that has crossed my feeds that may not have gotten a lot of attention but is still useful for communicators to know. Feel free to follow my link blog, where I collect the content from which I select items for the Wrap (and for my podcast).

News

Edelman releases 2015 Trust Barometer—Upholding an annual tradition at the Davos economic forum,… Read More »

FIR Live: Language Translation for Communicators

FIR Live: Language Translation for Communicators
Photo: (c) CanStock
Language translation has bedeviled communications and PR practitioners forever, but the rise of digital media has complicated the situation in a number of ways. The requirements for producing content right now have led to a need for almost instantaneous translation while access to the Internet has introduced languages spoken in regions that weren’t previously participants in the economy.

Joining FIR co-host Shel Holtz to explore the various dimensions of language translation as a dimension of communications are…

  • Renato Beninatto, chief marketing officer for language translation company Moravia. He is the… Read More »

Friday Wrap #108: Google forgets, a new Vine metric, broker tweets, RIP Orkut, writing bots, & more

Fourth of July Friday Wrap
Flickr image courtesy of Epic Fireworks
To all my fellow Americans, a very happy Fourth of July. To all my friends and colleagues from around the world, happy Friday! The Friday Wrap (which is what you’re reading) is a curated rundown of news, reports and posts from the past week that, while they didn’t go viral or attract much attention, are still interesting and useful for communications professionals. I select Wrap items from my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.


News

Consequences of “right to be forgotten” start to emerge—The European Court ruled on May 13 that Google must honor requests from Europeans who want links to… Read More »

Fiction’s place in the content marketing mix

StorytellerProducing a steady flow of content to satisfy the needs of a content marketing effort is a heady enough challenge for communicators. Translating technical information into content people will want to read, talk about and share takes the challenge to a whole new level.

For a lot of companies, it’s the technical side of the story that would make customers flock to their products—if only that complicated technology were more easily explained.

In the world of research, the dry, inaccessible nature of reports has resulted in a movement towards employing fiction as a means of presenting findings. It’s a movement that could, and should,… Read More »

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