Archive for April 7th, 2020



“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts”.

                                                                          Winston Churchill

I’ve always loved this quote from a man I have long admired. I’ve referred to it many times whenever business gets especially difficult. There has never been a more appropriate time to think of Sir Winston’s words.

Counter-intuitive– In golf it is called “counter-intuitive”. Swing hard and the ball goes nowhere. Swing easily and the ball goes a mile.

In crises the natural inclination for most businesses is to cut back on every expense, marketing communications chief among them. In my 40+ years in communications I’ve seen too many CEO’s adopt a bunker mentality; hunker down, avoid costs and whatever you do, do not communicate with anyone until the trouble passes. This approach is wrong and can cause lasting damage.

In fact, now is absolutely the right time to increase your communications, but in the most strategic and cost-effective way possible. Here’s the way to go about it:

Build a Plan

Step 1- Prioritize your audiences; customers/clients, employees, vendors, federal/state/local governments, and the step

Step 2- Target Messaging. What are the three most important messages you want to communicate to each audience. Whatever you do be authentic, transparent and sensitive

Step 3- Communications Techniques. Determine, what are the best ways to reach each of your target audiences. Include both traditional and digital approaches

The Good NewsYou can build a communications program today at very little cost and with great effectiveness.

What You Can Do Today

  1. CEO Communications- This is by far, the most important step for any CEO. People are starved for leadership. Those who reach out and communicate to target audiences with compassion, concern, and calm will stand out. Authenticity, transparency and frequency are what counts now. CEO’s who do this well will not only build their businesses brand but their own as well. CEO’s will become recognized as being among the new generation of leaders. Mario Cuomo, Governor of New York State and Jamie Dimon, CEO of Chase Bank are prime examples great communicators.
  2. Digital Communications- Businesses can reach their target audiences through a variety of effective and low cost platforms. Start with LinkedIn. If your business has pages on Facebook, Instagram, Snap, etc., use them.
  3. Broadcast- Business news networks such as CNBC as well as general news outlets from MSNBC to FOX need interviews with CEO’s who can talk articulately about business issues impacting governmental policies to consumers
  4. Advertising- For those who have the budget consider both digital and traditional advertising outlets. But messaging should change frequently to make sure you are current. Charles Schwab, Invesco and Progressive Insurance are companies who continue to advertise but have correctly changed their message to reflect current times.

Now is the time for CEO leadership. Take the counter-intuitive route. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

Don Middleberg

Don Middleberg is regarded as one of the nations leading public relations executives, renowned for developing some of the most creative and powerful communications programs for such companies as American Express, Consumer Reports, Gartner, IBM, Reuters, and United Airlines.

Middleberg and Associates, founded in 1989, was named “Best PR Agency of the Year” in 1999. In 2000, the company became Euro RSCG Middleberg when it was acquired by Euro RSCG, the communications division of Havas, the world’s sixth-largest communications group. 

In 2009 Don Middleberg merged his second agency, Middleberg Communications, with Laundry Service, a digital marketing agency. Within six years the firm grew from 3 employees to over 600 in 4 countries and was named to Ad Age’s 10 Best Digital Agencies. In 2016 Middleberg sold this agency to Wasserman Group. Don is currently providing marketing communications consulting for several organizations in consumer technology and B2B.

A noted author and lecturer on public relations, Don, together with Professor Steve Ross of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, co-authored the groundbreaking study, “The Media in Cyberspace.” Don is regularly called upon for commentary by numerous magazines and newspapers, and has appeared on CNBC, C/Net, CNN, and National Public Radio.



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