Posts Tagged ‘Don Middleberg’



“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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by Don Middleberg, Member Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed…I’ve failed over and over again. And that is why I succeed.”
-Michael Jordan

The most important thing I’ve learned in business is that you can’t stand still. You must try things. Not all will succeed, but on balance, if you’re smart and thoughtful, things should work out over the long term. In the spirit of calculated risk-taking, in the first six months of this year Middleberg Communications was involved in three significant developments:

1. The move into social media through Laundry Service. While a lot of folks talk about having social media capabilities, there is a huge difference between working Facebook and LinkedIn pages and having an in-house video production studio complete with brilliant film editors, creatives and social media managers who understand and work all platforms. I love social media because it works. It removes one of the major stumbling blocks that has always existed for public relations – proven, quantifiable metrics. So when founder and President Jason Stein and I decided to get together, it was a natural fit. We formally joined forces February 1, and in the nearly six months together we have built LS into a near-$1 million firm.

Social media is now a major point of difference for us. Few PR firms have the chops to do both great media relations as well as incorporate a significant social media skill set.

2. The acquisition of G.S.Schwartz & Co. Jerry Schwartz and I have been friendly competitors for years. Our deal was completed on July 1, and was a natural move for both of us given that our respective firms work in many of the same vertical markets—consumer, tech, B2B, associations, financial and professional services. I now lead the combination of nearly 25 professionals, all in our offices at 317 Madison Avenue. I’m really pleased at how quickly and seamlessly the integration of culture and client responsibilities is going. We are quickly bonding and integrating client responsibilities. To Jerry’s credit, his team is enthusiastic, smart and each brings great skill sets to the table for the benefit of our clients.

3. I am pleased to announce that Rachel Honig and David Bray, Managing Directors of Middleberg Communications, have become principals of the firm. Rachel comes to the agency from the G.S. Schwartz acquisition. David has been with me since the first day I started the firm. Both are highly skilled communications executives, hardworking, and true professionals.

So now we are a solid mid-sized communications agency working in all mediums—print, broadcast, digital and social. We are doing some great, cutting-edge work for our clients. We are poised for growth. We are excited for the future.


Don Middleberg

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Article from Don Middleberg.

Ain’t that the truth. I read somewhere that there are thousands of new regulations introduced every year. That in itself is crazy, but the really troubling part is that these regs stay on the books seemingly forever. No one has the responsibility for removing them. So how do we get rid of old ideas while introducing new ones? In public relations, as in any industry, the answer lies with leadership. A CEO must consistently look at his firm with a fresh set of eyes and ears, and to always change the mix to be positioned for growth and development. That doesn’t mean always making revolutionary changes. In my opinion, evolutionary development is better. “Steady as she goes” is just not about ships anymore. Keeping to the mission, remaining client-focused, and most importantly of all, retaining valued employees can be worth more than any directive.

So here is what we did and didn’t do at Middleberg Communications during 2011:

What we did – Place ever greater emphasis on social media and digital communications. In particular, we developed a proprietary program called “Influence the Influencers”. We all know that 10% of people in any profession lead the remaining 90%. Their reach and influence are enormous. Well, we have spent a lot of time thinking about how we identify the top 25-50 influencers in any given area and then how to impact those leaders for the benefit of our clients.

What we didn’t do – Of our 16 employees we lost only two; one decided to become a journalist and another moved into the corporate world. One of the things clients everywhere abhor is rapid turnover of their agency’s account team. It is enormously wasteful, time-consuming and expensive to constantly retrain. I’m proud of our employee loyalty and I know our clients are, as well.

The good news for us is that we start 2012 in a better position than the same time last year, and certainly better than any time in the last three years. With a strong base of clients in technology, healthcare, marketing and media and corporate/financial/and professional services, we have our most solid base yet upon which to build our agency. Most importantly, we have the best team in our history, with just the right combination of experienced senior executives matched with younger, enthusiastic account managers-all of whom are committed to providing the finest client experience in our industry.

So here’s wishing a great 2012 for everyone.

For more information, click here.

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Article by Middleberg Communications and The Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) released the Third Annual Survey of Media in the Wired World, a study detailing journalists’ use of social media.

Don Middleberg is a member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital.

Journalists’ Use Of Facebook, Twitter, Blogs And Company Websites To Assist In Reporting Surges From 2009/2010 Study.

New York, NY – May 6, 2011 – Today, the Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) and Middleberg Communications announced the results of the 3rd Annual Survey of the Media in the Wired World led by SNCR Senior Fellow Don Middleberg and Jen McClure, president of the Society for New Communications Research. The study, supported by quantitative data gathered from 200 journalists, examined the effects and impact of social media, new media and communication technologies on modern journalism.

The study was released in a keynote address given today by Ms. McClure and Mr. Middleberg before the PRSA Digital Impact Conference.

The goals of the study were to:

– Determine how and why journalists use new media and communications tools

– Examine the frequency of use, preference for, and assess the value journalists place on these new tools and technologies

– Measure the impact new media and communications tools have on the way journalists work and solicit feedback on the perceptions journalists hold regarding the current trends in journalism

Of the 200 journalists surveyed, 90% were based in the U.S., 67% identified themselves to be either reporters or editors and most journalists’ surveyed worked in one of the following outlets: newspaper, radio, or television.

Key findings include:

– 75% of journalists use Facebook as a tool to assist in reporting, a 6% increase from 2010 study.

– 69% of journalists use Twitter as a tool to assist in reporting, a 21% increase from 2010 study.

– 68% of journalists believe that reliance on social media has increased significantly.

– 95% of journalists believe that social media can be a reliable tool for sourcing stories.

– 69% of journalists use mobile technology to search, use social networking apps, and capture videos and pictures for reporting.

Another goal of the study was to provide insights as to how public relations professional can understand these growing changes in modern journalism and how they can provide more value to the journalistic community.

Although social media is changing the profession of journalism by giving journalists new tools to assist with reporting, many journalists still prefer traditional communication and relationship building: 53% still prefer receiving emails and 34% still prefer receiving information via phone. Conversely, one 1% of respondents stated that they would like to be contacted via Twitter or a direct message via a social network.

According to one survey respondent, “New media aren’t ending journalism, but they are changing it. Journalists should no longer expect to be the sole source of information, but rather a guide and curator of content from multiple sources. Journalists will need to develop skills to tend stories long after the ‘deadline’ has passed, since updates are ongoing . . .”

“This year’s study shows that journalists are increasingly using social media in their research, story development and reporting,” stated Jen McClure. “Social media tools and technologies are being used by journalists to monitor issues, stories and content even after a story has been published. The publication of the story is no longer the end result. Today, media organizations and journalists also must serve as curators of content, are looked to to drive conversations, and expected to provide information to keep the conversation going even after the story has been published.”

“This study provided some very important findings for those of us in public relations,” Don Middleberg adds. “It is interesting to see that mobile technology is used as a tool to aid reporting and that journalists are using it to help generate content on the go. Twitter usage is also increasing dramatically.
What it all boils down to is that journalists are communicating in a variety of channels. It is incumbent upon those of us in public relations to know each channel intimately so that we have increased communications enhanced by technology and social media.”

For full survey results, visit http://www.slideshare.net/sncr/how-are-media-journalism-evolving or see the PDF on the Middleberg Communications homepage.

About Middleberg Communications

Middleberg Communications is a full-service, independently owned public relations agency with specialized expertise in the consumer, corporate and financial services, media, and technology markets. The agency focuses on delivering tangible results that help clients grow their businesses. Hallmarks of the firm are smart, creative strategic thinking; targeted media relations; and unbridled enthusiasm for clients’ business goals, all supported by good old-fashioned hard work.

About the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR)

The Society for New Communications Research is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation and think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business, culture and society. For more information about the Society for New Communications Research, visit http://www.sncr.org.

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By Don Middleberg, Founder and Principal of Middleberg Communications, LLC is a member of Gerbsman Partners Board of Intellectual Capital.

Journalists’ Use of Social Media Is Surging, According to 2nd Annual Middleberg/SNCR Survey of Media in the Wired World – Nearly 70% of Journalists Surveyed Are Using Social Networking Sites to Assist Reporting

Use of social media tools by journalists is surging, growing in double-digit percentages in some cases. This is among the key findings of the 2nd Annual Middleberg/SNCR Survey of Media in the Wired World, conducted by the Society for New Communications Research team of Jen McClure, SNCR founder and president, and SNCR Senior Fellow, Don Middleberg. The study was made possible in part by Marketwire.

Major objectives of the study included an examination of:

* The impact of new media and communications tools on the way journalists work
* Online resources and social media that are considered the most valuable tools and how they are being used by journalists
* The frequency of use and preferences for a variety new media and communications tools and technologies
* Attitudes of journalists toward the impact and value of these new tools and trends in journalism

Another goal of the study was to provide insights as to how public relations professionals can understand these changes in order to work more effectively with journalists, and provide more value to the journalistic community.

Three hundred forty one journalists participated in the survey. Top findings include:

* Nearly 70% of journalists surveyed are using social networking sites, a 28% increase since the results of the 2008 Survey of Media in the Wired World were released
* 48% are using Twitter or other microblogging sites and tools, a 25% increase since 2008
* 66% are reading blogs
* 48% are viewing videos online
* 25% are listening to podcasts
* Nearly 80% of journalists surveyed believe that bloggers have become important opinion-shapers in recent years
* 91% of journalists surveyed agree that new media and communications tools and technologies are enhancing journalism to some extent

When asked to share their thoughts about how social media is changing the profession of journalism, participating journalists provided a wide range of responses. One respondent answered, “Social media is changing the profession. It has enhanced the dialog between audience and writer and expanded the scope of those who can participate in disseminating news.” Another commented, “It is full of peril and promise.”

“This study indicates that there is now a large and growing percentage of journalists who view social media and the participation by the public in the journalistic process to be a necessary, and in most cases, positive step in the evolution of journalism,” said Jen McClure, founder and president, Society for New Communications Research. “They understand the future of journalism to be a highly participatory, collaborative and dynamic process.”

SNCR Senior Fellow Don Middleberg, CEO of Middleberg Communications, added, “While companies are increasingly paying more attention to social media for revenue generation, employee productivity and enhanced consumer loyalty, many do not yet understand the true scope and depth of these new communications tools for journalistic usage. As a result, some companies are losing share of voice among journalists to their competitors. Social media presents a new opportunity to communicate and develop relationships with a whole new generation of journalists through these new channels of choice.”

“The definitions and roles of journalists and public relations practitioners have changed significantly over the past few years,” commented Paolina Milana, EVP, Marketing/Editorial Operations/Media Relations at Marketwire, corporate sponsor of the study. “Social media is immediate, it is accessible, and it has irrevocably changed the relationship between makers, reporters and consumers of news. The more that all journalistic participants understand each other’s needs, how they use various media channels at their disposal, and how they want to work with PR professionals, the better the entire communication process will be.”

About Middleberg Communications

Middleberg Communications is a full-service, independently owned public relations agency with specialized expertise in the consumer, corporate and financial services, media, and technology markets. The agency focuses on delivering tangible results that help clients grow their businesses. Hallmarks of the firm are smart, creative strategic thinking; targeted media relations; and unbridled enthusiasm for clients’ business goals, all supported by good old-fashioned hard work. For more information, visit http://www.middlebergcommunications.com.

About Gerbsman Partners

Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. Since 2001, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 60 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property,, through its proprietary “Date Certain M&A Process” and has restructured/terminated over $790 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.3 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, San Francisco, Europe and Israel.

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