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Dick
I'm a writer with a special interest in brands and branding. In a former life, I was executive vice president of public relations and brand management at AT&T.
Recent Activity
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Want a balanced information diet? Here are some tools to help. PolitiEcho is a Chrome browser extension that will analyze the political leanings of all your friends on Facebook as well as the political leanings of your newsfeed. Then it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
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I went to a dinner party last night and, as I imagine is happening at many social gatherings these days, the conversation almost immediately turned to the national obsession -- Trump. Our chatter was largely negative, from the president's thin-skinned... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
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When people forward an email that confirms their previously-held opinion, the chance it’s false or slanted is at least 51%. The likelihood of its falsity rises in proportion to the sender’s narrow mindedness multiplied by the email's apparent authority, because... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Public communications is at a dangerous tipping point. The Internet democratized media, making everyone a publisher, from the proverbial 400-pound loner sitting on his mother’s sofa to ideologues of every religious, political, social, and fabulist stripe. Original reporting and writing... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
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The U.S. security agencies' report on Russian hacking makes a pretty strong case that Vladimir Putin did his best to influence the 2016 election. President-elect Trump's change in tone suggests the classified section of the report was pretty convincing. But... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Here's a startling prediction from the digital media experts at Ogilvy: "By 2020, corporate demand for philosophy graduates will reach its highest level since Aristotle." It isn't entirely clear Ogilvy is serious about this, but it builds a good case... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
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"Why do good people do bad things?" need not remain a rhetorical question, thanks to a PhD dissertation by Christopher McLaverty at the University of Pennsylvania. McLaverty interviewed 30 senior executives in India, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
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My New Year's resolution is to get back to blogging regularly. So I'll start with last year's biggest story: an outsider, dismissed by practically every professional prognosticator as an amusing sideshow, won the presidency. How'd he do it? I think... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2017 at Dick Martin Blogs
Hi, John. I don’t know if webcide’s claim to remove negative comments from Google search results is legitimate. In response to my posting, they wrote to explain that the web page they created claiming to do negative PR against competitors was simply a technique to improve their own search results. I suspect that, at best, they specialize in SEO but I have not looked into it further. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. All the best. Dick
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2016 on Dark PR or Killing by Web at Dick Martin Blogs
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The mainstream media is beating themselves up for not accurately predicting the results of the presidential election. (For example, see this.) Failing to pick the winner was clearly a failure. And it may take pollsters a generation to recover (which... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Opposition research is one of those sexxy-sounding hardball tactics politicians use and some corporate CEOs covet when they're under attack. The temptation to dip your toe into it is almost too hard to resist, particularly when your boss suggests it's... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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A story in today's Wall Street Journal lifted the veil on a disturbing trend -- some political operatives are bringing their bare knuckle tactics to the business world. According to the Journal, for example, "America Rising, the unofficial research arm... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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A lot of public relations people are feeling smug because their ranks are growing while reporters are being laid off right and left. At last count, there were five PR people for every journalist in the U.S. And we all... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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I'm either on a roll or in a rut. Yesterday's posting tried to explain who is practicing public relations. Today's tries to describe what they do, without the benefit of Census Data. Not that the good folks over at the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Public Relations is one of those "knowledge businesses" where the company's assets go down on the elevator every night. So it's surprising how relatively little we have known about those assets on an industry-wide basis. But now the MIT Media... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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When it comes to politics, most corporate CEOs are Switzerland, with no enemies and friends on all sides. But now two academics have taken to the pages of the New York Times to suggest CEOs might want to step up... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Public Relations people like to think they not only outlived P. T. Barnum, they outgrew him and his outrageous publicity-seeking techniques. Not quite. Those techniques live on in the more juvenile corners of the practice. And in one presidential campaign.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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The state of Vermont wants food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be clearly labeled. The food industry worries that will feed paranoia about the safety of GMOs and wallop their bottom line. Who's right? On the one hand, while... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Sometimes you can lie by not saying something. Sometimes you’d be lying if you did. That was the position Kraft found itself in when it eliminated artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes in its venerable mac and cheese. To keep its... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Politifact reports that nearly half (47%) of what Donald Trump has been saying on the campaign trail is completely false. Another 21% is so outlandish it's scored as "pants on fire." From what I can see, the folks at Politifact... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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As I walked into church yesterday (right on time), my pastor delayed the entrance procession long enough to admonish me for being "kind of hard" on the presidential candidates in these postings. I'm pretty sure he was kidding. But it... Continue reading
Posted Feb 29, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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The strikingly profane cover of this week's Bloomberg BusinessWeek suggests everyone is peeing on business. Or as Peter Coy put it more decorously in his accompanying article, "negative sentiment about Big Business" is rising. Coy puts his finger on the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Donald Trump hit another jackpot in Nevada yesterday, giving political scientists plenty to chew on while establishment politicians nurse an upset stomach. But there are a couple of important public relations lessons here too. And they all have to do... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Political campaigns have long been R&D labs for corporate public relations people. Tactics that seemed to work on the campaign trail swiftly made their way into day-to-day PR practice. Teddy Roosevelt invented the practice of issuing bad news on a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs
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Fortune magazine editor Alan Murray hosted a couple of dozen CEOs at dinner last Friday. They were all at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and apparently in a philosophical mood because the topic for discussion was "what big... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at Dick Martin Blogs