musings on marketing, media, public relations....and life, by David Reich
Reich Communications, Inc.
Reich Communications, Inc. is a boutique public relations agency in New York City offering full service in a variety of areas, with specializations in business-to-business; advertising, marketing and media firms; transportation safety; non-profits, and select consumer products and services.
For more info, call us at (212) 573-6000, email to david@reichcommunications or text to 914-325-9997.
We are located at 228 East 45th Street, Suite 11-South, New York City 10017
Re-usable rocket ships, space travel and, ultimately, colonizing Mars. Sounds like science fiction, but it's exactly what Elon Musk is doing through his SpaceX venture. He hopes to get to Mars -- not just for a visit, but to establish a permanent habitat for people. Part of it relies on recovering and re-using booster rockets, which now end up burning up or falling into the ocean.
Bloomberg News today writes about a side product of the rocket launches that have become a big hit online -- the live webcasts of the SpaceX launches. The webcasts serve to inform people about the various SpaceX missions, while exciting the business community and young engineers who might consider working at the company.
Our son Michael has been directing the webcasts, including the one for Friday evening's mission to launch a communications satellite, while recovering the booster rocket on a floating platform. The webcasts are hosted by young SpaceX engineers who, with infectious enthusiasm, explain what is happening and, in terms we non-engineers can comprehend, the science behind it.
In these days of short attention spans, the webcasts make a countdown informative and entertaining.
Congrats, Michael, for great work that the folks at Bloomberg recognized. I'm so proud of you.
To see the Bloomberg story, click here. And to watch the live webcast of Friday's mission, which is due to launch around 5 p.m. Eastern, go to www.spacex.com.
For the past 20-plus years, I’ve had the privilege of handling public relations for The Christophers and their annual Christopher Awards presentation. The 67th annual event Thursday night was, as always, an inspirational and humbling evening.
The Christopher Awards recognize the creators of work in film, TV/cable and books that demonstrate the Christophers’ motto – It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. So it’s fitting that the winners aren’t necessarily the same films that are up for Oscars, or TV programs that get the highest Nielsen ratings or books that are on the New York Times best-seller list. They are selected and honored because they tell stories of individuals who, in their own way, do something to make the world a better place. A very simple concept.
Below: Award-winner, TV news vet Ernie Anastos
Every time I work the Christopher Awards, I get to meet some awesome people. Most are people whose names you wouldn’t recognize, like 2015 honoree Patrick Donohue, who started a school for kids with brain damage after his baby daughter suffered damage after being shaken by her nurse. The iHope school in New York is a model for schools in other major cities, where brain- damaged children can get an education.
And some winners are “names,” like Fred Rogers -- Mr. Rogers – with whom I had beautiful chat that touched me. Or Tim Shriver of the Kennedy clan and leader of the Special Olympics. Or Bob McGrath, star of one of my favorite shows, “Sesame Street.” Or Charles Osgood and Bob Schieffer of CBS News. And “The Voice” – James Earl Jones.
This year’s honorees are an impressive group that includes the creators of 21 books, TV shows and feature films. And a special Lifetime Achievement Award was given to someone who’s been a fixture on TV news in New York for decades – Ernie Anastos, a genuinely nice man.
I always leave the event feeling refreshed, peaceful and thankful that there are so many good people who are using their creative energy to inspire and help others. It reminds me that, despite all the craziness in our world today, there IS a lot of good. It’s a very good feeling, and it carries me through the days and weeks ahead.
Click here for a video report on the event from our friends at World Liberty TV.
I just had an interesting experience with a potential vendor. They're a big (not giant) operation and they approached me about using one of their services to promote a client's upcoming event.
I hadn't thought of using them and the budget is already locked in. But I asked about the cost and learned it would be $800. I asked the saleswoman how low they could go, explaining maybe I'd pay for it out of my own pocket and use the results to justify including it in the budget for next year. I told her I could handle $200.
The saleswoman checked with her manager and was told they could drop it to $500. I told her all I felt comfortable paying from my pocket was $200. I explained that I'm a small business and my fee for the project couldn't justify me shelling out $500 of my own money.
She said, by email, sorry, maybe another time.
My emailed response was thanks for trying, but isn't $200 better than $0?
She wrote back that she understands and agrees, but had to go with her boss' decision.
Corporate-think at its best.
I could understand not going below a certain price for a hard product, which has a real cost for production, distribution and profit margin. Or for a service based on hours. Of course you don't want to lose money on a sale.
But this is, essentially, a digital effort, where something I provide would be put into an existing digital network. Minimal, if any, time involved. And if it brought the results the vendor said it would, I know I would have no trouble selling the client on using it next year, at full price...in fact, maybe using it more than once at full price.
So here's a great example of corporate thinking... for a difference of $300 -- a big deal out of my pocket, but an amount that won't make a bit of difference either way for this big company -- they stand to lose more than that a year from now. Plus, I might have looked to use the service for other clients.
Short-term, short-sighted thinking. Not at all the way to build business by adding new customers...even small ones who might eventually become bigger ones.
Over the years, I've done deals on pricing that have paid off nicely in the long run. I am so glad I am in business for myself and don't have to rely on shortsighted decisions by higher-paid higher-ups.
I've wondered for a while about the accuracy of the annual list of best and worst jobs compiled by Careercast. This year, in particular, I think they got it wrong.
At the very bottom of the list of 200 careers this year is "newspaper reporter." Yes, the pay isn't great -- a median salary of $37,200. Prospects for job security and growth certainly are not terrific, with the newspaper industry facing ongoing financial problems and layoffs.
But the survey doesn't take into consideration hard-to-quantify factors like job satisfaction and potential impact on others. I would rather be in a newsroom than working at the #1 job on this year's list -- an actuary.
I guess if you like numbers, that job could be OK. But how much human interaction do actuaries have on the job? Do they get to meet interesting people or see interesting things? Probably as much as mathematicians -- rated 3rd best job -- or statisticians, rated #4.
I wonder where PR exec stands on this year's list.
Just above newspaper reporter on the list this year is "pest control worker." For real?
So here we go again, with yet another botched personnel move by TV network executives.
This time, it's the brains at Disney-ABC who made a major change in their popular syndicated "Live With Kelly and Michael" by informing the show's co-star Kelly Ripa of the change moments before making a public announcement.
Shades of NBC's botched firing of Ann Curry from the "Today Show," and that same net's handling of Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno.
They just don't learn.
ABC has blown it, again, by not letting key players in on important news in advance. When Ripa's former co-host and icon Regis Philbin announced his departure, she was told moments before the announcement was to be made to the media.
Trade media are now speculating that moving Michael Strahan to "Good Morning America" is a move to bolster that show and also a possible prelim to expanding "GMA" to a third hour, as NBC has done with "Today" in the 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. hours. "Live" is a good money-maker for ABC, but "GMA" is more profitable and adding another hour would require minimal extra outlay. So Ripa might understandably fear taking away her popular co-host is a move in that direction, putting her own show in jeopardy.
I'm not feeling bad for Ripa financially -- she's paid quite well for her job on "Live." But still, it's not the way to treat employees, especially those so prominent in the public eye. And ABC's explanations and denials are ringing hollow.
With the ongoing talk about how newspapers are dying, here's an interesting newspaper success story.
The Herald-Tribune would seem to have the odds against it, serving an aging population in Sarasota, Fla. But the paper, which last week won its second Pulitzer Prize in five years with a solid story about the area's mental healthcare system, is bucking the trend, with readership growth both online and in print.
Media Life wrote about it and says...
"The paper’s growth in readers is a remarkable achievement by any standards, but especially so for a Florida market in which 34 percent of the population is over age 65. That’s almost three times the number in most American cities.
By returning to the basics of what readers expect from a newspaper–real journalism–the Sarasota Herald Tribune has revealed a lead others might follow."
It's always nice to see the price come down on a product, at least from the consumers' point of view. How often does that happen, after all?
So I was happy to hear that the U.S. Postal Service has trimmed the price of a first class stamp by 2 cents.
But remember when that same postal service introduced the forever stamp? That was back in 2007, when a stamp cost 39 cents. They promoted it as a way to hedge against future price increases. People bought more stamps than they needed, to avoid higher prices when postage rates would inevitably go up. And the postal service got the money, to put into its bank accounts, even if not yet providing the service. Sounded like a win-win situation.
For years, that was the case But now, those who've bought extra forever stamps at 49 cents are finding them worth only 47 cents. The stamp still gets you first class postage, but does it put the postal service's credibility in question?
Have they damaged the marketing value of the "forever" stamp?
I've been in southern California since last Saturday, with another week to go before heading home to NY.
I came out here for business, representing a client at the annual Lifesavers traffic safety conference in Long Beach.
Since the conference ended on Tuesday, I've been on vacation, sleeping till almost 9 every morning, which is late for me. But what makes it seem strange is when I get up and look at my email and I realize that back home half a work day is already done. I see emails time-stamped 5 and 6 a.m.
Even though on vacation with an associate covering things back in the office, as the owner of a small service business, I feel compelled to do what I can to respond to clients and media quickly, even while away.
But the 3-hour time difference feels a little strange. Maybe if I stay out here another several weeks, I'll get used to it.
We've had lots of distractions lately, especially on the political scene. Those distractions have too often been hijacking the news cycle, putting the focus on nastiness, name-calling and misogyny by some would-be national leaders.
There's another type of distraction that's also pretty bad, and many of us are guilty of it.
It kills more than 3,000 people every year, and the number is going up as more of us have and use cellphones constantly and as automakers put more gadgets and technology onto our dashboards.
Teens are especially at risk, since they're less experienced drivers and they've also grown up with cells and texting, so it's part of their DNA. That's why my client The National Road Safety Foundation had me organize an event for them at The New York Auto Show. We're calling it Teen Driver Safety Day, and we expect a few hundred teens (and parents) when it happens tomorrow, April 1st. It also marks the start of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
I just taped an interview with WCBS Newsradio, the top all-news station here in New York. The station will be airing it throughout the morning tomorrow, having me talk about distraction and our Teen Driver Safety Day.
It's an important topic, and it's one we easily overlook as we get distracted with everything else in life. So... when you're behind the wheel, stay off the phone. Even hands-free can be a serious distraction.