Monday, January 5

Beginning 2009: The Year Of Communication

Happy New Year! Yes, again.

It's the second time I've written it because it seems to be worth writing again. It's a happy New Year because about half of Americans polled by NBC News/Wall Street Journal believe 2008 was the worst year in American history. As Rich Lowery, writing for The Washington Times pointed out, it wasn't.

But nonetheless, it's a happy New Year because Americans seem to need one. Consumer confidence has a nasty habit of following what the leaders communicate. And for the good part of two years, very few leaders can say they stood up to be counted among those who had a positive message to deliver. This is what must change.

Politics aside, in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt demonstrated he understood this by delivering one of the most remembered inaugural addresses of the 20th century. His speech led the way by changing the candor of communication and calling for a time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. And in doing so, he reminded the American people (and people all over the world) that the "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

"Nothing changes and yet everything is completely different." — Aldous Huxley

Last year, we rang in the New Year by calling 2008 The Year of New Media. In many ways, it was exactly that, with more companies recognizing that social media was viable. They rushed to embrace it.

This year, companies that rushed headlong into social media will begin to adjust, recognizing that social media is a tactic and, as a tactic, only one portion of a well-thought strategic communication plan. Some will understand and appreciate that although there is merit in the prevailing thought of joining the conversation, there is also a need for people to lead those conversations with hope, innovation, and a focus on being able to meet the needs of the people they want to reach.

For all our talk about ROI, companies will do well to remember that the mere possession of a healthy profit margin is less paramount to the long-term bottom line than are achievements gained through innovation and the shared outcomes that come from the creative efforts by consumers and companies. This year, I'll infuse the concept into classes and speaking engagements because it seems to be needed out of necessity.

The way I see it, if there is one question to be asked in 2009, it will be whether or not your companies are ready to improve, innovate, and then communicate those improvements and innovations without motivating people by fear for short-term gains. The focus needs to be positive. The contract with consumers needs to be long term.

Speaking Schedule & UNLV Classes — Richard Becker

Writing For Public Relations — 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Jan. 15 – March 12

Writing For Public Relations is a skills development class that focuses on the application of strategic communication into public relations with an emphasis on practical writing skills. Students learn a variety of writing styles and how to best apply them to: news releases, fact sheets, biographical sketches, feature stories, media kits, and social media/new media. (CEUs: 1.80)

Breakfast of Champions: Build Public Opinion Online — 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Feb. 6

Presented by Community Service Consultants at Regis University, Build Public Opinion Online will focus on how non-profit organizations and business community relations managers can develop effective public outreach programs online, employing social media tools such as blogging, social networks, and other resources.

Social Media For Communication Strategy — 9 a.m. to noon, Feb. 28

Social Media for Communication Strategy focuses on increasing the use of online technologies to share content, opinion, insight, and experience. Collectively, these technologies shape more opinion than all other media combined and have dramatically changed the communication landscape. (CEUs: .3)

Editing and Proofreading Your Work — 9 a.m. to noon, April 4

Editing And Proofreading Your Work is half-day day session that focuses on improving clarity, consistency, and correct usage in personal and business correspondence. It includes essentials such as language, mechanics of style, spelling, and punctuation.

Of course, you'll find some information shared here from time to time, as this blog was initially created as a supplement for classes and speaking engagements. Copywrite, Ink. also provides an analysis for the potential of new media in our proposals, backed by experience on more than 1,000 accounts across all industries.


Rich on 1/5/09, 11:25 AM said...

More words:

"Not every company’s model meshes with the 99-cent value meal.” — Olivier Blanchard, from his post: The value of being ordinary.

Anonymous said...

Well said/written. I think you've hit the nail on the head!

Barry on 1/5/09, 4:17 PM said...

In certain circles Rich is known as the Hammer.

Happy New Year to everyone at Copywrite, Ink!

The Year of Communication sounds very inviting.


Rich on 1/6/09, 1:46 PM said...

@Tom Thanks so much. We all need to move forward and I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

@Barry Haha. I never forget a moniker, but that one makes me laugh every time I see it. This is the year to watch how companies handle their communication.

We picked up our first new client on the first full day of business in 2009 and I don't intend to look back. :)

All my best,


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