Wednesday, February 25, 2009
How to manage communication during a crisis/hardship
A day doesn't go by where you don't hear about companies laying employees off due to the recent economic crisis. While it's never easy to cut employees, maintaining an effective communications plan during these times is vital to your company maintaining a positive image.
A few areas that need to be addressed immediately:
A few areas that need to be addressed immediately:
1) Be open and honest. Don't hide information. Even if you don't have all the information available, report what you do know and inform your audience that once the rest of the information will be made available when it arrives.
2) Don't forget your employees. Managing internal communication is one of the most important areas you need to address. Not addressing your employees opens the door for incorrect, and possibly damaging, information out to the public. Also ensuring a high level of employee moral is going to make getting through the crisis a lot easier.
3) Know when to talk and when to be quiet. Treat each crisis/hardship individually and as they come. Opening your mouth and talking about a crisis has the potential to make the situation a lot worse than it should be. Don't hide information, but don't go rushing to every media outlet.
Anyone have any experience dealing with a crisis at their work? How is your employer handling the economic crisis we are currently experiencing?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Current status of the NBA
My dream has always been to own a professional basketball team. I grew up playing the sport and to this day, the NBA is by far my favorite sport to watch. With that in mind, monitoring the status of the NBA has always been something I've enjoyed analyzing.
The days of Jordan, Bird and Magic are gone. The game has changed. For the most part, the game has gone from a team game to one of individual highlights. Boston and San Antonio are the exception to this thought. What was once a game of teamwork, discipline and family entertainment has shifted into flash, youth, greed and selfishness. This change isn’t necessarily bad and I still believe the core concepts of the game are still there. The passion of the game still resides in many players, however, instead of trying to build the image of the game; I think more players are trying to build their image and status. Times have changed and so have people. Some may argue that this is just the NBA trying to remain relevant and keep up with the times. The hottest topic of the game is what LeBron James is going to do in 2010. You never heard this when Jordan and Bird were paying. The “I gotta get mine” era is here, unfortunately.
Despite the image being tarnished, in my opinion, the one bright spot is the increase in the audience. The NBA is global thanks to the likes of Yao Ming, among others. The NBA is just as popular in China and European countries as it is here in the United States. So while the NBA has gone global, I also think the NBA has appealed to a lot younger audience. In the 90’s, the majority of players were a lot older than they are now. In today’s game you have Kobe, CP3, Dwight Howard, LeBron -- all young stars just reaching their peak. As the number of young stars increase, I think the NBA can continue to increase its audience and reach.
Will we see more games being played in China and other countries? Probably not. Based on logistics and the cost involved, I think it’s simply impossible to have NBA teams outside of North America. Mexico? Possible, however, that’s probably as far as you can go. However, I think that the game overseas will continue to build which will result in growth in the NBA as well. With more potential NBA players going overseas to play and with the increase in international talent and competition, it will make the NBA step its game up in order to remain competitive.
While there are a few things I dislike about the NBA, it’s clear that its brand is slowly becoming more and more relevant. Kobe and LBJ are two of the world’s biggest stars and there are a few other players that I feel can become international stars. Clearly the NBA isn’t at NFL and MLB levels, however, I think the NBA can pass MLB if current trends continue. NASCAR is no longer the dominate force it was and soccer will never reach great popularity in the U.S. The NBA is a great position and if managed effectively, has the potential to become more relevant and popular.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
2009 NBA All-Star post
I plan a later post dedicated to the current status of the NBA where I will look at image, audience and growth potential; but this weekend marks the 58th NBA All-Star game. By all measures, the NBA is by far my favorite sport. I grew up playing the game (I peaked in 6th grade) and one of the most rewarding things I've done was when I coached 7th grade girls, back in 1999. So let's talk NBA. All though the hoopla has died down a bit when it comes to All-Star weekend, the nuts and bolts are still in tact and it still provides an enjoyable Saturday night.
Friday night we saw Kevin Durant put up 46 in the Rookie/Sophomore game. It marked the seventh straight win for the Sophomores, which makes sense. They've had an extra year in the NBA. They probably played the previous year's R/S game. Nothing new in this game.
Haier Shooting Stars:
Will the San Antonio Spurs defend their title? Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Becky Hammon posted a time of 35.8 seconds last year. San Antonio also won in 2006, albeit with a different team, where they set the event record of 25.1 seconds.
I think this is one of the more enjoyable events. It's nice to see the NBA partner with the WNBA and also bring in a legend/hall of fame player. Despite the fact that I love watching Bill Laimbeer shoot, I think I will have to go with the home team this year, the Phoenix Suns. Leandro Barbosa, Tangela Smith and "Thunder Dan," Dan Majerle make up a great team. Both Barbosa and Majerle can shoot, Smith is a solid contributor as well. I'm going Phoenix.
2009 Playstation Skills Competition:
Last year's winner, Deron Williams, isn't participating and Jameer Nelson (my original pick) is out due to injury.
Devin Harris, Tony Parker, Derek Rose & Mo Williams make up this year's roster. This event, while the premise is great, doesn't seem to live up to the hype that it should. You're showcasing the fundamentals of basketball - dribbling, passing and shooting. What's not to love? It was fun to watch when Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Jason Kidd were doing it, but none of these participants excite me. I'll go Tony Parker, simply because he's the best PG out of the group. No rationale behind it. Wouldn't you have liked to see Magic, Bird, Stockton, Mark Price partake in this event? Fundamentals at their core!
Foot Locker 3-Point Shootout:
Not a big fan of this either. It's based a lot of who's hot at the current moment. Jason Kapono has won the past two years. I'm going upset and taking Roger Mason. Mike Bibby and Rashard Lewis pose no threat, Daequan Cook doesn't do anything for me. Danny Granger, while a stud, could be the surprise champion, but Mason is on fire this year. Although he's a .399% 3pt shooter, he's shooting .450% this year. Let's go with him.
I love this idea. Glad they implemented it. Let's hope it lives up to its potential. O.J. Mayo, Joe Johnson and Durant are the three participants. Mayo can't shoot, so it should be between Durant and Johnson. I think Johnson dominates and puts on a clinic. He's the best shooter and since dunking is out, Durant and Mayo don't have a chance. Johnson wins and doesn't get more than a "H". Let's hope the NBA brings this back next year.
Sprite Slam Dunk Contest:
The reason we watch. It's the home run of the NBA. What every young NBA fan wishes they could do. "Can you dunk?" is the measure of a kid growing up.
Last year Dwight Howard put on a dominant performance. I think his "sticker" dunk was the most impressive, despite the judges not giving him the proper scores. He'll win again mainly because this year's crop is rather weak.
Nate Robinson - Anyone else tired of watching him? Great, you're 5-9 and can dunk. Not taking anything away from that, but you have no chance of winning. You're no Spud, so quit trying. You shouldn't have won in 2006. Because of you, if you miss more than 1 attempt, your turn should be up. Don't participate next year.
JR Smith and Rudy Fernandez make up the final two competitors. Smith is alright, nothing fancy. If anyone upsets Howard, I think it's Smith. Fernandez is the "sexy" pick, but I don't know if he has the creativity and power that's needed. You won't win with alley oops, you just won't. Not when Howard is bring the thunder.
Howard repeats, although it won't be as impressive as last year.
Sunday night's 58th NBA All-Star Game:
It'll be a defensive struggle, probably 64-59! Kidding, no one plays defense, the game is rather boring. I'll go with the West because of CP3, Kobe and Duncan. Throw in Amare and Yao and you have a nice lineup. But it's the All-Star game, so who knows. I'll go with Kobe as MVP.
All in all, I think this year's schedule provides a lot of entertainment. While the festivities have lost some of their luster over the years, I still Love the Game.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Cessna fights back
Yesterday, aircraft company Cessna launched its PR campaign by placing an ad in the Wall Street Journal. The campaign, themed "Rise," featured an ad with a headline that stated: "Timidity didn't get you this far. Why put it in your business plan now? In today's corporate world, pity the executive who blinks."
While it'll be an uphill battle, I think it's key that Cessna is proactive. While the aircraft industry is accustomed to the rise and fall that comes with a struggling economy, the negative associate that currently is attached to the aircraft industry is due to a lack of knowledge. Cessna's campaign needs to stick with the basics and educate the general public regarding the benefits its products provide.
What are your thoughts? What does Cessna need to do to ensure a successful campaign? Do you see any potential backlash?
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Will modern day baseball always have an asterick?
With the recent news coming that Alex Rodriquez tested positive for steroids in 2003, the question came up -- is baseball forever tarnished?
Thus far, most everything Jose Canseco has said, has come true. Who would have thought that Canseco and credibility would be spoken in the same sentence? However, getting back to my question, I believe that modern day baseball will always be tarnished. Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are only a few elite players heavily linked to steroids. Despite that, I think the news of Rodriquez taking 'roids is far damaging to the game.
Here's an article from ESPN's Buster Olney that I think does a great job describing the impact of the recent news. The gist of the article is that Rodriquez was suppose to be the solution to Bonds. He was suppose to rescue the game and bring it back to purity. He was the only hope for a "clean" player to take back the sacred home run record. So much for that!
What was once known as "America's pastime" has suddenly become a league full of corruption, greed and selfishness. Maybe it's another sign of the times?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
One thing businesses need to get right -- employee communication
In today's troubled economic environment, the most important thing a business can focus on is employee communication. Employees are an employers number one asset. A businesses' success depends on effective and proper communication between management and staff.
One of the biggest areas management needs to focus on is sincerity. Come off too fake or too strong and you lose credibility. Come off as insensitive and you lose moral and support. So there's a fine line that you need to follow.
A few tips for effective employee communication in today's climate:
- Be honest and up front. News travels fast, especially gossip. Address the issue, whether positive or negative, without putting corporate spin. Nothing is worse than coming off as someone who's spewing "corporate bull."
- Determine level of severity. Don't assume every issue needs to be relayed to every audience. Your sales staff may not be interested in something that your technology department is going through. On the same token, don't isolate a certain issue and assume others aren't affected.
- Chose the right medium. Would an issue be better resolved via email rather than in person? Over thinking an issue could cause unnecessary concern.
- Never undervalue the importance of your employee. From the receptionist to the VP, every employee serves a valuable role. If your front line is dissatisfied, if affects your customers.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Super Bowl ads - Preliminary thoughts
Overall, I think the Super Bowl ads were average. Not as good as recent years, but there were a few good spots. I'd give the ads a 2 out of 5. These are my preliminary thoughts, as I'll go back tonight and tomorrow and review the ads again.
The winner in my opinion is Bud Light, specifically their first commercial "The Office." It wasn't edgy, it wasn't off the wall or groundbreaking. It just made me laugh and I thought it was creative. Overall, I think Bud Light ran the best spots.
Others I liked: Hulu, Doritos, E-Trade.
Like I mentioned above, outside of the few good ones, I thought the rest were bland. There weren't any controversial ones this year - nor were there any that were out-of-the-box or edgy. It makes sense that this year most companies went the safe route, but if I sat down and thought "what ad made me stop in my tracks," I'd be hard pressed to find one.
My least favorite spots were done by Coca-Cola. I simply don't understand their ad campaign. Pepsi is going with the hip & cool approach. They are definitely trying to reach a younger target market. Coca-Cola, I'm not quite sure their strategy. I think it's definitely more along the lines of traditional and safe; however, what's their message? I wasn't impressed with their ads last year either, so this doesn't surprise me. Like I said, I am going to go back and review the ads again, so maybe I'll catch something I missed the first time.
Again, overall I'd rate this year's ads a 2 out of 5. Safe and non-edgy. It plays with the way our economy is going right now. I'll have some updates Monday or Tuesday.
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