The Importance of Staying on Message

Congratulations! You just landed your company an interview! Now what? Do you truly understand the purpose of that opportunity? Does your spokesperson? Media interviews are a chance to not only share information about a new product, service or initiative, but a chance to position a company as a credible expert in the eyes of the journalist, readership and industry.

Good interviews strike a delicate balance between newsworthy information and company messaging. The right messaging produces polished spokespersons, affords more control over the final story and builds stronger relationships with reporters. The wrong (or poorly executed) messaging can cause serious damage long after the 24-hour news cycle has passed.


What constitutes a “good” key message? Start by asking yourself, “What is the one thing I want people to know about the product or company?” Or, “What is the biggest effect this announcement will have on my industry?” Your messaging lies within the answer to those questions.

Strong messaging is pithy, memorable and directly addresses the issue at hand. Strong messaging is easy to understand, uses clear examples and avoids jargon or acronyms if possible.


Friday Five: 5/17-5/22

With the long weekend ahead, kick back, relax and read up on some of this week’s best tech stories.

A Twitter Cofounder’s VC Firm Just Raised a $123,456,789 Fund to Build ‘World-Positive’ Companies – Business Insider

Obvious Ventures, the venture firm started by Twitter’s Ev Williams, just secured over $120 million to invest in ‘Sustainable Systems,’ ‘Healthy Living,’ and ‘Power People.’ Notably, Obvious Ventures will embrace the oft-ignored clean-tech space. The firm is already backing startups like and Beyond Meat, and will continue to make thoughtful choices based on a company’s ability to be ‘World-Positive.’ In an era where bad news headlines dominate good ones, Obvious Ventures is a hopeful shift toward profit and peace.


The Disruptor Foundation’s Anti-Summit: The Relationship Between Social Media and Activism for Brands

Recently, I had the privilege of attending The Disruptor Foundation’s Anti-Summit, a two day peer-to-peer exchange of ideas on the collision of arts, sciences, humanities, technology and business and their impact on innovation. In partnership with Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, the conference (or rather anti-conference) consisted of a cluster of speaker presentations, panels and “Do-Tanks” with topics ranging from the gender pay gap in professional athletes, to simplifying the complexity of the global financial market, to the relationship between social media and activism for brands.


Though the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards began six years ago, with a notable list of honoree alumni including Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, Rick Rubin, founder of Def Jam Records, and Dr. Bill Magee, CEO and co-founder of Operation Smile, this was the first year for the Anti-Summit. The brainchild of Craig Hatkoff, founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Disruptor Foundation, the Anti-Summit’s mission was to break the mold of traditional conferences. Rather than sitting through lectures and presentations, the Anti-Summit aimed to inspire participants into “Business Hactivism”… to tackle social issues by creating tangible, actionable solutions rather than just talking about them.

Though each session was equally inspiring, one panel in particular spoke directly to me about the work we do at Walker Sands. Titled “Memo to Brands: Shut Up and Do Something, How Activism is the New Social Media Disruptor”, the panel focused on how we can disrupt social media by using it not only to reach customers, but to genuinely engage with them through social responsibility.

Here are just a few of the themes I took away from the panel:

1. Use social media to drive change.

Social media is an incredibly effective way to reach consumers through self-promotion, but companies looking to genuinely communicate through social media need to use their online presence to create meaningful conversations that will influence a positive change in their communities.


Friday Five: 5/11-5/15

Happy Friday! Here’s roundup of this week’s industry news.

Could technology have prevented Amtrak disaster? – Chicago Tribune


If speed is to blame for Tuesday’s Amtrak derailment (the train was going 100 mph while approaching a 50 mph curve) computer technology might have prevented it. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the accident might not have happened if the track was equipped with Positive Train Control (PTC) technology. This system uses GPS, wireless on-board radio and other components to detect an upcoming crash and overrule the engineer’s action/inaction.


How Online Dating can Improve Pitching

Online Dating BlogFor those in the world of media relations, the struggles of pitching are all too familiar. Reporters are tricky to catch and the competition for a limited number of placements is fierce. Despite these frustrations, a pitch’s trajectory is almost always the same. First, we pitch a story. Then, if it finds home, we create it.

But what if we did the opposite? Consider this — what if the pitch process was like online dating?