Business Advice

Lessons Learned from 20 Years in Business

July 26, 2021

I have a hard time believing that Pioneer Strategies is celebrating 20 years in business this August. On the one hand, it seems like I just started the firm, but on the other hand, it’s hard for me to remember doing anything else. Anyone who has been in business for more than a few weeks has experienced their share of ups and downs. Assuming they are teachable, they’ve also learned a few lessons along the way. With that in mind, this column will focus on some lessons I’ve learned since founding Pioneer Strategies in August 2001. Look beyond first impressions. Some…

Read More

Don’t Confuse Them with the Facts

May 27, 2021

We’ve probably all heard the saying, “don’t confuse them with the facts.” When I Googled the phrase while writing this article, I found another article entitled “My Mind Is Made Up. Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts.” In his timeless classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said that when you directly tell someone they are wrong, “you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride and self-respect. That will make them want to strike back. But it will never make them want to change their minds.” If we take a step back and look in…

Read More

Paint Your Own Barn

April 23, 2021

Over the course of my career, I’ve seen far too many organizations allow a reactive mindset and slow response time to hamper their public relations efforts. One organization (we’ll call it Company One) was subjected to a barrage of criticism from other organizations that were affected by one of Company One’s decisions and chose to cast blame and point fingers. Company One was slow to respond, and when responses were forthcoming, they were somewhat lengthy and did little to brunt the emotional responses being inflamed by the other organizations’ jabs. As a public relations professional, the most frustrating part about…

Read More

Tough Love for the Entrepreneurs Can Hack the Complacent Startup Ecosystem

March 12, 2021

The startup ecosystem is a living and growing organism that most cities are trying to add to their modern economic development strategy for job creation. The startup ecosystem is typically a very positive kumbaya environment. There are lots of smiles around town while people with rose colored glasses are selling more commercial and residential real estate with the improvement in the local economy. Sometimes the community is cruising along Complacency Road and forget to notice that some aspects of the ecosystem have become stale and have stopped growing but the leaders are resting on the headlines from recent accomplishments of…

Read More

How Changes in Purchasing Decisions Could Affect Your Business

March 11, 2021

Yesterday I was a last-minute speaker for a business group, filling in for a planned speaker who was under the weather. I had to put on my thinking cap and come up with an interesting topic with little time to spare. Given that we are now at the one-year anniversary of COVID-19’s initial impacts on our economy and way of life, I decided to look for statistics outlining how the pandemic and other recent events are affecting purchasing decisions. Here are some of the statistics I found: Roughly 87% of shoppers placed online orders for delivery between March 2020 and…

Read More

Owned Media: Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in a Basket Controlled by Someone Else

March 5, 2021

When I first entered the public relations profession shortly after college, we typically heard about two types of media: earned media and paid media. Thanks to technology-driven changes, social media and owned media have become increasingly prevalent communication tools in recent years. Paid media refers to tools such as traditional advertising and direct mail. While the content of paid advertising is controlled by the advertiser, it can be costly, and is viewed with less credibility than other types of media. Earned media typically refers to media activity such as news coverage that is not directly generated by an organization. Tactics…

Read More

7 Device Settings to Change this Data Privacy Day

January 28, 2021

INE Shares Specific Ways to Safeguard Your Privacy & Keep Hackers at Bay CARY, N.C., – Thursday, January 28th is Data Privacy Day, the official global initiative that aims to provoke dialogue and empower people and companies to take action. Millions of people have no idea how much of their personal information is being collected, stored & shared. This Data Privacy Day, Information Technology training firm INE is encouraging people to take time to review some specific privacy settings. 1-Review Privacy Policies These are written in complicated legalese jargon and designed to make your eyes glaze over. 74% of people don’t read privacy policies…

Read More

Is the Written Word Becoming a Lost Art?

January 27, 2021

When I was a college student at N.C. State University in the early 1990s, communication professor after communication professor emphasized that writing was the most important skill for an aspiring public relations professional to develop. I was fortunate that writing had always been one of my strong suits, and I’ve worked to develop that skill throughout my career. On a side note, I’ve even authored two fiction novels, which is an entirely different type of writing than what we do in the world of public relations and marketing communication. Unfortunately, effective writing is becoming a lost art. I’ve received some…

Read More

The “R” in RPIE

December 17, 2020

During the course of my public relations training, I’ve studied a four-step process dubbed “RPIE.” The four steps are: R = Research P = Planning I = Implementation E = Evaluation. The research phase is intended to ensure that a client or organization builds its campaign based upon valid assumptions and informed insight, not guesses or speculation. Research activities that happen during this phase may include electronic surveys, interviews with clients or stakeholders, reviewing social media posts and conversation, poring over online analytics, focus groups or public opinion surveys, to name a few. Many clients and organizations attempt to skip…

Read More

A Refresher in Media Relations

November 17, 2020

Technology is transforming the world of public relations and strategic communication, and many now view the press release as a relic of ages past. At the start of my public relations career over two decades ago, much of my work revolved around traditional media relations. These days, more and more of our work is digital or web-focused in nature. When I recently received a referral to a new client who needed assistance with a media announcement related to an acquisition, it was a welcome reminder of my professional roots. This project also provided a great refresher on some key principles…

Read More