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What is YOUR brand? That’s the first question Tom will ask you, and then he will tailor all of his activities to shape and enhance that brand. A former political and business journalist, Tom will help you identify your key messages and deliver them directly to the pertinent audiences. Contact him today to boost your business advantage and bottom line.
(The latest post from our Tom McFeeley on Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog):
Timing, Messaging and Presidential Politics — PR Lessons From the GOP
By Tom McFeeley, Thomas J. McFeeley Communications
When presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate earlier this month, more than two weeks prior to the GOP convention, a conservative commentator said that if the pair did not convincingly articulate and solidify their “narrative,” i.e. their message prior to convention, the pick may lose its political appeal. Ryan, being a controversial political figure, would bolster the base, fire up the opposition, so setting the right message in the middle was a huge priority.
The rocky road that has been the period since Ryan’s pick, more than any recent story, underscores the need to set the tone, drive the debate, and inspire people to action through your message. Failure to do so, as we’ve seen, can essentially be a win for your competitor.
The Medicare debate that raged at once, while substantive and specific, was generally a wash for the GOP. Factor in a full week without talking about a still-struggling economy, and most would agree at least that byproduct of the Medicare debate was a win for Democrats and President Obama.
And then Ted Akin spoke.
Akin, the Missouri Republican Congressman running for Senate, used unfortunate phrasing to describe what he called “legitimate rape” and suggested the female body could shut down potential pregnancy in the case of rape. Obviously, the story raged all week, with each day providing a quote almost as damaging as the first. Despite Republican calls for Akin to step out of the race, he stood firm and has continued to provide a distraction.
The PR lessons, while some are obvious, need to be repeated:
- Everyone in your organization must be on the same page, message wise. Obviously Gov. Romney can’t control every GOP candidate for every office in the country, but because he cannot a pseudo-surrogate is managing to damage his presidential campaign;
- Hide your liabilities. The GOP stand on abortion (both that of the ticket and the official party platform) are very similar to Rep. Akin’s (though Romney has said he believes abortion in rape and incest cases should be allowed.) Just repeating these truths can (and will) bolster opponents while also detracting from your central message. This is not to suggest the GOP stand on abortion is wrong; but it is an issue they would rather avoid in this time when women’s issues have been hotly debated.
- Don’t get caught flat-footed. On the Medicare debate, the GOP underestimated the ferocity of the debate. Ryan and Romney chose to talk about Medicare, but their advisers were unprepared for the volume and nature of the discussion and, at best, they fought to a draw.
- The Internet is the new press corps. In that Medicare debate, the numbers were hotly contested. Democrats accused Ryan and Romney of lying about President Obama’s record and proposal and most fact-checking over that week showed at least a highly distorted interpretation of his proposals. Even if the source is partisan, a link to a document, or a speech, or a vote is more truthful than your interpretation.
- Spin is ok; distortion is not. On the above point, voters know you’re going to spin them. If they find out you are lying or completely misrepresenting your record, or an opponent’s proposal, you take a very big chance that you will lose credibility, and their support. Think of your brand as a political ticket. Do you want to unfairly and inaccurately smear your competitor in the market place?
- Learn your lessons. What if Gov. Romney simply released his tax returns in early August (a subject he nicely distracted us from by naming Ryan when he did) and was for the Medicare debate. The Akin scandal would not have been as significant. They could have put Taxgate to rest, sounded a winning message on Medicare, and treated Akin as a rogue candidate who does not speak for the party.
The full effect of the two weeks of Medicare and abortion debate won’t fully be known until Election Day. But I think if Gov. Romney and his PR team had both a time machine and an Etch-a-Sketch, they would have put them both to use by now.
CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:
Mystery Shopping Providers Association Byline Article in October 2011 Sales and Service Excellence Magazine
“Mystery Shopping: Customers Have the Right of Way.”
”…Often organizations do not measure the actual customer experience. By truly understanding what customers face while interacting with your sales people or other representatives, only then can you make critical adjustments (or complete overhauls) to the customer service delivery process. If you shift your thinking from “The customer is always right” to “The customer always has the right of way,” then you’ll have a complete roadmap to keeping truly satisfied and loyal customers. As importantly, your bottom line will be the beneficiary of measuring customer experience analytics…
Read the full article here.
CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:
Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s Executive Director’s Byline Article in October 2011 HotelExecutive.com
“Mystery Shopping Can Help You Tailor Your Programs to Drive True Loyalty”
Loyalty programs, once a very effective tool in increasing goodwill with hotel customers while boosting the bottom line, are struggling to stand apart and often are not returning the investment made to create and manage them. An infusion of innovation is necessary – even a complete retooling of these programs might be called for – but first there are achievable, tangible, and optimal opportunities for hotels to get more from their loyalty-program customers in the short term that must first be explored.
Difficult economic times, combined with increasingly competitive loyalty programs by boutique hotels, are forcing the major hotel chains to take a fresh look at their own programs. While it’s clear short-term trends will include simplifying point redemption and dropping the point levels required to earn free stays and other perks, those loyalty programs that actually grant genuine recognition to guests for their repeat business and make the guests feel that your hotel is their home away from home will be the most successful in the long term.
Read the full article at http://tommcfeeley.com/topic/client-news
Statement by the Family of Kirby Brown regarding the proposed PETA Billboard in Sedona:
We are offended by the publicity stunt of PETA in the form of an offensive remark about the deaths of three people. Our loved ones died in an imitation sweat lodge at the hands of a narcissistic self-proclaimed guru who lied about his qualifications and whose actions – not the lodge itself – have been found as the ultimate cause of these deaths
We are offended that these three deaths and numerous injuries have been ridiculed by this proposed billboard and represents the ignorance we now seek to eliminate – the lack of knowledge that self-help leaders have an unchecked ability to mislead, lie, and put hard-working decent people in harm’s way for the sake of ego and wealth.
Statement by the Family of Kirby Brown on the Guilty Verdict of James Arthur Ray:
The outcome of this trial will never bring “closure” to our grief. There is no way to fill the enormous hole that Kirby’s death leaves in our family. We will always long for her joy, enthusiasm, love and compassion. Our hearts are forever broken by her death, just as our lives are forever blessed by her life.
The family of Kirby Brown would like to thank the members of this jury who have set aside their lives for 5 months as they carefully considered the evidence presented to them. We appreciate their dedication and careful discernment of the facts presented and regret that so much information which may have led them to a different conclusion was withheld from them. This trial has been a bitterly trying time for us, as well as for the families of James Shore, Liz Neuman, and Colleen Conaway – and those participants who have been traumatized by the events of the Spiritual Warrior Retreat.
Our system is clearly designed to protect the rights of the accused and while many of the rules of evidence are proper, those same rules can be manipulated to confuse and obfuscate the truth. Just because James Ray has been found “not guilty” of manslaughter does not mean that he has not conducted his business or his teaching recklessly for years. Rather, he escaped through legal loopholes. If he practiced what he preached, he would have accepted responsibility for his actions. He is a dangerous person who has shown little regard for the victims of the tragedy in Sedona. He should not be allowed to lead events such as the Spiritual Warrior Retreat in the future.
As the horrific details of the three deaths emerged in this trial, we realized that the potential danger posed by “self-help” gurus extends well beyond James Ray. Since Kirby’s voice has been forever silenced, her family will now speak for her. We have launched a not-for-profit organization, SEEK, (Self-help Empowerment through Education and Knowledge) to educate the public about the self-help industry. It will empower all seekers to ask important questions and consider possible “red-flags” before following a self-proclaimed “guru”, even if they have been vetted by the public media. We will work to protect those desiring personal growth by exposing scam artists and frauds.
SEEK will advocate for professional standards, and explore avenues of accountability for this totally unregulated industry.
The SEEKsafely.org website is officially ready for participation. Kirby, our “super nova”, would be proud that we stood together, each day to speak and seek the truth.
We would also like to thank the Victim Services of Arizona, who have been incredibly gracious and helpful to the family and friends of the victims during this nightmare. To the prosecutorial team and police investigators, who have not just been our “legal” defenders, but have displayed incredible compassion and sensitivity all throughout this trial, we owe a great debt of gratitude.
James Ray Trial Day 20: Fawn Foster and People We Leave Behind
James Ray Trial Days 17, 18, and 19
Thankfully, Rachel, Creature 2 and I got away for a few days for vacation. We followed the trial, but not carefully enough for me to blog or give any credible commentary. It was an important reminder to live life, and to experience special things with the ones you love the most.
James Ray Trial Day 16: Bored Meeting
James Ray Trial Day 15: Tom Kelly’s Mulligan
James Ray Trial Day 13: Clueless in Camp Verde
James Ray Trial Day 12: Dr. Armstrong Hears No Evil, Sees No Evil, Speaks No Evil
James Ray Trial Day 11: Responsibility, Friendship, and Being a Man
James Ray Trial Day 10: Information is Power
James Ray Trial Day 9: All Is Fair in Love and War
James Ray Trial Day 8: My thoughts on Beverley Bunn’s emotional testimony:
James Ray Trial: Opening Statements
My thoughts on the Opening of the triple manslaughter trial, from my seat in the courtroom
Why Facebook can’t ignore its latest PR slump and why Mark Zuckerberg should be listening to Tom McFeeley
This column appears in Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog on Nov. 19, 2010:
About Thomas J. McFeeley Communications
Thomas J. McFeeley Communications is a full-service public relations company, focused on providing a full-scale communications program for organizations of all sizes. We strive to understand your business, your goals, and your key audiences to determine which tactics and aspects of public relations are appropriate and effective for your business.
Among the services and competencies we offer:
- Key message development
- Press release writing, editing, and distribution
- Media relations – local, regional, national and trade publications
- Social media consulting
- Blogging packages
- Branding workshop – full- and half-day programs
- Website review and content development
- Newsletter writing
- E-mail programs
- Freelance writing
Drawing on over 15 years of experience in the media, political, legal and business arenas, Tom McFeeley brings a simple focus to complicated topics and issues – all while helping inform and amplify them within key audiences. He has won the trust of Fortune 500 CEO’s as well as s0lo business owners.
Tom can be reached anytime at (203) 249-6005 or e-mail him, firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be reached on Twitter (@TomMcFeeley or @PRSocialMedia; LinkedIn (http://linkedin.com/in/tommcfeeley) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/tmcfeeley)