Thursday, December 13, 2012

A decidedly SoCal take on a classic tune...

On the day of the Globes noms... 
(how "industry" of me)

The Twelve Days of [SoCal] Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
A seagull in a palm tree…

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Six double parkers
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…


On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Seven boutique burgers
Six double parkers
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Eight maids a shopping
Seven boutique burgers
Six double parkers
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Nine Sig Alerts
Eight maids a shopping
Seven boutique burgers
Six double parkers
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Ten muddler’s muddling
Nine Sig Alerts
Eight maids a shopping
Seven boutique burgers
Six double parkers
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Eleven body fascists
Ten muddler’s muddling
Nine Sig Alerts
Eight maids a shopping
Seven boutique burgers
Six double parkers
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
Twelve 'copters buzzing
Eleven body fascists
Ten muddler’s muddling
Nine Sig Alerts
Eight maids a shopping
Seven boutique burgers
Six double parkers
FIVE Golden Globes
Four texting drivers
Three bitchy hipsters
Two Hermes gloves
And a seagull in a palm tree…

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas on Clinton

Ahhh...  I'm all decorated and cruising toward the holiday spirit.

Here's a glimpse at Christmas on Clinton
A mod welcome

 Kitsch in the kitch


 Even the General is in the spirit


Holiday Cheers! 






Grandma's groovy elf - a tradition





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The best we can do?

Seriously?

This is the best keynote our industry can deliver?


To inspire?  To illuminate?

Seriously?  And people ask why I'm not "APR"

Thursday, July 19, 2012

HOT NEW COFFEEHOUSE MAKES ME HAPPY

Yep!  Graffiti on LaBrea between 2nd and 3rd.

LOOK!




Tuesday, July 10, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - PR agency PR thyself… A fall from grace that’s a rare opportunity


As I followed the news of my former employer after my departure and the departures of many, many of my colleagues [though this is not uncommon in our field], a startling trend began to emerge – beginning in June with the departure of the long-time CEO.

This was followed by the departures of the CMO, CFO, CEO and more C’s and O’s as well as several VP’s of varying letters and a number of rank and file associates.

In Porter’s defense, being the smaller sister of industry giants Ketchum and Fleishman has, and continues to lead to unfair comparisons.  That said – this time of mass exodus presents both the need and perfect opportunity for re-invention.  A rejiggering of priorities and procedures, a new outlook – not unlike the cool concept and buzz-generating stunt of the pop-up agency jack+bill, named for PN’s founders – Jack Porter [which sounds like a cool menswear brand – right?] and Bill Novelli.

Any company’s success is dependent on people.  And – the people’s success is dependent on an employee-focused organization like the Container Store or Google or Wegman’s or Zappos…

When a senior level executive said in a meeting that it was “company first, clients second and employees third” – I knew that didn't bode well for my tenure or our success.  Incidentally – isn’t it counterintuitive to hire leadership that neither understands nor respects what your company does?  How can that leadership truly lead, empathize or inspire with no context?  In order to be a part of the management of my father’s company [a textile linen rental service], for example, the candidates had to first work in the laundry and on the route trucks.

And – here we are.

What to do?
So – what can/should a company like Porter Novelli do to set itself apart – other than whiz bang logos or zippy, social media laden websites?

In an industry that doesn’t “make” anything, service and talent – the people with the creative brains, the savvy strategists, the consensus builders – are what differentiate one agency from another.  Specialties do as well.  Agencies that seek to be all things to all people suffer from lack of focus.  Tightly niched agencies have a limited client pool – so there is a balance that needs to be maintained here.

How do you recruit and retain the kinds of people that can drive clients’ business and deliver the results and relationships needed to be successful? What makes an agency successful?  People and ideas.  Plain and simple.  Nurture those and success (and yes, profit) follows.

There are some things I’ve encountered in my 25 years in this business.  Some decisions that I’ve witnessed that have made me cringe… some policies that are counterproductive… some I just plain disagree with.  It’s often difficult for companies – mostly publicly-traded, driven by the almighty dollar – with a relentless focus on the bottom line and not how to get there.

10 things – some do’s, some don’ts…
  1. Put your people first.  The money will follow.
  2. Skip the internal hype.  If you’re not going to follow through with an employee enrichment program and deliver a half-assed result.  Don’t announce it.  Don’t promise what you can’t/won’t deliver.
  3. Commit and deliver employee enrichment programs.  Not just ongoing education to enlighten, empower and enhance your junior team members’ experience and contributions – but also for senior level executives who can become bureaucratic automatons incapable of inspiring.  They deserve and need to grow as well.
  4. Hire against type.
  5. Properly manage and utilize uncommon talent that you’ve hired against type.  The results will dazzle the client and nourish your company.  Don’t expect a creative communicator to be a CPA as well.
  6. Pay attention to environment even if clients don’t visit.  Your employees are an important “client” so to speak.  Depressing, run-down spaces impact work product.  A coat of paint or having the carpet cleaned and a plant or two can do wonders.  Seriously.
  7. Keep the industry and agency-specific acronyms to a minimum.  Communicate.  Be transparent.  Don’t be obtuse.
  8. Be open to “you can’t do that” ideas.  Why not?
  9. Recognize and remember that “billability” isn’t the only measure of a team member’s worth.
  10. Kill complacency – at both the junior level and the oft-stagnant upper level of an organization.                                                 

I am not a C-suite guru.  I am not an MBA.  I am, however, a pragmatic PR industry veteran and have been witness to the ups and downs and demise of agencies and relationships of varying size and import.  I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t and I know how to reach consensus; to engage, enrich and retain team members.  Sometimes the simple, obvious answer is the right answer.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer lovin'...

This is my new summer love.

FUN!  A great sipper...  A great mixer...


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Service with a shrug© BOO U.S. Airways

Well - I suppose this is a mixed bag.  The fact that they took more than $419 from me and delivered NOTHING...  The fact that their customer service people were unwilling or unable to do ANYTHING about it but repeat talking points - even as I pushed it up the chain of command...  The fact that when I asked the representative about canceling and rebooking travel - no mention was EVER made about the fine-print expiration...  The fact that regardless of that - they know other people will continue to book travel with them even though I won't...  These are the gross, unacceptable, NEGATIVE, service-blind issues that came from my recent experience.

However - the POSITIVE is that it spurred me to my keyboard and was perfect fodder to kick off the introduction to my book.  A quick anecdote to start the intro.

Of course - I would like all or some part of my money back or at least some sort of travel to show for all that money I donated to the airline - but...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Civilized dining... an endangered species.

A recent article in the LA Times [ Upscale restaurants are dressing down ] struck a chord with me.

The brilliant restaurateur Gordon Sinclair had a delicious policy.  No mobile phones in the dining room.  Diners were required (and complied) to check their phones with the bartender - who would take messages for the guests while they enjoyed a quiet lunch or dinner in his eponymous restaurant.

His service was polished.  The food fine.  The room lively.  Nothing stuffy about it.  Just civil.

Would that fly today?  According to this most seriously demoralizing account of the state of fine dining - no.

It just begs the question - does serious dining and fine dining have to be defrocked, so to speak, to be palatable to the loud, disheveled masses?  Does every dining room have to be devoid of linens and ever table within eyeshot of a big screen to watch the Lakers or Dodgers or Bears or Bills?  

Do our dining hosts have to bow to the Yelpsters and other online commentators?  Do you really base your dining decisions on the opinions of people you don't know whose comments are based solely on their one experience?  Frankly - though many food journos are barely more qualified - I would look to Los Angeles Magazine or the LA Times or LA Weekly for direction.

This is what really hit me {with my comments in brackets}...
"She revisited Water Grill recently and was impressed by the relaxed atmosphere and the absence of 'old money bags' customers {read: more cell phone call, ironic T-shirts and ridiculously short skirts than suits and quiet conversation}. The tablecloths were gone and the floors stripped of carpet {read: the room is more comfortable and safe like Fridays or Red Lobster}.  French fries, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese were on the menu {read: I don't have to think or be challenged and can order the same thing at every restaurant - YAY!}."


Give me...
NO TV.  NO CELL PHONES.  CLOTH NAPKINS.  Any day.  Every day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Beautiful bubbles in a beautiful setting...

This Monday I had the joy of visiting the Carolina Herrera flagship on Melrose Place here in West Hollywood.  It was a fall/pre-fall preview.  

I sipped some lovely prosecco and enjoyed these bubbles as well...
Known for her fresh, lively patterns...  I saw a few 
that made me smile...
And one that brought out my foodie side...
I got to chat with my charming neighbor and host...
Made recommendations to a few lovely women who either 
thought I was spot on - or just crazy.

And - really enjoy Ms. Herrera's understated, sumptuous designs...
Beauty and bubbles in a posh setting...  Great way to start the week.






Thursday, April 19, 2012

What I would've said...

Awww... Honey, bless your heart.

Leggings aren't pants.

I can see your uterus.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Watch. Smile. Forget the world for a few...

Seriously.

Watch this and try not to smile.

Pure, unbridled joy as Wade becomes Unique on GLEE

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Really? FOR ALL THIS WE'LL PAY YOU $15/hr. junior publicist...

SO - saw this post online... Was amused then horrified. The position listed has many demands. If the "starting rate" were annualized - this junior team member would be a bit under $30K. Not a bad starting salary. However - the position has requirements that an entry-level PR professional simply could not meet. {caps are theirs not mine} We have to manage client expectations - but should also seek to manage our own.

THE JUNIOR PUBLICIST will assist the Director of Public Relations on all retainer client accounts, taking direction and working closely with staff in the company's Los Angeles and New York offices. It is essential that the applicant be well-rounded in their past experience and that they have strong entertainment and lifestyle press contacts, as well as RELATIONSHIPS WITH KEY BROADCAST OUTLETS.


Duties include:
• working directly with the LA PR team on a daily basis to secure placements and coverage for all retainer based PR Clients
+CONSTANT ONGOING COMMUNICATION WITH THE NEW YORK OFFICE (PR LIASON BETWEEN THE TWO OFFICES)
• ASSIST IN WritING/editING company and client pitches, press releases and other PR materials; Distributing to appropriate press outlets
• Constant research and pursuit of press opportunities for clients; securing meaningful press placements regularly
• Creating and maintaining relationships with editors, producers, writers
+STRATEGIZING AND CREATIVE BRAINSTORMING FOR ALL CLIENTS

Candidates must have:
• At least 2 years relevant experience
+Pre-existing database of LONG AND SHORT LEAD press contacts -- print, broadcast and online (BLOGGERS ARE KEY)
• Strong communication skills, and experience INTERFACING with clients
• Thorough knowledge of the content and voice of a multitude of press outlets and an understanding of how they need to be pitched
• ORGANIZATION SKILLS, BE forward thinking and resourceful AND understand the necessity of follow-up
• THE Ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines in an efficient manner
• EVENT EXPERIENCE: securing press RSVP's for client and company events, as well as pre and post event coverage; KNOW HOW TO service photos, work with event photographers to garner press worthy photo opportunities, manage the red carpet and press placement on the carpet.
• Experience and knowledge of computer programs such as Cision and Microsoft works.

***PLEASE DO NOT APPLY IF YOU COMPUTER-ILLITERATE***

Please reply with your cover letter and resume to the email address above.

  • Location: Hollywood, CA
  • Compensation: $15 per hour starting rate <---- REALLY?!?!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why Didn’t They Ask Me Dining Guide – Issue 1

I'm asked all the time - where do I like to go? My doctor asked me to put together some recommendations for him... This first issue is what I've compiled to date. Issues 2 and 3 feature different locations and delicacies. Stay tuned...

Downtown

Sip

-Varnish – secret door in the back of Cole’s (French Dip palace) – lovely mixology spot

-Groundwork, Handsome Coffee, Coffeebar [http://coffeebarla.com/]

- Syrup has great desserts and grilled cheese sandwiches – on Spring near 6th Street

-Ollie’s - this former Mexican gay sports bar is a hoot… fun, diverse crowd, good music and just a happy vibe. http://www.myspace.com/bar107/photos formally called Bar 107

-The upstairs jazz bar at the Biltmore is beautiful and fun. http://www.millenniumhotels.com/millenniumlosangeles/restaurant/index.html

-The Edison is a spectacular mixology bar – with a stringent dress code – but – worth the effort! http://www.edisondowntown.com/

-Redwood – fun dive, live music http://www.theredwoodbar.com/site08/homewiframe.htm

Sup

-Bottega Louie – stunning room, good Italian fare – great marketplace $$

-Church + State – in the arts district – amazing French $$

-Chaya – amazing French/Asian – great sushi – bento is a value http://www.thechaya.com/downtownLosAngeles/index.html $$$

-Artisan House – just opened – gorgeous dining room and amazing specialty market http://artisanhouse.net/ $?$? Service was discombobulated but cordial.

-Mac and Cheeza – fun, cheap, mac and cheese – ‘nuff said. http://macandcheeza.com/ may be relocating $

Culver City

Sup

-Swell room… great food. Harrison Ford’s son -http://www.fordsfillingstation.net/xml.html $$$

-Honey Kettle Fried Chicken. http://www.honeyskettle.com/ O M G! Delicious!!! $ next to Ford’s

-My Father’s Office - http://www.fathersoffice.com/ Culver outlet for popular Santa Monica spot for burgers and beer. In the VERY FUN Helm’s Bakery revamp – H.D Buttercup – tons of home stores and such $$

-L’Epicerie - http://www.lepiceriemarket.com/ have not been yet – but looks/sounds neat

-A-Frame Uncommon. Fun. Tasty. Reasonable. http://aframela.com/new/ $

Long Beach

Sip

-Sipology – a favorite coffee in a neat little shopping pocket - may or may note be open any longer (Broadway and Temple)

-The Library is a quirky coffee spot http://www.thelibraryacoffeehouse.com/ $ Good Drinks – fun room.

-Fuego at Hotel Maya - http://doubletree1.hilton.com/en_US/dt/hotel/LGBMYDT-Hotel-Maya-a-DoubleTree-by-Hilton-Hotel-California/dining.do - great spot for drinks on the harbor overlooking downtown Long Beach – solid drinks, OK apps – not a great spot for dinner – just apps, drinks and a killer view $$

-Broadway is lousy with bars in Long Beach – and they’re all kinda fun – Sweetwater is a D I V E, The Brit, The Falcon, the Broadway Bar, Mineshaft – Ripples is on the beach

-Portfolio – great coffee spot - http://portfoliocoffeehouse.com/ in a neat vintage shopping district – 4th Street

Sup

-Michael’s – posh Italian spot on charming Naples Island… http://www.michaelsonnaples.com/ great roof deck $$$

-Michael’s Pizzeria – stylish, tasty, casual sister to Michael’s http://michaelspizzeria.com/mobile/location.htm $$

-Starling Diner http://starlingdiner.com/ lovely neighborhood spot with great food! $

-Bono’s http://www.bonoslongbeach.com/ Chaz’s spot in popular, congested Belmont Shore delivers reasonable fare at a reasonable cost. Nice room. Good outdoor dining $$

Misc.

Sip

-Iota coffee in Koreatown on Western… $$ expensive – but cool room, neat pastries and open all night (pretty much) – from the folks who created LAMILL Coffee

-Paper or Plastik – cool, COOL coffee spot in an up-and-coming spot on Pico - http://paperorplastikcafe.com/ cool pastries from neat local bakers. Nice room.

-Coffee Commissary – I should reserve this for the West Hollywood issue – but I’m on a coffee roll… Great spot on Fairfax next to a great butcher shop ( beautiful natural meat butchered by two fabulous gals… ) Very SERIOUS baristas. Right near Shorty’s Barber shop – bet. Melrose and Santa Monica – also – weekdays – the delicious food truck EggSlut is there serving beautiful eggcentric breakfasts – most weekday mornings

-LAMILL COFFEE – again – should wait for Silver Lake – but we’re on a coffee jag here – so... Stunning room. Precious – but pristine food. Great coffee – the Valrhona Mocha rocks! http://lamillcoffee.com/ $$


Issue 2 – West LA and the beach cities, Hollywood, Silver Lake/Los Feliz,

Issue 3 – West Hollywood, Palm Springs and more…