Getting Back on the Court


For any sports fan, Hoosiers is a classic film highlighting the story of a small-town Indiana basketball team achieving more than they ever thought they could. I don’t really need to say anything more than Jimmy Chitwood to most basketball fans to get the vision of a pure shooter in their mind. But today, the reason I’m thinking of young Jimmy Chitwood is his line “I don’t know if it’ll make any change, but I figured it’s time for me to start playing ball” when he decides to play again.

In my world, it’s time for me to start playing ball…. well, writing… again. Having been on the agency side for the last decade, my writing became utilized for other sites and it’s time to get back to writing for myself on topics that matter in the communications world. For those who read my work before, welcome back. For new readers that find this page, I hope you share your views and thoughts to discuss as we all grow better through smart dialogue.

If you haven’t seen Hoosiers for some reason, go see it immediately. Then keep an eye out for new topics here in the coming days.

HAPPO to Introduce James Lockwood


There are sure a lot of talented folks here in the Twin Cities.  Another introduction on this #HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out) Friday for you.  Meet James Lockwood, a senior communicator that has a diverse background that could be well suited to a corporate or agency environment. 

My name is James Lockwood, a communications professional with a Master’s degree in public affairs who is obsessed with cycling, loves cooking, and enjoys live music.

In between those activities, I find interest in all things social and political, from the sustainable foods movement to education reform and energy innovation to the latest episode of Mad Men. I have worked media relations for the Republican National Convention; created and executed the communications plan for the launch of a new pediatric clinic; written proposals for an architectural firm looking to build multimillion dollar facilities; and engaged residents and fans alike about city services through social media (yes, snow plowing can be fan friendly).

In a world where media is a loosely defined term, I bring my experience in print, broadcast, and speech writing to give the proper voice in each medium to reach targeted audiences. I want to bring this experience to an organization that aims to create community, build fans, and move the needle more in its direction. 

Happy Holidays


Merry Christmas and happpy holidays to you all. No matter what you celebrate or the name you give it, there’s something special about this time of year.  It’s a chance to reflect on your life and what lies ahead.  Enjoy the time spent with family, friends, and your community. 

I hope you all have a wonderful season!!

It’s More About GAAP Than Gap


You may have heard me say it before, and you’ll definitely hear me say it again (hint- great series of pros in future posts), but I believe that communications professionals do themselves a disservice by not having a good grasp on broader business principles and strategy.  If you’re offering your clients recommendations on one piece of the puzzle like media relations, social media, or internal communications but can’t make educated, informed comment on their business model and competition then you aren’t providing the full value they need. 

If you are working within an organization and want to have a role in the strategic direction of the company, it’s essential you can speak the same language as those you want to influence.  PR people cannot expect to walk into a C-level discussion and be viewed as an equal member of the team unless you can add real value to a discussion that stretches beyond how the company will capitalize on sales, but how you will drive sales. 

Fundamental to that level of discussion is viewing the business in the same manner that other leadership views the business.  Many communications/PR schools haven’t heavily integrated business programming into a PR track and many practitioners have come from a variety of backgrounds where they may not have been exposed to fundamentals of business strategy.  How can you pick up enough knowledge to put you on the right track?

Find a colleague who can serve as a mentor- This is a great way to learn more about specialties you may not initially understand well. In my experience, if you express an interest and willingness to learn, people are willing to help you along.  Many times they’re actually flattered.  This was especially true when I reached out to accountants who, I’m willing to bet, hadn’t really been approached often with people “wanting” to learn more about their jobs.

Expand that bookshelf- There are hundreds of great books out there that can provide an introduction to basic finance, accounting, sales theory, and business strategy.  A quick search on finance produced a great list of options to help you get started. 

Change your process- Before heading into any meeting, come up with a couple questions that you want to have addressed when you have time to do so without worrying about being on the spot in real-time.  If you’re looking to better understand the sales process, look at recent reports see what seems to be working and ask for more information on the “why” behind the success. Over time, you’ll learn a great deal and be able to better add value.

The Gap is great for a day of shopping, but better understanding GAAP can fund that shopping.

It’s Launch Time


After thinking about the benefits of a blog for a long time, I felt like it was time to make the leap. I enjoy exploring new and creative issues facing the world of communications and I hope you find this blog useful and worth your time. While there are so many outstanding blogs out there, my background and interest in the intersection of business leadership and communications is a bit different than many in the industry. The ultimate goal for this blog is not to hear what I have to say but to engage and learn more about what you have to say.

It’s about engagment and a chance to push the bounds of our shared knowledge. Check in here for new topics and issues regularly. I look forward to talking with you soon and finding new ways to help you meet your goals.