12 Months Later: Starbucks Learns from United Airlines’ Woes

By Alex Altman Caught in the eye of a PR firestorm, former Starbucks CEO (and still face-of-company) Howard Schultz took a page from the Oscar Munoz book on corporate leadership. And then he did the exact opposite. When cellphone footage last April showed a passenger being violently dragged off a United Airlines flight, Munoz delayed, deflected and even blamed the “disruptive and belligerent” victim for his failure to heed the orders of a flight crew. His regrettable handling of the situation inflamed an already outraged public, provided fresh fodder for the national media and caused irreparable harm to United Airlines’ […]

5 Low-Budget Ways to Boost Customer Relations

By Alex Altman In today’s business climate, recent polls suggest that customer service is one of the best ways to drive loyalty and gain an edge over the competition. 54% of Millennials said they stopped doing business because of poor customer service (Conversion) 66% of US consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal (Accenture) 74% of consumers would be more likely to engage with brands who provide a higher level of customer loyalty (Wunderman) Customer relations should be a priority for all businesses, but many come up short in this area. This is shameful, considering customer service […]

Real News: The Resurgence of Journalism

By Alex Altman President Donald Trump’s crusade against “Fake News” has been one of the biggest headlines of his time in office. His pointed, personal and persistent attacks on the Mainstream Media have striven to not only discredit reporters, but also to intimidate them. Especially those whose reporting “undermines” his presidency, or at least the public’s perception of it. While polls show Trump has succeeded at the former — a meager 32% of Americans say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media — his attempts to silence the media have been shockingly futile. So […]

Corporate Madness: 5 Brands Winning the Tournament

By Alex Altman When Little Caesars marketers pitched the idea of giving away free lunch to every customer if a 16-seed defeated a 1-seed during the NCAA Tournament, they surely sold it as a risk-free proposition A 16-seed couldn’t beat a one. Never had it happened. Never could it happen. But when UMBC defeated Virginia in what will surely go down as the greatest upset in college basketball history, the Hot N’ Ready chain still probably felt the like biggest winner of all. Just 24 hours after announcing the promotion on Twitter, Little Caesars had already received more than 15,000 […]

5 Ways to Measure the Success of Your Social Campaign

By Alex Altman With few exceptions, any time a business spends money, it expects to see a return on investment. Unfortunately, proving ROI can be difficult in the public relations industry, which deals less in data points and more in human emotion. While marketers demonstrate ROI through clicks, impressions and conversions, PR professionals have to get a little crafty to show how their social campaign is affecting their client’s bottom line. Luckily, there are several bulletproof ways to validate your efforts. Here are five effective tips to show your clients that their social dollars are well spent. Calls to Action: The […]

Facebook Rolls Out Changes to Combat Negativity

By Alex Altman Four weeks ago, I made a decision that once seemed unfathomable. I logged into Facebook, clicked on the settings and deactivated my account. I first registered for “The Facebook” in 2005, when membership was exclusive to college students. In the decade that followed, Facebook was more than just a site I would frequent — it was a pipeline into my social world. I’d use it for sharing pictures, crowdsourcing, connecting with new friends and other mostly harmless activities. But over the last few years, my Facebook experience changed. My news feed, once flooded with posts from social […]


Most folks that I have run into in my 20 years in public relations are honest and care about the quality of the work that they do. In our work, our reputation is everything, so like the vast majority of my colleagues in the profession, I work to ensure that I alway share accurate information. On those occasions where I have made a mistake, I have called to apologize and correct the misinformation, because that is what good people do. Anthony D’Angelo’s letter to the LA Times Responding to Virginia Heffernan’s article on Hope Hicks…

Pitch Perfect: How to Nail Your PR Media Pitch

By Alex Altman Driving reporters to media events is one of the most important jobs for PR professionals. Naturally, it’s also one of the most difficult. Reporters are time-strapped, unpredictable, and inherently cautious of giving away free publicity. These are some pretty hefty barriers. But with the right brand of salesmanship, they can be overcome. If low turnouts have become all-too-common at your PR events, there’s a strong possibility that your media pitch is lacking. The media pitch is often the biggest factor in convincing a reporter to cover this event instead of that event. Here are some tips to […]

6 Companies That Won PR in 2017

By Alex Altman There’s no way to spin it: 2017 was a bad year for PR. Over the last 12 months, seemingly every corporation, celebrity, congressman and TV network in America has found itself in hot water for one reason or another. But there were some incredible PR wins, too, many occurring this summer, when corporate generosity was needed more than ever following the spate of natural disasters that rocked Texas, Puerto Rico and other parts of the country. These are the stories I’d like to focus on as the year comes to an end. Amazon: While Amazon’s $13.7 billion […]