Category: INSIGHTS

Accounting Woes Paint PPG Industries Into a Corner

I recently sat down with WSJ author Ben DiPietro to discuss the ongoing crisis around paints and coatings manufacturer PPG.

Paints and coatings maker PPG Industries Inc. launched an internal investigation in April into accounting irregularities, delayed the filing of its quarterly earnings report for the period ended March 31 and fired its controller, Mark Kelly. The company said earlier this month it had evidence that some of its employees had made improper accounting entries at the direction of the company’s now-former controller. As a result, PPG said its financial reports for 2017 “should no longer be relied upon.”

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Einstein’s $1.8 Million Genius Advice for Marketers

Einstein’s Formula for the Pursuit of Happiness

They say money can’t buy happiness. And yet, just a few weeks ago, an anonymous bidder forked over $1.8 million for Albert Einstein’s advice on how to be happy.

As a marketer, I know you didn’t choose to go into a creative field for the money. You’re in marketing because you think it’s challenging and fun. In short, you chose a career you hope will make you happy.

With this in mind, you may be interested in the following true story.

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Make Them Miss You

Just this past Saturday, HBO launched The Searcher, a new documentary about the King. As a die-hard Elvis fan, I just had to watch. And as a communicator, I picked up on a vintage marketing technique that’s definitely ready for a comeback: Absence.

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Want to Build a Storied Brand? Here’s How Disney Does It.

I recently took my five-year-old daughter to Disney World for what she now refers to as “the best day of my life.” As a mom, I can’t say enough about how much fun we had. As a marketer, I have to wonder how the Magic Kingdom continues to demand, and get, the prices they charge. Ticket prices recently went up (again) to $129 per adult, a $5 increase. Parking is now $22 a day.

The answer is smart, consistent storytelling that creates Mickey fanatics of all ages. So, sprinkle some pixie dust and get ready to increase your profits, Disney style.

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Crisis of the Week: Sanofi Defends Dengue Fever Vaccine After Deaths

Crisis management, especially when it relates to deaths of children, requires a special level of compassion. Here’s a sample of my take on crisis communications in the Wall Street Journal on the company that missed the mark.

Adele Cehrs, chief executive, Epic: “Sanofi’s response to the alleged death of children from a vaccine is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 for compassion. While Sanofi’s reputation engineers are focused on the medical details–such as stating symptoms ‘could get worse’–the company should focus on empathy for the patients and their families.

“Being overly cautious about issuing an apology is natural for a company with $1 billion a year in profits to treat dengue [fever] at stake. But saying, ‘No deaths related to the vaccine have been reported to us,’ will not win the company any goodwill from the World Health Organization or other governmental organizations.

By Adele Cehrs

This 1 Simple Exercise Will Change How You Handle Toxic People

A big idea. A thirst for freedom. The desire to help others. The drive to reach your own potential. The search for a more interesting life. Entrepreneurs have so many inspiring reasons for taking the leap. But there’s another, less glorious reason many of us strike out on our own: getting away from toxic people.

Here’s a common scenario. You leave a job because the head honcho, or honchette, is poisonous. Your new job is wonderful. Great boss, fun work, terrific team, opportunities for advancement etc. And then suddenly, there’s a new boss. Next thing you know, all the slackers are in his office, kissing his ring, taking credit for other people’s ideas, and getting promoted. At this point, you can suck it up, hit the job boards, or take a brave leap into self-employment.

Unfortunately, toxic people, like flu viruses, are everywhere. As an entrepreneur, you may have to contend with shifty suppliers, deadbeat clients, passive aggressive partners, bad-faith negotiators, know-it-alls, know-nothings, slackers, whiners, liars, drama queens … the list goes on and on.

In my career, I’ve also had my fair share of toxic bosses. From liars to criers — needless to say — dealing with difficult people at any level has its challenges.  As a crisis communications expert, understanding how and when to respond to toxic vitriol is critical to succeeding in business.

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