Welcome to the Coyne Exchange! This blog was created to promote conversation and new thinking about taking a more creative approach to both business and life! From Account Coordinators to the President and CEO, everyone here at Coyne PR has the opportunity to participate in our blog, offering opinions, trend insight, key learnings, or just something interesting! We hope to both inspire and be inspired as part of this process. Please understand that we will not be discussing any proprietary client related topics or information. Please stay tuned and keep an open mind -- it is the key to life! 

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Lessons to be learned from Komen’s missteps

The firestorm that erupted over Susan G. Komen’s break with Planned Parenthood raises serious questions about how well prepared the organization was for the repercussions of their decision to discontinue funding of Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer programs. Whether you believe their action to be right or wrong, there are plenty of public relation lessons to be learned from Komen’s handling of their decision to split with this long-time partner.

A fundamental principle of public relations, as in medicine, is “First, do no harm.”  For doctors it applies to physical damage, in PR it’s reputational damage.   In Komen’s case, they made several major blunders that have severely tarnished their reputation among many.

 Both the reason they gave for their decision and how they went about cutting off ties with Planned Parenthood left the organization open to harsh criticism for a process that did not appear fair, thorough or transparent.  Their refusal to meet with Planned Parenthood after years of working together does not seem in character with the organization’s personality, nor does their new policy to not fund programs that are under “investigation,” rather than assuming innocence until guilt is proven.        

Outrage over Komen’s seemingly insensitive approach in both their actions and messaging has been particularly fierce because it seems out of line with the organization’s core values and public persona.

Additionally, their response in the face of the backlash has been extremely lacking.  Given, the inflammatory political issues involved, they should have been better prepared with a more adequate defense of their decision.  Their current refusal to speak with the press makes matters worse.   

Komen’s decision also demonstrates the difficulties that organizations face when they make a 180 degree turn away from risks that they believed acceptable when they formed and supported the partnership.  Risks are an inherent part of any partnership which is why those risks should be carefully weighed when determining the value of the relationship.  The organization’s core principles are what should guide them when evaluating the risks and benefits of a partnership, not the individual beliefs of those running the organizations. Turning away abruptly from a long standing partnership formed on the basis of the organization’s mission and its acceptance of risk will likely lead to an outcry and damage to the organization’s reputation that may be difficult to repair.  Komen’s current situation is a case in point.





The search is on...for local news

The annual Google Zeitgeist was recently released; the report looks at the year in search.  What was one of the biggest search terms on the local level?  Local news outlets, with both local television news and the major daily newspaper being represented in city after city.  While marketers continue to look at the growth, importance, and influence of social and “new" media (and rightly so, by the way), it is an interesting juxtaposition that one of the most popular search terms people go to when given the opportunity to search for anythingas a source of information is your tried and true local news outlet.  Is it a sign that everything old is new again? No, rather it's a sign that at its most basic, "traditional" media, "new" media, and social media, etc. have converged into media, each often influencing the other, with each having it's place in the communication plans for marketers.


Stop Running and Walk Your Talk!

Let's make a new rule, any political hopeful needs to consult a PR expert before throwing their hat in the ring.  We would ask questions like: have you had any lawsuits?  numerous affairs? taken favors or money? Or any host of obvious questions. 

I know that so many of these ego-ticians are either responding to a call from above or simply looking for the next dragon to slay but public service is serious business.  We want people who care more about other people than a paycheck.  We want people who are wicked smart.  We want people who are ethical.  We want people who inspire us to be better ourselves!

 It would save the US some embarrassing international headlines, focus those who are qualified on the issues and bring forward some great future leaders who are afraid of the sacrifices that come with the race. 

I think our system in the US, especially our right to free press, still does a good job sorting this out but it would be nice some candidate looked harder at themselves before stepping up to run. Thank God the media are helping us to do the job that candidates and thier advisors should have done months ago.  Media want to find a great leader as much as the rest of us!  

All great future leaders: do not cheat on your spouses, take anything you do not deserve and most importantly do not be afraid to run -- we are waiting for your arrival and will vote for you!



What I Learned From Art & Copy (Again)

A huge fan of the documentary “Art & Copy,” I recently showed it at Coyne’s monthly Talking Titles book/movie club.  Even though I have seen the movie a lot, I learn something new every time I see it.

The movie documents the history of the advertising industry, shedding light not only on how some of the greatest campaigns of all time came to be, but also on the larger issue of how creativity survives despite formidable obstacles.  In fact, creativity is the star of the movie, not advertising, and the lessons learned are easily relatable to any creative industry.

Some of my key take-aways from the movie are:

  •         Art & Copy/PR & Social Media.  The movie documents how, in the old days, advertising used to be copy-written first, then shared with the artists to develop the pictures that would accompany the copy.  Apply this to the 21st century and we – as a PR industry – often follow a similar path:  develop a great concept, then supplement with social or digital media.  If history tells us anything, these things need to be developed and executed in tandem.
  •         Strong Ideas, Simply Presented.  Nothing – regardless of your industry – ever beats a great, solid and simple idea.  We tend – myself included – to complicate creative with too much information.  The client or prospective client doesn’t need it (or they can ask for it later).  Spend your energy on simplifying rather than complicating.
  •         Don’t Ever Allow Anyone to Dictate Mediocre Work.  This goes for any industry.  We are all guilty at some point in our careers of compromising and then regretting it.  It’s critical to go with your gut, check your gut, and stand by your principles.

I am sure if (rather, when) I watch the movie again, I will have a new set of lessons learned, but these are the ones that rose to the top this time.  If you have a chance, check out a preview at  So great…


The Name Comes With the Fame...

Ask anyone who has one … a good nickname grants an individual or brand with a level of confidence and swagger that is unparallel.

The most important question remains unanswered, what inspires a good nickname?

Is it creativity, a quest for originality and distinction or flat out laziness? My thoughts, you need to have a nice combination of all five.

Let us take a quick look at some of the brands that will be eternally referred to by a nickname…let’s also give credit to the automotive manufactures that have reached a level of affinity and fondness with their fans and the general public to be granted a pleasure of the same.



                                     General Brands



Coca Cola


Pepsi Cola






Federal Express







Mickey D’s

American Telephone & Telegraph


The Walt Disney Company


Mini Cooper


Home Box Office


America Online




British Petroleum


Kentucky Fried Chicken





                                  Auto Brands





Mini Cooper






Bayerische Motoren Werke


Bayerische Motoren Werke









The Bru



68’ Mustang Shelby



3 Point


Prancing Horse