Archives for October 2015

Tell it like it is

Google defines can·dorˈ kandər/ a noun as:

  1. the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.
”a man of refreshing candor”
 synonymous with frankness, openness, honesty, truthfulnesssincerity, forthrightness, directness, plain-spokenness, bluntness, straightforwardness, outspokenness; informal … telling it like it is

Candor is one of READY FOR MEDIA’s C’s of Communication, along with Clarity, Conciseness and Credibility. Taking the initiative to come clean about an issue keeps the right and responsibility for communication and interpretation (read: spin) where it belongs … with you, the spokesperson. Not the media.

USC Blog picture

Photo Courtesy


Photo Courtesy








Pat Haden, University of Southern California’s Athletic Director, recently took full responsibility for hiring and firing football coach, Steve Sarkisian who reportedly checked into an outpatient rehabilitation facility on the same day he was dismissed.

“I felt a great deal of compassion for Steve Sarkisian,” Mr. Haden acknowledged. “He deserved another chance. And that’s what I gave him. But he knew the expectations for his behavior, and failed to meet them.”

Mr. Sarkisian was intoxicated during a team meeting—a violation of his contract, with a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol use after the coach’s slurred and profane performance at a USC’s “Salute to Troy” event in August.

In the wake of a Los Angeles Times story that chronicled Mr. Sarkisian’s alcohol use at his previous coaching job at Washington, Mr. Haden had also been criticized for his vetting of Mr. Sarkisian as a coaching candidate. “Have we gotten everything right?” Mr. Haden admitted. “Clearly not. … this happens. The decision I made didn’t work out and I own that. I own it.”

In another recent example of “the buck stops here,” AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson, admitted to The Los Angeles Times that the company “blew it” after directing their legal department to respond to a self-described “lifelong” customer’s suggestions for improving the company’s service. “Unfortunately, we don’t meet our high standards 100% of the time,” Mr. Stephenson confessed.

The company had written, “AT&T doesn’t take suggestions from customers. AT&T has a policy of not entertaining unsolicited offers to adopt, analyze, develop, license, or purchase third-party intellectual property … from members of the general public. Therefore, we respectfully decline to consider your suggestion.”

Internet chat relating to the incident, however, saw the lawyer’s response as a metaphor for AT&T’s lack of empathy and responsiveness towards its customers, exacerbated by competitor T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere’s offering his email address to those who want to provide suggestions. In addition, T-Mobile created the tongue-in-cheek “” email address for AT&T customers who want to send their suggestions to the third-largest U.S. carrier.

In both cases, Mr. Haden and Mr. Stephenson were candid about issues that occurred under their leadership. By giving chosen and concise information to the public through the media and by owning up to the issues that occurred, a leader keeps command of the situation. It’s crucial that you tell it like it is!

Not what you say, but where you say it!

“BREAKING NEWS: Unconfirmed reports are coming in of an explosion on the North bank of the Singapore Marina.

City Authorities urge the public not to panic, and to not hinder the emergency teams that are converging on the area.

UPDATE: Singapore Authorities have officially announced a state of emergency and declared martial law.”

US game maker, Activision, published this announcement on Twiter as a publicity stunt for the soon-to-be released video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, along with pictures of a fictional terrorist attack in Singapore.

Call of Duty

Photo Courtesy

This ploy angered Twitter users, worldwide!  Tauriq Moosa tweeted, “Faked news could be and was devastating for those unaware that it was video game marketing. In this case, it’s not only what you say, but also where you say it!”

Considering that its content is being driven with controversial topics, such as terrorism, Activision should have used a more private platform, such as a company website, to avoid misunderstandings by those who are not familiar with the video game.

While it is beneficial to utilize social media as a marketing technique, it is crucial to choose the form of social media that is appropriate for the target audience.