Communications Beyond Words

February 25th, 2015

By Laurie Jakobsen

At Jaybird, we generally focus on “word-based” communications for our clients: press releases, social media posts, bylines, interviews, presentations, and the like. I recently attended Network! Network! event and met Garett Engel of Benhar Office, Rachel Levin of Rachel Levin Style, and Glenn Diehl of Skyline Genesis. Each had a story that underscored how important various non-verbal communications – from your office furniture, to your team’s attire, to your trade show set up – can either complement or undermine a company’s image, all before a word is exchanged.

Office Furniture: What do your potential clients and employees see when they come to your office space? Two beanbag chairs and a cast-off table may be OK for a startup, but at some point, the setup of an office needs to convey the company’s image while also making the staff productive and even contribute to their health and well-being.

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Message vs. Audience – Which Comes First?

February 20th, 2015

by Laurie Jakobsen

In catching up on my weekend reading, I noticed the lead query in the Social Q’s column in The New York Times Style section. A self-identified Boomer reader complains about a Gen-X relative that is not replying to her emails but “has time to post on Facebook.”

While there may be a whole host of issues as to why she’s not getting a response, I think what we’re seeing here is a misunderstanding of communication styles and tools – and a great opportunity to examine the communications process. When people thinking about communicating, they think that their message is the most important thing. But I believe the audience is the bigger consideration – when you understand your audience, then you can shape the message for them, as well as what media you will use to deliver it, in order for them to have the best chance to hear and understand it. Otherwise, it’s not likely you will achieve the desired action.

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The Jaybird Rules for Media Interviews

November 6th, 2014

by Laurie Jakobsen

Most people get understandably nervous about media interviews. It’s important to recognize that your body will probably have an adrenalized response – you will talk faster, and things around you will feel slower. So you need to remind yourself to breathe and slow yourself down, so you can better control your reactions (this is even more important for radio and TV). I always tell people that if they’ve been on a job interview or a first date, they already have a good sense of how to handle a media interaction – and here are my “nine plus bonus” rules to guide you.

First rule: an interview is a transactional conversation – not a friendly chat. Like any other negotiation, you want to reach a win-win with the journalist, but you need to have a specific focus on the key messages you want to get across. Remember that you are in control of what you say – you are not giving all control over to the reporter; this is not a deposition. You have something they want: a good story. That is what you need to deliver: on your terms, not theirs.

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Want to understand today’s entertainment biz?

January 22nd, 2014

By Laurie Jakobsen

Blockbusters by Anita Elberse

I’m almost finished reading Anita Elberse’s “Blockbusters,” and for everyone about to get on the plane for the Grammys, NAMM, Midem – download this book now. Elberse, a Harvard professor whose research debunked Chris Anderson’s “long tail” t­­heory about consumer behavior and the internet, gives us a solid read on why the digital economy has amplified the big hits, making the overall entertainment industry – including sports – focus on the superstars. I had the book in my mind when I heard David Bakula of Nielsen give this stat on Music Biz’s “Common Ground” webinar last week: take away the top two albums of 2013, and sales of #3-200 would have been up a tiny bit, .8%. But because Justin Timberlake and Eminem’s albums did not sell as much as the top two in 2012 – Adele and Taylor Swift – overall sales were down 8.4%. That’s the power of the blockbuster.

Music Industry Reading List

October 28th, 2013

By Laurie Jakobsen

I was recently asked what my most-recommended music industry books were, and thought I would also share them here. I’ll admit upfront I’ve had a personal connection to a few of these authors, but hopefully that does not make their work less brilliant:

The Mansion on the Hill and Fortune’s Fool by Fred Goodman acheive both page-turning readability with serious industry Fortune's Foolcred. This two-book series – the first chronicling the rise of the modern commercial record business through the careers of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and David Geffen, and the latter using the trajectory of Edgar Bronfman, Jr. to show how the industry floundered into the era of digital. Meaty stories with serious insider detail from a master journalist.

If you want more in the spirit of Mansion, then also check out Hit Men by Fredric Dannen, which was considered a major industry expose in 1990, and also The Label (History of Columbia Records) by Gary Mamorstein, and Exploding (History of Warner Music) by Stan Cornyn. While these label history books can start to feel like that part in the Bible that lists everyone who begat everyone else, they remind us that the music industry is a game of relationships, above all else. The story of Columbia essentially parallels the entire history of recorded music, and the Warner tale brings more of the development – and then conglomeration – of the independent labels.

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Is the Internship headed for extinction?

October 23rd, 2013

By Laurie Jakobsen

I’ve been watching the various internship lawsuits progress, so was unsurprised by this announcement today by Condé Nast:

Social Media’s Growing Influence on Funding, Editorial

October 2nd, 2013

Two stories caught my attention yesterday from different sources, proving the same point: social media activity is driving material decisions for businesses. The Wall Street Journal found that VCs are looking at social media activity to decide on investments, and PR Daily, in reporting on an Advertising Week panel, noted that editors of celebrity-driven magazines are looking how engaged a potential cover subject is on social media to make their cover decisions. So if you were on the fence about social media, it’s time to jump in.

5 Things PR Pros Can Learn from the Survivor: Caramoan Finale

May 14th, 2013

Cochran receives an immunity idol from Survivor: Caramoan host Jeff Probst. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS © 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

By Bill Greenwood

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How to Get on a Reporter’s Good Side in One Sentence or Less

December 17th, 2012

By Bill Greenwood and Laurie Jakobsen

Every month, we at Jaybird promote the NY Tech Meetup’s (NYTM) tech demo nights at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. To support this, we prepare a one-sheet for our press guests with contact information for every demoing company along with a one-sentence description describing their product. The companies provide their own descriptions for this sheet, and most of them do an excellent job. However, some people find it very challenging to distill their startup into one sentence, and so we reached out to several journalists who have attended past NYTMs to get their tips on how to craft a concise company description that catches the eye and scores some coverage.

1.) What do you provide and who do you serve?

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Communication Disconnects: Don’t Mistake a Carrot for a Stick

May 21st, 2012

by Laurie Jakobsen

I caught up on a big pile of magazine reading while I was traveling to and from NARM’s Music Biz 2012 event.  A few different stories caught my eye in particular, and I think they all highlight the dangers of communication disconnects: between a company’s stated values and the actions it rewards, and also between what a business thinks a customer wants and what they actually do. As a result, bad actors get the proverbial carrot, and potential customers get the stick.

The carrot is on the left

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