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Stories and Strategies
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Stories and Strategies

Author: Doug Downs

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Doug Downs hosts this podcast about public relations and professional communications.
54 Episodes
We know it as comms-pros – communications is the glue that holds a business together. But too often smaller businesses can’t afford professional comms. It’s a pure expense that doesn’t seem to directly generate revenue. In this episode we speak with a New York Agency that has found a solid way to help small businesses succeed – and convince them it’s good ROI.Guest Tash Benjamin, TKing Enterprises 
One could argue the concept of strategies that are both transparent (fully allowing for freedom of choice) and subtly manipulative at the same time is hardly new – perhaps only the term “Nudge Theory” is what’s new. In this episode we explore whether Nudge Theory is a brilliant concept of behavioural economics making life better for people, or a euphemism for psychological manipulation and social engineering.Guest Rory Sutherland, Vice chairman Ogilvy UKBook Rory to speak at your eventCheck out Nudgestock 2021Have a listen to Rory's excellent podcast
Nudge Theory burst onto the scene in 2008 when Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler published their book “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.” The simplest models of economics take preferences as given, but nudge ideas suggest we can be moved, steered, and in some cases manipulated. Nudge has influenced politicians around the World. There are “Nudge Units” in government in the UK, US, Germany, Japan, and even Canada. The World Bank, United Nations, and European Commission have “Nudge” teams.Guest Rory Sutherland, Vice chairman Ogilvy UK out Nudgestock 2021To book Rory for your event emailCanadian Nudge Team = BeSci Team UK Nudge Team = Behavioural Insights Team Australian Nudge Team = Behavioural Economics Team of Australia American Nudge Team = Social and Behavioural Sciences Team 
Research shows more than one-quarter of crises spread to international media within an hour; two-thirds of crises reach media outlets worldwide within the first 24 hours (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer). The democratization of information means we all have access to a global audience 24-7. First impressions set the narrative within minutes that you may be battling for years to come if you’re slow with initial messaging. In this episode we speak with Crisis Communications expert Shawna Bruce about the sin of being slow when crisis strikes.Guest: Shawna Bruce, M.D. Bruce and Associates 
There has never been a more important time for good science communication. Not only is it important for us to understand the value of evidence-based solutions but to actually understand the fallibility and imperfection of science too.Since 2005 Laurentian, University in Sudbury Canada, has delivered graduate education in Science Communication in partnership with Science North, the second-largest science Centre in Canada. It’s the only program in the Country that offers a graduate-level blend of theoretical foundations and experiential learning in science communication. Guest: Chantal Barriault, Ph.D. Program Director, Laurentian University 
Podcasts are radio but on demand, dedicated to your niche interest, and (for the most part) commercial free. There are two million podcasts worldwide right now and counting. And lots of them need guests!!They are a terrific channel to advance your authority as a subject matter expert but like any media interview, there’s a skill, a science, and an art to the delivery. In this episode, Brad Phillips, the media trainer known worldwide as Mr Media Training becomes the Podfather.Guest Brad Phillips, Throughline Groupbrad@throughlinegroup.com Check out Throughline’s Blog Twitter - @throughliners and @mrmediatraining
The Invention of Color

The Invention of Color


As early as 40,000 years ago humans used a combination of soil, animal fat, burnt charcoal, and chalk to create colour palettes (or color in America). We know that story… but here’s the one we don’t know. In a world before trains, reliable road networks, automobiles, and urban settings, most people lived rural lives. Colour was seasonal and bound by the natural light and local environment.Someone living in coastal Wales would have seen the green of the hills, but only occasionally punctuated by pink or yellow wildflowers. Indigo and purple would have been rare and fleeting.A Shoshone person living in Utah would have seen a world of red, orange, gold, and brown – but green would have been rare. When colour finally did enter into the people’s lives, it was disorienting and somewhat… immoral.Guest Carolyn Purnell, Ph.D. to three part series in Psychology Today available below:The Invention of ColorThe Color RevolutionTaming ColorLink to Tedx Talk given by Carolyn Link to Carolyn’s book – The Sensational Past: How the Enlightenment Change the Way We Use Our Senses
LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATIONS SERIES - Episode 4The emerging science of epigenetics explains how our lifestyle and environment have influence on our gene expression over time. It’s a growing field of research that’s changing the nature vs nurture debate as we begin to understand gene expression is influenced by external factors such as our physical environments, homes, neighbourhoods, upbringing, and current lifestyle choices. Simply, while our genes are fixed, our genetic expression (which is passed to our children) is interconnected with a wide range of environmental factors. This has both a metaphorical and literal impact on how leaders should communicate.Guest Jayson Krause The Book – The Science Behind Success The Science Behind Success by Jayson Krause — Level 52
LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATIONS SERIES - Episode 3There are many articles written by psychologists about the “theory” of working with elite-level performers; extremely few people actually get to do it. Duff Gibson is a Canadian Olympic gold medal winner who was hired to coach the next generation of athletes. He knew the sport, he knew the strategies, he knew the mindset required to perform, he knew the psychology of leadership… and he would learn a lot on the job.Guest: Duff Gibson, Canada Olympic gold medal winner 
LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATIONS SERIES - Episode 2Communications professionals have long stated they “want a seat at the table,” meaning communications needs to be part of the executive decision-making function. And that seat should be filled by someone well-versed in strategy, best-practices, and able to represent the rest of the team so everyone is sharing that seat. In this episode we get some insights from Wendy Beauchesne, someone who has climbed from comms pro to CEO.Guest: Wendy Beauchesne, CEO Alberta Cancer 
LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATIONS SERIES - Episode 1There is substantial evidence that cultures of high trust outperform those where trust is low. There’s less employee turnover, higher employee engagement, better aligned organizations and more collaboration if we trust one another. That all begins with strong leadership. In this episode we speak with the author of “The Trust Trifecta,” Jordan Berman.Guest Jordan Bermanjordanberman8@gmail.comTo purchase a copy of the Trust Trifecta link here The Trust Trifecta | Iguana Books
Adopting a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset, is one of the best strategies for accepting and giving constructive feedback. A growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure, not as evidence of unintelligence but as a springboard for growth and stretching existing abilities. From these two mindsets springs a great deal of our behaviour, our relationship with success and failure both personally and professionally, and ultimately, our ability to be happy.Guest: Dr Steve Joordens, Psychologist, University of Toronto
Professional communications is about making an impact to help the organization. It must get things done, change attitudes, or at least understand them. At the same time, we need to be evidence-based, use “best practices”, provide ROI and meet KPI. Is our battle on the street or in the boardroom? Is it better to be street-smart or book-smart working in PR and Marketing? Guest: Eva Shortt, Zahav PR Connect with Eva on Instagram: the Quiz “Are you more book smart or street smart?”
Those who respond to help people in high-tension, or even life-threatening situations, need strong communication skills and the right training. Police Officers, Security Guards, front-line health care workers, even bus drivers all find themselves, with alarming frequency, in interactions where safety is at risk.  In this episode we speak with an expert in de-escalation and mental health training who has dedicated her professional life to helping those, who must help others.Guest: Dr Yasmeen Krameddine,
You may have recently heard on social media a song from the early 1970’s, Prisencolinensinainciusol, by Adriano Celentano. The song’s lyrics are in no language – total and utter nonsense. It was a smash hit in 1973 in Italy, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The song resurfaced on social media in 2010 and once again in 2020. Seems every generation finds it and marvels in the creativity and originality. The idea itself has a long and storied history going to back to creative arts. It uses Grammelot, a system of language, based on gibberish, popularized by Commedia dell’Arte, a theatrical form that emerged in 16th Century in Italy.In this episode we speak with a leading professor in business ethics and stakeholder theory who says the creative arts can have powerful impacts to human dignity in organizations, and help managers to develop their moral imagination.Guest Simone de Colle, Ph.D. in Management and Business Ethics, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia)Associate Professor of Business Ethics & Strategy, IESEG School of Management in Dario Fo example of Grammelot Professor de Colle’s presentation mentioning grammar of improvisation:
The Global Capability Framework is the Global Alliance’s benchmark for how professionals in public relations and communications management perform at their best. It applies to individuals as well as those who assemble teams of communications professionals, including entire departments. The framework took two years to build with contributions from all around the World. In this episode we explore the 11 capabilities, speaking with one of the authors of the Framework, Dr Amy Thurlow.Guest Professor Amy Thurlow Ph.D., APR, Link to the Global Capabilities Framework 
According to World Press Trends 2019, digital news subscriber numbers are up 208% over the last five years. That could be a welcome sign that local news may survive after all. As many legacy news outlets struggle, industry analysts are looking to digital start-ups to fill the need. And without some of the traditional business models, some are showing remarkable creativity. In this episode we speak with the co-founder of an award-winning digital model based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Guest: Karen“On every continent and in every market context, innovating news publishers are finding ways to adapt and thrive in the face of changing consumer behaviour and competition that is driven, in large measure, by the rapid changes and challenges of digital technology.” Dr François Nel, Editor of World Press Trends 2019
In a special report, authors Anne Gregory, Ph.D.,  Bill Nichols, Ph.D.,  and Professor John Underwood examine the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for professional communicators in the English National Health Service (NHS). Specifically, they look at the first three months of the pandemic from March 2020 to the beginning of June 2020 – the period when communication was initiated and the peak of first-wave infections. Inevitably they found gaps we can all learn from.Guest: Professor Anne Gregory, Ph.D., BA, FRSA, HonFCIPR, Huddersfield University, article Anne refers to ““The lived experience of health communication professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic” is not yet available. Once it’s public, we will publish a link to it in these show notes – please check back.
Stirring the right pot

Stirring the right pot


Throughout this COVID pandemic we all know frontline healthcare workers have been doing extraordinary work and working under exceptional stress. A few weeks ago, between Christmas and New Year’s, one physician in London, part of the NHS system, made a comment on Twitter that caught the ire of public relations professionals not only in the UK, but other parts of the world. Dr Meenal Viz seemed to suggest removing anyone “with the title Communications Manager” from NHS Communications, because “we don’t need to pay someone £30k to update the hospital Twitter feed.”It’s so hard to communicate on Twitter – that limitation of 280 characters. In this episode we chat with Dr Viz, toss the character limit aside, and get to the heart of the message… and to the right audience intended.Meenal Viz, Ph.D. Clinical Link to Meenal’s World podcast (via apple) 
Cancel Culture is a neologism meaning it’s a newly coined term. It’s essentially the phenomenon of publicly shaming, rejecting, and ceasing to provide support to people, companies, or stores if they are deemed unacceptable. Celebrities are frequent targets but not exclusively. The shaming, for the most part, is done through social media. T.S. Eliot once wrote, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”But how are we, as people, supposed to progress if accountability, and the inherent ability to “cancel” is left to the unaccountable?Guest: Alex Malouf, @alex_malouf
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