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The Print Ads of DC's Wells Fargo-Wachovia Transition
October 21, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

In 2008, as the financial crisis enveloped the country's financial sector, some stronger banks seized the opportunity by buying weaker banks. So it was with Wells Fargo's acquisition of Wachovia for $15.1 billion. Three years later, Wells Fargo faces its own problem: how to transition hundreds of branches in 21 states and the District of Columbia from the Wachovia brand to Wells Fargo's.

The Most Overlooked Quality Needed for Successful PR: News Judgement
September 9, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

Recognizing news when you see it is harder than you might think. There's a lot of advice out there about how be successful in PR, but developing solid "news judgement" is the often-overlooked key ingredient.

My Grandmother Predicted Content Marketing
July 22, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

Around the time my age hit double digits, my grandmother gave me some Marvel Comics stock as a gift, along with quite possibly the most stunningly prescient advice I've ever received: The most treasured, most valuable thing in the future will be stories, she told me.

Tragically, our patience didn't match her prescience, and the stock was sold before Hollywood turned to Marvel full bore for stories to tell. Truly, we're kicking ourselves. Owning pre-Spiderman movie Marvel stock would have been better even than owning pre-iPod Apple stock.

Marketing to Smart People – A Monsanto Case Study
June 1, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

If you enjoy looking at city rankings, as I do, than you know: Washington D.C. is constantly at or near the top of any number of lists of the smartest, most well-read, fittest, healthiest, most media-savvy, highest-earning, best-educated cities in the country.

This presents an interesting challenge and an opportunity for marketers: how does one reach this audience of super smart people? Will the messaging used in the rest of the country be effective with the Inside-the-Beltway crowd?

I Did Not Have Time to Write You a Short Tweet, So I Wrote a Long One Instead
May 24, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

Before I ever asked myself, "What makes a good tweet?" I had to be convinced of a more fundamental question: Why tweet at all?

It is the most natural thing in the world for a former journalist (such as myself) to hold up Twitter  as a symbol for all that is wrong with America. We have short attention spans. We can digest information only in sound-bites. We do not deal well with complexity. We value the ephemeral over the permanent.

Anatomy of a Misdirected Pitch Letter, Part II
April 28, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

Part II of a series on Email pitch letters. Read Anatomy of a Misdirected Pitch Letter, Part 1

A few days before I posted Part I of this story, Jason Falls over at Social Media Explorer published what turned out to be a fairly controversial blog post, "The PR Guide to Email Pitching." In my opinion, he addressed one of the great, unheralded topics of PR outreach – namely, The List.

Anatomy of a Misdirected Pitch Letter, Part 1
April 21, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

As a marketing and PR professional, I'm always interested in how the "big boys" do it. From BP's colossally inept PR response to the oil spill, to a recent pitch I received from consulting firm Fleishman-Hillard (they'll be pissed I put them in the same sentence as BP), one thing I've learned is that the big boys don't always get it right.

How Johnnie Walker Builds Brand Ambassadors (Hint: Free Whiskey)
March 29, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

I know what you're thinking: "Of course Johnnie Walker is good at building brand ambassadors. They sell alcohol, for crying out loud! If I sold alcohol, I'd have loyal brand ambassadors also, believe you me!"

It's true. Alcohol is easier to sell than a great many things. But that doesn't mean the free whiskey tasting I attended last week wasn't also a great case study in masterful brand marketing.

LivingSocial Advertising on the DC Metro?
February 22, 2011 | Written by Russell Max Simon

I've always thought the decision to advertise on subways was smarter than it seemed. It's sort of like advertising above a urinal: you've got someone's captive attention when they don't have anything else to do but wait (ok, maybe one thing to do). My guess is those ads get read a lot more, and a lot more closely, than your average print ad stuck somewhere else.