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I am always amazed when words written centuries ago seem so applicable today.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1932)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1932)

These are challenging, even scary, times; an economic crisis, extremism, terrorism … all kinds of scary isms!

From another perspective, these are also exciting times; out of today’s economic “destructive energy” will come opportunity, out of fear and division many may find similarities and hope.

Books are great gifts.  I like to give them and receive them.  This holiday, my daughter gave me A Lion Among Men, written by Gregory Maguire, author of  Wicked.  Like Wicked, Lion tells the tale of Oz from another character’s perspective – you guessed it, the Cowardly Lion.  I’ve just started it – feels like a great read.

"A Lion Among Men" by Gregory Maguire

"A Lion Among Men" by Gregory Maguire

OK – here’s the connection. Maguire starts the book with a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German novelist, poet, scientist (a major league deep thinker) who lived from 1749-1932. 

About 100 years or so ago, Goethe wrote these words that struck me as applicable today … at least for me as the owner of a new business.  I feel as if I have risked much to pursue a dream of building something of value.  I also feel immensely fortunate to have done so.

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves as well.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents, meetings and materials assistance that no one could have dreamed would come their way.  Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.  Begin it now.”

Happy New Year!

Post by Nick Vehr – 12.27.08

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It’s Christmas Eve.  I am sitting here reflecting on 2008.  I had a wonderful dinner last night with my family.   santa-clausI have holiday music playing on my laptop.  I will go home from work to help get ready for Christmas Eve dinner with family.  Then … Christmas!  I still wake up first and drive my wife and kids crazy on Christmas morning.  I think I always will.  It makes me smile.

I am happy and blessed.  And, I still believe in Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas.

Post by Nick Vehr – 12.24.08

The “Big 3 Detroit Drama” has been fascinating from a PR perspective.  auto-industry-videos

One thing’s for sure – if you throw a historic world economic meltdown, U.S. automakers, the UAW, the U.S. Congress, an incumbent President and a President-Elect, Governors, Mayors and more than six million auto-related employees into a pot and stir ’em up, you get one heck of a PR lesson.

It took a while, but it is beginning to feel like the auto industry has finally gotten organized, considered and decided on its key messages, and activated its communications plan. 

In my local newspaper this a.m. (The Cincinnati Enquirer), I read the “7 Myths About Detroit’s Big 3.”  Not a bad read.

Last evening, I received an email from Tom Eisbrenner, the CEO of a Detroit PR firm (Eisbrenner Public Relations) with whom Vehr Communications is a partner through IPREX.  In addition to sharing an advance of the article referenced above, he provided a direct link to TheEngineOfDemocracy.com, a Web site from the “people of America’s auto industry.”

Wow, it was just a couple of weeks ago when the Big Three honchos flew to D.C. on their corporate jets, appeared not to have details for the $34 billion they sought, and then looked unprepared to defend their request and their means of travel.  We blogged on that a couple weeks ago.

Then, they tried again a few weeks later, drove there in hybrids and sedans, had more specificity to their requests and convinced the House for a more limited ($14 billion) interim solution.  They almost made it to the finish line before the airbags deployed in the Senate.

Now, they are working on the White House, and they’re working it hard.

You may not like it.  Or, you may be for it.  But, you have to admit that the Big Three, the UAW and all related industry sectors are starting to get a message across that is moving and shaping public policy.  They are starting to communicate effectively.  Their strategic communications plan appears to be working. 

As a PR professional, this has been fascinating and instructive to watch.

A colleague inspired this post. 

You might ask, why would a decidedly unhip, middle-aged guy insert Beyonce’s latest video “Single Ladies (put a ring on it)” into a blog about professional communications.  Connect on the link above, watch it and then read on.

beyonceAround the office, we were talking about how many new media applications there are to support client programs and help them to better engage, manage and strengthen important relationships.  Better to tweet on Twitter, google on Google, link on LinkedIn, face-up on FaceBook, digg, bookmark on de.li.cious, dish on YouTube, blog or vlog … who knows how to decide?!?

A mentor once shared that when it’s all moving too fast, when you find yourself confused and your head is spinning, simplify … go back to the basics.

Well, that’s precisely what Beyonce did and it’s the latest, greatest, hottest new video (according to my daughters and co-workers).  A catchy phrase, good rythym, and minimalist B/W video of three women dancing who are clearly having fun doing it.

There are few, if any, complex camera movements.  There are even fewer fades and dissolves.  The location is not a beach, a mountaintop, or even the lunar surface.  They’re in a studio … dancing … in B/W … really, really dancing.  And, they’re having fun. 

Pretty basic stuff.  And, boy, does it work!

When my colleague mentioned this and suggested I post about it, I couldn’t pass it up.  It will help us to realize that our clients don’t need all the latest applications.  They need the ones that will help them to succeed.

Oh yeah, if you didn’t watch the video earlier, go back.  You really want to see it.

Post by Nick Vehr – 12.4.08