Was it really 20 years ago that we handled the opening of Denver International Airport for our client BAE Automated Systems? You know, it was probably the best client experience I’ve had. We were brought in two years too late – they already hadn’t returned calls from reporters throughout the world. The infamous automated baggage […]

When I spoke to a crowd of professionals in New York City, I said that public relations isn’t just publicity. I said it because all of the presentations before mine were focused on publicity. Even today, I find myself falling in the trap of talking about what we can do in terms of publicity. Shame […]

Why do people, particularly journalists including some of public relations own, insist on calling public relations firms “agencies.”  I don’t get it. I have always told our staff that we’re a firm.  We’re not an agent of our clients but a counselor to them.  It got started with advertising agencies which are or were truly […]

There has been talk in the public relations field about marketing and whether to call our trade marketing and public relations.  After checking definitions of marketing from the American Marketing Association and Wikipedia I feel strongly that I’m not sure. In my mind marketing has always been about developing a product and selling it, but […]

They’re all the rage in marketing, but I’ve never figured out how to use them.  I have an iPhone and have installed a QR reader but can’t be bothered to figure out how to use it.  If there is more information someone wants me to know, why don’t they just tell me? Before my iPhone, […]

A study came out this week that (you probably should sit down before I go on) most companies are not prepared for a crisis. Unthinkable. But not surprising. Okay, you can get up now. The study was done by the Canadian Investor Relations Institute and Fleishman-Hillard, the large international public relations firm. It’s astonishing to […]

Social Worth: Is it who you know or how people know you? I’m sure that by now the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” has become one of those phrases that elicit the follow -up, “Yeah, yeah, I know,” either under your breath, or by the person whom you told it […]

Of course it upsets me that one ad during the Super Bowl would constitute a huge budget for a public relations firm – even the biggest ones wouldn’t sneeze at $3 million a year. And then, the criticism they’re getting from their own media is that they don’t sell a thing. They are just showing […]

Now that all the crisis public relations pundits have weighed in (ad nauseum) about what Toyota should be doing, I’d like to add a note. So far, it’s been like rolling thunder.  One day it’s one recall, two days later it’s another.  For the past three weeks, you couldn’t read a newspaper, listen to radio […]


I can’t help but feel philosophical about returning to JohnstonWells. In every way, it feels good to “come home,” especially to the lovely new offices in this historic building (where I used to buy tulip bulbs) and to an impressive staff and portfolio of work. I’m more excited than ever about being in the communications […]