Want to Build a Great Brand? Start with Great Character.

Business people shaking hands outside of office building

In August 2016, Target’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones left the company to join Uber as its new President.

Just over six months later, he resigned, saying that “…the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber…”

That’s pretty damning, but it shouldn’t be all that surprising. In Jones’ first year, he spent a good deal of time talking to Uber drivers to hear about their issues and experiences. While our firm doesn’t work for Uber or its rival Lyft, I’ve been doing roughly the same thing for the past 18 months – asking drivers who work for both which one they prefer.

My informal tally of roughly 100 drivers shows that they prefer Lyft to Uber by a 9 to 1 margin.

You’d think the reason would be economic – that Lyft pays more than Uber, or that Lyft allows passengers to tip in the app (it does). But the reasons drivers cited were often less tangible – the policies on surge pricing (Uber being viewed as predatory), the method for doing auto safety checks (Lyft slower, but more deliberate), and the tone and tenor of

Crisis Management

Crisis Recovery Q&A with Bob McNaney: How to bounce back from a crisis – stronger than ever

Senior Vice President Crisis & Reputation ManagementBob McNaney is Padilla’s senior vice president of Crisis and Critical Issues. He counsels global corporations through crisis situations. An award-winning investigative journalist and reporter, McNaney conducts crisis training across the country and teaches executives to successfully communicate their messages to their intended audience. His expertise includes spokesperson coaching and issue management. Connect with him at

McNaney answers questions about how to bounce back from a crisis stronger than ever.

Q: What does crisis recovery involve?

First, let’s define crisis. A crisis, unlike a common business problem or challenge, poses a discernable degree of risk to your reputation, financial wellness or business survival – or a combination of all three.

Crisis recovery describes the period after the crisis when your organization is intact, has resumed normal operations and – this is important – has restored its brand to its original or higher position. That doesn’t happen by accident.

You’ve heard the saying, “if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”? That’s absolutely true in today’s volatile marketplace. Every organization needs a current crisis communications plan, along with training and practice sessions. A dusty binder…

The Booze Bin

La Cité du Vin – An interactive wine museum like no other


la cite du vin

During my travels around the storied Bordeaux wine region last week, I had the opportunity to visit La Cité du Vin, a new wine museum that opened last year in the beautiful city of Bordeaux. It impressed me so much,  I spent almost three hours there, but I could have easily spent another three. There is fascinating information for wine aficionados, novices, experts, non-drinkers, and even children to experience via brilliant technology and digital works of art. The museum incorporates multiple cutting edge interactive exhibits that engages multilingual visitors, seamlessly teaching everything there is to know about wine. La Cité du Vin focus is not only French wines but highlights some of the most important wine producing countries in the world and their storied wine regions. The exhibits achieve this through a combination of interactive maps, 3D photos, interviews of famous winemakers and digital books that explain each regions’ terroir, grape varieties, wine styles and other cultural aspects.dining experience 2

The visual and audio aspects of the museum captivate visitors in an array of intriguing installations. There are special spaces where one can sit at a dining table to learn about wine pairings and etiquette while looking at a hologram of a famous chef or master of wine sitting across from them. The museum also has a fantastic area showcasing the aromas, textures, colors, etc. that are found in wines. In this section, you truly get a lesson


2024 Olympics: A Sustainable Solution

Kenny and a friend take a picture with the only visible sign of 2012 Summer Olympics.

It’ll be a heated summer in Paris and Los Angeles, as both cities vie for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Ahead of the announcement on September 14, even the number of social media followers are creating controversy.

This is exactly what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would like, two competing cities driving online engagement, all in the spirit of the Olympic Movement. This healthy competition will push the planning and bid committees to spread positivity about the Olympics around the world.

In the end, both cities might be declared winners. There are rumors that the IOC will name one city the winner of the 2024 Games and the runner-up as the host of the 2028 Games. This is a good idea, as both cities are top-notch finalists.

However, the IOC’s plan highlights a deeper issue: the unsustainability of selecting different host countries for each Olympic Games.

High building costs, paired with limited post-Games usage are a very large barrier for potential host countries. Many countries are passing on hosting the games – which ultimately hurts the Olympic brand.


A look to the past

In December 2014, I had the opportunity to tour London’s Olympic Park. Since…

PR Industry Trends

Could Marketing Save the Fast-Casual Industry?



The past few years have been kind to the fast-casual dining segment. In fact, fast-casual dining was crowned the strongest growing segment across the foodservice industry, increasing $3.4 billion globally from 2014 to 2015.

Though recent studies have shown this wave of popularity might not be here to stay. New research from AlixPartners, shows that frequent customers of fast-casual restaurants (at least two visits a week) plan to cut back their visits by 13% in the next 12 months. In the wake of this significant slowdown, fast-casual executives are looking for answers.

According to the research, 44% of frequent consumers surveyed accredited the reason for less visits is due to an increased effort to eat healthier. With the surge of ready-to-eat foods, meal kit services, and online grocery shopping, dining at home options have become more appealing, giving the fast-casual sector stiff competition. Here’s a look at how 3 popular fast-casual brands leverage marketing tactics to reach consumers, promote healthy offerings and encourage visits.