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…

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.


Pepsi Ad Autopsy

You may have heard about a certain multimillion dollar television ad campaign for a carbonated beverage that was quickly pulled after quick and extensive online backlash. It stunningly revealed the dangers of using current events to sell products in today’s connected world.

As brands try to make more meaningful and emotional connections, more are wading into current and controversial issues. We saw plenty of sociopolitical co-opting by bold brands during the Super Bowl. SNL satirized it hilariously in a skit of competing ad pitches for Cheetos. For some reason, the Pepsi ad was different. The ad spawned a crowd-sourced outrage that ended in it being pulled in 24 hours in a form of social censorship.

I anticipate an extensive autopsy of how the ad came to be. Some are blaming the lack of perspective in the creative process by relying on in-house creative, while others see a desperate pepsi2attempt at relevancy for television advertising. I don’t think either are at the heart of the backlash. I have no doubt the intentions of the ad were good. The nondescript protests looked to be about equality…

Consumer Marketing

Spring Cleaning Your Communications Toolbox

4.5.17 Spring Cleaning

Spring has sprung! Ok, truth is, it sprang exactly 18 days ago. So how do you feel? Lighter? Warmer? Fresher?

I was so excited about spring that about a month ahead, I cleared out, rearranged, refolded and slimmed down my entire closet to my boyfriend’s confusion and dismay.

Though you may be knowingly chuckling, most of you get it. There’s something simply freeing about throwing. stuff. out.

Why am I telling you about my cleaning habits? Because spring is a time for us to take a breather (literally – we can breathe now that it’s not 0 degrees out), recharge and reenergize ourselves with a fresh outlook on life… or in our case, a fresh approach to marketing.

4.5.17 Out with Old

With that theme in mind, I asked some of Padilla’s best and brightest how they think communications professionals or clients should spring clean their marketing toolkit.


Break away from thinking that a content strategy is developing a content calendar without any thought given to what your audiences want to see, hear, read or interact with.  Scott Davila | Senior Vice President

Discontinue thinking

Consumer Marketing

How Instagram is Driving Consumer Trends in Healthy Living

Instagram has been a key player in the social media world over the past year, as the platform has continued to add different features to build and improve user experience. And whether you love the changes or hate them, you’re probably talking about them. But with all of these changes, the bottom line has stayed the same – visual content performs best. More and more brands are turning to Instagram for influencer and ambassador programs, building brand awareness, and marketing campaigns – and the industries getting the most bang for their buck are health and food. But why has Instagram become such a hot commodity?

Image result for people taking pictures of food


Seeing is Believing

With the amount of health and wellness content on Instagram, it’s nearly impossible to do a quick scan through your feed without being greeted by a photo of what your friend ate for dinner, or the ever-popular #TransformationTuesday progress photo. Recipes are now simplified with quick tutorials that can easily be bookmarked and saved for later. New or challenging exercise videos are demonstrated via Instagram Live or…

PR Industry Trends

Zombies, white walkers, gratuitous violence, and… great beer.

Trekkies everywhere have a reason to raise a glass: New York’s Shmaltz Brewing is planning to release three limited edition Star Trek beers this year, in addition to last year’s two releases that celebrated the franchise’s 50th anniversary.

While last year’s releases were debuted (in true fantastic nerd fashion) at Comic Con in San Diego, the new brews will be rolled out in 35 states throughout the country upon their release. While a television or movie-themed beer is nothing new, this made me wonder about the intersection of entertainment and alcohol. What other brands are leveraging the cult following and “fandoms” of television and movies?

game-of-thrones-real-wine-inside-tyrion (1)Ommegang Brewery

Since 2013, this brewery has partnered with HBO to create and market a series of limited-edition beers. Their theme is everyone’s favorite show: Game of Thrones. With names relevant to the series such as “The Iron Throne,” “Bend the Knee,” and “Take the Black,” these brews bring die-hard fans and casual viewers alike closer to the mythical land of Westeros. Each year, a media blitz of beer reviews and “first looks” at the new releases leads to coverage for the products in a wide

PR Industry Trends

9 Tips to Landing the Perfect Summer Internship

Job interview image

It’s that time of year –  spring has sprung (mostly), and college students are hot on the trail of summer internships. As someone who started as an intern 16 (yikes!) years ago, and has been on the other side of the process for many years now, I’ve seen and heard a little bit of everything. But what makes a candidate stand out (in the right way!), and how do you go about landing that perfect summer gig?

At Padilla, we get hundreds of resumes for just a few internship spots. Competition is fierce, to say the least. Whether it’s Padilla or somewhere else, there are a couple sure-fire things you can do to up your chances of landing yourself in the “let’s talk to this person” pile.

  • Make the most of your experiences. It seems crazy, but nowadays, you must have experience to get experience. Have you completed a PR campaigns class? Or participated in a large-scale research project for class? Make sure to include relevant classwork, on-campus leadership positions, and activities and clubs, too. Everything helps!
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. People in our industry have an eye for detail – that’s one of the reasons clients hire us. Make sure
  • PR Industry Trends

    Plays Well With Others

    plays_well_with_others_mugSo, there I was heading off to kindergarten back in 196…. never mind the year. New shoes, new haircut and my treasured ‘Planet of the Apes’ lunchbox. Who knew my kindergarten teacher was onto something when she gave me an E for effort in the category of ‘Plays Well With Others.’ Was she a soothsayer, forecasting my foundational need to partner with people?

    Partnership is always palpable. Throughout my career spent at various communications agencies (with a stint in-house at American Express), one of the common threads that fed my professional curiosity was the ability to partner with colleagues around the globe. Learning about other cultures and gathering insights on how public relations works in countries such as Asia or South America provided me with knowledge and makes me a better counselor to clients.

    So, almost six years ago when I joined Padilla, I was a bit suspect about how I could continue my international learning. Sure, our agency has talent by the truck full, but what about people that weren’t like me, that didn’t have similar backgrounds or cultures? Would my new job feed that part of my professional curiosity?…

    PR Industry Trends

    Lose Weight by Petting Puppies

    You may have to continue the activity aggressively for many hours to see any benefit, but keep trying. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about clickbait. Maybe you have been a recent victim of it. Perhaps as recently as visiting this page.

    Clickbait is not new, and the concept predates actual clicking. My first experience was a circus sideshow that failed to deliver on the dog faced boy I anticipated from the barker. In today’s page view economy, your clicks are the equivalent of the two bucks I forked over for disappointment. You have seen the headlines:



    • 11 things that will shock you about BLANK
    • You Won’t Believe Where These Child Actors are Now
    • This Berry Found in The Amazon is the Real Fountain of Youth

    We’ve seen clickbait on news sites, using salacious language in headlines that doesn’t always reflect the facts of the story. This doesn’t consider outright Fake News that we saw surpass mainstream news views on Facebook last year.

    For marketers building long term engagement strategies, we need to forgo the temptations of clickbait to boost…