Harold Burson's Blog

A Tough Year for the Class of 2009

May 20, 2009

For a good part of my business life I have made two or three visits a year both in this country and when traveling abroad to speak to students and faculty at colleges of communications and graduate schools of business. My two most recent talks were at Boston University and City University of New York ...

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News and the New Amplifiers

March 31, 2009

Not too many years ago, a negative article in a small newspaper or on one of the cable news programs at a non-peak news hour usually elicited a “who cares” shrug of the shoulders and life moved on. But not now. A posting of that once obscure clipping or that 50 seconds of damaging reportage ...

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How Much is a Trillion?

March 23, 2009

Few people can relate to a million of anything, especially dollars. Even fewer to a billion. A trillion? Here’s a clue: One million seconds equals 11 1/2 days. One billion seconds equals 31.7 years. One trillion seconds equals 31,700 years.

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Are We Marketing Communicators Communicating?

February 3, 2009

Now it’s Citigroup that’s responding to public – to be more accurate, media and political – wrath focused on the bank’s commitment to spend $20 million a year for the next 20 years to name the new New York Mets stadium. Having taken taxpayer money to preserve its solvency, Citigroup is said to be renegotiating ...

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Not So Wild a Dream

January 15, 2009

Many of those who reached adulthood during the past two decades take for granted the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., whose “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial on August 23, 1963 symbolizes the achievement by African-Americans of civil rights commitments set forth in both the Declaration of Independence and the ...

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December 10, 1994: Our Saddest Day

December 14, 2008

At a time when the holiday spirit and the oncoming dawn of a new year should bring an immersion of happiness and glee to those of us with long memories, for the past 11 years we at Burson-Marsteller have been saddened with the turning of the calendar page to December 10. That was the date ...

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“You Have Elected Our Candidate”

December 1, 2008

Until my recent two-week visit to Asia, I had never been absent from the United States on the day of a Presidential election.* I was in Hong Kong fulfilling a pre-arranged schedule that included talks with a former CEO of our Asia region (a non-American), members of our B-M/Hong Kong staff (almost exclusively Chinese) and ...

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“Nothing new under the sun….” — With apologies to Ecclesiastes

October 26, 2008

About a dozen years ago, one of my most intelligent decisions was hiring a part-time professional archivist to preserve the historical record of a public relations firm which has thrived beyond my wildest dreams. The archive is in two parts: 1) The Burson-Marsteller Archive and 2) The Harold Burson Archive. I have made a commitment ...

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A Dose of Business Common Sense

September 10, 2008

My long-time friend and client at The Coca-Cola Company, Don Keough, has done all manner of executives – especially executives-to-be – a good turn by recording his common sense views in a new book mischievously titled “The Ten Commandments for Business Failure.” Don is a Warren Buffett type guy, but that should come as no ...

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Public Relations in a Downturn Economy

August 25, 2008

Anyone who skims the headlines knows that most of the world is challenged by an economy that’s losing its steam. It’s been that way for almost a year and the timing of an upturn is indeterminate, most likely not until well into next year. The impact on public relations has been interesting – somewhat different ...

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2009