All Things Must Pass – Sacto Celebrities Updated w/ Colin Hanks

Image from All Things Must Pass on


In 2008, I wrote about Colin Hanks and his new project to create a documentary about Russ Solomon and Tower Records.  His project is moving forward now and he’s funding it on KickStarter.

For as little as $10, you can be a part of telling a great story and have a “Thank You,” in the credits.  I’ll be participating and hope that all of you who found music thanks to Russ Solomon help out as well.



Farewell Oprah

image from

The Oprah Winfrey show has been a staple of daytime talk for 25 years.  Careers have been made, lost, re-made, and yes lost again her couch.  The story of Oprah creating one of the world’s strongest brands is amazing and I congratulate her on a truly amazing job. Now with all due respect, I say good riddance.  This isn’t because I don’t think she makes some amazing products, it’s because I will no longer have to listen to a potential client ask if I can help them get on the Oprah show.

I jokingly, OK, half-jokingly, had an Oprah criterion as part of my new business process where if a potential client asked if we could get them on the Oprah show, it was usually a deal breaker. The reason was that many of these potential clients didn’t offer products for the consumer and the desire to be on Oprah demonstrated a desire to be famous rather than successful.  It also demonstrated a lack of understanding about reaching their potential customers. I’d like to think that this presented a learning opportunity, but usually it didn’t.

With that in mind, I just may open up a bottle and toast Oprah on her final show.

Lesson: Never apologize for the size of your office

I started Morgan/Dorado in the guest bedroom of our home in 2006.  In 2007 we moved into a suite of offices. We had our own conference room, four offices, a reception area, the whole nine yards all wrapped into 840 square feet. My thought was that clients could meet me there, the folks who work with me would want to work from the office, it would be a peach.

Fast forward two years.  90% of the time, it’s just me there. Client meetings at the office are maybe once a month and the contractors who work with me, never come there to work. So I moved into a smaller office.

Here it is:

And from the other side:

Instead of a complete space that was all mine, now I have an office in a shared building.  There is a conference room available to me, I just have to reserve it in advance.

Clients still visit me, maybe still once a month.  Usually we meet in the conference room, which I reserve ahead of time, but sometimes in my office.  Since we moved into this smaller space I’ve been a little self-conscious of it.  This week, a client came to visit and took  a seat, and we started talking. I mentioned about the tight quarters and apologized for how small the space was.  He got very serious, and said “Never apologize for the size of your office. I hired you for the work you do, not for how much you spend on rent.”

Very good point. Lesson learned.  Never apologize for the size of your office. They can see how big it is themselves.

Dear PR People: Do your actions pass the “USA Today Test?”

When I was getting started in PR I was introduced to what was called the “LA Times Test.”  In a nutshell, would you be comfortable if the actions you were about to take were outlined on the front page of the LA Times.  If not, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.  From now on, I’m going to rename this exercise the “USA Today Test” due to the great article by Jon Swartz and Byron Acohido that outlines the failure of some people, who apparently are new to PR, to understand that if you have to hide it you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

The kerfuffle began when a writer was contacted by an employee of a major international PR firm with a pitch for a story on how an obscure feature of Gmail was violating the privacy of users.  As it wasn’t disclosed in the pitch who it was made on behalf of, the writer responded, as he should, “Who is paying for this? (not paying me, but paying you).”  The response from the PR rep is what really made this a story:

“I’m afraid I can’t disclose my client yet. But all the information included in this email is publicly available.”   You can read the entire thread here.

Yeah. That’s bad.  You can’t say who your client is but you want a vocal privacy advocate to write something on their behalf? Failure.  This is like Mean Girls meets Silicon Valley.  As it always does, the truth comes out and it turns out it was Facebook who hired the PR Firm for this campaign.This is where it gets really interesting and BM throws their client under the bus with a statement this morning that they were SHOCKED, SHOCKED that this kind of thing was going on:

The following statement was released by Burson-Marsteller on May 12, 2011.

 “Now that Facebook has come forward, we can confirm that we undertook an assignment for that client.

The client requested that its name be withheld on the grounds that it was merely asking to bring publicly available information to light and such information could then be independently and easily replicated by any media.  Any information brought to media attention raised fair questions, was in the public domain, and was in any event for the media to verify through independent sources.

Whatever the rationale, this was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined. When talking to the media, we need to adhere to strict standards of transparency about clients, and this incident underscores the absolute importance of that principle.”

Bottom line, if you don’t want to see your actions and your name on the front page of the USA Today, don’t do it.

Friday fun with videos – Home Alone House for Sale & Mom’s Night Out

For a little fun this Friday afternoon check out these videos:

First is from our friends at Mommy Juice Wines.  The video is well-done, a lot of fun and supports the attitude behind their brand.

Next up is a video showing off the house that was used in the filming of “Home Alone.” The video itself isn’t amazing but it’s just cool to see how much was really shot in the house. One thing I really like about this video is how they have the URL, as the slate. Well done. Not sure how the copyright holder will feall about it though.

Sacramento as social gaming powerhouse? KlickNation thinks so

It could happen and local company KlickNation is at the forefront with games like Superhero City and Age of Champions. If you check out Superhero City on Facebook it says that it has over 400,000 monthly users. That means that every month, there is the equivalent of EVERYONE in Sacramento playing one of their games.  That is awesome.

Here’s the next great part, they’re hiring. Yep, you can get in on the fun by checking out their careers page. For a little more about KlickNation check out this segment that ran this week on CBS13.

So, while there’s still some doom and gloom about the local economy, take a look around and you’ll see some local companies that are shaking things up, growing and turning regular people into Superheroes.

We are going to change your minds! Why do people announce their PR campaigns?

In 2007, I wrote about the Kings and the Maloofs announcing their attempt to win back the hearts of fans. Then it seemed there was a flurry of people “announcing their PR campaigns,” including Countrywide Mortgage (yeah that worked out well) and our own Sac State.

Apparently both of my readers failed to inform the world that this is not a good strategy, especially in a market like Sacramento where public opinion can be led by a relative few as today I see the article by Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis in the Sac Bee about the NBA and it’s “Image Makeover for Sacramento Kings.”  Maybe it’s the positioning, but the Kings don’t need a makeover.  People in Sacramento love the Kings. What they don’t like is that the team hasn’t been in the playoffs for the last few years and that the owners appeared to abandon Sacramento for the sandy beaches behind the Orange Curtain.

Let me be clear, don’t say, do.  Don’t announce your intention to change people’s perception of you, then everything you do is viewed through that lens.  Do the right thing, and guess what, people will start noticing, then you can wrap it into a nice package for people.