Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Book Recommendation: "Can We Do That?"

To help me continually evolve, learn how to run my business successfully, and learn from other business owners, I enjoy reading business books.

I just finished, “Can We Do That? Outrageous PR Stunts That Work and Why Your Company Needs Them” by Peter Shankman.

This is a must-read for anyone in the PR industry. It’s also an excellent read for anyone who relies on creativity for their job.

First of all, this book was like a great novel that I couldn’t put down. I was so eager to read about the brilliant ideas the author (who owns The Geek Factory, Inc. a marketing and PR strategy firm in New York) and his team came up with and then to see how successful they were. It reminded me of my early PR days at an agency in Southern California. We once got to coordinate a home-run hitting contest for Coors Brewing Company that put me right down on the field for the San Diego Padres. It was also fun to coordinate a faucet design contest for student designers for Price Pfister.

You have to read the book to learn how his team helped a mom/pop yarn shop outside of New York City garner national media attention. Note, they worked with the creators of the Oscar Meyer wiener mobile.

It was good to be reminded why boring pitches never get any media response. This has been good for me to counsel professionals who have already written their release and they just want me to use my media list to distribute it. I was able to explain to them that the media probably wouldn’t pick it up. He then provides excellent examples of how to spice up boring/typical news announcements.

People pay me to be creative. Many people have said, “Lori, you’re so creative. I’m not creative at all.” As the author explains, “everyone is born creative. We just have to allow ourselves to be creative.”

Peter provides some excellent tips to stimulate creative ideas to avoid PR complacency. Note, I need to get my running shoes back on to “up my endorphins and get a fresh brain.” This will also help me in my desire to write more and have essay and blog ideas come to me.

The last chapter is very inspirational for anyone to read. He provides tips for getting out of a rut (don’t we all need a kick in the butt every now and then when we start acting complacent?) It’s especially hard for moms to get out and do something for ourselves. But this chapter in the book has inspired me to take a class to learn something new and to do things differently to “stir up creativity.” As Peter explains, “everything we do…has implications on how you work, how you become creative, how you do things differently than the masses.”

Peter Shankman recently created a free service called Help a Reporter. All publicists should sign up for it because writers, reporters and journalists use it when they need to find experts to interview. You’ll get 2 – 3 emails from Peter a day with the queries. I enjoy the queries because of the funny tid-bits Peter provides about his day.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Hey Lori,

I love a good book review! Have you read a classic, David Ogilvy "Confessions of an Advertising Man?' It is brilliant, old and one of the best written. His wisdom still lingers in my head...