Dick Martin: Beyond Buzz

martin1Dick Martin is author of several books, including most recently OtherWise: The Wisdom You Need to Succeed in a Diverse and Divisive World. Previously, he spent thirty-two years with AT&T, including five as executive VP of public relations, employee communications, and brand management.

Martin has also written numerous features for the magazine, most recently "Nothing in Common," in the Summer 2012 issue.

Is Capitalism Rotting From the Inside?

When corporate speechwriters lift their heads from their keyboards these days, they are all abuzz about a book that has topped the New York Times best-seller list for four weeks.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by the French economist Thomas Piketty is one of those 685-page...

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The Voice of the Paparazzi

The paparazzi used to focus their lenses on the likes of Brad and Angelina for the vicarious thrill of the masses. But now they and their keyboard-wielding colleagues play a critical role in corporate governance and marketing...

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Transparency in Firing

As you may know, Jill Abramson has been relieved of her responsibilities as executive editor of The New York Times after less than three years on the job.

I don’t know Abramson. Still, I've been an admirer, and I thought many of the changes she brought to the Times were inspired....

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Grassroots

According to The Wall Street Journal, technology companies are "considering mobilizing a grassroots campaign to rally public opinion around the idea that the Internet's pipes should be equally open for all."

I'm shocked. Next, you'll tell me there's gambling in Nevada....

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Is Everyone Entitled to PR?

I worked at Western Electric back in the 1970s. It was a subsidiary of the AT&T monopoly, which was also its only customer. It was run by engineers, and I imagined that, under their white shirts and skinny ties, they wore T-shirts that read, “Real men don’t need PR.” They were, of course, all men in those days. And they saw something slightly effete in the notion of PR. By...

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PR Advice From a Legend

You know you’re getting old when you go to an industry conference and one of the only people you know practically invented the industry in question. That happened to me not too long ago, and the person in question was Harold Burson, who is now 93 and still sharp of mind, if less sprightly of body than he once was. Harold is the co-founder of the giant...

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Mining the Future of PR

Everyone’s talking about Big Data, even those of us with liberal-arts degrees. It’s suddenly dawned on us that the metaphorical “cloud” into which our digital devices exhaust is an actual orchard of data about our purchases, conversations, and movements, ready for round-the-clock harvesting. Amazon alone catalogued every detail of the...

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Reputation vs. Character

The guy who hired me for AT&T's PR department was a former newspaper editor. Like his peers at many companies, he hired only ex-journalists. I had an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a master's in broadcasting. Though I didn't know it at the time, I was an experiment foisted on him by executives higher up the food chain who were convinced that most people...

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Marketing Without Marketing

Phineas T. Barnum was the second millionaire in American history and the first—though certainly not the last—to build his wealth entirely on hokum. Barnum knew exactly what he was up to. Just five days before he died, he confided in his diary, “I am indebted to the press of the United States for almost every dollar which I possess.” Were he alive today, he'd...

Marketing Without Marketing

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Thinking About Feelings

The chronicle of companies behaving badly seems to expand with every news cycle. Some entries reflect corrosive greed; many, simple stupidity. What they all have in common are legions of PR types swooping in like Mighty Mouse—hands on hips, feet spread apart, cape billowing—to save the day and douse the fires of opprobrium. Or at least lessen the CEO’s heartburn...

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The Conference Board Review is the quarterly magazine of The Conference Board, the world's preeminent business membership and research organization. Founded in 1976, TCB Review is a magazine of ideas and opinion that raises tough questions about leading-edge issues at the intersection of business and society.