Archives for April 2013

Failing: Own It, Fix It and Move Forward

A few months ago, the super-networked Nikki Little shared her Fail Detroit post on Facebook. I was intrigued, and after poking around on the site, referenced a big FAIL from earlier in my career. One thing led to another, and the post below appeared on Fail Detroit, which tells us, “We all fail. Learn from it.” Shout-out to Brandon; keep up the creative, courageous work in the D!

The Attempt

I was the client manager in an agency team working on a brochure. We had the usual process of creative meetings, copywriting, design and client approvals.

What Went Wrong

Photo Credit: Boston Wolverine via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Boston Wolverine via Compfight cc

After delivery, the client sales manager called me to tell me that there was a mistake on the cover. The cover, which had a grand total of eight words. We had repeated a word in the title. There were three lines of copy wrapping around an image, and at some point during the design process, we had been trying out different combinations to see what looked best. The problem was it balanced best with the extra word, so everyone somehow focused on that, instead of actually reading the copy.

Eight people needed to sign off before it got printed. Eight. All of our initials were in a row on the proof. Obviously as the client manager, the one that mattered was me, and I blew it. I can feel that “ugh” feeling in my gut as I type this, and that was 10 years ago! Oh, the pleasure of apologizing to the client and everyone else, and then reporting the incident during our 50-person staff meeting.

Lessons Learned

I did not run screaming for the hills, as I’m sure I wanted to at the time. I’ve worked my way up through the communications industry, and now work as a public relations consultant. If eight people can miss a clear mistake, it is all the more important that I check and double-check. It’s all on me. You NEVER have to push something so fast through production that you can’t take the time to make sure everything is correct.

One of my mandates when I’m producing material for clients is that the copy has to be final when we go to design. It’s not fair to ask designers to play with words; that’s not their area of expertise, and you’re just asking for trouble.

No one’s perfect. The best way to arm yourself against those mistakes that will happen is to create your own system of checks and balances, which will boost your confidence and reduce your stress. When that mistake does happen, I guarantee that 99 percent of the time, you are more upset than the client is. Own it, fix it and move forward. That’s what will keep your client’s trust.

Do you have an example of a fail? How did you power through?


Welcome to my new home

I decided there aren’t enough public relations bloggers out there, so here’s my blog!


I’d like to thank bloggers including Nikki at Essential Elements and Shonali at Waxing Unlyrical for encouraging me to go ahead and jump in this busy pool of public relations professionals. I’m not going to proclaim I’m THE innovator. However, I’ve been in the business for 15 years. Before that, I was the journalist on the other side of the pitch, so I’ve seen lots of interesting stuff, good and bad. I’ve had victories and gaffes, and I own everything that’s helped me get where I am now: A public relations consultant with a diverse book of business and a network of smart, cool colleagues that I’ve molded into Jemef PR.

I’ve been on my own since 2011, and was a home office advocate a few years before that. I rolled into Detroit in 2009, and it turns out it was NOT good timing. Auto companies and suppliers stripping down and starting over meant the market was flooded with communications folks looking for new opportunities. It turns out, I found the right one: At the encouragement of new friends from PRSA Detroit, I decided to take a partner and we made a go at running our own business, which evolved into me running solo. Things were going great, then I found out I had to take the show on the road: My husband’s in the hotel biz, so moving is also part of my world. In the summer 2012, I started calling Dallas-Fort Worth home. It’s a testament to my great clients and the strong partnerships I’ve forged that I’ve continued to work with my two biggest, both of whom are based in Metro Detroit.

I expect the Jemef PR physical location will change again, and my geographical home base will inform/inspire/infiltrate my posts from time to time, along with my perspective on the home office thing. You can see in this pic what Jemef PR looks like 99 percent of the time. Most of my stuff will come from where I’m the most comfortable, but I’m going to be coming at you with a lot of different stuff. I’m excited to talk about what I see in the world of communications, to hear what you have to say and to get smarter from it!

Welcome to my new home. I look forward to connecting with you! What would you like to talk about?