Robert L. Dilenschneider has been called “Dean of American Public Relations Executives.” As founder of The Dilenschneider Group, he provides strategic advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies and leading families and individuals globally, with experience in fields ranging from mergers and acquisitions, crisis communications, marketing, government affairs, and international media. I couldn’t wait to talk about all of this—including his new book The Public Relations Handbook—this week on the On Brand Podcast.
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About Robert L. Dilenschneider
Robert L. Dilenschneider is founder of The Dilenschneider Group. Headquartered in New York and Chicago, the firm provides strategic advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies and leading families and individuals around the world, with experience in fields ranging from mergers and acquisitions and crisis communications to marketing, government affairs, and international media.
Prior to forming his own firm, Dilenschneider served as president and chief executive officer of Hill and Knowlton, Inc. from 1986 to 1991, tripling that Firm’s revenues to nearly $200 million and delivering more than $30 million in profit. Dilenschneider was with that organization for nearly 25 years. Dilenschneider started in public relations in 1967 in New York, shortly after receiving an MA in journalism from Ohio State University, and a BA from the University of Notre Dame.
Mr. Dilenschneider has been called the “Dean of American Public Relations Executives” and is widely published, having authored 17 books, including Decisions: Practical Advice from 23 Men and Women Who Shaped the World; A Briefing for Leaders; On Power, The Critical 14 Years of Your Professional Life; 50 Plus!—Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life, and Power and Influence: The Rules Have Changed.
Public relations today. Robert began our conversation with the two questions everyone should have in approaching a communication, “Who needs to know this and what action should they take?”
“Oftentimes, your language doesn’t work for your audience,” Robert cautions, noting that you have to figure out what language your audience uses. “Spend some time on lexicon,” even creating a manual with these keywords and phrases.
What about crisis communication? “Crisis communication is a fantastic buzzword. I’m even recognized as a crisis communication expert. But the truth is if you’ve done things wrong you shouldn’t need it if you’ve corrected what’s wrong quickly and properly.”
Sage advice in a crisis. Robert shared a crisis quote from Bill Dervin: “Tell it all, tell it fast.” Robert adds: “Dribbling your story is always a big mistake.”
What brand has made Robert smile recently? Robert closed with a story that gave me a heartfelt smile hearing it. A dear friend of his is struggling with ALS. This friend bought one of Robert’s wife’s early paintings that helped her establish her career. Robert is now sending this ailing friend one of his wife’s recent works. Smiles and well wishes all the way around!
To learn more, check out Robert’s website.
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