What if Chuck Knoll bought PR?


Most companies start shopping for PR well after they need it. I see it a lot and am sure you’ve also heard way too many times executives say things like “get in here and get some early wins” by “picking the low hanging fruit.”

If this was football and I heard my coach say that, I’d think this is not a team built for the SuperBowl and I’d be calling Jerry Maguire to get me on a Chuck Knoll-led team ASAP.

So many companies shop for a PR solution in the way you run to Home Depot for a generator. The lights are out, the milk is getting warm and the kids are getting bored with Monopoly. Emotions run high and that strategic thinking that should be driving the decision for PR to support your business for the next few quarters gives way to buying tactics and ideas that feel good today.

Those are usually sexy and fun ideas or trick hook and lateral passing plays that get everyone stimulated like chugging a Red Bull to get ready for work – when you probably should just eat better and get more sleep.

As anyone who has ever worked with me has heard me say: Ideas are like belly buttons, everyone has one and most of them don’t work. I’m more interested in creating the right organizational design from which to execute ideas that align against specific business goals. And I want people on my team who thought to buy the generator on a sunny day. Those people win you championships and have great ideas!

Chuck Knoll won four SuperBowl championships as head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was famous for saying that “Three things can happen when you throw the football. Two of them are bad.” He was renowned for running the ball in a cloud of dust and punting on 4th and inches. What gets lost is the foundation he built as an offense and defense that allowed him to run any kind of play.

Oddly, I’m a lifelong San Diego Chargers fan and love the passing game. But when it comes to PR, I am more in Chuck Knoll’s camp than Don “Air” Coryell’s of the 80s Chargers — and so should you.

SuperBowl championships as a franchise:

  • Steelers: Six
  • Chargers: Zero

I rest my case.

– Jose Mallabo

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  1. #1 by Joe Felch on January 30, 2013 - 8:02 pm

    I am writing due to a serious problem with an eBay vendor.
    No one answering phones for eBay customer support will do anything.
    One of your vendors (Ki Sales) has been spamming me.
    That’s the least of the problem. He claims to be an eBay employee under the direct supervision of Richelle Parham.
    He has threatened to “mess with” and “limit” my eBay account.
    The fact that he is an apps vendor on eBay and is making these threats while claiming to be an eBay employee mean that eBay may be held responsible for refusing to do anything to correct the problem which, so far, is what eBay is doing, NOTHING.

    I get the runaround on the phone and no one seems to understand just how big a problem this could turn out to be.
    I record my communicaton with eBay (written and phone) and am wondering if I need to go to the press with this?

    I had to use my email address to be able to post this comment so I know have a way to get back ahold of me. Please do so and please provide a phone number of someone I can cal and speak to about this issue…an email address or generic customer support number will not suffice at this point. I’ve spent over two hours of my time with useless phone call to an equally useless customer support center.

  2. #2 by Jose Mallabo on February 2, 2013 - 6:12 pm

    Thanks for the comment but I haven’t worked for eBay in a long time. Sorry I can’t help. I wish you the best in resolving this issue.

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