Will Ebenezer Scrooge’s PR plan succeed today?

You know who Ebenezer Scrooge is! He’s the main character from Charles Dickens novel entitled A Christmas Carol. Now we are presented with problems.

  • First of all, it’s not clear what Scrooge did to be so rich.
    Cover of
    Cover of Scrooge
  • The Wiki article on the history of marketing at secure.wikimedi…, brings out some interesting points. Modern marketing theory didn’t begin until the early 1900’s. Charles had his book first published in 1843.

Is This Good PR?

Remember the scene where Scrooge and Cratchit are working? It’s Christmas Eve. Scrooge’s Nephew stops by. But before that, Cratchit is getting another piece of coal – for warmth. But Scrooges stops him.

What’s wrong with this picture?

It appears that Scrooge’s business is accessible to the public. After all, didn’t the 2 gentlemen come to his place of business, for a charitable contribution?

Now if a customer comes into a shop and they are freezing – would they stay there? Would they do business with the owner? Well, would they?

Of course not! We could argue that Scrooge kept Cratchit in an isolated room, with the door shut. And he keep the main room heated, for the benefits of customers. But that argument doesn’t make sense. If Cratchit opened the door to get supplies, in comes the cold air.

Wouldn’t you as a customer, go to another business?

Charitable contributions are good PR

Here’s another problem. If Scrooge made a charitable contribution to the two gentlemen visitors, isn’t this good PR? Think about it! He get’s his business mentioned and people think it’s a good thing. They want to do business with him!

And I don’t know about the tax laws in 1843. But maybe he could deduct his charitable contributions, from his income tax. Doesn’t that make sense?

Employee PR is crucial

Ulverston Dickensian Festival 2007. No Victori...
Image via Wikipedia

Would you get a good business endorsement from Bob Cratchet, if you argued over a piece of coal – for warmth? He probably tell all his friends and relatives to stay away.

And if social media were invented in 1843, he wouldn’t go on the Internet and sing your praises. Granted – he wouldn’t say anything negative, for fear of being fired.

You know who uses social media a lot? The US Air Force. They regularly encourage its use, since it promotes the Air Force.

A while back, I used to run my own IT consulting corporation. My taxes were done by an Indian firm (i.e. solo owner), that had a Mormon worker working for them. He had 8 kids to support. He was constantly overworked and underpaid. He complained to me about the situation. I complained that my work wasn’t getting done.

Guess what? He left for a better job and I left for another accounting firm. It’s a Jewish firm, recommended by a Jewish friend. I been with them for years. For the record, Mormon and Jewish (i.e. JVS Chicago) religious groups, have been very helpful to me – both with job search and small business start-up activities. And here I stand – neither Jewish or Mormon.

—–     From the Field ————-

I don’t agree that an advise columnist would make the best marketer

Sometimes I might write a piece, just to provoke thought. Chicago columnist Mike Royko did this all the time.

In reality, we have to factor in both environment and heredity , and it’s hard to know all the variables. I know. Someone I know is a world renown, Harvard generic modeling professor and researcher.

David Ogilvy came to marketing and copywriting, after over a dozen dead-end or failed professions.

Renown copywriter Brian Keith Voiles came to direct response copywriting, after being a magician for kids parties. He composed his own letters, to promote his business.

I had to learn marketing when I ran an IT consulting business for 13 years. But many potential clients can’t understand it.

Like I said – provoking thought is what I like to do.

Dickens and Little Nell (1890), a statue by Fr...
Image via Wikipedia

Reactions to a blog post on story telling

I loved this post about story telling.

For years, while I was running an IT consulting business (followed by working at Motorola), I took many creative writing courses at the College of DuPage (over the years). You learned to tell a story in many formats – screen plays, novels, short stories, poetry, etc.

In the past three years, I’ve turned my attention to technology marketing communications. But telling stories is central.

In fact, I have seen great quotes from copywriters Dan Kennedy and John Carlton, on utilizing stories for sales literature. Heck! Clayton Makepeace and his band of direct response bloggers, bring home that point – again and again, over at Makepeace Total Package blog.

I like your spin on connecting the story to a marketing message.

Here’s the thing. I might read a direct response mail or web piece. I would probably forget the pretty images, facts and figures, bullet points, tables, etc. I might be so dense, as to not pick up the main theme. I may not resonate with the benefits and psychological triggers you’re bombarding me with.

But I remember the story (or stories), as the case may be.

So if the buyer (i.e. the protagonist) can picture themselves in your marketing story, you have baited the hook correctly.

“Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these…what might have been.” – William Shakespeare



2 thoughts on “Will Ebenezer Scrooge’s PR plan succeed today?

  1. This is my first time here. I have been reading your comments in copyblogger (your comments usually comes after an article entry).

    You seemed to have all the time in the world to think and write. And you think well sir.

    1. Jef:

      It’s nice you stopped by and I enjoy seeing you at Copyblogger.

      Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have all the time in the world to think and write. I have full-time work with B2B Technology copywriting and ghostwriting – or trying to secure clients for such endeavors.

      Thinking comes from stream of consciousness writing, which I usually do for Copyblogger comments (i.e. James Joyce). Thinking probably comes from my lifelong love of philosophy – both Eastern and Western. It’s a good training ground.


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