25: Nick Kalm: PR and Your Reputation

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On this episode of The Manage Your Message Podcast host Jim Karrh speaks with Nick Kalm, founder and president of Reputation Partners. Nick is recognized as one of the top public relations experts in the US.  

Beyond Nick’s long experience in PR—including corporate and large agency work, before he started his own firm—there was another reason that Jim asked Nick to join the podcast and speak to best practices in PR. During Jim’s corporate days, Nick and his firm helped Mountain Valley Spring Company win the bottled-water industry’s highest honor for its integrated marketing and public relations program.

Many people tend to focus on public relations as a means to deal with bad news. So, the conversation started with Nick’s views on two recent PR messaging challenges: Nike’s highly visible product failure with Duke basketball star Zion Williamson; and professional golfer Matt Kuchar’s cringe-worthy series of message blunders.

Jim and Nick then spoke about common areas of vulnerability and “blind spots.” Nick says that most businesses today, regardless of size or industry, “Have gotten smart about the need to have a crisis communication plan in place.” However, many still need to go beyond the obvious. They might need to think strategically about scenarios involving bad actors such as disgruntled employees or job candidates, malicious competitors, or criminals.

Jim and Nick then switched gears. They spoke about public relations not simply as a discipline to use when things are going wrong, but also as a means for proactive growth.

The two also spoke about nonprofits in particular. Nick is Vice Chair and a member of the Board of Directors of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. Nick spoke about the reasons he found this organization and its mission so compelling—and also recommended that forward-thinking nonprofits might likewise consider having a PR or communications expert on their Board.


Learn more about Reputation Partners


Find Nick on LinkedIn


The story of Nike’s product failure with Duke basketball star Zion Williamson:


The story of PGA star Matt Kuchar and his unfortunate series of messaging gaffes:


A look back at Pepsi’s successful response to a tampering hoax:


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https://jimkarrh.com/ or email jim@jimkarrh.com

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