Thursday, August 7, 2008

There Is Nothing like a Nap

Ken Makovsky, the CEO of our public relations firm, has written about the benefits of “power napping” on his blog, My Three Cents. He passionately believes that naps enhance information processing and learning, reverse information overload and increase productivity. He’s definitely not alone in his views.

If you too want to deploy a napping strategy to become “smarter, healthier and safer,” it’s worth checking out the Boston Globe feature, “How to Nap.” It’s not just a great in-depth look at the myriad health benefits of naps and how to attain them, it’s also a great example of how to use a well-designed visual to effectively communicate complex information quickly and easily.

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Just How Respected Is Your Company?

Careful reputation management is an absolutely essential component of any corporate identity campaign. After all, we’re all more likely to work for, buy products and services from and recommend companies we respect and trust.

In June, the Research Institute (RI) released the results of their third annual “Global Pulse” survey, which is designed to measure the overall respect, trust, esteem, admiration and good feelings consumers have towards the largest 600 companies in the world, including the 150 largest U.S. corporations. The top-line results of this study are published annually in Forbes as a ranking of “The World’s Most Respected Companies.”

Google ranks #1 as the most highly respected company in the U.S. in 2008.

Consumers are most influenced by a company’s delivery of high quality products and services, accounting for more than 18% of a company’s reputation, according to RI; but governance and citizenship together account for more than 30% of a company’s reputation.

Here’s a complete list of the top ten most respected American companies:

1. Google
2. Johnson & Johnson
3. Kraft Foods Inc.
4. General Mills
5. Walt Disney
6. United Parcel Service
7. 3M
8. Xerox
9. Colgate-Palmolive
10. Texas Instruments

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Very High Tech: Sky-High Tech, to Be Exact

In his Personal Technology column in the Wall Street Journal, Walter Mossberg reports that inflight WiFi is on the way. A new system called Gogo will make it possible for any passenger with a WiFi-enabled laptop, PDA or cell phone to surf the Web, use email or IM texting and download files, including streaming audio and video, once the aircraft has reached 10,000 feet. A data-only system, Gogo will not enable phone calls and will block all services involving voice communications.

The new service — priced at $12.95 for flights of three hours or longer and $9.95 for shorter trips — is already available on a trial basis on select American Airlines flights between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami. It will shortly be available also on Virgin America.

It’s a mixed blessing, this new technology. We’re either going to be more connected and productive public relations professionals, or we’ll lose one of the last opportunities left to sit quietly for a few hours and just … think.

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Good News for PR Pros: Coffee May Prevent Heart Disease

If you are, like me, a public relations consultant, you’ll be surprised and pleased to learn that at least one inevitable corollary of our challenging job — heavy coffee consumption — appears to have a positive pay-off.

According to a recent article in NewScientist, an NIH-sponsored study undertaken by epidemiologists from the U.S. and Spain found that people who drink several cups of coffee daily were less likely to die of heart disease than those who avoided the tasty, reviving brew. The researchers found that women who drank four to five cups per day were 34% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease; while men who had more than five cups a day were 44% less likely to die of heart disease.

One of the researchers suggested that anti-inflammatory compounds found in coffee may be responsible for its apparent health benefits.

For the record, the jury’s still out about the long-term effects of high levels of caffeine, which may increase the chances of suffering a heart attack by raising blood pressure. For now, my colleagues and I at public relations firms in New York and elsewhere will continue to indulge in our coffee habit … with slightly less guilt.

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