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The Chi of Jobs

The death earlier this month of Steve Jobs, one of the world’s  most beloved and iconic corporate CEOs, brought to mind a number of lessons and questions for those of us in public relations.

The first for me was, how did Jobs manage to keep his private life private despite being one of the most well-known and influential manipulators of 21st Century society and culture?

It is difficult to overstate just how much Jobs changed the world. Simply put, the technology he and Apple created rewired the way the world communicates. Yet few details of his private side, from his family life to how he managed the disease that ultimately took his life, were known. He was the gatekeeper of those details, and he protected them vigorously. Part of the answer may be in how Jobs meted out those few precious glimpses into the man behind image.

When Jobs did provide a peak into his personality and psyche, he did so in an artfully choreographed way. Just as he successfully branded Apple as a technological innovator and upstart (despite being one of the world’s largest companies), Jobs branded himself as the benevolent Zen master who not only gave the masses what they wanted, but also told them what they wanted.

The image of Jobs for most people is that of a supremely confident showman on stage, wearing jeans and a mock turtleneck, introducing the world to another must-have technological marvel from Apple.

It is amazing, almost shocking, that in an era when celebrity media and paparazzi are quick to find and exploit the human foibles of everyone from Michael Jackson to Sarah Palin, Jobs’ image remains pristine and deserving of adoration.

For example, Twitter was abuzz with everything Jobsian in the hours and days after his death. Among those tweets were blunt warnings from media members that any story pitch related to Jobs’ death would bring immediate scorn and rejection for any hapless flack who dared to try it.

Here’s another. The publishers of The New Yorker already are being criticized for the magazine’s Oct. 17 cover illustration. Defenders of the Jobs aura say they are offended by the image of Jobs, a Buddhist, being greeted at the pearly gates by an iPad-wielding St. Peter.

So when will it be safe to talk about Jobs in a story pitch without appearing ghoulish?

There are plenty of legitimate pitches out there, from succession management (how does a company continue when an iconic leader dies?) to the erosion Americans’ view of CEOs (what exempted Jobs from being cast as another overpaid corporate honcho?).

There is no simple answer. Just when it will be safe to pitch Mr. Jobs may be determined more by the news cycle — when another high-profile celebrity death or scandal occurs — than a particular period of time for respectful mourning.

In the end, it may be best to simply sit back and admire the legacy left behind by Jobs, a college dropout who demonstrated a genius not just for technology, but also marketing, branding and public opinion.

Robert Perez is a senior account executive at CBR. 

Countdown to Space Shuttle Atlantis

10, 9, 8…

Those are the words every Orlando resident, and many across the world, is eager to hear: the final countdown of the last space shuttle mission. Space shuttle Atlantis will take to the skies Friday, July 8, and CBR Public Relations has a front-row seat.

I’ll be attending on behalf of the agency, as a NASA Tweetup STS-135 participant, for what is to be my first and last shuttle launch experience. (Follow my experience on Twitter at @CBRPR.) It’s a coveted spot, with more than 5,000 people applying from across the world and only 150 people selected to participate.

It’s an exciting time for our agency, and it’s an exciting, and bittersweet, time for the Space Coast. But what does the final shuttle launch really mean?

A Reflection on CBR’s Long History

The launch is a historic moment for many people and for various reasons. For CBR, it’s a piece of our long history. Its significance not fully apparent to me until a recent staff meeting when our CEO Lori C. Booker shared her favorite CBR moment:

“CBR promoted Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s 25th Anniversary of Man’s Last Walk on the Moon, which generated international media attention. The night of the event I had the goose-bump opportunity to stand next to NASA Astronaut Gene Cernan outside the Saturn V building. I looked up and saw puffy clouds parting to slowly reveal a full-harvest moon in a star-filled sky. In awe, I asked him what it was like – this view from earth of the moon he walked on – and his eyes filled with memories he didn’t share. He cleared his throat and just quietly said, ‘Magnificent.’”

 A Time for the Space Coast to Shine

With all the media attention and the hundreds of thousands who will flock to the area to be a part of history, Brevard County and the Space Coast have an opportunity to shine in front of a global audience. It’s a new era for the Space Coast, one that it is ready and willing to take on. From pristine beaches to zip lining, there is plenty to do. You can sail the high seas out of Port Canaveral, test your swing at golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Joe Lee, or tackle the waves at some world-famous surf spots. I really could go on and on, but I’ll let you discover it all.

So, get ready. History is about to be made, and we are all a part of it.

3, 2, 1… Liftoff!

Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media with CBR.

Season’s Greetings from CBR!

As we get ready to embark on a new year, we want to thank all of our clients, friends and partners for a successful and exciting year. We look forward to exceeding your expectations even more in 2011!

CEO elected to Florida Chief Executive Program

Congratulations to CEO Lori Booker, who is elected to the Chief Executive Program of Vistage Florida. Vistage Florida, founded in 1982, is an organization devoted to the continuing education of CEOs, and currently has more than 800 members throughout the state. Through meetings and one-on-one sessions, CEOs in the organization collaborate on methods to become even more effective business leaders.

Welcome To Our New Site

Welcome to the new look of CBR Public Relations on the web. We’re proud to launch a brand-new site in conjunction with our 25th anniversary celebration. Please take a minute to browse our pages and become familiar with the expertise and experience CBR has to offer your organization. Make sure to check out the brief video from Agency Founder Lori C. Booker, APR, on the “About” page and see the faces of CBR.

After you’re done looking around, please take a minute to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for stopping by!