Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson

These are my thoughts about online marketing and industry practices, both good and bad, to help you understand the importance of controlling your image in today’s media-rich online environment.

You can also find me on

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 13:36

Best. Rebranding. Ever.

Pedophilia. Blatant discrimination against women. Highly controversial stance against abortion and birth control. Ambivalence about homosexuality. Questionable ties to the mob. Can Pope Francis save the Catholic Church? Well, he's winning hearts and minds with unimaginable public relations! Check out this issue of Rolling Stone magazine to see how the pros do it. 

Monday, 27 January 2014 17:06

Powerful women "covers"

The HuffPo decided to weigh in on the best, least-sexist magazine covers featuring powerful women (you know, the ones without a high heel). I loved the idea until I realized they all are Photoshopped. Really powerful women would force magazines to forego the superficial. Even Jezebel got Vogue to fork over unaltered images of Lena Dunham.


Monday, 27 January 2014 16:52

To my earlier point

While I'm still focused on's best-of-Grammy brand tweets, I'm also agreeing with The New York Times in general regarding Twitter


Monday, 27 January 2014 16:46

Grammy-winning tweets calls it!

Instead of watching the Grammy's, site experts followed the action via "brand" Twitter posts.

Read about the winner here. As for Secret deodorant, you be the judge: "Can't wait to see the fabulous dresses, jewelry and armpits."

Yikes. Can't believe I've used this product since high school.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 12:00

Copy sells

"...what if books were whorishly titled, optimizing our search engines rather than our imaginations, rather than leaving us to discover who Oliver Twist was or who was proud and who was prejudiced?"

Literary site Millions can teach us all how to get more clicks. Copy sells!

Monday, 20 January 2014 17:29

Freudian design

Call it a Freudian design slip.

Acura (the automaker) wants people to eavesdrop on the Sundance film festival. You can "Put yourself at the center of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival" and "explore now" by clicking on a link atop a logo that looks just like that of the NSA's "Prism" program. The one that lets the U.S. government explore your phone records and Internet activity.

Nice branding, Marketing Department!


Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:17

Rocking with Disney

The mouse should know better. Al Jazeera America on Jan. 8 reported Radio Disney was collaborating with Ohio Energy and Gas to promote fracking to elementary school children. Enraged environmentalists and parents successfully petitioned an end to the idea.

Unaccustomed to parental ire, Disney backed out, stating: "The sole intent of the collaboration between Radio Disney and the nonprofit Rocking in Ohio educational initiative was to foster kids' interest in science and technology. Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program."

The Ohio and Gas Energy Education Program - supported by oil-and-gas companies - is unrepentant.

"Our country cannot survive without oil and gas," OOGEEP's Ron Grosjean said in the Wooster, Ohio, Daily Record. "Kids are the best way (to spread the message). They retain (the information); they remember it."

LieberJohnson loves the energy industry. Our roots are planted firmly on the side of Big Oil. But coercing school children? Arguing kids are the best way to win hearts and minds in a highly contentious and complicated debate about technology? What was the OOGEEP thinking - or not thinking? 

In 1980, Amoco (now BP) dispatched me to universities around the country. At 22, my mission was presenting "case studies" to public relations students. The marketing materials I lugged around the country detailed the serious issues affecting the domestic energy industry and invited students to develop campaigns to win hearts and minds.

I believed in energy then, as I do now but - face it - several years after "windfall profits" and long lines for gasoline, the job was a tough sell. I loved it. Professors laughed discretely at my presentation skills. Students drubbed me. But we got our point and, our side across to an otherwise unsympathetic audience hoping to graduate into more glamorous industries than Big Oil. 

PR people need to lay off attempts at overtly influencing minor schoolchildren. If you want to rock, Ohio Gas and Energy, write checks for science equipment and the computer sorely needed in classrooms. Put your stickers on the side. Kids love rocks - send some porous stones and dinosaur fossils.

Act like a Texan . . . send oil-and-gas technical types out to help high school students build robots.

But stay out of their heads and by all means, avoid alienating their parents - who vote.



Wednesday, 06 November 2013 19:16


Yes, we're scribbling away, writing/curating/posting the right content for the yawning maw of the ceaselessly demanding Internet! Words-in-progress include

Crafting new content for a credit union catering to a younger demographic

Serving up daily content for a non-profit desperately seeking new financial sources to meet high demand for an underserved population

Writing and editing for a Fortune 50 client sponsoring a major bicycle race

Keeping tourists informed on the self-published


Wednesday, 06 November 2013 19:11

Web Development

You say web development - we say building business, reaching potential investors, communicating with employees, managing crises, and leveraging stakeholder engagement and community outreach.

You are what you say and do online. Today, the website is your press release. Your business card. Your business.

LieberJohnson identifies and engages your customers in the media and on the Internet. Nobody tells it better.




Monday, 02 September 2013 21:45

Feeling misquoted?

What's the #1 complaint we hear?

"The reporter misquoted me."

The transparent White House shares your pain.

Our president, love or hate him, is the master of media manipulation. Especially when it comes to the National Security Agency. When he tried to get The Washington Post to change a quote about the controversial agency, The Washington Post called him on it.

“A quote is a quote,” said one former Post reporter, now a journalism professor, “and when a reporter has an agreement that ‘I can quote you,’ and somebody comes back who wasn’t present during the interview and bigfoots the agreement, sure they can try it."

Pay attention to your PR person, client, when they harangue you about messaging and staying on-point and on-script. You say it, you read it.