All The Swirl "Must Reads", February 2016

Each month, our staff takes a break to think about which of the many great food, beverage and lifestyle stories of the month caught our attention and are worth sharing.

Alex Fondren

Photo courtesy of RIchard Perry/The New York Times

Photo courtesy of RIchard Perry/The New York Times

My "Must Read": Madeleine Albright: My Undiplomatic Moment

Author: Madeleine Albright

Source: The New York Times

Why does this stand out to you? It's not often a respected public figure issues a mea culpa with such humility as Secretary Albright does here. This article represents an eloquent example of good crisis management, an increasingly important aspect of PR in today's (often ultra-sensitive) politically correct culture. I admired the was she apologized, but then moved forward to communicate the positive message of female fellowship that had been so lost in translation in the media storm that followed her "special place in hell" comment. Further proof that soundbites can be seductive but are often self-defeating, and that context is everything.

Ana Roselli

Photo Courtesy of The Land & Water Company

Photo Courtesy of The Land & Water Company

My "Must Read": Sushi chef a world leader in ocean sustainability

Author: Pam Kragen

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Why does this stand out to you? This story stood out to me because I do believe that positive social/environmental impact can come from even the smallest actions. Rob Ruiz, a Carlsbad sushi chef, decided that all the food served in his restaurant was going to be sustainable. Further on, he decided to take action against the extinction of the vaquita porpoise, a Mexican mammal that is endangered mostly because of the use of gill nets.

Rob was recently recognized and honored in London (Cheers to him!) in face of all the great things that he has achieved so far. Bottom line is that examples like this one fire my optimism and keep me on track on my constant pursuit to be a change maker. Everyone can do something. Always.

Lauren Seward

Image courtesy of Infogram

Image courtesy of Infogram

My “Must Read”: How To Use Data Visualization to Craft a Compelling Story

Author: Ryan Robinson

Source: Blog at Infogram

Why does this stand out to you? By far, the most incredible statistic I’ve read all month comes from this simple, helpful blog piece:  “Well, the human brain was recently recorded as processing complex images in as little as 13 milliseconds, where as a single word is processed in more like 400 milliseconds. So, full on images can be processed a whopping 30 times faster than our brains can handle a single word.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Our brain understands information in images 30 times faster than in text. In PR, this information is extremely helpful to understand as the majority of what we share can be applied visually in one way or another. Wine notes? A picture of roses and sunshine. A graceful, bountiful vineyard unlike any other? Sure, these words say something, but a picture (or video!) can do so much more. 

As often as we reiterate this fact, this article from Ryan Robinson of Infogram (essentially the authority on data visualization) makes the obvious clear: if you can turn it into a photo, just do it. The extra step will make all the difference when reaching the intended audience.

All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting