Telecommuting: Why It Works and Why It Doesn’t

Telecommuting: Why It Works and Why It Doesn’t.

Telecommuting: Why It Works and Why It Doesn’t

With Yahoo’s! recent decision to stop telecommuting, I thought it was a good time to look at the pros and cons of telecommuting.  It is an interesting issue and one with pluses and minuses for both the employer and the employee.  While there have been studies about the effect of telecommuting on the GNP, for today’s post, I’m going to stick to the more everyday issues. telecommuting


1.  It’s better for the environment.  Less driving means less gas usage , less pollution and less traffic accidents.

2.  Employees become more productive.  The time driving to and from work now becomes productive work time.

3.  Studies have shown that employees take less time off due to illness and have reduced stress.

4.  Less time off for personal issues.  With flexible scheduling, employees can reschedule their time accordingly.

5.  Employers can reduce or eliminate company cars, mileage reimbursements etc.

6.  Telecommuting can be an appealing for recruiting a  more robust talent pool.

7.  In the event of a disaster, employees are on home base and can continue working.


1.  Management can mistrust telecommuting workers and  believe they are working less.  Meetings and meeting times can also become an issue.

2.  Company culture must be in alignment with telecommuting.

3.  It’s not for everyone.  Some employees like the everyday, face-to-face environment.  Those telecommuting must be very self-directed employees.  Co-workers sometimes feel they are being taken advantage of and have to cover for telecommuters.  They are often called upon at the last minute because they are in the office.

4.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Not being in the office and seen can mean that you might be passed over for promotion.

5.  Costs can be higher.   Many companies provide computers, cell phones etc. to employees rather than depend on what the employee has at home for personal use.  Also, IT infrastructure changes may be necessary.  Employer liability for accidents in the home and the inability to monitor overtime are some legal issues to be watched.

6.  Security risks from hackers and viruses and personal use of company property is a major issue.

7.  Taxation.  In some cities, taxes are imposed on home-based workers whether they work in the city where the company is located or not.

With two-income families and long, costly commutes, telecommuting may seem like the logical answer.  It definitely has its pros and cons.  It can work well when both the company and the telecommuting employees are in synch.  But, it’s not for everyone.

Do you telecommute or do you employ telecommuters?  Let us know what you think.


5 Ways to Use Video to Connect With Customers

5 Ways to Use Video to Connect With Customers

You’ve probably noticed the surge in online video. It’s being touted as the hottest content marketing trend, Harlem Shake videos have saturated the Web and it makes us all wonder if more video isn’t just what we need to stand out.

But there’s a difference in seeing the power of video and truly using video to push your brand further and make it more connected.

I sit in a lot of conversations about online video. It’s not only something I’m particularly interested in, but it’s something my agency considers a core and beloved part of our marketing mix. So I’ll admit, sometimes when I hear the current conversation about video I get a little stabby. Because while marketers are starting to understand how great video is, they’re not truly using it.

It’s time to push your video marketing to the max. Sure, video is a great vehicle for those unboxings, the product views, and your customer testimonials, but that’s not all video is capable of.

Below are five different ways to use video.


1. To Recognized Your Audience

Have you heard of Vsnap? If not, it’s a tool that allows you to record short video messages to share with your audience. The company views these video snapshots as a way for businesses to feel and act more human. And you know what? Vsnap actually practices what they preach.

  • Every time someone follows Vsnap on Twitter, community manager Trish Fontanilla sends them a video recognizing them and saying thanks.
  • When one of their community members tweeted they were having a bad day, Trish sent him a video message to cheer him up.
  • (If someone is chatting about them on Twitter, Trish will hop into the conversation and say hello when it’s appropriate, of course).

She’s actually become a little Internet Famous simply by using video to connect with the company’s friends and users. These videos may only take :30-:60 to create, but they show users Vsnap thinks they matter.

Using video for customer support or just to say “thanks” may not be scalable or appropriate for every business, but when can you use video to be more human?

Maybe it’s a video sent at the end of an event you’ve hosted where you thank people for attending and invite them to keep in contact. Maybe it’s a video message when someone completes their first order. Or their 10th. Or after they’ve left an impactful blog comment. Look for opportunities to be human.

2. To Provoke

I could pen a 10,000 word manifesto about the effects of childhood bullying. I could cite stats, share personal stories, and recount the number of tears I’ve shed as a result of people hurting my feelings. But you know what? It wouldn’t be nearly as impactful as this anti-bullying poem video created by Shane Koyczan. You wouldn’t feel my pain the way you feel his when you watch that video. The story wouldn’t stay with you as long.

That’s the power of video to provoke. They’re visceral. They make people feel and experience things words on a page cannot.

What messages are you putting out there that might be best suited for video than other medium? Where could your message be more thought provoking, more entertaining, more emotional?

3. To Tell a Story

We’re in an age of storytelling. Where customers want to know not only what you did, but how you did it, why you did it, and who helped you do it. They want the story. Why not tell that story through video?

  • Use video to introduce your team and its values, to share “behind the scenes” footage, and to visually stimulate your audience.
  • Create mini-stories around your product or service’s key features to focus on your key messaging points and highlight important benefits.
  • Show how that campaign came to life, how the character was designed, or where the concept came from by documenting your company process and how you work.

We’re seeing a lot of companies use video as a way of telling their brand story. Why? Because it works. The same way the “extra footage” holds people in theaters longer, the extra footage around your brand keeps your brand engaging and interesting.

4. To Simplify Ideas

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to see something before I truly understand it. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you explaining what it is your product or service does, but I won’t fully grasp it until I see it in action.

That’s what video does.

For those of us in complicated industries (i.e., anything involving the Web or technology), using video to simplify concepts can make the difference between someone understanding what it is you’re all about and them walking away confused.

For example, what’s more confusing than the healthcare industry? Almost nothing. That’s whyStay Smart, Stay Healthy uses whiteboard videos to explain difficult concepts and make them easier for their consumers to grasp.

That video accomplishes what no amount of written words could. It makes healthcare understandable to the average person.

Or maybe it isn’t your industry that’s confusing, but your business. Maybe you’re a cloud-based company or you do something that most people aren’t comfortable or familiar with just yet. By using a video to simplify your company message/purpose, you help people feel less intimidated by what you have to offer. They don’t see the jargon, they only see the benefit. They see you.

5. To Entertain

Rather than dedicate resources to creating sales videos, why not create something your audience will not only enjoy watching, but will want to share? Our consumer’s time has always been valuable, but in a world where attention spans are shorter than ever, creating video that entertains while it informs (or just entertains) ensures your brand stands in a user’s mind and that you’re leaving them with a positive brand impression.

Why did Harlem Dance videos go viral? Because they were short, they were fun, and they included a formula that didn’t require a huge time investment.

Your audience loves video. They love to consume it, to share, and to be part of it. How are you using video in your marketing?


Become an Expert Digital Marketer at SES New York
March 25-28, 2013: With dozens of sessions on Search, Social, Local and Mobile, you’ll leave SES with everything and everyone you need to know. Hurry, early bird rates expire February 21. Register today!

Scandal Of a Different Color: New Oceana Study Uncovers Widespread Seafood Fraud Nationwide — 33% of Seafood Is Mislabeled in Grocery Stores, Restaurants and Sushi Venues, Report Finds | Bulldog Reporter

Scandal Of a Different Color: New Oceana Study Uncovers Widespread Seafood Fraud Nationwide — 33% of Seafood Is Mislabeled in Grocery Stores, Restaurants and Sushi Venues, Report Finds | Bulldog Reporter.

The horsemeat scandal, which is currently escalating out of the UK, isn’t the only food-related dirty laundry in the news this week — Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, has uncovered widespread seafood fraud across the United States, according to a new report released this week. In one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date, DNA testing confirmed that one third (33%) of the 1,215 fish samples collected by Oceana from 674 retail outlets in 21 states were mislabeled, according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

“Purchasing seafood has become the ultimate guessing game for U.S. consumers,” said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana, in a news release. “Whether you live in Florida or Kansas, no one is safe from seafood fraud. We need to track our seafood from boat to plate so that consumers can be more confident that the fish they purchase is safe, legal and honestly labeled.”

Oceana found seafood fraud everywhere it tested, including mislabeling rates of 52 percent in Southern California, 49 percent in Austin and Houston, 48 percent in Boston (including testing by the Boston Globe), 39 percent in New York City, 38 percent in Northern California and South Florida, 36 percent in Denver, 35 percent in Kansas City (MO/KS), 32 percent in Chicago, 26 percent in Washington, D.C., 21 percent in Portland (OR) and 18 percent in Seattle.

Oceana’s study targeted fish with regional significance as well as those found to be frequently mislabeled in previous studies such as red snapper, cod, tuna and wild salmon. Of the most commonly collected types of fish, snapper and tuna had the highest mislabeling rates across the country at 87 and 59 percent, respectively. While 44 percent of all the retail outlets visited sold mislabeled fish, sushi venues had the worst level of mislabeling at 74 percent, followed by other restaurants at 38 percent and then grocery stores at 18 percent.

“Some of the fish substitutions we found are just disturbing,” said Dr. Kimberly Warner, report author and senior scientist at Oceana, in the release. “Apart from being cheated, many consumers are being denied the right to choose fish wisely based on health or conservations concerns.”

Among the report’s other key findings include:

  • Mislabeling was found in 27 of the 46 fish types tested (59 percent).
  • Only seven of the 120 red snapper samples collected nationwide were actually red snapper.
  • Between one-fifth to more than one-third of the halibut, grouper, cod and Chilean seabass samples were mislabeled.
  • 84 percent of the white tuna samples were actually escolar, a species that can cause serious digestive issues for some individuals who eat more than a few ounces.
  • Fish on the FDA’s “DO NOT EAT” list for sensitive groups such as pregnant women and children because of their high mercury content were sold to customers who had ordered safer fish: tilefish sold as red snapper and halibut in New York City and king mackerel sold as grouper in South Florida.
  • Cheaper farmed fish were substituted for wild fish: pangasius sold as grouper, sole, and cod, tilapia sold as red snapper and Atlantic farmed salmon sold as wild or king salmon.
  • Overfished and vulnerable species were substituted for more sustainable catch: Atlantic halibut sold as Pacific halibut and speckled hind sold as red grouper.

See the full report from Oceana here.

Career Article – Six Tips for a Solid Resume –

Career Article – Six Tips for a Solid Resume –

Posted By: Melissa Kennedy On: 2/5/2013 6:00 PM In: Job Seeker – Resume

Making your resume stand out is always a challenge. In the current job market, employers have the advantage of hearing from significantly more applicants than they could possibly interview, let alone hire. So your resume and cover letter have to capture their attention in order to prevent your being overlooked.

No matter what industry you want to work in or what level job you’re searching for, there are some things you can do to make sure that your resume doesn’t get lost in the pile. For one, you can get a free resume review by using’s free resume critique service. If you want to keep your resume to yourself, here are six resume tips:

Know your resume’s purpose. When you apply for a job, your purpose is to get an interview – not to get a job. When writing your resume, keep this goal in mind, so that you can write a resume that makes an employer want to learn more about you. It sounds simple, but too often, people make the mistake of making their goal to get hired, so their resumes end up sounding like desperate pleas for a job. Your resume is a marketing tool designed to get your foot in the door. From there, use your skills, talents, experience and your amazing personality to land the job.

Know your resume’s purpose. Know your resume’s purpose. When you apply for a job, your purpose is to get an interview – not to get a job. When writing your resume, keep this goal in mind, so that you can write a resume that makes an employer want to learn more about you. It sounds simple, but too often, people make the mistake of making their goal to get hired, so their resumes end up sounding like desperate pleas for a job. Your resume is a marketing tool designed to get your foot in the door. From there, use your skills, talents, experience and your amazing personality to land the job.

Know your resume’s purpose. When you apply for a job, your purpose is to get an interview – not to get a job. When writing your resume, keep this goal in mind, so that you can write a resume that makes an employer want to learn more about you. It sounds simple, but too often, people make the mistake of making their goal to get hired, so their resumes end up sounding like desperate pleas for a job. Your resume is a marketing tool designed to get your foot in the door. From there, use your skills, talents, experience and your amazing personality to land the job.

Show where your career is going. These days, your resume doesn’t have to be a strict re-telling of all the jobs you’ve ever had. Try to include only the positions that are relevant and that have been stepping stones on your career path. Ideally, your resume should show a progression and tell a story about where your career is headed. If you’ve recently changed career fields or have worked in a variety of industries, explain your transition or your unconventional career path in your cover letter. If an employer can’t quickly see why you would be a good fit for the job, they may toss your resume without a second thought.

Tailor your resume to the employer. Before submitting your resume, you should have done some research on the company and found out what major challenges they are facing. Armed with that information, tailor your resume to show how you can help them with their problems. For example, if you have a strong background in social media marketing and the company is currently trying to establish their online identity, emphasize the skills you have that can help them achieve it.

Use Mr., Mrs., or Ms. when appropriate – This tip is a little controversial, but I think it’s important to use a title in your name, especially if you have a gender neutral name. Although gender discrimination is illegal, it isn’t really something you can hide, so giving the employer the information up front only serves to make things less confusing for them. For example, there are both men and women named Ashley so Mr. Ashley Smith is very different from Ms. Ashley Smith and prevents awkward moments when the employer calls with an invitation for an interview.

Don’t lie – but don’t list everything. Whatever you do, don’t lie on a resume. It’s simply too easy these days to find out anything and everything about a person, and the odds are high that you’ll get caught. Even if you only lie about small things, being caught telling one will destroy your credibility and make you appear to be a dishonest person. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to list every job you’ve every had or go into detail about problems you’ve had in the past.

Don’t be too fancy. When trying to stand out, some people make the mistake of being too fancy. Unless you are looking for work as an artist, graphic designer or other creative type, it’s not a good idea to use special fonts, colored paper or artistic resume layouts. While it might look good to you, to an employer, it might just look weird. Stick with a classic look and use only readily available fonts like Times New Roman, Arial or Helvetica and whatever you do, don’t use Papyrus or Comic Sans. You should also consider sending your cover letter and resume as PDFs, so you can be sure they look exactly how you want them to look.

Making your resume stand out is important, but you want it to tell a story about who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going. That way, an employer will be able to see how you can benefit their company and they will want to find out more.

What do you do to make your resume stand out? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Image Source: OpenClipArt

Body Language Plays a Key Role in Effective Business Communication

Body Language Plays a Key Role in Effective Business Communication.

Body Language Plays a Key Role in Effective Business Communication

carol.gormanBy Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.

Here are ten simple and powerful body language  tips guaranteed to give you a nonverbal advantage!

1) To boost your confidence before an important meeting, replace your smart phone with a newspaper.

Most business professionals I coach understand the importance of projecting confident body language during an important meeting, a job interview, say, or a key sales pitch), but few realize that how they sit while waiting in the reception area has everything to do with their initial impression.

Research from Harvard and Columbia Business Schools shows that holding your body in expansive “high power” poses (standing tall with shoulders pulled back, widening your stance, spreading your arms to expand into space) raises testosterone (the hormone linked to power and self-confidence) and lowers the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormonal effect is actually reversed, the researchers discovered, when you contract yourself physically, (hunch your shoulders, tuck your chin down, etc.) assuming postures that make you look defensive and lacking in confidence.

Now picture yourself in the reception area where you are waiting for that important meeting. Are you bent over your smart phone, with your elbows pulled into your waist and your shoulders hunched? Or are you sitting up straight, feet firmly on the floor, arms spread wide holding an open newspaper? And, when you are called into the meeting, which of those two hormones is dominating your body chemistry?

2) To reach an agreement, send early engagement signals.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that parties are more likely to reach an agreement if they begin a negotiation by displaying engaged body language (smiling, nodding, mirroring, open gestures, etc.). Interestingly, that positive result is the same whether the display was the product of an unconscious reaction or a strategic decision.

3) To spot a liar, look out for these four “tell-tale” signals.

Nonverbal cues to all kinds of unconscious giveaways tend to occur in clusters – a group of movements, postures and actions that collectively point to a particular state of mind. This is crucially true of dishonesty, where one specific cluster of nonverbal signals has been proven statistically to be a highly accurate indicator of deception. These are: hand touching, face touching, crossed arms, and leaning away. According to research conducted at Northeastern University, if you see these “Telltale Four” being displayed together, watch out!

4) To make a difficult task seem easier, smile.

Charles Garfield, the author of Peak Performance, once coached the Russian Olympic weight-lifting team. Garfield noticed that when team members lifted to exhaustion, they would invariably grimace at the painful effort. In an experiment, he encouraged the athletes to smile when they got to that point of exhaustion. This seemingly minor difference enabled them to add 2-3 more reps to their performance.

No matter the task, when you grimace or frown while doing it, you are sending your brain the message, “This is really difficult. I should stop.”  The brain then responds by sending stress chemicals into your bloodstream. And this creates a vicious circle: the more stressed you are, the more difficult the task becomes.

Conversely, when you smile, your brain gets the message, “It’s not so bad. I can do this!”

5) To encourage collaboration, rearrange your office.

Projecting power, authority, and status may be a key part of your nonverbal strategy to impress potential clients, customers, and investors – and if it is, then arranging your office space as a visual symbol of your and your company’s brand can be a crucial part of that strategy.

When it comes to building collaboration within your staff, however, status and authority cues can send conflicting, distinctly unwanted messages. If creating a collaborative culture is essential to meeting your business objectives, then you might want to rearrange your office to reflect this. For example, seating people directly across from your desk (especially if their chair is smaller and lower than yours) places them in a competitive (and disadvantageous) position. Instead, try putting the visitor’s chair at the side of your desk, or creating a conversation area (chairs of equal size set around a small table or at right angles to each other) to encourage a feeling of informality, equality, and partnership.

 6) To reduce resistance, hand out your business card.

People who are defensive, guarded or resistant may protectively fold their arms across their chests. And when you see that gesture coupled with crossed legs, you can be fairly sure that (a) you aren’t making a very positive impression, and that (b) what you’re saying isn’t being listened to very closely.

To automatically neutralize this kind of resistance in a one-on-one encounter, you could offer the individual a cup of coffee or tea. You could hand out your business card, brochure, or product sample. With a large audience you could ask questions that invite people to raise their hands (“How many of you have had previous training in nonverbal communication techniques?” “How many of you have never thought of body language as a leadership tool?” It doesn’t matter which strategy you choose, just as long as people are obliged to change their postures, to uncross their arms and legs, in order to respond to you. Because body positions influence attitude, the mere act of unwinding a resistant posture will begin to subvert the resistance, itself.

7) To maximize your authority, curb your enthusiasm.

If you are an extrovert, you most likely make a favorable first impression — because we are drawn to passionate people whose emotions are easily read. But when your communication style lacks of nuance and subtlety, your over-exuberance can overwhelm (or exhaust) an audience. So in situations where you want to maximize your authority — minimize your movements. Take a deep breath, bring your gestures down to waist level, and pause before making a key point. When you appear calm and contained, you look more powerful.

8) To defuse a tense situation, realign your body more congenially.

Often strong verbal argument comes from a person’s need to be heard and acknowledged. If you physically align yourself with that person (sitting or standing shoulder to shoulder facing the same direction), you will defuse the situation. And, by the way, a move that will escalate the argument is to square your body to the other person or to move in closer. This is especially true when dealing with men. Two men speaking will angle their bodies slightly, while two women will stand in a more “squared up” position – a stance that most men perceive as confrontational.

9) To “seal the deal,” make a positive last impression.

After you’ve settled on a price, signed the contract, or accepted the job offer, remember to make a winning exit: Stand tall, shake hands warmly, make eye contact, smile, say “thank you,” and leave your counterpart with the impression that you are someone he or she should look forward to dealing with in the future.

10) If you feel the need to improve your own body language, let your team know you’re doing it.

I often coach leaders on using more inclusive body language to help create a collaborative work environment. If this is one of your New Year’s resolutions, be upfront with your staff by saying, “I’m going through some training and I want to make positive changes in how I connect with others.” That way your team will be looking for changes and will most likely understand (and support) what you are trying to achieve.

If you follow these ten simple and powerful body language tips, I guarantee you’ll increase your nonverbal impact.


About the Author: Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is a keynote speaker, leadership communication consultant, body language coach, and author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead.” Carol’s newest book, “The Truth About Lies in the Workplace: How to Spot Liars and How to Deal with Them” is available for pre-order on Amazon. Carol can reached by email:, phone: 510-526-1727, or through her


27 expendable phrases to slash from your copy

27 expendable phrases to slash from your copy

27 expendable phrases to slash from your copy

By Laura Hale Brockway | Posted: February 5, 2013
Wordiness is everywhere—in emails, ad copy, press releases, and websites. 

Even as more people skim and scan than actually read our content, we have clients and bosses who think the more words the better. But readers are busy. Unnecessary words slow them down. Every word should matter. 

Some words and phrases do no work; they’re slackers. Deleting them doesn’t hurt your meaning; it often improves the readability of your content. 

Consider this sentence: 

I am bewildered by your inconsistent use of the serial comma. 

Tacking on any of the expendable phrases below would add nothing. So, if you catch yourself including them in your copy, hit the delete key: 

1. All things considered
2. As a matter of fact
3. As already stated
4. As far as I’m concerned
5. At the present time
6. By means of
7. Due to the fact that
8. For all intents and purposes
9. For the most part
10. For the purpose of
11. In a manner of speaking
12. In a very real sense
13. In the final analysis
14. In the event that
15. In other words
16. It goes without saying
17. It is important to note
18. It is interesting to note
19. It may be said that
20. It stands to reason that
21. It was found that
22. It was demonstrated that
23. Needless to say
24. Take steps to
25. The fact that
26. The field of
27. To be sure 

PR Daily readers, care to add to this list? 

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She writes about writing and editing at her blog, Impertinent Remarks

With $9.5 Billion at Stake, NFL Tries to Recast Sport as Safer

Fewer Kids Are Playing, Ex-Players Are Suing and Popularity Shows a Drop. Will Goodell’s Play Pay?


In a New Republic interview, first fan Barack Obama said he’d think long and hard before letting a son of his play tackle football. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Fox Sports anchor Troy Aikman last year publicly wondered about the long-term viability of the NFL: “At some point, football is not going to be the No. 1 sport.” And Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard told that he would not be surprised to see the first player killed during an NFL game, noting that he doesn’t think the sport will exist in its current form in 30 years.

The NFL's 'Evolution' spot in last year's Super Bowl.

The NFL’s ‘Evolution’ spot in last year’s Super Bowl.

All the doomsaying comes as the country’s most-popular and -successful sports league has never been healthier. The league generated $9.5 billion in revenue in 2012 vs. $7.5 billion for Major League Baseball. Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched TV show in history, averaging 111.3 million viewers. NFL game telecasts accounted for 31 of the 32 most-watched programs this past fall.

As was proved just yesterday, the Super Bowl is the ultimate advertising showcase, pulling in nearly $4 million for 30-second spots this year. National advertisers spent $3.3 billion on pro football in 2011, according to Nielsen, dwarfing the $975 million spent on college football.

But there are troubling trends that threaten to dent, if not crack, the NFL’s “shield” brand in the future.

Although some 3 million kids play organized tackle football, according to USA Football, the number of kids ages 6- to 12-years-old participating regularly has been dropping around 5% annually for the past three to four years, said Tom Cove, president of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. And as more parents steer their kids away from tackle football because of concern over concussions, it raises the potential of fewer high school and college players — and a “smaller talent pool” for the NFL, said Dan Wetzel, national columnist for Yahoo Sports.

While the future is cause for concern, the past is haunting the league as well. More than 1,500 ex-players are suing the NFL in federal court, claiming the league fraudulently concealed the risk of brain trauma caused by playing pro football.

Add to that a slight decline in popularity for football. The percentage of respondents who named the NFL their favorite sport dropped to 34% from 36% in 2012 in the latest Harris Poll this January. The statistic didn’t escape NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who likes to remind complacent staffers that boxing and horse racing were once among the country’s favorite sports. During a meeting with 32 team owners in March, he ticked off the names of other corporate giants that are either defunct or no longer leaders: Blockbuster, Enron, Pan Am, Bethlehem Steel, General Foods and E.F Hutton.

His NFL defense? An offense. It’s trying to counter negative coverage with advertising and PR campaigns designed to position the league as positive, proactive and transparent about its key issues.

Last week the NFL was putting the finishing touches on a branding spot by Grey Advertising slated to air during yesterday’s Super Bowl and it is planning a TV spot promoting the NFL Network and a couple of 10-second quick hitters “celebrating the game of football,” said league spokesman Brian McCarthy.

The feel-good ad strategy about the bright future of pro football builds on the NFL’s “Evolution” Super Bowl spot from last year, in which Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis glowingly described the helmet, equipment and rules changes that have made the game safer than ever before.

“We certainly have come a long way. Thing is, we’re just getting started,” narrates Mr. Lewis as viewers see the game change from the leather helmets of the early 1900s to the face masks and hard-plastic helmets of today’s NFL. “Here’s to making the next century safer and more exciting than ever. Forever forward. Forever football.”

The league also launched a website at that focuses on health and safety issues. Last week, the site featured player responses to President Obama saying it would be a tough call to let his son play tackle football. And the NFL Players Association is making a $100 million grant to Harvard for concussion studies, along with $30 million to National Institutes of Health for brain research. It’s also sponsoring studies of new helmet designs. The NFL is not working with a crisis-PR agency or adviser, Mr. McCarthy said.

It’s a start, but the NFL still faces an inherent marketing challenge. Nobody knows that better than the players. “The NFL is going to do what it can to make the game safe—but it’s never going to be a “safe’ game,” Justin Tuck, a two-time Super Bowl winner with the New York Giants, told Ad Age. “It’s a violent game. That’s what draws fans all over the world to watch it. Society is drawn to the violence. The bigger the hits, the louder the crowd cheers.”