About James Peters

Ketchum clients have trusted this award-winning communications leader for strategic and creative counsel since 2004 when he joined Ketchum in Atlanta. Today, as Director, Ketchum South, Peters uses his 20 years of public relations experience to craft and implement effective communication programming across a variety of industry sectors including energy, technology, retail, and healthcare. Jamey, a graduate of Wake Forest University, has a passion for family and sports. He plays tennis and coaches youth lacrosse and spends many hours cheering for his children’s teams. Follow him @jmpyankees.

Author Archive | James Peters

Sexual Harassment: How Companies Can Live Values of Zero Tolerance

The adage “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” should never apply to sexual harassment situations.

There are far too many cases making headlines about how people knew, or had heard rumors, or most shockingly, ignored the truth about sexual harassment in the workplace. We have seen it in academics, sports, media, big business and politics. Sadly, egos and fear win the day too often and time after time, the company’s communications counselors get ignored. CEOs, University Presidents, Directors of Boards, Team Owners and other leaders must openly engage their communications counselor – not as an afterthought, not once the story goes public, and not to “spin” the truth.

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The Evolving Energy Story

Annually, at the end of April, energy experts from around the world gather in Houston, Texas for Cambridge Energy Resources Week (CERA) to discuss industry issues and opportunities, and share their visions of the future. This year, Ketchum Energy simultaneously sponsored an energy communications symposium in Houston in an effort to learn from these energy sector leaders.

The intersection of these two gatherings left me inspired and gave me some time to reflect on the evolution of energy communications. Here are a few of my “take-homes” from the conference:

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Saban Smiles

Most Saturdays this fall, my family and I watched Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide dismantle their opponents. During the SEC Conference Championship game, victory was at hand, though from Saban’s expression, you would think someone had broken one of Alabama’s national championship trophies. Why so stern in the face of victory I often thought.

From an outsider’s perspective, it’s obvious that when Saban says, “Jump!” His players ask, “How high?” His approach works. So, is the team’s dedication to him a result of his strict leadership and relentless drive, or in spite of it?

We know of CEOs with such intensity and understand that Apple staffers created golden products even though Steve Jobs was said to be intimidating and even insulting. Is this what it takes to truly succeed? Not necessarily.

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I Think I’ll Join a Cult: The fanatical followers of Berkshire Hathaway

Over a blistery cold weekend, some 35,000 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders (AKA Berkshire fanatics) waited in the pouring rain for the start of the savored annual meeting. Their prizes were the opportunity to get their hands on the goods for sale by savvy Berkshire Hathaway merchants, and a chance at learning from the two peanut-brittle chomping octogenarians who run the company: Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett.

And why shouldn’t they be fanatics? Berkshire Hathaway has the highest priced stock share on the New York Stock Exchange, closing up on kick-off day of the annual meeting at $162,904. The company stock produced a total return of 76 percent from 2000–2010 versus an 11.3 percent negative return for the S&P.

The Berkshire Hathaway Companies have a key opportunity to interact and sell directly to their audiences, who also happen to be shareholders; and what a better place to spread your brands products and services through word of mouth? In addition, because the meeting has become so legendary, every major national media outlet (CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, FOX, AP, Reuters) are in attendance for five days covering not only Warren Buffett and the meeting, but the various companies, products, services, employees and executives.

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