By Steve Knipstein
Memorial Day is the weekend to remember those who sacrificed the most for our growth and way of life. This year it was also the weekend that we lost a dear friend and mentor, Tripp Frohlichstein. Tripp lost his battle to Multiple Myeloma; he was 66 years old.
In the halls of KemperLesnik, the news hit hard and brought some to tears. He will be sorely missed by our agency family and the world of communications. No one lit up a room like Tripp. As THE premier media trainer in the business, he handled almost every high-powered CEO in every industry with dignity, class, humor and, yet, a firm hand. The Tripp-created process of message mapping is now standard for any brand communicator or crisis team. He is legend in how he became a student of the sound bite – curling his mouth in glee at hearing a perfectly honest and transparent response by a chief executive in the moment of public crisis.
Tripp’s smarts and firm hand guided our clients through plant closings, natural disasters, executive malfeasance, strikes, plane crashes and cell tower disputes. He was a master at his craft and aptly named his company MediaMasters, a firm that would guide such big brands as Tellabs, McDonald’s, U.S. Cellular and countless others.
Tripp will be remembered most as a warm voice on the other end of the phone, a funny storyteller at the end of a long day and a proud husband and father. He leaves behind a loving wife and two sons. He left us all as well, but hopefully as better communicators than before we met him. His tenets for communicating in a crisis ring truer than ever in the face of the national discourse today. Be honest. Be transparent. Think about the listener, and explain why they should care. WII-FM, he would say, is his favorite radio station (What’s in it for me?). We were crushed by the news of his passing and will forever remember his legacy and the wisdom and wonder he gave us all. Legend. That’s my home base message when it comes to telling others about the greatness of Tripp… you will be missed and remembered forever.