It’s a close shave


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No matter how one analyzes Gillette’s controversial new campaign “Is this the best a man can get?” it’s fraught with uncertainties. And it most certainly has further divided an already divided country.

Truly the best a man can get?

First, though, a tip of the hat (or razor) to Gillette’s management for having the courage to double down on its purpose and values. But have they? Or is the campaign a mere ploy or stunt as some detractors claim whose only goal is to drive sales? I think there are several factors to weigh when analyzing the Gillette campaign: 1) Is alienating a significant percentage of the male shaving market worth the risk of taking a stand and saying the right thing? We asked that very question of 50 CCOs and CMOs we interviewed in a joint research study with the Institute for Public Relations. One CCO, who managed
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What Businesses Should Do Before Taking a Stand on Social Issues


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It wasn’t very long ago when staying quiet and avoiding controversy were the tried-and-true PR rules for businesses. But the consumer-company relationship is quickly evolving, along with people’s expectations of companies. A recent study by Clutch shows that 71% of people expect companies to take a stance on social movements. Because this expectation is so new, many businesses struggle with what to say and when, always being aware of the risks involved. Best case scenario? They speak out and their stance resonates with the majority of their consumers, resulting in higher revenue, an elevated brand, and greater awareness for the issue. Worst case scenario? They speak out and their stance alienates consumers to the point of revenue loss and tarnishes their brand. Staying silent isn’t safe either. Silence might keep the company out of controversary, but if it’s regarding an issue relevant to the company’s brand, it could hurt the
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How to Prevail with the Mean Spirited People in Your Life


This post is by Bryan Kramer from Bryan Kramer


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We’ve all got ‘em. And if you haven’t then one will show up soon enough. No, we’re not talking about the inexplicable amount of carrier bags that somehow accumulate in your house!
I have dealt with a few humdingers in… The post How to Prevail with the Mean Spirited People in Your Life appeared first on Bryan Kramer.

“Success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan.”


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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While it’s a day late and a dollar short, I’m pleased to share this infographic with you. Created in partnership with BrandFoundations, our longtime strategic marketing partner, the list below analyzed the best and worst managed societal crises of the past year Note: We define a societal crisis as anything ranging from a mass school shooting and the Southern border chaos to trade wars and environmental rollouts. We’ve also included #MeToo crises and self-inflicted wounds. Traditional crises such as product recalls, financial malfeasance and price fixing were not included in the analysis. As you will see from the infographic, we chose to grade the organizations based on three criteria: – Speed: How quickly did the organization take a stand on a societal crisis that either aligned with, or was the polar opposite of, their values? – Strength: Was the stand taken by the organization unequivocal, or could it be interpreted
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SDF Podcast 24: Reading the runes for 2019


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The SmallDataForum celebrated its third Christmas with a highly calorific and somewhat alcoholic Italian lunch, followed by post-prandial musings about high- and low-lights of 2018, and some crystal ball gazing for 2019. Our regular followers / listeners – or just about anybody with any interest in tech and communication – won’t be surprised by a list being topped by Facebook, and then some more Facebook. Followed by GDPR and other regulatory activities, mainly by the EU. And of course we also touched on the topic that’s been with us from episode one, when it was called Brexit. These days, Brexitexit is beginning to sound more fitting. In his analysis of FB’s / MZ’s predicament, Sam combined review and preview. He sees FB’s annus horribilis as the beginning of the end for the meaningful global connector. At the time of the 2019 SDF Christmas lunch, he expects FB’s chief apologist to
Thomas Stoeckle
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9 Tips for Taking a Stand When a Societal Crisis Hits


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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Social injustice, gender issues, immigration, #MeToo, gun control, and trade wars. These are just a few of the many societal issues about which large and small businesses alike are finding themselves increasingly pressured to stand up and speak out.
We entrepreneurs may think our comparatively small size protects us from the slings and arrows of the hourly news cycle or employees picketing outside company headquarters. But it doesn’t. A Glassdoor survey of 1,000 employees from organizations of all sizes found that 62 percent expect their employers to take a stand on important societal and political issues of the day.
Do I have your attention? I should, since remaining silent or saying the wrong thing could imperil everything from employee recruiting and retention to business continuity and even your exit strategy.
Source: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

My firm, Peppercomm, has interviewed more than 150 chief communications officers in the past 18 months,
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Mega problems for mega industries


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I never thought I’d be writing a blog that included the NFL and Big Tobacco at the same time but, hey, social media makes for strange bedfellows. Both obscenely rich businesses find themselves in a world of hurt due to denial, deception and delay.   Let’s kick-off with the NFL. Did you know there are 72,000 FEWER high school students playing the sport today than just four years ago? Would you believe that outdoor track has overtaken football as the most popular high school sport? Somewhere Jesse Owens must be smiling. The reason why is obvious. Parents simply won’t let their sons play the vicious sport which, despite a few superficial changes to the rules by the NCAA and NFL, remains the ultimate end zone for players suffering from CTE and other debilitating brain injuries. By the way, here’s an interesting stat that was buried in the articles I read
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How Does a Beloved Brand Apologize to Billions?


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Today’s guest blog is authored by Melissa Vigue who suggests a few things Dolce & Gabbana might consider doing if they ever want to sell another product in China…. This weekend, we observed as one the world’s iconic luxury brands took a lashing following a huge cultural misstep in China. ICYMI, Dolce & Gabbana released eating with chopsticks, a series of videos, in the lead up to what was billed as one on China’s biggest fashion events ever, expected to draw not only the fashion elite but China’s most revered cultural icons. In an effort to grab attention by being humorous (?), the brand and its patriarchs have deeply offended those of Chinese descent worldwide and the rest of us who don’t think using race or cultural practices as fodder for marketing is acceptable. The situation was further exacerbated by supposedly racist Instagram posts by Gabanna. He and
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SDF Podcast 23: Pretty crazy ideas about the Facebook


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Facebook “The ever-present function of propaganda in modern life is in large measure attributable to the social disorganization which has been precipitated by the rapid advent of technological changes.” This is not the latest comment on the perpetual missteps, mishaps and misuse of Facebook, but a quote from Harold D. Lasswell, eminent media scholar and creator of the eponymous and never-aging model and formula to determine media effects: who says what to whom in which channel with what effect? Who said what to whom, and subsequent effects – that was also the theme of a multi-thousand-word investigative piece on Facebook and its executive team in the New York Times on 15th November. By now, I’m sure anybody with even the remotest interest in the SmallDataForum canon of themes will be familiar with the story and the fall-out: basically, Facebook got burned by burning all sorts of lobbying,
Ruins
Thumbs down
Screwed up
Thomas Stoeckle
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For Immediate Release 164: BA flummoxed by cyberflashing


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British Airways In the November episode of “The Hobson & Holtz Report,” aka FIR 164, Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz reviewed these stories:
  • British Airways management was as unprepared for the iPhone’s AirDrop creating an onboard kerfuffle as flight attendants were
  • With the influencer and micro influencer market saturated, marketers now look to nanoinfluencers
  • By 2022, most of the skills required for employability will be soft skills
  • The length of YouTube videos people will watch on their phones continues to increase
  • Gen Z uses text and chat more than any other generation, but how do they feel about new technologies?
  • Fake videos have entered the political space; can business be far behind? But new apps can help identify fakes
  • Dan York reports on Facebook’s new Lasso app, a Google outage, and “signed exchange”
Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. Links from this month’s episode

Ho. Ho. Whoa!


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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Some organizations throw lavish holiday parties to celebrate the season. Others set aside a full day to help a local charity. And then there’s a Wisconsin company that is, hold for it, giving every employee a handgun for Christmas. I do my best to stay apolitical in blogs, but there are so many reasons why CEO Ben Wolfgram (pretty cool name, no? Fits his gift-giving idea like a gun to a holster) really shouldn’t be adding to the proliferation of firearms AND tying it to the season of peace, joy and glad tidings to all. Wolfgram, whose business, BenShot, sells beer mugs, wine glasses and shot glasses with BULLETS planted into their sides, says he had NO concerns about providing employees with firearms. “We wanted to give something nice and memorable to our employees,” said Wolfgram (who could be Instagram’s evil twin for all we know). “There were two aspects
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All Things Must Pass


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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I’ve always likened agencies to baseball managers and football coaches. We are hired to be fired. Make no mistake. The termination clock starts ticking as soon as the letter of agreement is signed. The relationship may last a month, a year, a decade or, in the case of Ogilvy, 75 years. But it will end. In Ogilvy’s case, the “Dear Agency” letter came from Ford when the latter decided it was time to seek a divorce from WPP (Ogilvy’s owner). The reasons for the break-up included: “….Ford’s slumping sales, weak demand in Europe and trade tariffs with China.” Mix that toxic potion with the reality that “….clients are increasingly taking work in-house and using the giant online platforms of Google and Facebook” and you have the perfect storm for any freshly-minted CMO whose most logical first move would be to blame the incumbent agency and hire fresh
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Emerging tech: Your bookmark for 2019


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Data has a better idea “We know from human history that developments in technologies over the centuries, ranging from the Industrial Revolution through to the invention of the automobile, then airplanes and so forth, the landscape of progress is littered with human casualties. People die because of these things being tested.” A provocative statement, the first thing you hear in episode 1 in the third season of the Digital Download podcast that I did with host Paul Sutton last month in which we discussed emerging technologies and communications and what’s predicted to hit the mainstream within the next two to three years. That statement was intended to sharpen focus on the dilemmas confronting all of us when we want to try something new or radically different to advance our knowledge, our well-bring, our development, where there are risks in doing so. It’s an extreme example of risk and consequence on the journey to that
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Did you hear the one about the executive assistant we’ll never forget?


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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The Peppercomm team will be coming together next Thursday night to salute our late, great colleague, Dandy Stevenson. We’ll be holding one of our patented stand-up and improvisational comedy fundraisers in her name. All proceeds will be donated directly to the ASPCA (like me, Dandy had a soft spot for four-legged creatures). This blogger will be serving as emcee, and seven or eight current and former Peppercommers will be performing seven to eight minute sets. We’ll also be joined by sereval professional comedians as well as Peppercomm’s Chief Comedy Officer Clayton Fletcher. Having held countless fundraisers in the past I must tell you this one will be very special indeed. I hope you (and your BFFs) can be there to experience it with us. For more information and tickets visit the event page, here.

For Immediate Release 155: Did neglect kill SlideShare?


This post is by neville@nevillehobson.com (Neville Hobson) from Neville Hobson


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slideshare-tombstone For the September episode of the monthly Hobson & Holtz Report podcast, aka FIR 155, I was the solo host with Shel away. Doing the show like this reminded me of the old days of FIR when Shel and I recorded a weekly show for over ten years, where one of us would typically do it all solo if the other was away. This was one of those times! Anyway, you have a show to listen to so here’s what’s in this month’s H&H Report: In his Tech
FIR155graphic
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