It’s a close shave


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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
Continue reading "It’s a close shave"

What Businesses Should Do Before Taking a Stand on Social Issues


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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
Continue reading "What Businesses Should Do Before Taking a Stand on Social Issues"

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


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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

9 Tips for Taking a Stand When a Societal Crisis Hits


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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,
Continue reading "9 Tips for Taking a Stand When a Societal Crisis Hits"

What if Santa’s database were hacked


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In the spirit of the season (and a sad reflection of the times), I’ve allowed myself to briefly escape to an alternate universe and imagine the ultimate Christmas crisis. What if Santa’s database were hacked? Let’s assume I’m the hacker and, thanks to a huge assist from a freelance elf named Yuri (a quick tip of the babushka to Yuri), I’ve gained access to the mother of all holiday databases: Santa’s list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. I’d swiftly change a few of Santa’s decisions and create my own. Here’s who would fill the top three slots on my naughty and nice lists, respectively (as well as the gifts an unsuspecting Santa will be putting in their stockings on Christmas Eve): NAUGHTY: 1.) POTUS. No surprise here but, hey, the guy’s latest chief of staff has gone on record as calling him “a terrible human
Continue reading "What if Santa’s database were hacked"

Mega problems for mega industries


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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
Continue reading "Mega problems for mega industries"

How Does a Beloved Brand Apologize to Billions?


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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
Continue reading "How Does a Beloved Brand Apologize to Billions?"

Ho. Ho. Whoa!


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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
Continue reading "Ho. Ho. Whoa!"

All Things Must Pass


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




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
Continue reading "All Things Must Pass"

“All Ashore That’s Going Ashore!” Especially Kids!


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I like to foment unrest. It’s part of my DNA. I’d rather be remembered for taking a stance on a subject than disappear alongside the vast majority of Americans who choose to go with the flow. That’s why I’m devoting today’s column to Viking Cruise Line’s decision to ban ALL children from their highly-acclaimed river cruises. Let me begin by stating that river cruises hold no allure for me. I’m not the type to sit around with well-heeled, aging Boomers and gape at a Gothic cathedral as the ship glides majestically by. Nor am I the type to go sightseeing (unless I can first include an intense two-hour workout). The above notwithstanding, I salute Viking’s decision to prohibit kids from their uber high-end cruises. I’ve always said I adore my kids, but I disdain other parents’ offspring ? My feelings are based on multiple, first-hand experiences, two of which include the
Continue reading "“All Ashore That’s Going Ashore!” Especially Kids!"

How do you judge success?


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Today’s oh-so-timely guest blog is authored by Laura West, Peppercomm’s Head of Analytics. Btw, we’d love to know your take on the Nike campaign, so comment at will… There are any number of ways to evaluate Nike’s Kaepernick campaign. Some call it: “shrewd,” others say it’s “a bold statement”. The president called it “a terrible message.” Pundits say it’s “a calculated risk.” Is Nike’s ad a success? What do the facts say? There is always a friendly bit of data pointing at an answer we may like, no matter our political/social opinions:
  • Fact: The President of the United States has denounced Nike’s ad
  • Also fact: Lebron James has lauded it
  • Fact: #NikeBoycott was trending on Twitter on Tuesday
  • Also fact: #Nike and #JustDoIt were trending on Wednesday
As most
Continue reading "How do you judge success?"

23


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




It’s hard to believe that Peppercomm began its improbable rise to fame and fortune 23 years ago today. I say improbable because there was no reason to expect success. After all, why would yet another start-up in the highly competitive PR firmament succeed? The answer? Our name. I decided to name the firm in honor of my late black lab, Pepper. The name turned out to be a godsend. It was at that precise moment in time the dotcom boom was in overdrive. Venture capitalists were pouring billions of dollars into dotcoms with any semblance of a business plan (as well as many that did not). The phone began ringing off the hook. Why? Because dotcoms mistakenly thought Peppercom (there was only one M in those days) was a dotcom specialist. We weren’t. But we hired tech PR specialists faster than you can say IPO and, by 1998, O’Dwyer’s had
Continue reading "23"

Google “Trapped Animal”


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Today’s guest blog is authored by Steve Goodwin, a principal at Brand Foundations, a strategic branding & purpose partner of Peppercomm’s. Enjoy….. Yet again this week, we’re reminded that a trapped, wounded animal is dangerous. Like an orange pain-riddled bear with his leg hopelessly caught in a snare trap, President Trump lashed out at Google, accusing the search giant of baking the results in favor of liberal media outlets so that a search of “Trump news” always returns negative stories. [An aside: I’d offer the president the same gentle advice I’ve been giving to clients for years: “Uh… you have more control over this than you may think.”] As is far too often the case, the president’s info started as a discredited story being peddled on Fox before it made its way into his never-used-a-computer brain and out his tiny tweeting fingers. Google, to its credit, responded with
Continue reading "Google “Trapped Animal”"

Updated Packaging Keeps Animal Crackers Out of the Soup


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I had the distinct pleasure of working with Chris Tennyson at Hill & Knowlton at a time in history when H&K was considered the Tiffany’s of the PR universe. There was H&K, and then there was everyone else. But, that was then and this is now.   After leaving H&K in the mid-1980s, Chris went on to build a formidable career on both the corporate and agency sides of our business. Today’s guest blog is excerpted from his upcoming book, “The Crisis Preparedness Quotient – Measuring Your Readiness to Weather a Reputational Storm.”  The excerpt, just like the book itself, is a MUST read for anyone counseling a CCO, CMO or CEO. Enjoy! This week the Nabisco division of Mondelez International unveiled a newsworthy packaging redesign of its Barnum’s Animals cookies. Since 1902, small boxes of America’s favorite brand of animal crackers have been adorned with images of circus
Continue reading "Updated Packaging Keeps Animal Crackers Out of the Soup"

Another brand is being roasted for not taking a smart stand


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Today’s guest blog comes courtesy of Matt Purdue, one of my Peppercomm colleagues who started his career as a sports journalist yet still can’t win our fantasy football league…. When will brands finally realize that standing in the middle of the road on controversial issues of the day is only going to get them run over? And maybe even run over by the most powerful influencer on Earth. Our latest victim is ESPN, which is being blindsided for doing…well…nothing really. In the midst of the NFL’s bubbling anthem controversy, an ESPN executive recently stated that the network was sticking to its longtime policy of not broadcasting the anthem before games. In fact, most networks don’t broadcast the anthem unless it’s a special occasion. Our president, however, has chosen to ignore this reality (as he is often wont to do). Last night, President Trump blasted ESPN at a rally. “It was
Continue reading "Another brand is being roasted for not taking a smart stand"

A brand brave enough to embrace its weakness


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Fact: The Cleveland Browns lost every single game last season. They hold the distinction of being one of the few NFL franchises to ever record such a dubious accomplishment. Fact: Bud Light is one of three or four mega beer brands that routinely spends hundreds of millions of dollars to convince the NFL faithful to sip their suds while lounging on couches and channel surfing from one game to another. Fact: The two organizations partnered to shine the spotlight on Cleveland’s horrific team AND create a brilliant, breakthrough campaign that has this blogger shaking his head and thinking, “How come I didn’t come up with something this smart and strategic?” Then I remember that my personal and professional motto is: “Expect Less.” That comforting reminder enables me to de-stress. But I digress. In case you don’t want to read the article link, here’s the gist of the
Continue reading "A brand brave enough to embrace its weakness"

It’s Not a Matter of If, But When


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In our tumultuous scandal-riddled, societal crises-driven landscape, organizational vulnerability has never been more fragile. And the role of the CCO/CMO has never been under greater stress. But, for those who anticipate, plan, test and re-test the societal crisis response systems, the opportunity to rise above the fray and bring clarity to the fog of war has never been more readily available. Ah, but one needs to know where to look, determine what constitutes a brand threat, assure your response will align with the organization’s higher purpose AND then decide if, how and when to respond. I had the amazing opportunity to co-host an IPR-sponsored webinar (playback available next week) yesterday with Linda Rutherford, SVP and Chief Communications Officer of Southwest Airlines. We were simultaneously addressing the best practices IPR and Peppercomm, my firm, had gleaned from in-depth interviews with 50 leading CCO/CMOs. I enumerated the top-line research findings
Continue reading "It’s Not a Matter of If, But When"

It’s Not a Matter of If, But When


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In our tumultuous scandal-riddled, societal crises-driven landscape, organizational vulnerability has never been more fragile. And the role of the CCO/CMO has never been under greater stress. But, for those who anticipate, plan, test and re-test the societal crisis response systems, the opportunity to rise above the fray and bring clarity to the fog of war has never been more readily available. Ah, but one needs to know where to look, determine what constitutes a brand threat, assure your response will align with the organization’s higher purpose AND then decide how and when to respond. I had the amazing opportunity to co-host an IPR-sponsored webinar (playback available next week) yesterday with Linda Rutherford, senior vice president, chief communications officer of Southwest Airlines. We were simultaneously addressing the best practices IPR and Peppercomm, my firm, had gleaned from in-depth interviews with 50 leading CCO/CMOs. I enumerated the top-line research
Continue reading "It’s Not a Matter of If, But When"

You’re Fired!


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I’m impressed by the actions of Fallon, Olson Engage and Initiative to step up, stand out and fire their client Papa John’s in the aftermath of the N-word controversy. Skeptics could argue that, by firing Papa John’s, each agency will now attract new, and more reputable, clients as a result. One could also surmise such a move will motivate existing employees to stay put while attracting recruits with a desire to work for an agency with ethics. Perhaps. But I can tell you as an owner of a 22-year-old firm, it’s very tough to walk away from guaranteed billings. Very tough indeed. Setting aside higher purpose for a moment, the owners of Fallon, Olson Engage and Initiative also have a payroll to meet. And, that’s when an entrepreneur has to stop and think about the implications of firing a quasi blue-chip client like Papa John’s. Sure, your Millennials will love
Continue reading "You’re Fired!"

Animal Lovers Take Note


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




One can be excused for missing the various Obama-era regulations that are being overturned right and left by the current administration. But, one New York Times headline in particular caught my attention, “Push to weaken law protecting at-risk wildlife.” According to the article, the Endangered Species Act, which has been on the books for 45 years is now under attack by the White House, lawmakers and, of course, ranching, logging and oil drilling lobbyists. Why? Because the act protected such rare animals as the gray wolf in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes, the sage grouse, a chicken-size bird that inhabits millions of oil rich acres in the West and the American Burying Beetle, yet another bane to oil-drilling companies. In the past two weeks alone, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives and amendments designed to weaken  the Endangered Species Act have either been introduced
Continue reading "Animal Lovers Take Note"