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.
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
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
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
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.
Credit: Getty Images
My firm, Peppercomm, has interviewed more than 150 chief communications officers in the past 18 months,
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):
1.) POTUS. No surprise here but, hey, the guy’s latest chief of staff has gone on record as calling him “a terrible human
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
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
“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,
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
“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
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.
Our latest podcast ended up being a tad longer than planned – clearly a sign of a lively, engaged discussion. In talking about various aspects of the attention economy, we managed to hold each other’s attention for a good 45 minutes.
This episode’s show notes were written by Thomas Stoeckle.
Many ‘attention economists’ these days quote Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon and his observation that a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. It is certainly a quote that has aged well, and one can only wonder what Simon would make of the world now, 47 years on from his famous statement.
Sam doesn’t quite see the crisis of attention that brands often lament. But quality and controllability matter more than ever, and producers of content – especially the advertising and media industries – need to up their game to stay relevant. Users control their online experience through ad blockers
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
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
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
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
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
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