SDF Podcast 28: Summertime Special


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Turkeys
Show notes by Sam Knowles. In England’s distant past, long before the spread of wealth and the explosive growth of the middle classes, holidays were a rarity. Overseas holidays were unheard of, except for those gilded few who’d grown fat on the Empire and took a ‘grand tour’ of Europe for months at a time, or else went off to add new lands to said Empire. The closest most workers got to any kind of holiday was being taken in a charabanc to the nearest seaside resort, where enforced fun would be had on piers stretching out into coastal waters. One of the highlights of such a visit would be an end-of-the-pier show, where metropolitan idols would perform song-and-dance, music hall routines for the masses. The shows were often billed as Summertime Specials. In the world of the Small Data Forum podcast, this latest episode – 28 already –
Tell the truth
The price to pay
Sam Knowles
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Bullying, Hate, Conspiracies, Fake News, Negatively Impacts User Experiences and Advertising Value


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“Social media has made too many of us comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the mouth for it.” – Ice T
In real life… Free speech is not free from consequence. Spreading misinformation whether you aim to sow discord or because you actually believe it, is not free from consequence. Exchanging conflict for views, popularity and financial gain is not free from consequence Inflicting emotional, psychological or emotional pain and aguish on another human being for any reason is not free from consequence Online however, it seems that, for the most part, most of what’s referenced above occurs quite frequently absent of reasonable accountability. For the sake of humanity, we, meaning you and me, have to change. None of this is good for any of us in the short and long term. None of this scales society in any way that’s healthy, productive and meaningful. None
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Would Anyone Notice?


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I have the distinct pleasure of being chairman of the Institute for Public Relations and a member of the Arthur W. Page Society. This past week each organization convened in Manhattan for the IPR board meeting and Page Spring Conference, respectively. The issue of the day (or week) was the purpose of purpose. Organizational purpose, that is. I participated in three different purpose brainstorming sessions that included the best and brightest from the worlds of corporate America, academia and the agency world. The bottom line is that purpose is still very much a work in progress. For example, it is still seen by some Wall Street-focused CEO’s as non mission-critical (one participant referred to that baffling phenomenon as “the CEO blind spot”). Others noted that purpose is still being confused by some CCO’s, CMO’s and CHRO’s with the corporate mission. Most of the IPR/Page members “get” purpose. It’s intended to
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Does the D in Digital Stand for Dying?


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I’ve read quite a few recent articles in the advertising and marketing trade press suggesting the halo surrounding the magical word “digital” is not only fading, but actually becoming a bit of an albatross. According to this article in Marketing Week, more and more marketers are disbanding their separate digital departments and teams and folding them into the larger marcom group. Why? Because, just as was the case with social media, digital is no longer perceived as a standalone “thing.” It’s now seen as simply one more channel in the never-ending battle to engage with stakeholder audiences in a holistic way. And, as the article points out, we all live in a digital world. So let’s move on and get back to calling ourselves marketers and not digital specialists or influencer specialists or CSR specialists, etc. We’re marketers, pure and simple. This development comes as no surprise to
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Designed to Fail.


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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It seems that every new day brings with it another egregious self-inflicted crisis caused by racially and gender-insensitive marketers. The most recent examples are the truly horrific gaffes committed by Adidas and Gucci, respectively;

How could anyone think this was okay?

“There are somethings that just don’t make sense in life; Adidas celebrating black history month with this shoe is one example”

While the in-house marketing team and agency partners are unquestionably at fault for their lack of social awareness, I think the real genesis of these blunders lies with the designers and engineers. These are the uber cool and uber insulated types who are constantly trying to come up with the hippest, sleekest and most cutting-edge sneakers, sweaters and widgets. Having worked with designers and engineers alike, I know they live within their own ivory towers. They obsess over trends, technology and ease-of-use, but are oblivious to the
?
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Shattering Glassdoor’s Reputation


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Achieving five stars on Glassdoor for an organization is the equivalent of a restaurant receiving 3 stars from Michelin Guide. But based on an explosive Wall Street Journal expose, all that glitters at Glassdoor is most certainly NOT gold. Here’s Peppercomm Partner Deb Brown’s POV. Personally, I’d give it 4.5 stars: What happens when your entire business model is questioned? That’s what happened to Glassdoor recently when the Wall Street Journal published an investigative report titled, “How Companies Secretly Boost Their Glassdoor Ratings.” That title has to hurt, especially when on its website, Glassdoor states, “Built on the foundation of increasing workplace transparency…”

Employers flood the ranking site with 5-star postings requested from enthusiastic staffers, leading to unusual spikes, a WSJ investigation found.

To be fair to Glassdoor, employees who are upset at their former or current employer are probably more likely to post negative reviews than content employees
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For Immediate Release 172: The double-edged sword of a Facebook meme


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Suspicion about the consequences and outcomes of the #10YearChallenge meme on Facebook kicked off discussion in the January episode of “The Hobson & Holtz Report”, aka FIR podcast episode 172. Is it just a harmless meme? Or is it a surveillance nightmare? Shel and Neville weight in. Here’s the line-up of all the topics that caught our attention and prompted lively conversation in this episode:
  • Lost trust in Facebook led to wariness about a user-generated meme.
  • Adobe is bringing part of “Minority Report” to life.
  • The Internet of Things was everywhere at CES.
  • A picture of an egg is the most viewed Instagram post ever. What does that bode for influencer marketing?
  • Picture what Google will look like if the EU implements Article 11 of the Copyright Directive.
  • Brands are weighing in on the U.S. government shutdown.
  • Dan York reports on the web’s growing complexity, Jeff Jarvis’s Facebook screed,
    FIR 172
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It’s a close shave


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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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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“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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For Immediate Release 168: The Facebook dilemma


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Neville Hobson joins Shel Holtz for the December installment of “The Hobson & Holtz Report.” The stories Neville and Shel covered include…
  • The passing of PR fixture Jack O’Dwyer
  • Marketers are turning their attention to messaging apps
  • Not everyone is free to leave Facebook, even if they want to
  • The death of keywords (or is it?) as audiences become key to targeting in search
  • Rising Instagram stars post fake sponsored posts to get brands’ attention
  • What we learned about GDPR in 2018
  • Research reveals how journalists can rebuild trust in media; could it work in business?
  • Dan York reports on the Quora data breach, rural connectivity, free (for now) LinkedIn Learning courses, more on Facebook’s woes, Slack banning users with links to Iran, and a new podcast all-in-one mixing desk.
Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music. Links from this month’s episode:

Mega problems for mega industries


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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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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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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SDF Podcast 21: Attention, meaningful content and post-apocalyptic novels


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monitor 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
WTF
Thomas Stoeckle
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How do you judge success?


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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
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23


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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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
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Google “Trapped Animal”


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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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
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Updated Packaging Keeps Animal Crackers Out of the Soup


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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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
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Another brand is being roasted for not taking a smart stand


This post is by Steve Cody from Rep Man


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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
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