Hearst, ‘Ellen Show’ Crises Highlight Need to Align Brand with Reality

frustrated, mobile

Katie Paine, CEO, Paine Publishing

In recent weeks, as many consumer brands have revealed their inability to manage communication in troubled and uncertain times, it is surprising when media companies, whose business is to be on top of things, get caught flatfooted responding to breaking news or trending themes.

Even more telling is the damage media brands suffer when reports appear that show a stark contrast between a brand’s image and the conditions under which its products are produced.

Ellen and 'Be Kind'

The Ellen DeGeneres Show came under fire for a tone-deaf tweet about the George Floyd protests and a toxic company culture. Reports have up to 10 current or former staffers alleging they were subject to bullying and racism.

Similar charges could be, and have been, made against any number of celebrities, though they make headlines sporadically. Perhaps DeGeneres’s Be Kind positioning made these allegations a more engaging story.

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