It’s still tough for some American communicators to tell just what all of this means for us, at least until we start to see some consequences from GDPR’s enforcement. Those consequences will arrive by end of year in the form of sanctions, though, according to European Data Protection Supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli.
Lawsuits are a part of doing business, which is what makes litigation PR such a crucial part of the overall communications industry and part of every brand’s communications strategy.
But now it’s happening to your brand. You know a suit is being released publicly later today. It’s potentially damaging.
So, what should you do?
Despite the demand for transparency, traditional thinking still holds that when brands receive bad news they should do their best to keep it quiet. When a brand disrupts this pattern and amplifies its bad news, it becomes newsworthy. This describes the case of a gunmaker that issued a press release when its bank refused to continue doing business with it.
The idea that most Americans have lost the ability to speak civilly to each other in these uncertain times may not be Robert Reich’s alone, but he offered an imperative specific to the 2,500+ communicators at the international PRSA confab—in an age when people don’t know how to talk to each other, or how to listen, it’s communications pros who must act as stewards and promoters of civility. “You are people who set the tone very much for what we and how we communicate,” Reich says. “And there is now a vitriol, and anger in the system. We are not communicating.”
“The millennial and Gen Z audience are always looking behind the marketing narrative at the purpose and the intention of companies and brands that they engage with,” says TwentyFirstCenturyBrand’s Jonathan Mildenhall (formerly of Airbnb and Coca-Cola). Here are some key tips for brands looking to define that purpose from Mildenhall’s keynote address at the PRSA International Conference 2018.
Fashion e-commerce site Revolve filed an IPO this week. The site, which describes itself in the filing as a “next-generation fashion retailer for millennial consumers”, mentions the word influencers a whopping 79 times. Going public also brings on an increased level of scrutiny, and the need for Revolve to make sure its influencers are properly disclosing their relationships to the FTC. That has not always been the case.
Not all brand leaders ought to have their smartphones taken away. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has established a reputation as the rarest of figureheads—not only does she have her fingerprints on every piece of work that bears a connection to her “Wizarding World,” but she often responds to fans online directly, keeping up a dialogue and mitigating any controversies that arise.
Successful writers and PR pros alike remember that the words we use carry a weight, a positive or negative connotation, and choosing what word to use can make or break your brand. Weight Watchers demonstrated an understanding of this on Monday when it announced that it was rebranding as WW, or “wellness that works,” forgoing the 55-year old brand name in favor of shifting the focus away from simple dieting to highlight the brand’s new emphasis on sustainable wellness products and initiatives.
All recent accusations of bias have one thing in common, the same thing that Facebook has dodged questions of reform or regulation over and generally failed to directly address: its proprietary, micro-targeting ad platform. It was this ad platform that allowed the Russians to pay for propaganda in rubles, it was this ad platform that allowed Cambridge Analytica to manipulate its third-party audience categories, and it was this ad platform that has brought the latest accusations of gender bias back to Facebook.
The 70th annual Primetime Emmy awards talked the talk about increasing diversity on television and Hollywood at large, but did not walk the walk. Despite numerous jokes and skits poking fun at the traditional snubbing of people of color in the entertainment industry, and the most diverse group of nominees in the history of the program, 22 of the 26 award winners were white.