Our regular Roundtable feature asked senior communicators to tell us what they believe will be the toughest challenge in 2019. Perhaps concerned with the headlines of the day, many of them had trust and integrity issues on their minds. Others mentioned breaking through the clutter to get your narrative heard.
Google’s controversial plan to create a censored search engine in China enabling state surveillance has become a tale of two memos. The optics of Google’s willingness to work on a “pro-surveillance” product is particularly untimely as talk of user privacy issues and data regulation continues to dominate the news.
“Lena Dunham Comes to Terms With Herself” has its fair share of lessons for communicators, especially those in media working to build out their personal brand. The piece artfully uses scene, narrative and exposition to demonstrate the blind spots that Dunham, and those caught up in the digital generation’s ‘cult of personality’, can easily miss. Here are a couple.
Vaporizer manufacturer JUUL Labs has gotten out in front of looming regulations on the e-cigarette industry by transforming its brand into stewards of legitimate and responsible vape use. Yesterday, the brand announced it would cease sales of its four flavored vape pods in all of the 90,000+ retail stores that currently carry its products, and delete all social media accounts but Twitter.
The amount of corporate attention to the 2018 midterms during the last few months is a sign that the relationship between companies, consumers and politics is undergoing a significant and permanent change. Brand publicity in this election cycle is a harbinger of what’s to come as consumers expect brands to take stands on relevant issues.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage at Wednesday’s International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners open session and took a pot shot “platform and algorithms” that “weaponize personal data,” as senior executives from Facebook and Google watched in silence. His words support the increasingly popular belief among communicators that social media regulation will actually be good for the big platforms, as it leads to improved user trust.
Ticketmaster’s banking on the hope that it’s decision to become the largest B2C brand to openly embrace technology will curb some of the reputational damage its done to itself over the years. But will its educating the masses on the transparency of blockchain make a difference if people don’t understand it?
The alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has grown in intensity as a news story during the course of the past 17 days. Incidents involving the deaths of many more people fail to gain such traction. Several elements surrounding the Khashoggi incident may explain why.
Communicators pointed to four major tactics that they have successfully implemented to earn trust, get their more difficult clients in the press, open their minds to spend, and change their opinions of the value that PR can bring to business.
On the surface, this effort to give Senator Warren’s claims factual support seemed like an artfully executed campaign. Later that day, though, it became clear that the DNA test had done more harm than good. Senator Warren’s gaffe amounts to lessons learned for communicators about timing, why mixing heritage into your outreach strategies can be a dangerous game, and how to take cultural stand without angering any constituency of people.