Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Why Nike Removed a Flag From Its Shoe on Kaepernick’s Advice

July 2nd, 2019 by

Nike has doubled-down on its relationship with Kaepernick by taking his advice and deciding to pull the release of its limited Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July shoe, which was to be released this week to commemorate Independence Day. For communicators wondering what a true spokesperson partnership should look like, here are some teachable takeaways.

Is Google Undermining Its Purpose by Censoring Employee Pride Protests?

June 25th, 2019 by

If “purpose” is to last as one of PR’s top buzzwords, brands need to step up their game. Already in the past few weeks we’ve seen Nike forced to adjust its purpose concerning treatment of pregnant spokespeople. Now Google, which espouses free speech, among other lofty values, is warning staff there will be repercussions should they protest as Google employees during this weekend’s Pride festivities in San Francisco. Apparently for Google, free speech has its limits.

Is Starbucks’ Complex History with Racism Slowing Its Reaction Time?

June 17th, 2019 by

Nur Ashour, founder of cooking blog Catastrophic Cook, took to Twitter over the weekend to report that she was harassed “for wearing a hijab.” The incident occurred at a Dallas Starbucks. At first glance, it might seem to be a case of a brand being dragged into a potential crisis. Going deeper, that’s not quite it. Ashour’s complaint is against the woman who harassed her, but also includes Starbucks employees who, she alleges, did not come to her aid.

Why Does a Woman CEO Need to Be a News Story?

June 13th, 2019 by

The battle for gender equality marches on, played out in one of the most public spaces, headline news. And it’s not just about how much coverage women are receiving versus men—whether in politics or business or sports—it’s also about how the media portrays women in their roles.

Budweiser UK’s Pride Campaign Shows a Brand Taking Too Much of a Stand

June 3rd, 2019 by

To kick off Pride Month, Budweiser UK announced its partnership with London Pride by launching a “Fly The Flag” campaign featuring nine different brightly-colored Budweiser pint glasses, each depicting a different pride flag. Suffice to say, Twitter wasn’t having it. Advocates in the queer community resented seeing their flags used to sell beer, calling it opportunistic and insincere. Others lamented that Budweiser went too far by over-explaining what the various flags meant.

Pride Month: PR’s Work for LGBTQ Equality Is Never Over

May 30th, 2019 by

Pride Month in June is not only a celebration of how much better things have gotten in a country that once treated LGBTQ people as social pariahs. It’s also a reminder that we still have a long way to go to true equality. Two PR pros discuss the past, present and future of LGBTQ issues and how they relate to PR. This also will be the subject of a June 6 panel at the Museum of Public Relations in NY.

Nike Fails Mom Athletes, Shows Gap Between Messaging and Brand Values

May 13th, 2019 by

This past Mother’s Day, The New York Times ran an opinion piece featuring several female athletes who are sponsored by Nike, focusing on the fact that Nike did not provide these athletes with paid maternity leave. The scandal reminds us that brand communicators should close the gap between what’s promoted and what’s practiced, and partner with legal teams to make sure that contractual language is consistent with brand values.

Diverse Sources May Help Bolster Media Revenue

April 30th, 2019 by

Diversity is both good to do and good for business. That concept should apply to media in its use of sources. Unfortunately, data show media sourcing in western media favoring men 3 to 1 over women. Preliminary findings indicate media with a more representative source base may reap financial and other benefits. PR pros can help media by curating and promoting a diverse source base.

International Women’s Day: A Mixed Bag for Brands and PR

March 8th, 2019 by

There’s much to celebrate today, which is International Women’s Day, or IWD as it’s known on social media. While many brands are taking the day to tout the strides women have made, others are selfishly co-opting the moment in pursuit of profits. Meanwhile the PR community should have mixed emotions today too. PR has had plenty of success in recognizing women, yet sexism remains, as does a wage gap and a dearth of women in leadership roles.

Lessons for Brands from the anti-Nike-Kaepernick Social Effort

February 22nd, 2019 by

Executives from APCO Worldwide studied the campaign against Nike and Colin Kaepernick on Twitter and found it wasn’t as widespread or authentic as it seemed at first glance. They conclude that brands should avoid rushing to respond to what appears to be negative social sentiment. Instead, they urge brands to study the elements behind anti-brand content before responding.