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.
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.
Is there ever a good time to break bad news? Perhaps not, but letting it sit for awhile is unlikely to make it more palatable. Part of the communicator’s job is communicating news that might anger employees. A group of PR pros offers tips and best practices on how to communicate difficult news.
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.
The media often points to examples of large brands failing to observe crisis-response best practices. The incident at the Topeka Zoo on Saturday (April 20) showed a small nonprofit conducting crisis PR at very high levels. The Zoo not only communicated quickly and transparently, it did so with sensitivity. Some large brands and organizations should take note.
On Tues., March 5, investment bank and financial services company Goldman Sachs Group Inc. announced that it would loosen up its stringent employee dress code. Announced via internal memo signed by Goldman executives including chief executive David Solomon, this new “firm wide flexible dress code” has been instituted due to “the changing nature of workplaces generally in favor of a more casual environment.” The memo also urged employees to dress in a manner consistent with their client’s expectations.
With March Madness permeating the zeitgeist in a few weeks, we asked some of the 2018 PR News Rising PR Stars to answer our roundtable questions this month. We asked, “What gets you mad about PR and communications?” And, “What can be done about it?” Their edited responses follow.
Last week Buzzfeed announced that it would lay off 15 percent of its staff—including 43 journalists in its news division, and the announcement hit newswires as a troubling bellwether for digital publishing. The company, which first rose to fame for its viral listicles before later earning legitimacy as a journalistic enterprise, was initially quiet about one detail that was blasted by negative news headlines, tweets, and a protest letter by 400 current and past employees: it would not pay out earned PTO as a part of its severance packages.
There always will be a competitor who can woo your best talent with money. Yet businesses that use only monetary incentives to keep top talent can win that battle for a time, but, eventually, they will lose the war. 5WPR founder Ronn Torossian argues employees who share your company’s vision and values are far less likely to depart. Fortunately, communications is key.
In theory, communicators should be good at keeping their team informed. Yet internal communications often is a problem. In this first of a series of short videos, Jennifer Mastin Giglio, VP of communications for the Washington Nationals Baseball Club, discusses how she keeps her team informed. The video was recorded just prior to a communications leaders roundtable that PR News and partner PublicRelay hosted.