PR Roundup: State of Internal Comms, Apple Woes and Women’s Mentorship

This week's PR Roundup looks at the state of internal communications, Apple's investor relations and reputation woes and tips for women in mentorship in honor of International Women's Day.

Simpplr State of Internal Comms Report

What happened: 

Simpplr, an AI-powered employee experience platform, released its 2024 State of Internal Communications Report on March 7. For anyone working in communications right now, the internal has become the external, and working together for the sake of company reputation is pertinent. 

Key highlights of the report include:

  • Currently, 40% of internal communications teams are operating without a clear strategic plan or defined objectives and 30% feel their importance is not fully recognized. 
  • Though 35% of respondents reported that their IC budget increased in 2023, that group is primarily made up of highly effective teams (43%), with only 10% of less effective teams reporting an increased budget. (Highly effective (HE) internal communication teams are distinguished by their operational tactics and strategic vision, with several key characteristics setting them apart. One distinctive feature of HE teams is their use of a clear charter with measurable goals that provide benchmarks for success.) 
  • The report uncovered that teams using AI are 13% more likely to rate themselves as highly effective and 17% more likely to get budget increases.
  • The most successful IC teams are frequently part of the HR or People Team (28%), highlighting a deliberate alignment with the organization’s culture and employee well-being objectives. 

Communication takeaways: 

Work life has certainly not been the same since Covid-19, with organizations trying to navigate the employee preferences of remote, hybrid and in-office work. And technological advances show no signs of slowing down, particularly with AI, which is impacting employees and companies at an increased level. Plus layoffs and economic uncertainty are creating increased pressure on everyone. Change is inevitable, and internal comms pros are usually the first people to shape and deliver news.

"Our new report showed that the workplace is constantly changing, and this past year has been especially turbulent for internal communication teams," says Simpplr Chief Insights Officer Jordan Katz. "Internal communication teams with effective employee engagement strategies are essential to help organizations navigate these storms. In good and challenging times, their advantage is crucial in maintaining employee productivity, retention, and overall well-being-all key to business success."

Apple Shares Tank

What happened: 

For the first time in a long time, Apple, as a company, has had a rough couple weeks. 

It announced the cancellation of its electric vehicle project, which spanned over a decade and cost billions of dollars. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo found that nearly a third of Apple Vision Pro returns were because users couldn’t figure out how to set up the $3,500 headset. It received a $2 billion anti-trust fine from Europe. Apple iPhone sales in China have dropped 24% since the beginning of 2024. Goldman Sachs removed Apple from its top stocks list.

Needless to say, investors seemed panicked, and Apple stock dropped to its lowest level in years. 

Communication takeaways: 

When everything is going wrong for an organization, it needs to do the work to get in front of the narrative, particularly when valuable investors are at play. 

For years Apple has been seen as having an aspirational brand reputation. People may remember images of excited loyalists waiting in lines overnight for the latest iPhone. 

Jenny Wang, SVP at CLYDE says it’s important for any public company to have a robust, comprehensive communications strategy. She says the strategy should go beyond earnings releases—it should be very proactive, especially when the news is bad, because you don't want your company's leadership to appear lacking in care or engagement.

She also notes the importance of controlling the message when it comes to earnings calls and beyond.

“Have a robust handle on the takeaways that people will get from earnings calls,” Wang says. “What do you want people to leave the meeting or the call with? What is the specific headline we want analysts to be writing?

And while it may sound simple,  in times of turbulence, it’s always important to bring it back to the long term focus. 

“Obviously, you acknowledge how x changed or y changed, but ultimately say how these recent developments still lead you towards your overall long term vision, mission and strategy,” she says. “That's talking about performance against long term goals, not just short term updates.”

Kite Hill PR Releases Women's Mentorship E-book

What happened: 

In honor of International Women’s Day we wanted to highlight a practice that many women in the industry embrace and benefit from—mentorship

Kite Hill PR just released its first e-book, “Mapping Your Career Constellation: How to Find Your North Star and Communicate Your Vision,” on behalf of the agency’s founder and CEO, Tiffany Guarnaccia. Kite Hill PR says the book is “perfect for female entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs looking for a modern-day mentorship guide.” The e-book takes readers on a professional development journey to help them find their purpose, build their career goals and path, and ultimately, make their visions a reality.

The e-book features insights from the agency’s “Modern Mentorship” video interview series, interlaced with advice and anecdotes on the hard lessons Guarnaccia learned along the way in her own career journey. Through three sections, readers will uncover thought-provoking insights and advice, such as how to find their North Star in business, discovering what it takes to get started, challenging the status quo, trusting their intuitive instincts, and more.

Communication takeaways: 

It never hurts to have a fellow professional share career lessons. Mentorship can be an intimidating ask for many, who may not know where to begin. It’s important for women in the industry to be able to access advice and lessons from others who may have been in their position. 

“As a two-time entrepreneur and current small business owner, I understand the challenges and opportunities when it comes to mapping your career constellation,” says Guarnaccia. “The path is not linear, and I would not be where I am today without the guidance, support, and mentorship of others. I hope this e-book inspires—and encourages—each and every reader…and knows that I’m here to help her through every step.”

Nicole Schuman is senior editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal