With more than 48,000 tweets and counting, the #BoycottNRA hashtag is trending and brands are listening. In response to the outcry following the Feb. 14 Parkland, Fla. school shooting, several national brands have rescinded their NRA membership discounts in support of gun control, including Best Western, Wyndham Hotels, Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and First National Bank of Omaha, among others.
Unilever is threatening to pull ads from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google—but the way the consumer goods giant conveyed that message has been as powerful as the message itself. The company’s CMO Keith Weed planned to use his keynote at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting today to call for improved transparency, accountability and consumer trust in digital platforms. But in a masterstroke of messaging, the company managed to humanize itself and score earned media, while also positioning Unilever as a thought leader, by releasing the speech strategically.
In an effort to combat harmful advertising in the beauty industry, CVS has made a commitment to keep it real. The retail chain has unveiled its Beauty Mark campaign, promising that it will no longer “digitally alter or change a person’s shape, size, proportion, skin or eye color or enhance or alter lines, wrinkles or other individual characteristics” in the imagery it creates for its stores and marketing.
An area where data has influenced communicators heavily is in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Instead of addressing social issues based on what communicators felt the public was thinking about, savvy PR pros are using data to assess needs prior to mounting a CSR effort. Here’s how one health organization used data and research before beginning its CSR initiative.
Over the weekend, four brands announced they would not advertise on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, but none felt the backlash quite like Keurig, as videos of people smashing its machines lit up Twitter. The violent response underscores the tricky situation brands are in when caught in the crossfire of a politically charged controversy. Keurig first faced backlash for its inaction. When it took a stand, it faced another angry wave of protests.
Reports that Facebook’s self-service ad-buying tool may have been used by Russian agents during the 2016 election—as well as allowed anti-Semitic groups to target like-minded individuals—has damaged the brand’s reputation and raised questions about federal regulation of social media ads. The revelations have also raised questions about transparency, integrity and crisis management. When should a company withhold information it knows will damage its brand, and for how long?
The cruise ship industry is often on the wrong end of crisis communications, but Hurricane Irma has given Royal Caribbean the chance to show its humanitarian side, even as it deals with pressing customer service issues on social media. The Miami-based company is mobilizing four of its ships to help people in need with food, water and other supplies, in coordination with the federal government as well as local governments in St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
If you’re not a rescue or relief organization, you can’t ask employees to be heroes. But if you create a brand culture that emphasizes community and empathy, and that you care about more than the bottom line when the going gets tough, you might empower individual employees to help in ways that will truly make you proud.
Shakespeare in the Park’s new Caesar stages the title character as looking very similar to Donald Trump. Although much art is meant to provoke discussion, enacting the assassination of a deeply controversial president on a prominent stage crosses a line. Visualizing violence against a sitting president is nowhere near being considered acceptable—and your brand probably doesn’t belong anywhere near such displays.
Al Golin, founder of global PR firm Golin and noted PR luminary, passed away peacefully at the age of 87 on April 8. More than just the mind behind one of PR’s most successful agencies, Al Golin made many contributions to the evolution of public relations, launching groundbreaking socially minded initiatives, mentoring scores of PR professionals and making the greater good a core part of his company’s culture.