Apple details its reopening, Facebook acquires Giphy, and JCPenney files for bankruptcy

Also: Tinder, OKCupid and more share quarantine tweets, Arby’s and ThredUp jump into puzzling, how most journalists look at organizations’ social media profiles, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Facebook recently acquired GIF platform, Giphy:

In a Medium blog post, Giphy wrote:

Instagram has revolutionized self-expression. More than 1 billion people use Instagram to communicate how they’re feeling and what they’re passionate about — we can’t wait to help those people become even more animated! We’ve had a lot of fun teaming up with Instagram over the years; GIPHY’s Stickers were the perfect fit for layering on Instagram Stories, while our GIF search allowed everyone to capture that perfect emotion in Instagram’s DMs. Based on the success of those collaborations (and many others) we know that there are exciting times ahead of us.

Though the move might excite brand managers who focus on Instagram, many are wondering what the future holds for other social and digital media platforms using Giphy, such as Twitter, iMessage, Slack and Signal.

Both Facebook and Giphy promised that the images will remain available to use, but communicators should keep an eye on the move for any changes that could affect their social media and content strategies.

Here are today’s top stories:

Apple outlines reopening plans

The company’s head of retail, Deidre O’Brien, recently published a letter in Apple’s newsroom detailing its measures to reopen its stores. The Verge reported that “80 percent of Apple’s 510 stores worldwide remain closed,” but 9to5mac.com reported that 47 are opening in the United States, Canada and Italy this week.

In the letter, O’Brien wrote:

The response to COVID‑19 is still ongoing, and we recognize that the road back will have its twists and turns. But whatever challenges lie ahead, COVID‑19 has only reinforced our faith in people—in our teams, in our customers, in our communities. Down the road, when we reflect on COVID‑19, we should always remember how so many people around the world put the well‑being of others at the center of their daily lives. At Apple, we plan to carry those values forward, and we will always put the health and safety of our customers and teams above all else.

Why it’s important: Recovery communications will become increasingly important for communicators planning to prepare both employees and customers for reopening. This includes communicating policies and procedures, like include wearing masks and sanitization as well as how organizations will implement social distancing guidelines. You can use Apple’s letter as a template. O’Brien started with and maintained a focus on the customer throughout the letter, which outlined what Apple has done so far during the crisis, what it will do this week with reopened stores, and what it plans to do moving forward.


SOCIAL BUZZ

Tinder’s and OKCupid’s social media teams have been relating to members staying at home during COVID-19 with tweets such as these:

 

It’s not just dating apps commiserating with the pain of quarantine and sanitation measures throughout the crisis. Take a look at a recent Burger King tweet:

These messages can serve as a reminder to include the human side in your social strategy. Though you should balance your tweets with your brand voice, offering a moment of levity or shared frustration can endear you to your community (and potential brand advocates).


MEASURED THOUGHTS

Muck Rack’s “The State of Journalism 2020” report revealed that overcoming the disconnect between PR pros’ efforts and what journalists seek can provide several opportunities to break through the noise—even during the COVID-19 crisis.

For example, 45% of journalists surveyed believe that the way most organizations share information with members of the news media is outdated, but 64% consider their relationships with PR pros as mutually benefitial (even though it’s not a partnership).

Though 93% of journalists prefer to be pitched via email, social media provides many ways to capture their attention with your organization’s stories and efforts. Muck Rack reported that 59% of journalists “always” or “usually” check an organization’s social media profiles when reporting on them, with another 28% checking these profiles “sometimes”:

Image courtesy of Muck Rack.

Besides sharing your stories on social media, PR pros can also increase the changes of their pitches getting accepted by providing images, connecting their stories to current trends, and tailoring their pitches to each publication’s target audience:

Image courtesy of Muck Rack.

During COVID-19, connecting your news and updates to trending stories could include offering resources and expert opinions on topics such as working from home, the state of the economy, and supporting people’s wellness and mental health.

Read the entire report here.


CRISIS LEADERSHIP BOARD

Looking for more insight on how to address the current global crisis and lead your organization into a strong recovery?

Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Board to network and brainstorm with peers, get the latest intelligence and research, and start to strategize for the future of your organization.

Learn more about this exclusive membership here.

JCPenney declares bankruptcy

The retail chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and recently announced it received court approval to “continue paying non-furloughed associate wages, provide certain benefits to all associates, and to pay vendor partners in the ordinary course for all goods and services provided on or after the Chapter 11 filing date.”

“The pandemic was the final blow to a 118-year-old company struggling to overcome a decade of bad decisionsexecutive instability and damaging market trends,” CNN Business reported.

Why it matters: More organizations will probably declare bankruptcy or close during COVID-19, and it’s crucial for communicators to constistently engage with employees and prepare them for the future—whether or not your organization is in that situation.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

In roughly a week, Arby’s offered—and sold out—new “13-Hour Puzzles” that feature its menu items.

The fast food chain offered a humorous disclaimer on the product listing, too:

Unlike Arby’s Smoked Brisket, the 13-Hour Puzzle may not take the full 13 hours to complete. Especially if you looked at the completed puzzle on the box before you started. And if you find yourself taking longer than 13 hours, try looking at the completed puzzle on the box.

The marketing move is one that companies including Kraft Heinz have embraced, as more consumers turn to puzzles and other hobbies while sheltering in place. Online secondhand platform ThredUp also jumped on the bandwagon, but with a “Puzzle Pop Up” program that enables members to donate their used jigsaw landscapes.

People reported:

Once ThredUP receives the puzzle-filled package, they will credit the sender’s account with $4.99 in shopping credit for every puzzle sent in. Customers can then apply that $4.99 credit to buy a “new-to-them” puzzle, which cost $4.99 each, plus shipping. Meaning, when the swap is complete, customers will have only paid the cost of sending the puzzles they receive.

The best part? ThredUP will donate $1 from each purchase to Feeding America — a charity that works to end hunger in the U.S. — until June 1, or until they reach $100,000.

Both campaigns are creative ways to tap into current consumer behavior in ways that can boost brand presence and build both consumer favor and brand image. Consider how you can do the same with this and other consumer behaviors during COVID-19.


RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed the landscape for communicators and PR pros. More than ever before, communicators must gain key skill sets and employ strategic communications and media relations strategies to boost their organizations’ coverage, reputation and overall brand.

Learn what the 315 communicators we surveyed say about what parts of the PR function are more important than ever, how to adjust for COVID-19, and more with our free report revealing insights that can help you perservere during this uncertain time.

Download your copy of the report here.


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked what skill set you’ve been honing throughout this crisis to prepare for the future (besides crisis response), and roughly 45% of you said you’re focusing on social and digital media skills. More than 26% are learning more about business and strategy, and nearly 17% of you are gathering internal and employee communications takeaways for the future. Almost 12% say data and measurement is a focus.

Tressa Robbins, client onboarding vice president for Burrelles, said she’s been building writing and content creation muscles as well:


SOUNDING BOARD

How are you determining where to focus your efforts (and what efforts are working) during and beyond the crisis?

Tell us how you’re measuring your efforts through our Twitter Poll and with our hashtag #DailyScoop. We’ll share in tomorrow’s roundup.

 

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