Barbie grows more inclusive, Zuckerberg says Facebook needn’t be liked, and Popeyes Chicken debuts clothing line

Also: Lyft’s restructuring to cut 90 jobs, the importance of featuring news releases within your newsroom, take our reader survey, and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

 Not content to rest on its chicken-sandwich laurels, Popeyes Chicken has attracted attention by debuting a clothing line:

Twitter users were quick to point out that Popeyes’ merchandise resembles Beyonce’s Ivy Park clothing line. However, it’s not the only uniform with striking similarities. Following Ivy Park’s launch, United Kingdom grocery chain Sainsbury’s tweeted shade:

What do you think of Popeyes’ clothing—and the growing trend of fast-food chains selling merchandise?

Here are today’s top stories:

Mattel introduces vitiligo and hairless Barbie dolls

The iconic toy has grown more inclusive: Mattel added dolls with vitiligo and without any hair to its Fashionistas line, which it now calls “the most diverse doll line.” The 176 models offer 94 different hairstyles, nine body types and 35 skin tones. Some dolls are in wheelchairs or have prosthetic legs.

On its website, Mattel shared the timeline of Barbie’s diversity efforts:

Image courtesy of Mattel.

Why you should care: The success of Barbie’s new looks show that diversity and inclusion efforts aren’t only good for your organization’s reputation: They can also boost your bottom line. The New York Times reported that in 2019, Mattel said that more than half of all dolls sold represent diverse cultures and physical types—and also reported that Barbie sales grew to a five-year high.

The New York Times reported:

“Mattel is really catching up with the times and realizing that more than 50 percent of children are from backgrounds other than white families,” said Rebecca Hains, a professor of media and communication at Salem State University in Massachusetts and author of “The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls through the Princess-Obsessed Years.”

She added, “If they want to keep that market share, they need to do what they’re doing now.”


The press release isn’t dead—provided it offers actual news that reporters want. As more newsrooms expand to contain videos, stories and other corporate content, don’t leave out a clear spot for your news releases. An Online Newsroom Survey Report from TekGroup revealed most reporters think it’s important to have news releases within an organization’s newsroom:

Image courtesy of TekGroup.

 Don’t forget to tailor your pitching efforts as you spread the news, either. Most reporters (70%) want only those updates that are relevant to their beats.

Image courtesy of TekGroup.

Facebook chief says the company’s goal ‘isn’t to be liked’

Mark Zuckerberg, the social media platform’s founder and chief executive, reported on an earnings call that Facebook membership grew 8% in 2019, ending the year with 2.5 billion monthly users around the world. The growth stands despite consumers’ growing privacy concerns as well as criticism over the way Facebook continues to allow political ads on its platform.

CNN reported:

“One critique of our approach for much of the last decade was that because we wanted to be liked, we didn’t always communicate our views as clearly because we were worried about offending people,” Zuckerberg said on a call with analysts.

He said his goal for the next decade “isn’t to be liked, but to be understood.” That’s because in order to be trusted, “people need to know where you stand,” Zuckerberg said.

That doesn’t mean Facebook isn’t focused on stopping the spread of misinformation, however. CNN Business reported Facebook is “working with its fact-checking partners to debunk false claims about the [coronavirus].” Twitter and TikTok are also monitoring conversations on their platforms for fake news and misinformation about the outbreak.

Why it matters: Whether you’re conducting privacy and data collection or taking a position on a divisive social or political issue, you can’t please everyone. You also can’t avoid criticism, even if you stay out of the spotlight—eventually, your customers will ask you to take a stand. Though you can’t make every consumer happy, you can increase trust through transparency and a commitment to follow through with your decisions. Consider that as you map out your corporate social responsibility strategies for the year and update your crisis response plans.


Employees aren’t showing up just for the paycheck: A recent study by APCO Worldwide revealed that trust in an organization’s leaders is a crucial factor in employees’ deciding where to work. However, only 32% of employees think their organizations’ leaders can be trusted. Clearly, we have our work cut out for us. Read more about the survey, along with takeaways, here.


We’ve launched a readership survey to learn more about our audience, and we want to hear from you.

Please take five minutes to let us know about your content preferences and needs, and we will enter you for a drawing to win one of three $100 Visa gift cards.

Readers who complete the survey will also get a discount code to receive $150 off a Ragan conference in 2020.

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Lyft to cut 90 jobs

The ride-hailing company said it’s going to lay off roughly 90 employees in a corporate restructuring aimed at helping the company achieve profitability. Instead of the job cuts’ signaling the beginning of the end for Lyft, the company is hoping its changes will soon lead to growth.

The New York Times reported:

In marketing, Lyft is shifting from city-by-city marketing groups to regional teams, while its enterprise sales group is shuffling which markets are its top priorities. The company has 5,500 employees.

“We’ve carefully evaluated the resources we need to achieve our 2020 business goals, and the restructuring of some of our teams reflects that,” said Alexandra LaManna, a Lyft spokeswoman. “We are still growing rapidly and plan to hire more than 1,000 new employees this year.”

Why it’s important: Many organizations across industries are being forced to trim their workforces and look at different business models to meet changing consumer behaviors and demands. Don’t wait until you’re up against the wall to make such changes: Enacting them early can prevent massive layoffs and help your organization gain a competitive edge. For individual communicators, the slate of corporate restructurings can also serve as a reminder to check your skill set. Assess your strengths and weaknesses, and seek certification courses and other learning opportunities that can give your résumé a welcome boost.


 We asked about your video content hurdles, and nearly half (45.5%) said you struggle to find the time for video creation. Nearly 32% said the lack of skilled video professionals hamper their video content goals, and roughly 18% struggle to find suitable stories. Equipment is a problem for fewer than 5% of you.


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