Boeing axes a top exec, REI takes a pass on Black Friday, and why it’s time to start using AI

Also: NBC affiliate apologizes for delayed tornado report, Always’ more-inclusive packaging, Nike chief resigns, and PR pros’ favorite platforms for personal branding and networking.

Good morning, PR pros:

NBC affiliate KXAS has apologized, saying it “made a mistake” by not interrupting its broadcast of the Eagles-Cowboys football game to air a tornado warning for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The team delayed its announcement for six minutes—and two minutes after the National Weather Service called the tornado a “life-threatening” situation, according to The Washington Post.

In a statement, the Texas news station said:

… Our meteorologists were also streaming live weather coverage throughout the evening on our site, NBCDFW.com. We also alerted the football audience to our weather livestream throughout the game.

When it comes to dealing with severe weather, we know that seconds matter. We should have broken into football programming sooner. We apologize and want you to know that we’re doing everything in our power to make sure this does not happen again.

We look forward to regaining the trust of anyone we may have disappointed.

The incident serves as a reminder that social media communications don’t take away the effectiveness and necessity of more-traditional channels, including TV, especially during crises. It also highlights the problems many communicators face in situations where they could be criticized no matter what decision they make.

Here are today’s top stories:

Boeing removes another top exec as crisis continues

On Tuesday, the aviation company ousted its head of commercial airplanes division, Kevin McAllister, who was deeply involved with Boeing’s crisis response after two 737 Max crashes killed 346 people and spurred regulatory groundings, along with a plethora of negative headlines. McAllister’s departure comes less than two weeks after Boeing removed its chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, from his board chairmanship.

Why it matters: Boeing’s current PR crisis is the biggest in its 103-year history, The New York Times reported. One reason is additional information surfacing that shows Boeing leaders were warned about problems with the 737 Max’s automated systems. The crisis underlines two paramount response lessons. The first is that the truth will eventually come out, so you’d better get ahead of it. Second, large crises often require leadership changes—and often executive departures—to show that organizations will act upon the promises they’ve made.

Related reading:


MEASURED THOUGHTS

According to a guide from Weber Shandwick, artificial intelligence should already be having an impact on your communications strategy. The technology is ready to scale and has immediate applications for many of your current tasks.

To learn more, see the full guide.

Always removes female symbol to be more inclusive

Proctor & Gamble is removing the Venus symbol from the packages of its Always sanitary pads. The move to include both nonbinary and transgender consumers has already received kudos on Twitter and beyond.

The New York Times reported:

“For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so,” the company said in a statement. “We’re also committed to diversity and inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers.”

Why you should care: Inclusive marketing messages and communications campaigns that cater to diverse consumer segments not only stand to gain market share, but also a boost to reputation and consumer loyalty. If you’re looking to make your messages more welcoming across audiences, consider that an organization’s diversity starts within, and invite employees to weigh in with their ideas.

 Related reading:


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

REI is bucking the Black Friday marketing trend for the fifth year in a row, urging consumers to take part of its #OptOutside campaign.

However, this year the outdoors retailer is urging you to clean up instead of just not shopping the sales. With a video highlighting consumer waste and its damage to the environment, REI ends with a simple message: “Change isn’t easy. Starting is.”

The video hints at the growing trend of organizations adopting sustainability initiatives to cut back on plastics and other environmentally damaging products.

In a press release, REI wrote:

“My job is to steward the co-op, and the outdoors, on your behalf — and on behalf of the generations who follow us. Today, that future is at risk,” REI CEO Eric Artz wrote in a letter to co-op members this week. “We are in the throes of an environmental crisis that threatens not only the next 81 years of the co-op, but the incredible outdoor places that we love.”

… “As a single company, our impact is limited, but as a community, we can drive change that powers meaningful action beyond our walls,” Artz wrote. “As a co-op, we know that many people taking many small steps together can add up to big changes. Collective intention will drive collective impact.”

Nike’s chief resigns

The sportswear retailer says CEO Mark Parker will step down in early 2020. John Donahoe, chief executive of ServiceNow and former chief of eBay, will take Parker’s place.

In a press release, Parker said Donahoe’s “expertise in digital commerce, technology, global strategy and leadership combined with his strong relationship with the brand, make him ideally suited to accelerate our digital transformation and to build on the positive impact of our Consumer Direct Offense.”

Why it matters: Parker probably didn’t write the corporate-speak in Nike’s press release, and  for a likely reason: Though Nike’s stock has grown over the past few years, the company has also grappled with crises that include Parker’s knowing that Nike’s former long-distance running coach was testing a banned substance; employees calling the company’s culture toxic; and female athletes sponsored by Nike revealing that they faced financial penalties if they became pregnant. The latter forced Nike to change its sponsorship policies after a backlash.

Revenue isn’t the only thing to boost organizations. If your chief is increasing your profits at the expense of your culture and reputation, it’s time for a change.

Related reading:


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked what your favorite social media platform for personal branding and networking, and Twitter took the No. 1 spot (38% of you chose it). The margins were close, however: Thirty-four percent of you chose LinkedIn, and 29% said Instagram was the go-to platform:

Communications pro Kamreshan Moonsamy said no matter the platform, it comes down to making meaningful connections:

For some, including the team at Kerokita Marketing, that means focusing on what works best for their personal and organizational brands:

Communications pro Laine Bodnar said what you’re sharing should also determine your platform:

The team behind the Marple app reminded us not to forget about Google search results:

What thoughts would you add to this discussion? Share with us under the #MorningScoop hashtag.


SOUNDING BOARD

What communications stumbling block do you struggle with most or consider the most damaging to your PR efforts?

Please weigh in and share your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.

 

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COMMENT

One Response to “Boeing axes a top exec, REI takes a pass on Black Friday, and why it’s time to start using AI”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    The departure of two executives from Boeing is unfortunately a PR necessity.

    In an accident situation, PR reality is that the public feels endangered, steam builds up and there’s a growing concern: “Is anyone going to DO something about this situation? It could have been ME on that flight.”

    The peril is not just management’s embarrassment, reduction in passenger demand and loss of future sales to Airbus. Airplne sales may be also be lost to an ultra-low-cost ultra-safety-tested plane from Embraer in Brazil or a major auto company especially Fiat Chrysler which can tap low-cost labor in southern Italy. Or even (it could happen) CHINA which throws in over a billion dollars worth of futuristic safety equipment and lets Trump proudly announce the buy of more beans and corn than American farmers can grow!

    A much bigger PR peril even than the above may be that Washington political leaders, perhaps including a presidential candidate, will loudly “stick up for the safety of Americans who fly” and propose grossly excessive restrictive regulations that could cost Boeing billions. Billions!

    Fortunateley, if you replace two senior executives like Kevin McAllister and Dennis Muilenburg, the public can judge that stil more is being done and get the justified feeling, “Good, they’re taking are of this.” The public, the media and government leaders may turn to other concerns where there’s more steam and not yet satisfactory answers.

    There is another urgent PR imperative in this kind of accident situation. The message must be not just “okay the problem is fixed” because over 200 million flyers may still worry whether the problem has been fixed adequately so that Boeings are safe to fly.

    Therefore to score a PR triumph of facts over fears, the need is to show not just that the most modern safety equipment and software has been added—and not just that is has been designed by world-famous aerospace geniuses from MIT, Cal Tech, six other famous universities and three top U.S. government safety offices—but that as a result, today’s Boeings are not just safe but are the SAFEST AIRPLANES ON EARTH!

    The PR goal following this kind of safety situation is not just public acceptance but genuine preference, an inclination of passengers to be so eager for next-generation safety that passengers feel: If it’s not Boeing I’m not going!

    Boeing in truth knows how to earn this attitude, and our great PR firms know how to make it happen.