Brand managers gird for Calif. privacy act, Blizzard backtracks after criticism, and women-led organizations earn more

Also: Michigan dumps Fisher Investments over sexist remarks, Carlsberg debuts ‘paper’ bottles, Renault fires its top boss, and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

The California Consumer Privacy Act will take effect Jan. 1—and brand managers are scrambling to deal with the upcoming restrictions.

The law will require an “opt out” button on each page of your website that enables consumers to tell your organization if they do not want their data to be collected and sold, and will also enable consumers to opt out of your organization’s terms of service without penalties.

The new standards might affect more than just consumers in California, as more states have established or are enacting similar laws. Communicators will have to become more savvy about data collection in light of privacy concerns and restrictions to provide consumers with valuable content and offerings.

What do you think about the upcoming changes? Share your thoughts with us under the hashtag #MorningScoop.

Here are today’s top stories:

Blizzard walks back punishment for player’s Hong Kong remarks

The gaming company gave back professional gamer Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung’s prize winnings and reduced his yearlong ban to a six-month suspension following intense backlash from its community. However, Blizzard denied that the criticism was the factor in changing its decision.

Variety reported:

“In the tournament itself Blitzchung *played* fair. We now believe he should receive his prizing,” the company’s president J. Allen Brack wrote in a statement. He added: “But playing fair also includes appropriate pre- and post-match conduct, especially when a player accepts recognition for winning in a broadcast. There is a consequence for taking the conversation away from the purpose of the event and disrupting or derailing the broadcast.”

Following Blizzard’s initial move, other gaming companies, including Epic Games and Riot Games, released statements that distanced themselves from PR crises of their own.

The Verge reported:

“Epic supports everyone’s right to express their views on politics and human rights. We wouldn’t ban or punish a Fortnite player or content creator for speaking on these topics,” an Epic Games spokesperson told The Verge.

Riot Games’ global head of League of Legends Esports, John Needham, also issued a statement, which said that the company asked both broadcasters and players to “refrain from discussing [sensitive political and social] topics on air”:

Why it matters: To avoid certain topics or comments, set clear policies and standards for both employees and influencers before you encourage them to appear in broadcasts and share content that ties to your organization. That said, make sure your policies and standards align with your community and your brand vision, and remain transparent—which means admitting you screwed up if you did make a mistake. Blizzard’s staunch denial that the backlash forced its hand have not warmed the relationships of angry gamers leaving its platform.

Related reading:


MEASURED THOUGHTS

Credit Suisse’s 2019 Gender 3000 report revealed that gender diversity boosts organizations’ bottom lines.

The number of women on boards is increasing each year across industries, with an average of 20.6% of women on boards in 2019, compared with 15.3% across industries in 2015. The number of women taking over senior management roles has risen, too—and both have corresponded to organizations’ growing profits and share prices, among other success indicators.

Credit Suisse reported:

In our updated analysis, we find that differentiating companies by their management rather than board diversity, if anything, yields stronger results. Companies with more diverse management teams have generated sector-adjusted outperformance approaching 4% a year compared to those displaying below the average.

The report found that organizations with more women in senior management roles had higher operating profit margins. Those that have women making up more than 30% of its senior management have more than a 2% higher cash flow return on investment (an organization’s economic return) than those with fewer than 15% female senior managers.

Michigan distances itself from Fisher Investments after sexist comments

 The state pulled its $600 million pension fund from the investment company after its founder and chief, Ken Fisher, made several ill-advised remarks at a recent summit in San Francisco. Those included comments that compared his wealth management strategy to picking up women, along with remarks about Jeffrey Epstein.

 Why you should care: If your organization’s executives think it’s acceptable to make sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise derogatory comments in any situation, have your crisis response prepared for a growing tide of backlash. You might also consider weaving the current political and social climate into media training exercises to increase understanding that these comments are not OK in any circumstance. CNBC reported that Fisher was “initially defiant amid the backlash … and that he had ‘given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response.’” That initial response just piled onto Fisher Investments’ PR crisis.

 Related reading:


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Danish brewer Carlsberg Group recently debuted prototypes of its latest sustainable packaging, the world’s first “paper” bottle:

The bottles are made from sustainably sourced wood fibers with an “inner barrier” made from recycled PET polymer or FEF polymer film that holds the brew.

The bottles are part of Carlberg’s “Together Towards Zero” project, which promises to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030, along with reducing its carbon footprint by 30% in the same timeframe.

Renault bids adieu to CEO

 The French carmaker has fired its chief executive, Thierry Bolloré, in an effort to improve its relationship with partner Nissan. Bolloré succeeded Renault’s Carlos Ghosn, who was arrested after allegations of financial misconduct. Nissan has also replaced its chief executive.

 Why you should care: An organization’s transformation often involves new leadership, to further present the image of turning over a new leaf. “We’re at a new stage now for this alliance. Sometimes you need new management … to breathe new life into things,” Renault  Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said, as reported by Reuters.

Whether or not you replace executives or management within your organization’s transformation, ensure that your messages reflect new thinking and different strategies, so employees and external stakeholders alike can trust that you’re heading in a new (and positive) direction.

Related reading


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked for the PR buzzwords that drive you crazy, and you responded with some real doozies:

Send us your favorite PR banalities @PRDaily.


SOUNDING BOARD

Hong Kong has become a nightmare for many brand managers as they try to remain competitive in the lucrative Chinese market without alienating pro-democracy consumers in other countries.

How would you advise corporations, including the NBA, to manage the situation?

Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments with the hashtag #MorningScoop.

 

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