Good morning, PR pros:
Nissan still hasn’t found the bottom of its leadership crisis: CEO Hiroto Saikawa resigned Monday.
The carmaker has struggled to defend how it operates after investigations into the leadership of Chairman Carlos Ghosn resulted in jail time for its former chief. Last week, Saikawa made headlines when he admitted he had been improperly overpaid.
He has promised to return the money—but Nissan’s board is going in a different direction regardless.
The struggle highlights the importance of good governance and shows how top executive pay can quickly become a PR crisis. Make sure you are prepared to speak about the complex web of finances that make up a CEO’s pay package.
Here are today’s top stories:
CVS Health, Walgreens, Wegmans and Jo-Ann Stores announce gun policies
Major retail chains are jumping on the trend to announce anti-gun policies, and they span a range of product lines:
CVS Health Updates Firearms in Stores Policy pic.twitter.com/0ODx6ewJNX
— CVS Health (@CVSHealth) September 5, 2019
There’s nothing more important than the safety of our customers & employees. The sight of someone with a gun can be alarming, and we don’t want anyone to feel that way at Wegmans. For this reason, we prefer that customers not openly carry firearms into our stores.
— Wegmans Food Markets (@Wegmans) September 5, 2019
Hi! JOANN prefers that guns are not brought into our stores, to help foster a comfortable shopping environment. However, if a customer lawfully brings a gun in, and is not disrupting other customers or is not perceived as a threat, then we generally will allow it. -Rachel
— JOANN Fabric & Craft (@JoAnn_Stores) September 7, 2019
The Hill published a list of gun policies for the largest retailers in the United States. Costco is the only company to prohibit firearms in its locations, but many more—including Albertsons, HEB and Starbucks—have requested that its customers not openly carry guns in their locations.
Why you should care: Organizations must be aware of political and social issues that might affect their brand images, however unrelated to their products or services. Brand managers have to walk a fine line when taking a stance on these issues, as well: You don’t want to offend a large portion of your audience, but the necessity of taking a stand on current issues is rising.
- Walmart walks back guns stance, content marketers stay loyal to text, and Forever 21 sued over Ariana Grande ‘lookalike’
- Kroger joins push for tougher gun laws, consumers readily change brands and WeWork’s founder walks back trademark sale
- Report: Gen Z wants companies to take a stand, but risks loom large
Employee activism is the new reality for PR pros and brand managers.
A study from Weber Shandwick, in partnership with United Minds and KRC Research, reveals that nearly 40% of employees have spoken up—pro or con—about their employer’s stand on a controversial cultural issue.
How are you engaging internal voices to protect your reputation and brand position outside the company?
Forbes backtracks after only one woman makes top innovators list
Following growing backlash over gender bias in its rundown of the 100 most innovative leaders (only one woman was featured), Forbes editor Randall Lane published an article titled, “Opportunity missed: Reflecting on the lack of women on our most innovative leaders list.”
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) September 8, 2019
Lane’s response, which HuffPost’s Lydia O’Connor called a “non-apology,” included outlining the lists’ methodology—which to some, came off as not taking responsibility:
While I enjoy a subjective list as much anyone, the kind where you sit around a room debating and adding and culling, the vast majority of Forbes lists are data-driven exercises, where we determine a methodology, crunch the numbers and let the chips fall where they may. In the case of the new innovative leaders ranking, we’ve been honing its methodology for years, through our Most Innovative Companies list, in partnership with professors at BYU and INSEAD, who have pioneered the idea of an “innovator’s premium” – publicly-traded companies valued at a number beyond what their mere financial performance justifies.
At the end of his article, Lane admitted to the following:
Our methodology was flawed, as well — at a minimum when it came to being more expansive with who was eligible to be ranked.
Why it matters: Take responsibility for your actions and decisions up front. By waiting until the end of his article to admit Forbes’ methodology “was flawed as well,” Lane’s apology falls flat.
However, you won’t have to apologize if you emphasize diversity and inclusion and reconsider decisions that could hurt your organization’s reputation. Maggie Palmer, co-founder of PepTalkHer, tweeted a conversation in which one of the study’s authors, Brigham Young University professor Michael Hendron, defended the results:
Grateful to @MichaelHendron (one of the study Co authors) for responding to my concerns about the @forbes article which listed 99 men & 1 woman in their Top Innovators list. See his comments & my response below: pic.twitter.com/PE7SiI1trb
— Meggie Palmer (@MeggiePalmer) September 7, 2019
“In other words, for all our carefully calibrated methodology, women never had much of a chance here,” Lane wrote.
One has to wonder why the article was still published after both Forbes and BYU understood that its established methodology would largely exclude women from the list.
- Why diversity and inclusion programs are failing
- Google parent faces backlash over rejecting diversity plan
- 6 crucial parts of a PR apology
Similar to Popeyes’ viral chicken sandwich, campaigns including #WhiteClawWeekend and #WhiteClawWednesday have been so popular that the hard-seltzer company is struggling to keep up with the demand.
It’s a lifestyle, not a season. https://t.co/wkGHO8y63s
— White Claw Hard Seltzer (@WhiteClaw) September 2, 2019
“We are working around the clock to increase current supply and total capacity heading into 2020 so that we can get every consumer White Claw when they want it,” White Claw president Phil Rosse told CBS News in a statement.
Rosse said distributors have been on allocation — meaning White Claw has limited the amount of product it ships out instead of offering an unlimited supply — since last September. With the “tremendous response” from consumers, Rosse said the “supply chain has tightened.”
White Claw’s social media team is assuring consumers that more is on the way:
We have the best team in the business working on this.
— White Claw Hard Seltzer (@WhiteClaw) September 6, 2019
Starbucks puts focus on employees and experience
CNBC reported that Starbucks is increasing mental health assistance, including training store managers and offering employees in the U.S. and Canada subscriptions to the guided meditation app Headspace.
Starbucks is also automating certain tasks to encourage employees to spend more time connecting with customers and coming up with ideas that boost their experiences.
One of the approaches [CEO Kevin Johnson] has taken at Starbucks is embracing human-centered design. It’s a problem-solving method that puts the customer and employee experience and interaction—including the physical and digital environment—at every step of the process.
“There’s a methodology you go about where with quantitative and qualitative research to identify for customers and our partners what are the things we need to design to make their experience better?” Johnson stated.
Why it matters: Employees can be the face of your organization, especially when they are part of customers’ first interactions they have with your brand. Give them the news, information and support they require to do their jobs well and feel connected to your organization’s vision and mission.
Also realize that as interactions become increasingly more digital, employees can play a huge role in helping your organization embrace innovative solutions and strategies.
- Report: 49 percent say brands don’t meet customer experience expectations
- 3 ways marketers can improve customer experience
- Study: Employees want more employer-offered retraining
The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint tweeted a correction announcement that should make any communicator wince:
I know it’s bad karma for a reporter to post someone else’s correction but this is too good. pic.twitter.com/UJ2mYQOzM8
— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) September 8, 2019
What are the worst copy errors or corrections you’ve seen?
Share your stories with our hashtag #MorningScoop, and we’ll feature the best in tomorrow’s scoop.
— Ted Kitterman (@tedkitkat) September 9, 2019