ERCOT and Texas officials respond to blackout, Spotify announces ‘Work from Anywhere’ policy, and Nestlé announces Vegan KitKat

Also: P&G ponders break with ‘Bachelor’ host Chris Harrison, Ford announces zero-emission goals for Europe, most small businesses don’t use link-building strategies, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” is stepping back after backlash over his comments that he later said “excus[ed] historical racism.” Now, Proctor & Gamble’s toothpaste brand Crest is reconsidering its partnership with the embattled host. 

AdAge reported:

We are aware of the developments around Chris Harrison and his role as host of ‘The Bachelor,’” a spokeswoman for P&G said in a statement. “We are in the process of gathering more information about these circumstances to determine our next steps. We are deeply disappointed in his comments, which do not reflect our values.”

Here are today’s top stories:

 ERCOT, government and public health officials respond to Texas blackout

A deadly winter storm has left more than 4.4 million people without power in Texas, NBC News reported. The record drop in temperature led to a power demand that overloaded the state’s electric grid.

 The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the electric grid for 75% of the state and supplying 90% of Texas’ electric load, is scrambling to restore power as well as combat criticism racking up on social media as both politicians and consumers lash out at the way this historical crisis is being handled.

ERCOT has been regularly tweeting updates and news:

Image courtesy of Twitter.

Along with updates, ERCOT is also tweeting warnings against scams and other misinformation that can delay consumers getting the help and services they need:

Public officials and organizations including the Cy-Fair Fire Department, Harris Country Sherrif’s Office Community Engagement Division and Harris County Public Health Department have been tweeting updates and warnings for residents in Harris County, Texas. Some of those warnings include PSAs, as the Houston Chronicle recently reported that the county has “seen more than 300 carbon monoxide poisoning cases.”

The Weather Channel reported:

This is a public health disaster and a public health emergency,” Dr. Samuel Prater, an emergency room physician at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, said in a news briefing Tuesday evening, referring to dozens of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in the wake of power outages during Winter Storm Uri.

Why it’s important: Social media platforms including Twitter are crucial channels as government and nonprofit organizations struggle to get residents news, updates and warnings that could prevent injuries and save lives. Combating misinformation and disinformation has become an all-important task when delivering this information.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Ford announced that it’s going “all-in” on electric vehicles in Europe, promising that, by 2026, all passenger vehicles will be zero emissions capable, with either all-electric or hybrid with plug-in options. The automaker pledged that its commercial vehicles will offer the same options by 2024, and Ford aims to have two-thirds of its commercial sales be all electric or hybrid by 2030.

In a press release, Ford said:

Our announcement today to transform our Cologne facility, the home of our operations in Germany for 90 years, is one of the most significant Ford has made in over a generation. It underlines our commitment to Europe and a modern future with electric vehicles at the heart of our strategy for growth.


CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK

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

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MEASURED THOUGHTS

BuzzStream and Fractl recently released a report on small businesses and link building practices within their digital marketing strategies, revealing that though nearly 63% of business owners understood the importance of link building, less than 23% had a current strategy in place.

If you’re like the nearly 53% of business owners who don’t know what link building is, BuzzStream explains that it “refers to the process of acquiring links from other websites to your own.”

BuzzStream wrote:

These links can provide a variety of advantages beyond simply directing traffic from another website. For instance, a link on another website could improve your SEO, or where you pop up on a search engine. While it does get even more complicated (most SEO specialists agree that link building is one of the hardest parts of their job), the difficulty can be a major advantage: If you can master it, you’ll be way ahead of the competition.

With roughly 54% of small businesses using social media strategies and more than 31% employing SEO best practices, link building should be on your radar for strengthening your brand’s online presence and increasing traffic.

Image courtesy of BuzzStream.

You can view the entire report here.

Spotify announces ‘Work from Anywhere’ policy

The company recently announced to employees that its offering more workplace flexibility, introducing “My Work Mode,” which enables employees to work from home full time, come into the office, or adopt a hybrid plan. Spotify is also allowing employees to work in different cities and countries, promising co-working space membership if they want to work in an office setting away from the company’s buildings.

Spotify wrote in a post within its HR blog:

We have been discussing the future of work and what it will look like for a couple of years, and have always concluded that globalisation and digitalisation are drivers for a more flexible workplace, that is better for both the company and our people.

Then 2020 came. Overnight, we were forced to work from home, which was in and of itself a litmus test of our culture and values, and even though we are not yet on the other side of this pandemic, or the racial and social challenges that the last year has shed light on, we are proud to say that Spotify’s culture stands strong. The events of the past year have accelerated my and the Executive Team’s thinking about the future and we believe that the time to start transitioning into becoming a flexible/distributed-first company is NOW.

Why it matters: Spotify listed several company beliefs in its blog post, including: “Work isn’t something you come to the office for, it’s something you do.” It also said its flexible approach is “a great advantage and jewel in our Talent Attraction crown.” If you haven’t yet considered the future of your organization’s workplace, now is the time. By offering flexibility, you can strengthen your organization’s culture, increase productivity and retention, and better attract top talent—all while reducing unnecessary overhead costs.


DOWNLOAD EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH

Where communications fits in an organization is a crucial element of positioning communicators to champion important campaigns, protect reputation and branding, drive key messages and influence top-level strategies.

Are your PR and internal communications teams in sync, or do you place communications and marketing together? How does your organization view its communications function—and are you working on breaking down silos for collaborated, concentrated efforts?

Take a look at how several communicators fit within their organizational workflows with our exclusive case study.

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Especially as organizations adjust to remote, dispersed and hybrid workplaces during COVID-19 and prepare for the future of work, considering where your communications team sits within your organization’s flow charts can affect leadership efforts and help you successfully execute campaigns and inititiaves.

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TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Nestlé announced its first-ever vegan KitKat:

The product, dubbled “KitKat V,” will launch later this year in countries worldwide through the KitKat Chocolatory and selected retailers as Nestlé tests consumers’ appetite for the plant-based treat.

In a press release, Alexander von Maillot, Nestlé’s head of confectionery, said:

There is a quiet food revolution underway that is changing how people eat. We want to be at the forefront of that, championing the discovery of plant-based food and beverages. What better way to do that than offering a vegan version of one of our most famous and much-loved brands? The new KitKat V means chocolate lovers now have a great plant-based option when they have a break.


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked what word and GIF best describes your work in communications.

PR pro Kait Solomon struck out against ineffective PR and media relations analytics, while many of you, including PR and social media pro Amy Higa, said PR is all about rapid multi-tasking:

Laura Bedrossian, head of communications and marketing for Terentia, highlighted storytelling as an essential trait, while PR consultant Rachel Evans underlined the common truth of little to no budget for communicators:

Is there question you’d like to see asked? Please let us know under the #DailyScoop hashtag!


SOUNDING BOARD

What’s the worst thing you can say to a PR pro?

Weigh in below or on Twitter, and we’ll share your insights in tomorrow’s roundup.

COMMENT

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