Facebook launches ‘Privacy Checkup,’ most agencies offer social media services, and Starbucks closes 2,000 stores in China

Also: WeatherTech to thank veterinarians in Super Bowl ad, JPMorgan Chase to lay off hundreds, PR Daily seeks your input, and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

Dogs are often featured in Super Bowl ads, but this year’s big game will be the first to see a commercial dedicated to thanking the veterinarians who saved Scout, the dog of WeatherTech’s chief executive, David MacNeil.

Scout’s cancer has a 1% chance of survival, but the medical staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine shrank the tumor encompassing his heart by 90%.

In a press release in the University of Wisconsin’s newsroom, MacNeil, said:

“Scout’s illness devastated us,” says MacNeil. “We wanted this year’s Super Bowl effort to not only raise awareness, but also financial support for the incredible research and innovative treatments happening at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, where Scout is still a patient. We wanted to use the biggest stage possible to highlight Scout’s story and these incredible breakthroughs, which are not just limited to helping dogs and pets. This research will help advance cancer treatments for humans as well, so there’s the potential to save millions of lives of all species.”

The company is also offering consumers the chance to donate to research through their website, weathertech.com/donate.

It’s an outstanding example of dedicating money to a good cause. MacNeil said he could have simply donated the money but hopes the commercial will raise awareness along with additional donations.

Here are today’s top stories:

Facebook launches privacy tool

The social media platform is prompting almost 2 billion members worldwide to review their privacy and data-sharing settings in a feature called “Privacy Checkup” and its “Off-Facebook Activity” tool.

Image courtesy of Facebook.

 In a company blog post titled, “Starting the decade by giving you more control over your privacy,” Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, said Off-Facebook Activity “marks a new level of transparency and control” and wrote:

One of our main goals for the next decade is to build much stronger privacy protections for everyone on Facebook. We know we have a lot of work to do here, which is why this is such a priority for our teams and for me personally.

Why you should care: As Facebook and other social media platforms grapple with data-sharing regulations and privacy concerns, PR and marketing pros should adjust their strategies now to make sure that data-gathering methods along with their use are both legal and ethical. You should also prepare for the reality of more people dialing back organizations’ access to their data. The trend of targeting consumers has entered uncharted and choppy waters, but the first steps you can take are to listen to your community online and tailor your messages accordingly.


Many organizations work with PR and marketing agencies to secure social media success. Sprout Social’s 2019 Agency Pricing and Packaging Social Media Report revealed that 43% of agencies focus on social media offerings and 32% of agencies that don’t do so still include it as an add-on in their proposals.

Image courtesy of Sprout Social.

 Agency folks, similar to their in-house counterparts, face several obstacles when it comes to performing these digital-first services, too.

Image courtesy of Sprout Social.

Starbucks closes 2,000 stores in China as coronavirus spreads

The coffee chain temporarily shut more than half of its mainland China locations as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak rapidly grows. To date, the virus has infected more than 6,000 people and has killed 132 people in China.

NPR reported:

“Our immediate focus is on two key priorities in China,” CEO Kevin Johnson told analysts on an earnings call. “First, caring for the health and well-being of our partners and customers in our stores. Second: playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the coronavirus.”

Other organizations, including Apple, McDonald’s and KFC have also closed stores in the country.

Cruise lines including Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises have canceled voyages departing from mainland China, and many airlines are stopping flights to and from the country as well. CNN Business reported that American Airlines, Finnair Air Asia, Air Canada and Air India have either suspended all flights to China or reduced the number of them.

British Airways suspended its direct flights to and from the country and said “the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority,” CNBC reported.

Why it matters: Along with responding swiftly in the face of a crisis, make sure your messages focus on the people affected by both the crisis and your actions. The common theme of organizations shuttering their locations or offerings during the outbreak has been to reaffirm that their employees’ and customers’ well-being are at the top of their lists.


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JPMorgan Chase to cut hundreds of jobs

The layoffs will affect roughly 1% of the investment bank’s consumer unit employees and are meant to cut costs, even though it reported a fourth-quarter revenue that grew 3% year over year. The company will announce the specific job cuts to workers on Feb. 6, and those affected can apply for other positions within the company.

Yahoo Finance reported:

The move comes less than a week after it was reported that the Wall Street giant had increased the pay of its CEO Jamie Dimon by 1.6% to $31.5 million, following the bank’s record earnings in 2019 on the back of consumer banking.

Why it’s important: Don’t expect internal news to stay within your organization’s walls. Instead, prepare your responses and share important updates with your employees in case in-house events become headlines. That goes double if the news would put your organization in an unflattering light. If JPMorgan Chase’s staff found out about the layoffs through headlines, it’s going to make that bad news sting all the more in light of the bank chief’s sizeable raise.


We asked how you felt about your leaders’ communications skills, and the results were mixed.

The most popular answer is that your leader is not a good communicator. Others were ready to cite external messaging talents while noting a lack of internal messaging.

It’s important for leaders, especially communicators, to remember that leadership or management creates invisible barriers that require active work to break through. Even if you have a communications background, you might be falling short on internal issues.


What are the biggest barriers for your organization to create great videos? Is it the equipment, or the staff, or do you just struggle to find stories that translate well to the small screen?

Share your thoughts in our poll, or tweet @PRDaily with our hashtag #MorningScoop.


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