LG touts strategy in decision to stop making phones, Publix hits back on ’60 Minutes’ investigation, and how businesses are using employee wellness data

Also: Tesla pushes back on labor law violations over Musk Tweet, Delta shares messaging around canceled flights, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Tesla has filed an appeal against the U.S. National Labor Relations Board ruling that the electric car manufacturer violated U.S. labor law in a 2018 tweet from CEO Elon Musk. In its petition, Tesla asks that the board review the order and offer “any further relief which the Court deems just and equitable.”

“Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted,” read Musk’s tweet. “But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.”

“The NLRB also directed Tesla to offer one former employee reinstatement as well as to rescind 2017 rules that prohibited distributing union literature in its parking lot on non-work time and rules that barred distributing union stickers, leaflets, and pamphlets without first obtaining permission,” reports Reuters.

Communicators, take note that you should always have a crisis plan in place for executives’ social media messages to mitigate the damage before outside parties are pushed to intervene. Also, consider partnering executives with legal teams to go over what is and is not appropriate to share on social media.

LG positions ‘strategic decision’ to end smartphone manufacturing

South Korean electronics manufacturer LG announced that it will stop manufacturing smartphones by the end of July, shifting its focus instead to the manufacture of smart home devices, electric vehicle components, B2B devices and other products.

LG’s statement reads:

LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas…as well as platforms and services.

LG will provide service support and software updates for customers of existing mobile products for a period of time which will vary by region. LG will work collaboratively with suppliers and business partners throughout the closure of the mobile phone business. Details related to employment will be determined at the local level.

CNET reports:

The ignominious end to LG’s phone business is fitting considering its two decades as a handset maker that continuously tried—and failed—to reach that upper strata of cellphone players. The company never fully capitalized on the household name recognition built on a family of products that includes televisions, laptops, washing machines and kitchen appliances. Furthermore, it was beset by an inferiority complex to crosstown rival Samsung.

Why It Matters:

LG offers an example of how to position bad news as a commitment to future success. Always include details around layoffs and employee wellbeing at the time of the announcement, not in a separate release, to ensure that the final piece of messaging around a restructuring announcement doesn’t end with bad news.


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SOCIAL BUZZ

On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas responded laid out a framework for regulating Twitter’s moderation powers.

The Verge reports:

Over 12 pages, Thomas draws out a detailed case for how lawmakers might restrain platform moderation without violating the First Amendment, drawing on both common carrier designations and English common law rules around the right to exclude customers from public accommodations.

Specifically, Thomas argues that lawmakers could use the scale and public nature of platforms like Twitter to justify new moderation rules, similar to the way the Telecommunications Act prevents phone companies from blocking specific people from phone service. Failing that, lawmakers could craft a statute similar to the public accommodations clause of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents hotels and restaurants from barring service on the basis of race or creed.

“Even if digital platforms are not close enough to common carriers, legislatures might still be able to treat digital platforms like places of public accommodation,” Thomas continues. “The similarities between some digital platforms and common carriers or places of public accommodation may give legislators strong arguments for similarly regulating digital platforms.”

Communicators should carefully monitor the future of social media and potential government action to regulate the platforms as they consider how to invest in their digital future. Remember that investing all your eggs in one basket leaves your brand vulnerable and savvy communicators should consider ways to build their own platform through online newsrooms and brand websites.


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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Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Network to connect and brainstorm with peers, get the latest intelligence and research and start to strategize for the future of your organization.

Learn more about this exclusive membership here.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Delta has cancelled around 100 flights, and opened up middle seats on flights earlier than the company initially announced, in an effort to meet traveler demand amid staff shortages.

Travel + Leisure reports:

“Delta teams Sunday worked through various factors, including staffing, large numbers of employee vaccinations, and pilots returning to active status,” a spokesperson told T+L. “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and the majority have been rebooked for the same travel day.”

Delta, which remains the only U.S. carrier to continue to block the middle seat, plans to stop doing so on May 1. The middle seats were only opened for Sunday and Monday and would then be blocked again.

Communicators, take note to always frame any changes to previously announced plans with context around the new decision. Put the wellbeing of your employees front and center to remind stakeholders of the human element underscoring your decision.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

A recent study on how companies use data to define employee experiences by Harvard Business Review and Alight Solutions found that only a quarter of the 465 business executives surveyed rely on wellbeing data to inform their employee experience strategy. In fact, more respondents look to survey data (62%) and finance data (28%) than wellbeing data, such as personal health profiles, to make decisions about employee experience strategy.

Image courtesy of Harvard Business Review and Alight Solutions

Remember that wellness data will tell you more about your employees’ experience with health and burnout than financial numbers or general HR data. Employee surveys, while helpful, will also be weighted by bias as some employees do not answer honestly. More qualitative data can be attained through having one-on-one conversations and creating channels to glean holistic insights around how your workforce is feeling.

Read the entire study here.

Publix supermarket chain on accusations of vaccine favoritism for PAC donation

Supermarket chain Publix and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are aggressively pushing back against a “60 Minutes” story that alleges Publix was given preference as a vaccine distribution site after making a $100,000 donation to DeSantis’ political action committee.

“What you’re saying is wrong,” Gov DeSantis tells Sharyn Alfonsi in the segment. “It’s wrong. It’s a fake narrative.”

Publix tweeted its response:

Axios reports:

DeSantis has been criticized for directing vaccines toward wealthy communities, with some who benefitted from the vaccine pop-ups also donating to the governor’s political action committee, per Axios’ Tampa Bay reporter Ben Montgomery.

Why It Matters:

You should have holding statements in place to defend your company’s political contributions and assume that any publicly accessible data will eventually be unearthed by reporters or watchdog organizations. When your credibility is publicly questioned, lean on the goodwill your company has accumulated through community outreach and public health initiatives. Temper any of your messaging against media outlets by holding back on making aggressive blanket statements about media outlets that are digging into the facts.


CONFERENCE ALERT

As the news cycle continues to rapidly shift and communicators grapple to create strategies that overcome content exhaustion and misinformation, it’s crucial to embrace new best practices grounded in measurement, data and insights that can both build engagement and boost brand awareness.

Learn how to build stronger relationships with journalists to tell your story, and measure the results at Ragan’s Media Relations & Measurement Virtual Conference on Wednesday, April 7.

 

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Attendees will discover new and smart opportunities to overcome crisis challenges, pitch stories that reporters crave, better understand and deliver to target audiences through analytics and insights, enhance media relations efforts through the PESO model and brand journalism, prove the ROI of your efforts, and more.

Learn powerful insights and secrets from speakers at organizations including NAACP, PepsiCo, Goodwill, Pfizer, Hilton and Britannica Group.

Register for our event here.


WHAT YOU SAID

Yesterday, we asked if you follow up on Mondays with journalists you have recently pitched. A solid 40% of you only follow up on Mondays with journalists you already know. Meanwhile, 35% of you follow up with journalists on Mondays whether you know them or not, which might not be the best way to make your pitch stand out in a journalist’s inbox already flooded with emails from over the weekend. Finally, a quarter of you don’t follow up with journalists on Mondays at all, waiting instead until they have a foothold on the week before reaching out.

Is there a question you would like to see asked? Let us know by tagging it with #DailyScoop!


SOUNDING BOARD

When is your preferred time to hold meetings with your team, PR pros and communicators?

Let us know under the hashtag #DailyScoop. We’ll share the results in Friday’s roundup.

COMMENT

2 Responses to “LG touts strategy in decision to stop making phones, Publix hits back on ’60 Minutes’ investigation, and how businesses are using employee wellness data”

    Ronald Levy says:

    PR is in trouble if Tesla’s chief or anyone else can be held a violator for saying here’s our opinion. Yes, execs should work closely with the lawyers, and so should lobbyists because corporate leaders should have as much right as activists to say what they think.

    Ronald Levy says:

    Publix may have helped save thousands of lives by injecting 1.5 million doses of vaccine. But 60 Minutes may have injected not one dose nor saved one life, so which has done more for America’s fight to avoid death from Covid, Publix or 60 Minutes?

    Publix announced how much it contributed, $100,000, and to whom but 60 Minutes has not announced how much it collects for ad time and from whom,
    so which is more open with the American public, Publix or 60 Minutes?

    Publix is clearly motivated to stock what the public wants but 60 Minutes is motivated to run advertising for companies that PAY 60 Minutes to run the advertising. So which is more motivated by what the public wants, Publix or 60 Minutes?

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