Lufthansa slams striking workers, when your company should speak out, and Starbucks’ new holiday cup

Also: Where emoji come from, Popeyes’ sandwich gets a soaring relaunch, tips for superlative word choice, mastering international messaging, and more.

Good morning PR pros:

Ever wondered who decides what becomes an emoji?

There are clearly some wicked wits behind the decision to create a smiling pile of poo. However, USA Today reveals that the little graphics used in online communication must go through a rigorous process to become part of the emoji lexicon.

Anyone can propose a new emoji, but the Unicode Consortium (which makes the final call) has a clear set of criteria: It must be distinctive, it must be likely to be used, and it must add something to the already existing array of symbols and avatars.

USA Today reported:

Over time, this thought process has helped lead to the 3,178 emoji in existence today, according to emoji reference website Emojipedia. Many emoji are simply part of a set. With flags, for instance, Welch said that if you have one, you have to have them all, or at least all of the ones of countries recognized by the United Nations. Others include different skin tones and gender variations of emoji depicting people.

Consider it a metaphor for your digital messaging strategy. In a world of content and messaging overload, make sure every new campaign, graphic and tweet is distinctive and purposeful.

Here are today’s top stories:

Lufthansa decries strike after having to ground flights

The German airline has grounded more than 1,300 flights after the Independent Flight Attendant Organization called on its members to strike. The airline has slammed the strikers in its statements to the public.

The carrier wrote:

The Independent Flight Attendant Organisation (UFO) has called on its cabin crew to go on strike for two days on 7 and 8 November. Lufthansa condemns the strike call in the strongest possible terms. On both days Lufthansa operates with a special flight plan. Affected passengers were transferred to other flights free of charge.

Why it matters: Speaking out against striking employees seems antithetical to the current trend of businesses looking at a multi-stakeholder view for their communications and business operations. However, the service disruption has inconvenienced passengers, and the airline is blaming striking workers. An alternative strategy might have offered support and organizational pride for employees publicly, while reserving hard words for the bargaining table.


New research from Sprout Social suggests that consumers are increasingly ready for brand managers to speak out on hot topics and social issues. No matter what political affiliation consumers report, the number is above 50%.

When do consumers want to hear from companies? The data show:

To learn more, read the full report.

Starbucks goes with ‘Merry Coffee’ for holiday cup

The Seattle-based coffee chain has a history of riling the public with its holiday coffee cups. Attempts to be more inclusive and less Christmas-centric have been reviled by those who place a premium on the Christmas season.

This year the company is going with “Merry Coffee.”

Online, some critics are upset over the omission of Christ. Others just find the cups “ugly.”

Perhaps just as interesting is how angry some consumers are by Starbucks’ attempts to be as neutral as possible.

MarketWatch reported:

But perhaps even more cringeworthy was the “merry coffee” slogan itself, according to many on Twitter TWTR, +0.90%. A Grub Street headline also asked, “WTF Is ‘Merry Coffee’?” The story continued, “It’s almost offensive how inoffensive these cups will be.”

What you should know: It’s important to be respectful and avoid offense if possible, but at some point brand managers must accept that they cannot please everyone. Instead, focus on core principles and be ready to ignore the critics. If you really believe in your purpose, you can withstand a little online anger.


Rob Reinalda, our executive editor and in-house word czar, shares the latest in his Brighter Writer series for business communicators and PR pros. His topic this time: how proper word choice helps make your meaning clear and concise.

With many communications leaders deeming writing an essential yet oft-neglected tool for their staff and professional connections, this guidance for fine-tuning copy is timely.

Popeyes’ sandwich even more popular on second outing

The “Sandwich Wars” are the gift that keeps on giving for the fried chicken chain, as restaurant managers report long lines and plenty of in-store traffic.

Even though the latest rollout has been without the social media fanfare that accompanied the first release, the chain is still seeing plenty of excitement and purchases.

Why it matters: The impact of a communications campaign can be felt long after the original campaign has concluded. These continued high sales numbers for Popeyes must still be attributed to that viral sandwich campaign, and a savvy communications team must figure out how to attribute that ROI so they get the credit for their hard work.

If you measure only short-term results, you might be leaving money on the table.


Rick Murray, the new managing partner for Shift Communications, sat down with PR Daily Editor Ted Kitterman to talk about how he gets through his workday. To learn about why he has an optimistic view of the future of PR and communications, check out the full interview.


Many companies and organizations have become embroiled in international affairs, whether it is the NBA trying to thread the needle over protests in Hong Kong or business leaders addressing military action (or inaction) in the Middle East.

The latest example is Netflix’s statement that it is “not in the truth to power business” after removing, for Saudi audiences, an episode of the comedy show “Patriot Act” that was critical of the Saudi government.

How do you think business leaders should respond to these dilemmas? Is the right response to say, “Our hands are tied,” or should businesses take a stand—and lose money short term and, perhaps, an audience segment permanently?

Share your thoughts with our hashtag #MorningScoop.


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One Response to “Lufthansa slams striking workers, when your company should speak out, and Starbucks’ new holiday cup”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    PR wisdom in a strike situation is NOT to blame striking workers but to point out that the workers and the company BOTH suffer from lost passengers and that the union leaders mean well meaning but negotiation would be better all around than a strike.

    There is no PR benefit from a company attacking its own workers. PR benefit can come from getting workers to consider whether union leaders an perhaps thir demands should be more moderate.