NASCAR bans Confederate flag, Bon Apétit apologizes, and U.S. Soccer team allows players to kneel in protest

Also: Twitter is testing a feature to remind you to read what you tweet, Starbucks is focusing on a to-go business model during COVID-19, brands taking a stand can gain trust, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Twitter is testing a feature on Android that prompts users to open an article and read it before retweeting:

The social media platform’s co-founder and chief, Jack Dorsey, tweeted:

The test can serve as a reminder to read what you share, especially in our digital media landscape that’s crowded with content. Doing so can help you take part in more effective conversations and can also help cut down on misinformation.

Here are today’s top stories:

NASCAR bans Confederate flag from events

The racing organization issued a statement hours before its June 10 race, banning fans from bringing Confederate flags to its events. NASCAR said the flag “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry”:

CNN Business reported:

This week, driver Bubba Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon he wanted NASCAR to go further than 2015, when it asked fans not to bring the Confederate flags to races.

“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags,” Wallace said. “Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

Before Wednesday’s race, Wallace told Fox Sports 1 that NASCAR made the right call.

“Bravo,” he said while clapping. “Props to NASCAR and everybody involved. … There’s a lot of emotions on the racetrack and off the racetrack that are riding with us. Tonight is something special. Today has been special. Hats off to NASCAR.”

Why it matters: Speaking out about social and political issues can be risky, and in the past, many organizations have fallen silent in the wake of tragedies and protests. The tides are changing, however, and more consumers are telling organizations that they can and should be a force for change. If NASCAR can take a stand against systemic racism, so can your organization.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

The U.S. Soccer Board of Directors announced that it would now allow its players to kneel during the national anthem in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

In its statement, the organization said:

“We have not done enough to listen—especially to our players—to understand and acknowledge the very real and meaningful experiences of Black and other minority communities in our country. We apologize to our players—especially our Black players—staff, fans, and all who support eradicating racism.

National Football League’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, also recently admitted the organization was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier” and encouraged them to “speak out and peacefully protest”:

The NFL’s Twitter feed is full of tweets from individual teams and players standing with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Both moves show that though your organization might be late to the game, admitting your mistake and promising to do better can go a long way in repairing trust. Make sure you act upon your statements, so your words aren’t seen as insincere.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

Edelman issued a Trust Barometer 2020 Special Report: Brands and Racial Justice in America, in which it reported 82% of consumers surveyed said brands taking a stand against systemic racism would gain or keep their trust—roughly four times more than those who said such statements would make them lose trust in that organization.

The amount of consumers who trust brands that speak out grows when looking at minority groups, with 92% of black consumers responding that taking a stand increases trust. Ninety-one percent of Latinx consumers and 88% of Asian consumers feel the same.

Brands-Stand-Trust-Edelman

Image courtesy of Edelman.

Even in the current charged political landscape, brands stand to gain more than they’ll lose by taking a stand, with 69% of Republican respondents reporting they’d trust brands that spoke out. The majority of Democrat and Independent consumers said the same (92% and 83%, respectively).

Image courtesy of Edelman.

You can read the entire report here.


CRISIS LEADERSHIP BOARD

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

Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Board to network 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.

Bon Appétit apologizes and promises change on racial equity

The publication issued a mea culpa after backlash from its staff and readers continued to grow. This week, its former editor in chief, Adam Rapoport, resigned after a photo of him and his wife from 2004 made the rounds online. In the image, both were dressed to emulate Puerto Ricans, using the word “papi” and the hashtag “boricua.”

Condé Nast’s former vice president and head of lifestyle and style programming, Matt Duckor, also resigned as criticism mounted, accusing him of fostering a toxic workplace.

In its statement, Bon Appétit and Epicurious wrote:

We have been complicit with a culture we don’t agree with and are committed to change. Our mastheads have been far too white for far too long. As a result, the recipes, stories, and people we’ve highlighted have too often come from a white-centric viewpoint. At times we have treated non-white stories as “not newsworthy” or “trendy.” Other times we have appropriated, co-opted, and Columbused them. While we’ve hired more people of color, we have continued to tokenize many BIPOC staffers and contributors in our videos and on our pages. Many new BIPOC hires have been in entry-level positions with little power, and we will be looking to accelerate their career advancement and pay. Black staffers have been saddled with contributing racial education to our staffs and appearing in editorial and promotional photo shoots to make our brands seem more diverse. We haven’t properly learned from or taken ownership of our mistakes. But things are going to change.

Why it’s important: Your statements against racism and in support of Black Lives Matter will fall flat if your workplace culture sends the opposite messages. Ensure you’re listening to employees and taking both criticism and complaints seriously. If your culture falls short of your organization’s mission and values, commit to the changes that will turn it around.


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Starbucks is closing up to 400 locations in the United States and Canada over the next 18 months as it pivots many of its locations to a mainly to-go model. “In its latest SEC filing, the company said it ultimately expects to open about 300 new North American stores that specialize in carryout and pickup options,” CNN Business reported.

Starbuck’s chief executive, Kevin Johnson, said in a statement:

Starbucks stores have always been known as the ’third place,’ a welcoming place outside of our home and work where we connect over a cup of coffee. As we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we are accelerating our store transformation plans to address the realities of the current situation, while still providing a safe, familiar and convenient experience for our customers.

Though many organizations are re-opening or preparing to do so soon, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Continue to evaluate how you can change your business model as well as your PR and marketing campaigns to meet consumer needs in the “new normal.”


RESEARCH SNAPSHOT

The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed the landscape for communicators and PR pros. More than ever before, communicators must gain key skill sets and employ strategic communications and media relations strategies to boost their organizations’ coverage, reputation and overall brand.

Learn what the 315 communicators we surveyed say about what parts of the PR function are more important than ever, how to adjust for COVID-19, and more with our free report revealing insights that can help you perservere during this uncertain time.

Download your copy of the report here.


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked you how you about how you were thinking about your relationships with platforms like Facebook that have seen criticism over how it handled posts—some from President Trump—that seem to incite violence and spread misinformation.

The vast majority of respondents said it was time to reconsider the relationship. In contrast, about 28% said that Facebook’s failure to address these concerns was not a big deal.


SOUNDING BOARD

How are you thinking about highlighting diverse voices within your organizations? Is your focus on internal messengers or external visibility?

Weigh in below and share your thoughts with our hashtag #DailyScoop.

COMMENT

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