Several brands celebrated Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26 with announcements and campaigns announcing their commitments to gender parity.
Beer brand Michelob Ultra has pledged $100 million to increase the visibility for women’s sports by dedicating 50% of its lifestyle media inventory to content that features and promotes female athletes and women’s sports by 2025, representing female and male athletes equally in all advertising moving forward and ensuring equal representation of female and male athletes on the brand’s influencer roster.
As part of the initiative, Michelob Ultra has partnered with Nneka Ogwumike, WNBPA President and a leading voice for women athlete representation, along with CeCe Telfer, the first openly transgender female athlete to win a NCAA title, and basketball analyst Andraya Carter.
“Michelob ULTRA is proud to be a longtime partner of female athletes and organizations, and as a leader in both the beer and sports marketing industries, there’s so much more we can do to help support equal pay when it comes to women’s sports,” Michelob Ultra’s VP of Marketing Ricardo Marques said in the press release. “We need to set the example, and the time for equality has always been now. Our commitment demonstrates Michelob ULTRA’s core belief that female athletes deserve an equal experience, whether they’re on the court, in the newsroom or on our TV screens.”
L’Oréal USA also announced on Women’s Equality Day that it’s the first company worldwide to be EDGEplus certified. This new certification from EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) sets a global standard that enables organizations to go beyond gender and measure the intersectionality between gender and race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability and nationality.
“We are proud to pioneer the new EDGEplus certification for the beauty industry and other sectors around the world and are motivated by this milestone to accelerate our progress,” L’Oréal USA President and CEO Stéphane Rinderknech said in a press release.
It’s only appropriate that both L’Oréal and Michelob’s announcements tie their commitments to dollars and hard numbers, given the holiday’s focus on quantifying equality. Michelob’s campaign goes the extra mile by including a benchmark goal and working with partners who are already making progress to advance women’s equality in sports, while L’Oréal’s announcement of its EDGEplus certification emphasizes the power that comes from working with an external partner that offers third-party validation.
Here are today’s top stories:
Biden emphasizes communication in address after Kabul terrorist attack
President Biden spoke to the world on Wednesday evening after an ISIS terrorist attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan killed 72 Afghans and 13 U.S. soldiers. Speaking with a solemn tone, and vowing revenge, Biden emphasized his close communication with military officials in the U.S. and Afghanistan as the government coordinates next steps.
I’ve been engaged all day, in constant contact with the military commanders here in Washington and the Pentagon as well as in Afghanistan and Doha. And my commanders here in Washington and in the field have been on this with great detail, and you’ve had a chance to speak to some so far.
Over the past few weeks—I know many of you are probably tired of hearing me say it—we’ve been made aware by our intelligence community that the ISIS-K, an archenemy of the Taliban, people who were freed when both those prisons were opened, has been planning a complex set of attacks on the United States personnel and others. This is why from the outset I’ve repeatedly said this mission was extraordinarily dangerous and why I’ve been so determined to limit the duration of this mission.
Why it matters:
Biden’s statement, arriving more quickly after the Kabul attack than his initial remarks were delivered after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, highlights the power of strategic communication during a crisis. Biden also avoids opportunism, despite doubling down his on initial decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, in referencing the terrorist attack. The speech was an example of how repetition of key messages in your statements creates a consistent, controllable narrative.
A new report from Pew Research found that 79% of Americans who regularly get news on Snapchat and 77% of those who regularly get news on TikTok consider those social media channels an important way to keep up with news about COVID-19 vaccines. While those platforms were not popular news sources over all (just 6% for TikTok and 4% for Snapchat), YouTube was a surprisingly popular news source, taking second place to Facebook (31%) with 22% saying they regularly get news on the video platform.
While these numbers don’t suggest adults are flocking to Snapchat or TikTok for news, they do serve as a reminder that no social media channel should be considered out of bounds for your media relations strategy. YouTube’s surprising showing, meanwhile, suggests that the channel is worth considering as a home for your announcements, executive communications and more.
Video game developer Electronic Arts (EA) will provide other developers with access to its accessibility patents as part of a new push to make video games more inclusive for differently-abled players. The company’s pledge includes five patents focused on helping players with vision, speaking, hearing and cognitive disabilities.
“Our accessibility team has long been committed to breaking down barriers within our video games, but we realize that to drive meaningful change, we need to work together as an industry to do better for our players,” EVP of positive play, commercial and marketing Chris Bruzzo said in a prepared statement.
Bruzzo says the company will continue to listen to players “so we can understand where there are unmet needs we need to deliver for.”
EA’s decision to share its patents with others in the industry and focus on community feedback sets a precedent from collaboration around shared purpose and values, tacitly forcing competitors to either cooperate with EA and reinforce its status as an industry leader—or ignore the call for togetherness and risk reputational damage.
TAKE OUR SURVEY
If you’re looking for benchmark data to take to your bosses the next time you ask for a raise or search for a new job, lend us a hand—and help yourself and your peers while you’re at it. Participate in Ragan’s Salary & Workplace Culture Survey, a comprehensive look at salaries, benefits, culture, bonuses and other aspects of the job in a fast-moving industry.
Both internal and external communicators are encouraged to participate.
By taking part, you will receive a $150 discount to a Ragan virtual conference of your choice and be entered to win one of five $50 gift cards. All who complete the survey will receive a full report on the findings. Responses are anonymous. Enter by Sept. 17.
TikTok has disabled search terms for a new viral social media challenge that has doctors and medical experts concerned over its propensity to cause serious harm to would-be challengers. “The Milk Crate Challenge,” which involves participants scaling a homemade pyramid of milk crates in an attempt to reach the summit without collapsing the structure, is the latest in a long trend of “fail video” memes:
I could watch milk crate challenge videos all day 💀😭 pic.twitter.com/anGwTMrIN8
— Josh Sánchez (@joshnsanchez) August 22, 2021
“TikTok prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our Community Guidelines to discourage such content. We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or off,” a TikTok spokesperson said in an email to NBC News.
When a negative trend affects your organization and others in your space simultaneously, your willingness to respond first can go a long way. Linking back to your relevant pre-existing policies and guidelines is an easy way to share a response that doesn’t have to go through numerous legal hurdles, as it provides language and resources that have already been approved to share
ABC News requests independent probe of sexual assault claims
ABC News President Kim Godwin told employees that she is ordering an independent investigation into how the network handled sexual assault allegations against former “Good Morning America” executive producer Michael Corn. The allegations said Corn assaulted one current employee and one former employee. Godwin’s calls for an investigation came one day after a lawsuit was filed against The Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC. Corn left the company this past April.
“We can’t have us investigating us. We need an independent person,” Ms. Godwin said, according to a recording of the conference call. “The process has to be independent.”
Ms. Godwin joined ABC News in May from CBS News and wasn’t there when Mr. Corn departed in mid-April. She told staffers she isn’t going to be “sweeping this under the rug.” She said she has heard from enough people over the past day “to know we have a problem.” On the call, Ms. Godwin said “the truth has to come out” and that the ABC employees named in the suit shouldn’t be involved in a review of the company’s handling of the allegations.
In a statement Wednesday, an ABC spokeswoman said, “We are committed to upholding a safe and supportive work environment and have a process in place that thoroughly reviews and addresses complaints that are made. ABC News disputes the claims made against it and will address this matter in court.”
What it means:
A company accused of improperly addressing serious sexual harassment allegations will not understand the full breadth of the allegations until it brings in an impartial party to investigate. This approach serves as a reminder that it’s OK to acknowledge what you don’t know during a crisis, and often better than purporting to have all the answers and later being proven wrong.
By contrast, showing that you are open to outside expertise and feedback positions your organization as willing to grow and improve, showcasing a vulnerability that will resonate with stakeholders as being conducive to fostering lasting, actionable change.