Spotify CEO silent on Joe Rogan’s anti-vax comments, female leadership helps organizations embrace risk, and JP Morgan to send employees back to the office

Also: CES announces in-person programming for Jan. 2022, Tesla reveals notice from EPA, Facebook responds to calls for ad transparency, and more.

Hello, communicators:

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has announced it will return to Las Vegas in January of next year as an in-person event following 2021’s virtual show. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) which organizes the event says that around 1,000 companies have committed to exhibit including Amazon, AT&T, Dell, Google, IBM, Lenovo and more.

“Our customers are enthusiastic about returning to a live event in Las Vegas,” Karen Chupka, EVP of CES said in a statement. “Global brands and startups have shared that plans are already well underway and are committed to sharing the magic of an in-person CES with even more people from around the world.”

Communicators, consult industry partners and colleagues when solidifying plans to resume appearances at in-person events. Work with big names in your industry to help influence policy and procedure, and discuss federal and local health and safety guidelines with them to ensure that any in-person event creates the safest experience possible for all attendees.

Spotify CEO declines to comment on podcaster Joe Rogan’s anti-vax message

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek hasn’t addressed comments made by the streaming audio platform’s most popular podcast host Joe Rogan on his show “The Joe Rogan Experience” that claimed healthy young people have no need to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

CNN reports:

When Bloomberg reporter Lucas Shaw asked Ek about those comments on Wednesday, Ek declined to address them directly. “What I will say is we have 8 million creators, and hundreds of millions of pieces of content,” Ek said. “We have a content policy and we do remove pieces that violate it.” A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment beyond Ek’s remarks.

The Hill reports:

Later, during Spotify’s regular earning call, the company singled out Rogan’s contribution to their podcast user growth in the first quarter.

“December had a very strong month, particularly with Joe Rogan going exclusive,” chief financial officer Paul Vogel said Wednesday.

A source familiar with the situation said that the company was not intending to promote Rogan during the earnings call.

Why it matters:

Communicators, take note that your earnings calls will often surface other reputational matters that are seemingly unrelated to financial reporting. Brief executives and prepare responses to any simmering crises or potential pain points, especially if those matters pertain directly to your financial success. Take care to ensure that any celebratory statements about company gains and profits can not be interpreted as careless—or undermine other lingering shareholder concerns.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

New research by Harvard Business Review suggests that companies become more open to change and less averse to risk when women are part of the C-Suite.

“We used a standard word categorization methodology that grouped terms like ‘bold,’ ‘venture,’ and ‘chance’ as likely reflecting a greater propensity for risk-taking, while terms such as ‘create,’ ‘transform,’ and ‘launch’ indicated more openness to change,” the research says. “We found that after appointing women to the C-suite, the frequency of terms in company communications that indicated a propensity for risk-taking decreased by 14%, while the frequency of terms suggesting openness to change increased by 10%.”

Remember to deploy data points and research when making a case for the diversification of your leadership. Position any push for more diverse leadership around the ability to mitigate risk and meet changing stakeholder demographics, both of which can be directly tied to positively impacting your company’s bottom line.

Read the full study here.


SOCIAL BUZZ

Facebook has announced that it expects increased oversight on its ad tracking products from regulators and Apple following the recent release of Apple’s tracking transparency tool.

The Verge reports:

“We continue to expect increased ad targeting headwinds in 2021 from regulatory and platform changes,” Facebook CFO Dave Wehner writes in the company’s Q1 2021 earnings release. Wehner specifically calls out iOS 14.5, which includes a feature that lets iPhone and iPad users easily stop apps from tracking them in certain ways. Facebook expects to start seeing an impact from the changes to iOS right away.

On a call with investors, Facebook executives said the company was working on improvements to its ad tech that would allow for better ad targeting even with access to less data. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg framed it as a “rebuilding” of the company’s tech; Wehner said Facebook was “making progress” on solutions with the goal to “maintain and even improve performance” in the long run.

Communicators, take note to positively frame any response to industry oversight by acknowledging the changes that the oversight will bring and letting stakeholders know you are already working on a solution. Craft language that addresses the concerns of regulators, addresses the intentions behind your company’s changes, and acknowledges where the shared goals intersect.


CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS

Tesla has disclosed a notice from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] alleging that the electric car company has failed to comply with The Clean Air Act of 1963.

Marketwatch reports:

[T]he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleg[es] the electric vehicle company “failed to provide records demonstrating compliance” with National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants under the Clean Air Act of 1963. In a 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said the allegations are related to the Act’s Surface Coating of Automobiles and Light-Duty Trucks regulations. “Tesla has responded to all information requests from the EPA and refutes the allegations,” the company said in a statement. “While the outcome of this matter cannot be determined at this time, it is not currently expected to have a material adverse impact on our business.”

Remember to address any federal investigation by outlining the specific steps taken to address them and providing a summary of how your disclosure affects stakeholders. Partner with legal to craft messaging that strikes a balance between addressing the issue and withholding details that may come back to haunt you.


COMMUNICATIONS WEEK

Ragan is delighted to add industry event and thought leadership brand Communications Week to our portfolio. You can read the full press release here.

“We are reimagining Communications Week as a year-round endeavor,” says Ragan Communications CEO Diane Schwartz. “The rollout will begin next month with thought-provoking content on the future of communications on Commsweek.com, Ragan.com and PRDaily.com, culminating with a weeklong series in November that will feature conferences, networking events, workshops, webinars and more.”

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The flagship event for 2021 will take place Nov. 15-19. Stay tuned for updates on the many opportunities and offerings that will help communicators connect, learn and celebrate their achievements later this year.

JP Morgan requires all employees to spend some days in the office

JP Morgan has told employees that they are expected back in the office on a rotating basis by July. Buildings will open to all employees on May 17 with a 50% occupancy limit.

CNBC reports:

“We would fully expect that by early July, all U.S.-based employees will be in the office on a consistent rotational schedule, also subject to our current 50% occupancy cap,” the bank said in a memo. “With this timeframe in mind you should start making any needed arrangements to help with your successful return.”

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a webcast last week that the company couldn’t yet require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office. The company has had some employees working from offices for most of the pandemic, especially those in trading roles, but it has long planned on moving to a rotational model to allow workers flexibility.

Why it matters:

Communicators, take note to craft messaging that establishes your company’s office reopening strategy while demonstrating that leadership is listening to employee concerns and considerations early in the decision process. Conduct feedback sessions to gauge employee sentiment on your reopening plans, then incorporate that feedback into your official statement to reduce blowback and employee turnover. When appropriate, reach out to employees with unusual circumstances or needs to make sure that their needs are not being ignored.


CONFERENCE ALERT

Communicators are in a unique position to collaborate with other DE&I leaders to foster unity, build a stronger internal and external brand reputation, maximize innovation and improve the bottom line. The days of brands comfortably remaining silent are gone as employees and customers are demanding impactful change.

Join us at Ragan’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conference on May 19, 2021 and glean timely strategies to educate, engage and uplift your employees and customers in the wake of unparalleled uncertainty, political upheaval and a new mandate for social justice change.

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Learn powerful insights and approaches from speakers at organizations including Ben & Jerry’s, Reebok, Warner Music Group, E.W. Scripps, NielsenIQ, Facebook and more.

Register for our event here.


WHAT YOU SAID

Yesterday, we asked how you were getting on with your weekly to-do list. Forty-one percent were behind and claimed you haven’t made a dent, while 32% of you were halfway there and on track for a Wednesday. Meanwhile, 23% of you had about a quarter of your weekly tasks done, and 5% of you were at or close to the finish line.

Is there a question you’d like to see asked? Let us know with the hashtag #DailyScoop!


SOUNDING BOARD

How are you feeling about the CDC’s relaxed outdoor mask guidelines for fully vaccinated people, PR pros and communicators? Share your immediate reactions to the big news, in GIF form, below!

Let us know below how you’re feeling about not having to wear a mask everywhere you go and be sure to hashtag #DailyScoop. We will share the results in tomorrow’s roundup.

COMMENT

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