Marriott announced that it is launching a contest to appoint three travelers as TikTok correspondents as part of its “30 Stays in 300 Days” contest. This promotion is the latest phase of Marriott Bonvoy’s Power of Travel Campaign, which the hospitality brand launched last year to promote travel as lockdown restrictions eased.
Hopeful travelers can submit a TikTok video using the hashtags #30stays300days and #contest as they answer the question: “How has travel shaped you?” Winners will receive round trip airfare, a $10,000 Marriott gift card, another $15,000 to spend as they choose, and transportation vouchers for Uber rides, Uber Eats orders and more.
“Our goal with this initiative is to reignite passion for travel,” Marriott SVP of brand, loyalty and portfolio marketing Brian Povinelli said in a press release. “We’re excited for our TikTok correspondents to embrace the transformative power of travel and showcase Marriott Bonvoy as the vehicle to explore the world through this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Marriott’s campaign provides another example of TikTok’s power to not only identify established influencers and creators active around your industry, but cultivate new ones through contests and challenges.
Here are today’s top stories:
Starbucks walks back vaccine mandate in employee memo
Starbucks COO and North American Group President John Culver announced in a staff memo that the company would no longer require employees to get COVID-19 vaccines or submit to weekly testing. Culver added that the company will also extend its self-isolation pay and vaccine pay benefits. Starbucks’ announcement follows last week’s Supreme Court ruling that rolled back Biden’s vaccine and testing mandates for private companies.
“We respect the court’s ruling,” John Culver, Starbucks’ chief operating officer, wrote in the memo, seen by Axios. “Thank you to the more than 90 percent of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated,” Culver added.
“While the [Emergency Temporary Standard] is now paused, I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” wrote John Culver, chief operating officer and North American group president at Starbucks, in a letter Tuesday to baristas that was viewed by CNBC.
What it means:
Starbucks bundled this announcement with news around guaranteed isolation leave to position its message around the best interests of employees at a time when employees are considering unionization. Union partners expressed their frustrations that Starbucks reversed the mandate without discussing the decision with them, a reminder that communicating internally around a looming decision is crucial for building internal consensus.
While several social media users expressed frustration that Starbuck’s decision to roll back its vaccine mandate, the company’s approach offers contrast to outdoor workwear brand Carhartt’s recent contrary decision to enforce employee its vaccine mandate despite the Supreme Court ruling.
A new guide from Hootsuite breaks down the optimal social media image dimensions to use when posting on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumbr. The guide also offers tips for avoiding pixelation, reducing unintended image cropping and other best practices to ensure your social media posts display as intended.
Hootsuite’s image sizing guide is the latest reminder that social media best practices are ever-changing, often so fast that it’s the prerogative of any strategic communicator to ensure marketing, design and social media teams are aware of the latest changes. Using image sizing software like Canva to create templates for each type of social media image your brand publishes can also ensure your visual storytelling is presented in a consistent brand style.
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Better.com CEO Vishal Garg, who took time off from the online mortgage company after being widely criticized for mass firing 900 employees over Zoom, returned to his leadership position at the company. Garg’s return was announced to employees in a memo sent by the Better.com board, which promised leadership changes including a chief human resources officer, a new training program on building “a respectful workplace,” and an ethics and compliance committee reporting directly to the board. The commitments follow an independent culture review led by law firm Jenner & Block.
“As you know, Better’s C.E.O. Vishal Garg has been taking a break from his full-time duties to reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values that make Better great and work closely with an executive coach,” Better.com’s board said on Tuesday in an email to the staff, which was reviewed by The New York Times. “We are confident in Vishal and in the changes he is committed to making to provide the type of leadership, focus and vision that Better needs at this pivotal time.”
In his own letter to employees Tuesday, Garg wrote: “I understand how hard these past few weeks have been. I am deeply sorry for the angst, distraction and embarrassment my actions have caused. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where we are as a company and the type of leadership Better needs … and the leader I want to be.”
The ongoing saga for Better.com is a reminder of how internal communications and the employee experience have become crucial issues for brand reputation management. CEOs are expected to be the face of their organization and embody core values that consumers look for in the brands they wish to patronize.
For leaders that fail to demonstrate the adequate care and empathy for their teams and broader stakeholder groups, the road back can be arduous. And some are unlikely to take Garg at his word that he has truly changed.
Announcing the PR Daily Leadership Network
PR Daily is launching the PR Daily Leadership Network, a unique membership group from Ragan Communications offering peer-to-peer advisory and team training along with a unique slate of resources and events to help public relations professionals break through the noise, increase their visibility and forge meaningful connections.
The Network provides daily insights and coverage on a range of topics including media relations, social media, measurement, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, branding, thought leadership and crisis communications.
“The fast pace of change coupled with the demand on public relations professionals to protect and sometimes defend their company’s reputation make it imperative for leaders to tap into the wisdom of other communicators and continue to learn and grow,” says Diane Schwartz, CEO of Ragan Communications. “The PR Daily Leadership Network provides the answers but also encourages members to question the status quo and push for positive change.”
Visit leadership.prdaily.com to learn more.
ExxonMobil announces new sustainability commitments
Energy company ExxonMobil has committed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as part of a detailed sustainability report that shares 150 steps and modifications to the company’s current practices that will help it reach the goal. Those steps, which include investing in better processes for detecting methane leaks and exploring alternative hydrogen-based fuels, are part of the company’s pledge to spend $15 billion on business initiatives that reduce emissions by 2027.
The company says it plans to roll out more detailed plans in 2022 and 2023.
“ExxonMobil is committed to playing a leading role in the energy transition, and Advancing Climate Solutions articulates our deliberate approach to helping society reach a lower-emissions future,” said Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer. “We are developing comprehensive roadmaps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operated assets around the world, and where we are not the operator, we are working with our partners to achieve similar emission-reduction results.”
“As we invest in these important technologies, we will advocate for well-designed, high-impact policies that can accelerate the deployment of market-based, cost-effective solutions,” said Woods. “We believe our strategy is unique among industry and enables us to succeed across multiple scenarios. We will create shareholder value by adjusting investments between our existing low-cost portfolio and new lower-emission business opportunities to match the pace of the energy transition.”
Why it matters:
ExxonMobil’s detailed report signals a massive shift in sustainability policy for the company, which testified before Congress this past October that “we currently do not have the adequate alternative energy sources.” That hearing was held in response to accusations that the compnay, along with Chevron, BP and Shell, spread misinformation about fossil fuels to downplay its role in climate change.
The promise comes as PR agencies are also reviewing their portfolios. Edelman, for example, has promised to enforce rules for clients who do not meet ESG standards. However, Exxon’s promise falls short of the change activists say is necessary to combat climate change, as it fails to address emissions from consumers of its products or its wider ecosystem of suppliers and stakeholders.