United only airline to mandate staff vaccinations, videos with longer descriptions rank higher on YouTube, and Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene again

Also: Cuomo resigns, Google creates kid-focused privacy policies, and Pizza Hut introduces plant-based pepperoni.

Daily Scoop 8-11-21

Hello, communicators:

Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat have partnered to produce Beyond Pepperoni, a meatless substitute for the beloved pizza topping that will roll out as a test in 70 Pizza Hut locations across the United States.

The release of Beyond Pepperoni continues a partnership between Beyond Meat and Pizza Hut’s parent company, Yum Brands, that began when its KFC chain was the first national U.S. quick-service restaurant to introduce plant-based chicken in 2019 and continued in 2020 when Pizza Hut released its Beyond Italian Sausage Pizza, becoming the first national pizza chain to introduce a plant-based meat pizza coast-to-coast.

Courtesy of Pizza Hut

“We know there is strong consumer demand for pepperoni, and we’re thrilled to unveil a game-changing plant-based pepperoni topping as the next chapter in our innovation-focused partnership with Pizza Hut,” Beyond Meat chief innovation officer Dariush Ajami said in a press release. “We’re confident fans will love Beyond Pepperoni as it delivers the crisped edges and savory flavor profile of Pizza Hut’s classic pepperoni with the added benefits of plant-based meat.”

In explaining their partnership, both Pizza Hut and Beyond Meat repeat the word “innovation” enough times to suggest they want stakeholders to remember it. By doing so, they emphasize the best practice of repeating key words for both SEO purposes and to hammer home your messaging to stakeholders. Each brand’s focus on this being the latest chapter in their partnership highlights the strategy of creating a sustained narrative between your brand or organization’s big announcements and communications to take stakeholders on a journey with your products or services.

Cuomo criticized for tone and focus of resignation announcement

Andrew Cuomo has announced that he will resign as governor of New York following last week’s state attorney general report  that concluded he had sexually harassed over 11 women and created a toxic workplace environment:

NPR reports:

In his remarks Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo repeatedly denied the allegations against him and called the report “false.” The most serious allegations, he said, “had no credible factual basis.” He then apologized for offending the women who were included in the report and said he took “full responsibility” for his actions.

“I have been too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be insensitive and off-putting. I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men. I have done it all my life,” Cuomo said. “In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”

Cuomo will be replaced by current Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who will become New York State’s first female governor when she takes office:

Journalists and other public figures criticized Cuomo’s tone and positioning of his resignation as an example of his entitlement and privilege:

Why it matters:

The near-universal negative reaction to Cuomo’s announcement and condemnation by members of his own party serves as a reminder that outrage over sexual harassment allegations transcends political boundaries. Your crisis messaging will be better received when it meets the intended audience on their level without leaning on past precedent or social norms through some nostalgic lens of “the way things used to be.”

[FREE GUIDE: Pitching the Media]

When the crisis in question echoes a larger systemic issue and topic of national conversation, ask to edit and review any statements to make sure the language does not make your leaders the focus of the messaging and leans more heavily to address the larger issues at hand.

MEASURED THOUGHTS

A recent study by Semrush found that more than half of the videos ranking in the first position of results on YouTube have more than 50 words in their video description. Meanwhile, 52% of videos ranking for “how-to” keywords have more than 100 words in the descriptions and are over five minutes in length. “Title similarity with keyword ratio, number of views, and video duration are the most important parameters,” the study states, “according to the Machine Learning model we used for this research.”

Courtesy of Semrush

These numbers serve as a reminder that YouTube remains one of the last viable channels for brands hoping to earn organic engagement on social media without creating paid campaigns.  And, writing skills remain paramount when boosting the visibility of your marketing efforts.

Check out the full post here.

SOCIAL BUZZ

Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have announced that they will not require employees, including flight crews to be vaccinated. The announcement makes United Airlines, which announced last week that it would require employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 25 or face termination, the only commercial airline to do so.

Several Twitter users took the announcement as an opportunity to praise United and affirm that it was now their preferred airline of choice:

https://twitter.com/Angry_Staffer/status/1425233495283183617

https://twitter.com/neal_katyal/status/1425261510570307588

https://twitter.com/beychok/status/1425237188715982849

https://twitter.com/kavitapmd/status/1425266646416072705

Some pointed out the political undercurrents informing each airline’s decision:

Others suggested that the decision to not require employee vaccinations undermined airline commitments to safety:

While several major companies including Citigroup, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Tyson, Disney, Walmart and more will require employees to be vaccinated before returning to their corporate offices, airlines not requiring mandates face pressure to defend their policies because of how closely passengers and flight crews interact. While these decisions emphasize the extent to which your internal communications can quickly balloon to become external issues, they also open discussion around what other options companies have.

“Instead of firing unvaccinated workers on the spot, you might consider a temporary transfer of duties or a suspension without pay until the health care risk abates,” Robby Brumberg writes on Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Insider. “You might also rethink return-to-work plans until the pandemic loses steam. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you consistently communicate with employees to ensure everyone’s clear on expectations, requirements and rules moving forward. You’d also be wise to establish—in writing—how you’ll deal with resistance, hesitation and second-guessing. Because it’s coming.”

RAGAN’S WEBINAR WITH GRAMMAR GIRL

With language being as fluid as it is, you can’t rely on the tattered old copy of the AP Stylebook from eight years ago, let alone four years ago. Without the most up-to-date information available, you run the risk of your messaging standing out for all the wrong reasons. Whether you seek to improve the writing of your intranet, email, press releases or media outreach, a well-defined style remains a pillar of strong, effective communications.

What can you do to ensure your communications are stylistically modern and professional?

Join Ragan Communications and Grammar Girl for a webinar on Thursday, Aug. 19, as Grammar Girl herself, Mignon Fogarty, leads us through her advanced course on AP style . You’ll discover how to understand the context that proper AP style brings to your messaging efforts including how to use hyphens and dashes properly, handle terms that relate to race and gender and much more.

Register today!

TECH TALK

Google has announced new policies intended to give kids and teens a safer experience while using its search engine and YouTube. For search, include letting anyone under 18, in addition to their parent or guardian, the option to remove the minor’s images from Google Image Search results and turn off location history for anyone under 18 without an option to turn it back on. The company is also making YouTube videos uploaded by kids aged 13-17 private by default.

According to its blog post:

We regularly engage with kids and teens, parents, governments, industry leaders, and experts in the fields of privacy, child safety, wellbeing and education to design better, safer products for kids and teens. Having an accurate age for a user can be an important element in providing experiences tailored to their needs. Yet, knowing the accurate age of our users across multiple products and surfaces, while at the same time respecting their privacy and ensuring that our services remain accessible, is a complex challenge. It will require input from regulators, lawmakers, industry bodies, technology providers, and others to address it – and to ensure that we all build a safer internet for kids.

The language used in Google’s framing of these new privacy policies echoes similar announcements from Apple and Instagram. In each case, they address the complexity of balancing privacy considerations against providing value to their users and influencers (many of whom are kids). Google’s statement includes every type of stakeholder who informs their decision and policy, positioning the company as a cooperative partner committed to solving a larger industry issue.

RAGAN’S 2021 BENCHMARK REPORT

Ragan has released its annual Communications Benchmark Report, an exclusive study from Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council that analyzes the major trends in the profession over the last year.

During that time, comms pros have been called on to develop and distribute messages on new policies that affect internal and external stakeholders alike. Their role has become more essential as they helped keep their organizations focused and moving forward. They’ve seen their access to the C-suite increase throughout 2020, and they forged important new alliances with peers in other departments, including HR, finance and workplace wellness.

Culled from more than 750 respondents, the 32-page report is available in its entirety exclusively to members of the Communications Leadership Council.

Download your copy of the exclusive Benchmark Survey Executive Summary today and get a crucial competitive advantage that will fuel your success for 2021 and beyond.

Twitter explains decision to suspend Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading vaccine misinformation

Twitter has suspended representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from its platform for seven days after she tweeted that the FDA should no longer dispense COVID-19 vaccines because the vaccines are failing. The platform also said that this was Greene’s fourth strike on the platform according to its coronavirus misinformation policy, which states that after five strikes a user will be permanently banned.

The New York Times reports:

Ms. Greene’s tweet was “labeled in line with our Covid-19 misleading information policy,” Trenton Kennedy, a Twitter spokesman, said in an emailed statement. “The account will be in read-only mode for a week due to repeated violations of the Twitter Rules.”

In a statement circulated online, Ms. Greene said: “I have vaccinated family who are sick with Covid. Studies and news reports show vaccinated people are still getting Covid and spreading Covid.”

Data from the C.D.C. shows that of the so-called breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated, serious cases are extremely rare. A New York Times analysis of data from 40 states and Washington, D.C., found that fully vaccinated people made up fewer than 5 percent of those hospitalized with the virus and fewer than 6 percent of those who had died.

What it means:

While misinformation and disinformation across social media platforms have continued to spread despite countless efforts from each platform to enforce guidelines and policies, Twitter’s brief terse statement about its policy offers the platform a tangible resource to point toward. It also serves as a reminder that your policies and guidelines, whether internal or external, are most effective when they explicitly list granular steps that your company will follow when responding to false information with a focus on timelines, thresholds and expectations for when your brand will issue a response or decision.

SOUNDING BOARD

Have you included a strategy for responding to mis/disinformation in your larger crisis plan, PR pros and communicators?

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

COMMENT

One Response to “United only airline to mandate staff vaccinations, videos with longer descriptions rank higher on YouTube, and Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene again”

    Ronald N Levy says:

    Wisely, PR Daily counsels that “Your crisis messaging will be better received when it meets the intended audience on their level without leaning on past precedent or social norms through some nostalgic lens of the way things used to be.”

    Yes!

    “If you want to be loved,” one can safely counsel a CEO, “get a dog, become a first grade teacher, or launch a public service project so 100 million Americans will say BLESS that company.” A salesman succeeds by selling, a writer by writing, and a CEO to succeed should try to earn not just profit but public acclaim.

    PR wisdom is to go for success where the money and power are, to the powerful public. Cuomo was a star performer about health, and a superstar in winning elections. But his star went down and re-election problems went up when his private feelings and habits conflicted with public attitudes.

    A great first step for a CEO is to bring in a great PR firm that guides on how to get what the company wants by giving the public what the public wants. Some PR firms are betters at this than others. Just as baseball coaches can help heavy hitters become better, great PR firms can counsel CEOs to better manage a big public service project that scores home runs in getting cheers for hits plus public and even activist forgiveness of errors. If a company is spending $100 million a year to help the medical research team of Dr. Andrew Zelenetz or Johns Hopkins find a cancer vaccine, the public may strongly oppose any government action that would impair the company’s ability to keep up the vaccine research.

    Good corporate intentions do not guarantee good PR nor profit everlasting. But good public service repeatedly brings public appreciation that is both protective and profitable.

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