June 17, 2016
Today, customers have a stronger voice than ever thanks to the rise of social media. As more and more people adopt smartphones and grow accustomed to an always-connected lifestyle, responding quickly to consumers is critical for delivering exceptional customer care.
Consumers are getting tired of shopping the old-fashioned way, with more customers opting to buy things online than in-store. But, that’s not the only thing they’re doing more of online. Given the hectic pace of modern day life, consumers have had to adjust to new constraints on their time.
June 14, 2016
The inspector general’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services reports that the FDA has been taking its sweet time using its power to force recalls on tainted food items showing pathogens that can kill people or make people very sick.
June 3, 2016
Laremy Tunsil’s NFL draft night turned from celebration to horror, after a post on his Twitter page created a public relations disaster. The mysterious post appeared just minutes before the draft began and showed Tunsil smoking marijuana through a gas mask. He then removed the mask, revealing his identity.
May 31, 2016
In case you were unaware, Instagram recently re-designed their logo and app aesthetics. And boy, oh boy, did it make waves.
According to Ian Spalter, Instagram’s Head of Design, “…the Instagram icon and design was beginning to feel…not reflective of the community, and we thought we could make it better.” For better or worse, Instagram went for it.
May 24, 2016
Listeria. Ask most folks what it is and what it does, and they would have a hard time explaining it. But ask them if they want it in their food, and they know full well it’s very bad. Just the mention of the word leads consumers to stop buying, much less consuming certain products. Now the outbreak scare extends to frozen food, some bought as far back as 2014.
May 18, 2016
Not since the Zimmerman note has a general public hated a Zimmerman more than they do George Zimmerman. The guy’s always in the news for the wrong reasons and just can’t seem to get a clue.
When you, as a private citizen, have managed to engender the type of bone-deep revulsion that Zimmerman has, it’s a good idea to try to make your life as private as possible. Instead, Zimmerman has managed to be in the news for many, many bad days even since he was cleared in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
May 12, 2016
Priceline CEO Darren Huston resigned last week after an investigation concluded he had, in fact, had an “improper relationship” with an employee. According to media reports, the findings concluded Huston “acted contrary to (Priceline’s) code of conduct and engaged in activities inconsistent with those expected of executives.
No other information about the nature of the relationships was released, but it’s clear Priceline will have some PR ground to make up in the coming weeks. While this is far from the worst thing that could happen to the company, anytime you mix illicit affairs with a change of leadership you can just about guarantee headlines.
May 8, 2016
In a move just about every side is taking credit for, Ringling Brothers Circus announced it would “retire” its performing elephants in early May, two years before the planned date.
By May 11, teams of elephants who have been performing together for decades will be off-loaded from trains and trucks for the final time to finish their days in Central Florida on a 200-acre farm for retired circus animals.
The retirement has been planned for some time, mostly in response to public outcry fueled by negative PR and activist activity. The company said initially the plan was to have all the elephants off the road by 2018, but sped up the timetable because they realized they could. The situation was all logistics, according to the company. They thought their resources were more limited and they needed more time to prepare. That turned out not to be the case.
Activists, of course, are calling shenanigans on that argument. They are claiming victory while further excoriating the circus for continuing to use any animals in its performances at all. Ringling denies this and says they have no plans to pull other animals from their shows.
While Ringling says public relations played no part in their decision to pull the elephants early, CEO Kenneth Feld told National Geographic activists concerned for the elephants were creating a problem at his company’s events.
“We’re in the entertainment business. It takes away from the total enjoyment when you’re getting yelled at, and your kids are getting yelled at by these activists,” Feld said.
In addition to activist activity at events, the company faced multiple lawsuits alleging animal cruelty. Even though Ringling won all their lawsuits, the company still had to face local legislators who had been feeling the heat from angry constituents.
“You can win every lawsuit, but you can’t fight city hall,” Feld told Nat Geo.
City Hall, however, is not claiming victory here. Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle lauded Ringling’s announcement, saying:
“For wild animals whose natural habitat is outdoors, life in a traveling show is filled with unending misery … all so they can perform silly tricks.”
Ringling could punch back, saying many of these animals are not wild and could not, in fact, survive long in the wild. This is just part of the winning arguments from their legal cases … but Feld knows this isn’t the right time to engage adversaries that are already reloading. Some have already taken aim at the place the elephants will be retired, calling it just as cruel … a battle and a narrative Ringling will likely face sooner rather than later.
April 19, 2016
It’s been a bad month for the Arizona state Department of Corrections. According to the Associated Press, separate investigations into two inmate suicides at Arizona prisons have led to the firing of 13 corrections officers and sergeants. Six others have been “disciplined”. That’s a whole lot of fallout … but why?
According to information that is still coming out, various correctional officers and other employees failed to conduct security checks and perform other duties. Neglect, ethics violations, and duty failures were also reported. But it gets worse, reports have also surfaced that records were falsified, and misconduct was either not reported or investigated.
From a PR perspective, while this case involves specific employees of a specific prison system, it reflects poorly on the entire Arizona DOC and the state as a whole. That creates a widespread and nuanced public relations crisis across multiple departments. Heads will roll, and that’s just the beginning.
In any situation like this, the general public will demand accountability. That may or may not stop with the firings and discipline of the various DOC officers and employees. It might extend to elected or appointed officials further up the food chain. That is if this issue continues to stay in the headlines for extended periods.
On a national scale, the state and those in danger are benefitting from a hotly contested presidential election stealing most, if not all, of the airtime and column inches. However, at a local and state level, the problems are just beginning. Everyone from activist groups to prison reform organizations will look at this case as a touchstone, an opportunity to drum up support for their cause.
This sort of multilayered administrative failure can be a very attractive situation for those seeking to advance various agendas critical of both the police in general and the prison system in particular. When people are dead, and officers apparently created a situation that allows it, the environment is ripe for hyperbole and broad brush statements.
State, local, and law enforcement PR specialists must understand this and act quickly, or they risk losing control of this narrative and becoming the go-to example of every problem or issue these systems face.