CD April 1, 2021: VW’s April Fools mishap becomes brand crisis; Subject matter experts are top credible sources for journos; IBM’s CEO touts hybrid roles; and more

NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP

  • Ongoing clinical trials show that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine offers protection six months after second It’s good news as vaccine programs continue to ramp up across the U.S.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is pushing back on business leaders’ criticism of a recent state law that protesters say limits access to voting. Executives like the CEO of Delta, one of the largest employers in the state, have condemned the final version of the bill that was signed into law.
  • Vaccinated people are unlikely to transmit the COVID-19 virus, but there is still some risk, according to experts. The scientific uncertainty poses a problem for comms pros looking to encourage safe reopening for businesses.
  • Weekly jobless claims were higher than expected, despite early signs of labor market improvement. First time claims totaled 719,000 last week, higher than the previous week’s 658,000.

RESEARCH & DATA                

What do reporters consider as credible sources? Subject matter experts and top leaders are at the top of the list in Muck Rack’s recent State of Journalism survey for 2021.

(Image via Muck Rack)

More research to watch:

  • Employees expect employers to take a bigger role in workplace safety. Seventy-two percent of employees say that the safety and protection of them and their families is more important now than ever before in a new survey from MetLife.
  • Americans say they are worried about COVID-19 variants. Over half (57%) of Democrats and 29% of Republicans say they are “very worried,” and 62% of Americans say they are not comfortable travelling inside the U.S., according to the Harris Poll.
  • Forty-eight percent of organizations won’t track employee vaccination status. The report from Gartner also says that 45% of surveyed HR leaders expect to return to the office in Q3.
  • Financial insecurity abates for many after latest financial stimulus. The number of adults facing extreme financial straits dropped to a low-water mark in Morning Consult’s market analysis.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Are you doing enough to limit employees’ mental stress? Consider this download to learn how your organizations can take action on employee mental health.

Virtual onboarding is failing employees, experts warn. Only 33% of employees are satisfied with their org’s culture and education training, and steps must be made to help new employees join the fabric of the workplace.

Job postings should reconsider language that indicates toxic culture. Here’s a short list of some terms that give potential employees pause.

Kroger says it will increase employee wages to $16 minimum. The move comes after some subsidiaries closed locations rather than comply with local regulations that mandated bonus wages during the COVID-19 crisis.

Technology has helped increase employee engagement during COVID and WFH. Here are some of the solutions that have been working and how organizations are looking to benchmark their efforts.


FROM THE CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK

VW’s April Fools mishap is a reminder about the need for media relations. When the car company confirmed a lie to reporters in pursuit of a viral marketing moment, bridges were burned and trust was undermined.

Read our featured story of the week here.

Interested in becoming a Crisis Leadership Network member? You can learn more and sign up here.


MEDIA RELATIONS

In the aftermath of COVID-19, digital and in-person experiences must be integrated. That’s the big takeaway from the data collected by G&S Business Communications.

AMC stock slides as CEO discusses new stock offering. The embattled movie theater chain doesn’t have many options after a year of COVID-19 shutdowns, but the incident is a reminder of the real financial consequences of media relations.

CNBC reported:

“Dilution is something we care about, but I will say we are formally asking approval from our shareholders to authorize another 500 million new shares that the company could issue if it wishes,” CEO Adam Aron said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “There are a lot of benefits to our shareholders of having more authorized shares out on the market.”

Internal comms can’t be ignored in crisis planning. See how health care comms learned to put a premium on internal engagement in their experience with the COVID-19 crisis.

Johnson & Johnson admits that millions of COVID-19 vaccines were contaminated. The factory mix-up is a setback for the companies looking to convince consumers of their products’ safety and efficacy amid widespread vaccine skepticism.

The New York Times wrote:

The mistake is a major embarrassment both for Johnson & Johnson, whose one-dose vaccine has been credited with speeding up the national immunization program, and for Emergent, its subcontractor, which has faced fierce criticism for its heavy lobbying for federal contracts, especially for the government’s emergency health stockpile.

Your video campaign must have a rock solid budget. Consider this and other important rules for ensuring your video creations deliver for audiences and build awareness for your organization.


REMOTE WORK

How can you make the case for a return to the office? Experts share with SHRM their take on the positives of reopening the office and challenges that remain as the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect workers.

IBM’s CEO says 80% of employees will have permanent “hybrid” roles post-COVID. Arvind Krishna said 10%-20% of employees might stay fully remote but he worries about what their career trajectories might look like.

Business Insider reported:

“If they want to become a people manager, if they want to get increasing responsibilities or if they want to build a culture within their teams, how are we going to do that remotely?” Krishna told Bloomberg.

Microsoft Teams doesn’t have to be an unnavigable disaster. Here are six tips to make the platform more useful for your employees.

Weighing a return to the office? Check out this essential download from Ragan Consulting Group.

Amazon’s incoming CEO Andy Jassy sees downsides to remote work. The leader quipped that collaboration and rapport would be stifled with employees no longer sharing a common space.

GeekWire wrote:

Jassy said “invention” is hard to do virtually compared to people brainstorming together in person.

“You just don’t riff the same way,” he said, “so it’s really changed the way that we’ve had to think about how we drive innovation, and how we solicit information from our builders and the types of meetings that we run.”


CASE STUDIES

How are you showing your commitment to address climate change? PR agency Infinite Global offers a model that can be followed by organizations large and small.

 Employee resource groups offer important connections for employees. Here’s how Bermuda-based insurance outfit Arch is helping employees find communities of support around race, sexual orientation and other areas.


TOOLS & TACTICS

Is your PR strategy integrated into the sales funnel? As integrated comms becomes the norm for many organizations, make sure your ROI can be clearly demonstrated with these tips.

Are your goals following the SMART framework? Here’s how business acumen will insure your efforts are contributing to the bottom line and help you prove the value of your work.


SLIDESHOW

Where can you source user-generated content to bolster social media efforts and build your brand and consumer trust? Check out these insights from Northwestern Medicine and others on Ragan Training.

Get more content like this from Ragan Training.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 7 – Media Relations & Measurement Virtual Conference

April 14 – The Future of Work Virtual Workshop

April 21 – Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Virtual Conference

Sept. 8-10 – Ragan’s Social Media Conference at Disney World


CONTACT US

Ted Kitterman, Editor, tedk@ragan.com
Shallon Blackburn, Subscriptions, shallonb@ragan.com
Customer Service, cservice@ragan.com

NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP

  • Ongoing clinical trials show that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine offers protection six months after second It’s good news as vaccine programs continue to ramp up across the U.S.
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is pushing back on business leaders’ criticism of a recent state law that protesters say limits access to voting. Executives like the CEO of Delta, one of the largest employers in the state, have condemned the final version of the bill that was signed into law.
  • Vaccinated people are unlikely to transmit the COVID-19 virus, but there is still some risk, according to experts. The scientific uncertainty poses a problem for comms pros looking to encourage safe reopening for businesses.
  • Weekly jobless claims were higher than expected, despite early signs of labor market improvement. First time claims totaled 719,000 last week, higher than the previous week’s 658,000.

RESEARCH & DATA                

What do reporters consider as credible sources? Subject matter experts and top leaders are at the top of the list in Muck Rack’s recent State of Journalism survey for 2021.

(Image via Muck Rack)

More research to watch:

  • Employees expect employers to take a bigger role in workplace safety. Seventy-two percent of employees say that the safety and protection of them and their families is more important now than ever before in a new survey from MetLife.
  • Americans say they are worried about COVID-19 variants. Over half (57%) of Democrats and 29% of Republicans say they are “very worried,” and 62% of Americans say they are not comfortable travelling inside the U.S., according to the Harris Poll.
  • Forty-eight percent of organizations won’t track employee vaccination status. The report from Gartner also says that 45% of surveyed HR leaders expect to return to the office in Q3.
  • Financial insecurity abates for many after latest financial stimulus. The number of adults facing extreme financial straits dropped to a low-water mark in Morning Consult’s market analysis.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Are you doing enough to limit employees’ mental stress? Consider this download to learn how your organizations can take action on employee mental health.

Virtual onboarding is failing employees, experts warn. Only 33% of employees are satisfied with their org’s culture and education training, and steps must be made to help new employees join the fabric of the workplace.

Job postings should reconsider language that indicates toxic culture. Here’s a short list of some terms that give potential employees pause.

Kroger says it will increase employee wages to $16 minimum. The move comes after some subsidiaries closed locations rather than comply with local regulations that mandated bonus wages during the COVID-19 crisis.

Technology has helped increase employee engagement during COVID and WFH. Here are some of the solutions that have been working and how organizations are looking to benchmark their efforts.


FROM THE CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK

VW’s April Fools mishap is a reminder about the need for media relations. When the car company confirmed a lie to reporters in pursuit of a viral marketing moment, bridges were burned and trust was undermined.

Read our featured story of the week here.

Interested in becoming a Crisis Leadership Network member? You can learn more and sign up here.


MEDIA RELATIONS

In the aftermath of COVID-19, digital and in-person experiences must be integrated. That’s the big takeaway from the data collected by G&S Business Communications.

AMC stock slides as CEO discusses new stock offering. The embattled movie theater chain doesn’t have many options after a year of COVID-19 shutdowns, but the incident is a reminder of the real financial consequences of media relations.

CNBC reported:

“Dilution is something we care about, but I will say we are formally asking approval from our shareholders to authorize another 500 million new shares that the company could issue if it wishes,” CEO Adam Aron said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “There are a lot of benefits to our shareholders of having more authorized shares out on the market.”

Internal comms can’t be ignored in crisis planning. See how health care comms learned to put a premium on internal engagement in their experience with the COVID-19 crisis.

Johnson & Johnson admits that millions of COVID-19 vaccines were contaminated. The factory mix-up is a setback for the companies looking to convince consumers of their products’ safety and efficacy amid widespread vaccine skepticism.

The New York Times wrote:

The mistake is a major embarrassment both for Johnson & Johnson, whose one-dose vaccine has been credited with speeding up the national immunization program, and for Emergent, its subcontractor, which has faced fierce criticism for its heavy lobbying for federal contracts, especially for the government’s emergency health stockpile.

Your video campaign must have a rock solid budget. Consider this and other important rules for ensuring your video creations deliver for audiences and build awareness for your organization.


REMOTE WORK

How can you make the case for a return to the office? Experts share with SHRM their take on the positives of reopening the office and challenges that remain as the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect workers.

IBM’s CEO says 80% of employees will have permanent “hybrid” roles post-COVID. Arvind Krishna said 10%-20% of employees might stay fully remote but he worries about what their career trajectories might look like.

Business Insider reported:

“If they want to become a people manager, if they want to get increasing responsibilities or if they want to build a culture within their teams, how are we going to do that remotely?” Krishna told Bloomberg.

Microsoft Teams doesn’t have to be an unnavigable disaster. Here are six tips to make the platform more useful for your employees.

Weighing a return to the office? Check out this essential download from Ragan Consulting Group.

Amazon’s incoming CEO Andy Jassy sees downsides to remote work. The leader quipped that collaboration and rapport would be stifled with employees no longer sharing a common space.

GeekWire wrote:

Jassy said “invention” is hard to do virtually compared to people brainstorming together in person.

“You just don’t riff the same way,” he said, “so it’s really changed the way that we’ve had to think about how we drive innovation, and how we solicit information from our builders and the types of meetings that we run.”


CASE STUDIES

How are you showing your commitment to address climate change? PR agency Infinite Global offers a model that can be followed by organizations large and small.

 Employee resource groups offer important connections for employees. Here’s how Bermuda-based insurance outfit Arch is helping employees find communities of support around race, sexual orientation and other areas.


TOOLS & TACTICS

Is your PR strategy integrated into the sales funnel? As integrated comms becomes the norm for many organizations, make sure your ROI can be clearly demonstrated with these tips.

Are your goals following the SMART framework? Here’s how business acumen will insure your efforts are contributing to the bottom line and help you prove the value of your work.


SLIDESHOW

Where can you source user-generated content to bolster social media efforts and build your brand and consumer trust? Check out these insights from Northwestern Medicine and others on Ragan Training.

Get more content like this from Ragan Training.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 7 – Media Relations & Measurement Virtual Conference

April 14 – The Future of Work Virtual Workshop

April 21 – Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Virtual Conference

Sept. 8-10 – Ragan’s Social Media Conference at Disney World


CONTACT US

Ted Kitterman, Editor, tedk@ragan.com
Shallon Blackburn, Subscriptions, shallonb@ragan.com
Customer Service, cservice@ragan.com

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