CD March 25, 2021: Health care and climate top consumer concerns post pandemic; Tips for managing workplace crisis; A quarter of workers self-identify as depressed during COVID-19; and more

NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP

  • Lawmakers clash in Georgia as the state is set to pass sweeping voter restrictions in a move that is seen by some as targeting communities of color, while advocates call the measures necessary to protect against voter fraud.
  • The CDC is tracking an uptick in COVID-19 cases, caused by relaxed restrictions and Spring Break revelers, according to government experts.
  • President Biden is set to deliver the first press conference of his administration today as his administration continues to promote the recent passage of its $1.9 trillion rescue plan.
  • Markets have faltered as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has hinted that the roll back of stimulus measures might soon begin. Fed action is seen to have been responsible for propping up the economy amid COVID-19 disruption.

RESEARCH & DATA                

Economic recovery, health care and climate are top concerns post-pandemic. In a new report from G&S Business Communications, consumers shared how they are ranking concerns once the pandemic subsides and how brands can meet their needs with integrated digital messaging.

GS-Urgent-Issues

(Image via G&S)

More research to watch:

  • Lower-wage employees are more likely to feel unsupported in skills training and remote work. The report from Infosys suggests COVID-19 has highlighted inequality and companies must invest resources to support underprivileged populations.
  • More than a quarter of workforce describes itself as depressed during COVID-19. Gartner’s report offers strategies for organizations to support mental well-being for struggling employees.
  • Business travel ranks at the bottom of post-COVID pursuits for consumers. Communicators should take a close look at research about consumer desire, including this helpful chart from Morning Consult.
  • Feelings of inclusion come from both day-to-day experience and perception of company-wide effort. Here’s how to foster an inclusive environment according to research from McKinsey.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Make your workplace sustainable and supportive for women leaders. APCO Worldwide’s Margery Kraus and our own Diane Schwartz share insights form their work as comms leaders and executives.

How are brands defining their values around employee experience? Here’s a breakdown of what the experts have to say about their relationship with employees in public-facing core values messaging.

Get the honesty you need from your feedback request. Here’s how to ensure the data you collect is an accurate representation of sentiment and feeling.

Virtual gatherings are essential for creating remote community. Talcott Resolution shares how it used Zoom and other tools to keep remote teams engaged and offers tips on building your comms beyond the tired “Zoom happy hour.”

Build trust and defeat “change fatigue” with these tips. Experts from Edelman share their top tips for building trust during these extraordinary times, including leading with purpose and empathy, and more.


FROM THE CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK

A workplace crisis must be met with an ‘I.D.E.A.L’ response. Consultant Erin Doyle breaks down how to manage your communications when faced with claims of workplace impropriety, such as a sexual harassment.

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

What are the brand stories to highlight to defend against a future crisis? Consider these five opportunities to bolster your brand reputation and built trust.

H&M, others face backlash for stance on cotton from China’s Xinjiang region. Companies have spoken out with concerns about forced labor in the part of China that has become a focus of human rights advocates amid reports of abuses against its Uighur citizens. The Chinese government has encouraged Chinese consumers to respond harshly to the companies’ statements.

The New York Times reported:

The company responded on Wednesday by saying its statement last year on Xinjiang did not “represent any political position.” That only made internet users, who were baying for an apology, more furious. On Thursday, a mall in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, shut an H&M outlet, urging the company to apologize formally to people in the region. In the southwestern city of Chengdu, workers dismantled the company’s sign from a store.

How can tech PR respond to the “techlash”? Industry insider and tech journalist Eric Newcomer shares tips for tech PR to build trust with increasingly skeptical media pros.

AstraZeneca press release sows doubt with errant effective-rate percentage. The drug company said its COVID-19 vaccine was 79% effective, only to be contradicted a week later. The real number, 76%, is a negligible difference from what AstraZeneca touted, but the mistake gives pause to consumers.

USA Today wrote:

It is not clear why AstraZeneca presented dated information to the public, knowing it would have to provide the remaining figures a few weeks later, particularly because the findings were so similar.

Is “purpose” an authentic PR element, or just marketing and hot air? Some are starting to question the actual value of all the messaging around brand purpose as the end of the COVID-19 crisis tips the business community back towards profiteering.


REMOTE WORK

Many companies are changing plans to reduce their physical office footprint. The data about the choice to invest in office space suggests the remote work revolution might be somewhat overblown.

Office work will never be the same. Here are 10 changes that will be with us for years to come, according to Recode.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sends city employees back to the office. de Blasio says the move is meant to encourage others to return to their offices in Manhattan that have been empty for over a year. Some workers say they are worried about sufficient safety precautions.

The New York Times wrote:

Vaccination will not be mandatory for those returning to the office because of legal concerns, according to a City Hall spokesman. City officials are strongly encouraging their workers to get vaccinated and are trying to facilitate that process. Even so, a survey of the city workforce in January suggested that vaccine hesitancy varied significantly by agency, and City Hall was unable to provide an estimate of how many municipal workers had already received vaccines.

Remote work remains popular as COVID fears subside, Harvard study reports. Despite longer hours, work/life inbalance, and Zoom fatigue, many say they feel they have grown and excelled in their professions.

Microsoft warns action must be taken immediately to solve remote work overload.  Weekly meeting times are on the rise and tasks are cropping up where a conversations might have sufficed in earlier times. Microsoft Teams meetings are up 148% and Teams chats are up 45%.

What HR policies need to be updated for remote work or hybrid work models? Harvard Business Review offers some questions to ask and a framework for thinking about the deep changes in our workplaces.


CASE STUDIES

General Mills offers example of what not to do in social media crisis. The team behind social media channels for its Cinnamon Toast Crunch brand made a fishy situation worse when a consumer posted about finding shrimp tails in his box of cereal.

Krispy Kreme shows promise and perils of COVID-19 vaccine message. The company was both lauded and derided for its plan to offer free donuts to consumers who could show their vaccine cards. Others are also offering freebies to consumers who get a shot, but at least one gym owner is zagging, offering free memberships to those who don’t get vaccinated.


TOOLS & TACTICS

Make sure your social media content captivates. Here are some important tips from BET’s TJ Barber on how to extend the shelf life of your content, and create video and images that stop users from scrolling past.

Do social media naysayers always deserve a response? Here’s a how one PR pro breaks down a brand’s options when faced with online critics.


SLIDESHOW

Is your podcast really going to reach internal and external stakeholders? Check out this important session on the realties of starting a podcast on Ragan Training.

Stand-out-podcasting

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

  • Lawmakers clash in Georgia as the state is set to pass sweeping voter restrictions in a move that is seen by some as targeting communities of color, while advocates call the measures necessary to protect against voter fraud.
  • The CDC is tracking an uptick in COVID-19 cases, caused by relaxed restrictions and Spring Break revelers, according to government experts.
  • President Biden is set to deliver the first press conference of his administration today as his administration continues to promote the recent passage of its $1.9 trillion rescue plan.
  • Markets have faltered as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has hinted that the roll back of stimulus measures might soon begin. Fed action is seen to have been responsible for propping up the economy amid COVID-19 disruption.

RESEARCH & DATA                

Economic recovery, health care and climate are top concerns post-pandemic. In a new report from G&S Business Communications, consumers shared how they are ranking concerns once the pandemic subsides and how brands can meet their needs with integrated digital messaging.

GS-Urgent-Issues

(Image via G&S)

More research to watch:

  • Lower-wage employees are more likely to feel unsupported in skills training and remote work. The report from Infosys suggests COVID-19 has highlighted inequality and companies must invest resources to support underprivileged populations.
  • More than a quarter of workforce describes itself as depressed during COVID-19. Gartner’s report offers strategies for organizations to support mental well-being for struggling employees.
  • Business travel ranks at the bottom of post-COVID pursuits for consumers. Communicators should take a close look at research about consumer desire, including this helpful chart from Morning Consult.
  • Feelings of inclusion come from both day-to-day experience and perception of company-wide effort. Here’s how to foster an inclusive environment according to research from McKinsey.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Make your workplace sustainable and supportive for women leaders. APCO Worldwide’s Margery Kraus and our own Diane Schwartz share insights form their work as comms leaders and executives.

How are brands defining their values around employee experience? Here’s a breakdown of what the experts have to say about their relationship with employees in public-facing core values messaging.

Get the honesty you need from your feedback request. Here’s how to ensure the data you collect is an accurate representation of sentiment and feeling.

Virtual gatherings are essential for creating remote community. Talcott Resolution shares how it used Zoom and other tools to keep remote teams engaged and offers tips on building your comms beyond the tired “Zoom happy hour.”

Build trust and defeat “change fatigue” with these tips. Experts from Edelman share their top tips for building trust during these extraordinary times, including leading with purpose and empathy, and more.


FROM THE CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK

A workplace crisis must be met with an ‘I.D.E.A.L’ response. Consultant Erin Doyle breaks down how to manage your communications when faced with claims of workplace impropriety, such as a sexual harassment.

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

What are the brand stories to highlight to defend against a future crisis? Consider these five opportunities to bolster your brand reputation and built trust.

H&M, others face backlash for stance on cotton from China’s Xinjiang region. Companies have spoken out with concerns about forced labor in the part of China that has become a focus of human rights advocates amid reports of abuses against its Uighur citizens. The Chinese government has encouraged Chinese consumers to respond harshly to the companies’ statements.

The New York Times reported:

The company responded on Wednesday by saying its statement last year on Xinjiang did not “represent any political position.” That only made internet users, who were baying for an apology, more furious. On Thursday, a mall in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, shut an H&M outlet, urging the company to apologize formally to people in the region. In the southwestern city of Chengdu, workers dismantled the company’s sign from a store.

How can tech PR respond to the “techlash”? Industry insider and tech journalist Eric Newcomer shares tips for tech PR to build trust with increasingly skeptical media pros.

AstraZeneca press release sows doubt with errant effective-rate percentage. The drug company said its COVID-19 vaccine was 79% effective, only to be contradicted a week later. The real number, 76%, is a negligible difference from what AstraZeneca touted, but the mistake gives pause to consumers.

USA Today wrote:

It is not clear why AstraZeneca presented dated information to the public, knowing it would have to provide the remaining figures a few weeks later, particularly because the findings were so similar.

Is “purpose” an authentic PR element, or just marketing and hot air? Some are starting to question the actual value of all the messaging around brand purpose as the end of the COVID-19 crisis tips the business community back towards profiteering.


REMOTE WORK

Many companies are changing plans to reduce their physical office footprint. The data about the choice to invest in office space suggests the remote work revolution might be somewhat overblown.

Office work will never be the same. Here are 10 changes that will be with us for years to come, according to Recode.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sends city employees back to the office. de Blasio says the move is meant to encourage others to return to their offices in Manhattan that have been empty for over a year. Some workers say they are worried about sufficient safety precautions.

The New York Times wrote:

Vaccination will not be mandatory for those returning to the office because of legal concerns, according to a City Hall spokesman. City officials are strongly encouraging their workers to get vaccinated and are trying to facilitate that process. Even so, a survey of the city workforce in January suggested that vaccine hesitancy varied significantly by agency, and City Hall was unable to provide an estimate of how many municipal workers had already received vaccines.

Remote work remains popular as COVID fears subside, Harvard study reports. Despite longer hours, work/life inbalance, and Zoom fatigue, many say they feel they have grown and excelled in their professions.

Microsoft warns action must be taken immediately to solve remote work overload.  Weekly meeting times are on the rise and tasks are cropping up where a conversations might have sufficed in earlier times. Microsoft Teams meetings are up 148% and Teams chats are up 45%.

What HR policies need to be updated for remote work or hybrid work models? Harvard Business Review offers some questions to ask and a framework for thinking about the deep changes in our workplaces.


CASE STUDIES

General Mills offers example of what not to do in social media crisis. The team behind social media channels for its Cinnamon Toast Crunch brand made a fishy situation worse when a consumer posted about finding shrimp tails in his box of cereal.

Krispy Kreme shows promise and perils of COVID-19 vaccine message. The company was both lauded and derided for its plan to offer free donuts to consumers who could show their vaccine cards. Others are also offering freebies to consumers who get a shot, but at least one gym owner is zagging, offering free memberships to those who don’t get vaccinated.


TOOLS & TACTICS

Make sure your social media content captivates. Here are some important tips from BET’s TJ Barber on how to extend the shelf life of your content, and create video and images that stop users from scrolling past.

Do social media naysayers always deserve a response? Here’s a how one PR pro breaks down a brand’s options when faced with online critics.


SLIDESHOW

Is your podcast really going to reach internal and external stakeholders? Check out this important session on the realties of starting a podcast on Ragan Training.

Stand-out-podcasting

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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