The Communications Department is a Revenue Generator. Here’s Why.

Ragan CEO Diane Schwartz breaks down how communications is one of the most powerful — and unacknowledged — revenue drivers for a company.

Diane Schwartz, CEO, Ragan Communications

Communications is often a misunderstood discipline. It seems to have loose ties to a company’s bottom line, and it’s apparently far from the corridors of corporate decision-making.

But in the last two years, during a trifecta of crises (public health, social, political), the communications department has been placed front and center, deftly handling essential stakeholder information and prioritizing employee well-being and engagement.

Yet, most communications and PR departments are not tied to revenue. Often seen as a cost center, they tend to float in the organizational chart under Marketing or HR.

The time has come for a change.

Communications is one of the most powerful revenue generators for a company.

And communicators are the architects of a brand’s story, the messengers of critical information, and the stewards of an organization’s reputation and community relations.

The communications department does generate revenue through its campaigns and initiatives. You just don’t hear much about it.

No longer a nice-to-have, a communications department is a must-have for organizations that understand the dynamics between employee and brand, between customer and corporate purpose, and behind trust, transparency, and mission.

Although the chief marketing officer is a common title in most midsize to large organizations, the chief communications officer is a unique find. The lack of CCOs on org charts is reflective of short-sighted organizational thinking and strategy permeating corporate America.

Continue reading here…

 




Corporate Identity Kits and Templating: How Communication Professionals Support Small Businesses DTP Departments

Carmelo Cutuli, Of Counsel, Senior Advisor Italy, TransMediaGroup Inc.Carmelo Cutuli, Of Counsel, Senior Advisor Italy, TransMediaGroup Inc.

Corporate identity is defined as the set of elements that represent a company’s image and is part of what is called corporate communication, i.e. the communication of the identity, values and projects of a given entity. Elements such as the company logo, letterhead, website, brochures, signs, social page graphics and others are all part of a visual communication strategy.

As digital printing, social networks and opensource CMS became more and more widespread, corporate use of DTP, an acronym for Desktop Publishing, has been consolidated. Considered as strategic – as long as it does not result in an unprofessional do-it-yourself – DTP offers the opportunity to generate internally communication contents and therefore with greater promptness and control.

PR and Communication professionals working with startups, small businesses, boutique firms and nonprofits, which often have very smart needs but small budgets, are meeting their DTP needs by offering turnkey corporate identity packages at defined costs and times.

This innovative business model is having great success as it allows companies with limited budgets to rely on high-level professionals with years of corporate experience, who, at the cost of established fees, create coordinated corporate image kits for them.

These packages are more cost-effective than tailor-made solutions because they are normally built in a modular way, according to the average needs of the target market category. The professionals who provide these packages also interface with customers in a smart and informal way (Skype, Whatsapp, e-mail, etc.) and deliver all their work digitally, often with record-breaking timing.

Once obtained their kit, customers will have the ability to distribute it to their employees, departments or suppliers, who can use it immediately. Usually, in fact, graphics and templates are created by the professional with sophisticated high-end applications but are delivered to the customer in an open file format, editable by the most popular Office tools so that everybody can easily customize them without affecting the professionalism of results.

Corporate identity, to be effective, must focus on the values and objectives set by the company or the professional. The brand footprint must be simple, distinctive, clean and never exaggerated in design. It must be timeless, a corporate identity must be able to work even after years and overcome the fashions of the moment. If conceived and built with method and strategy, corporate identity generates and conveys a message of coherence and accountability to potential customers and other stakeholders.




The Department of Treasury: Modernizing Communications Through Site-Engagement Surveys

The Department of Treasury-Modernizing Communications Through Site-Engagement SurveysJim Fogarty, Director, Strategic Partnerships, PublicRelay

The Department of Treasury had an organization-wide goal to move towards online communications. To better engage their users and improve their operational excellence, they began surveying the constituents that came to their site.

The survey was a mix of “closed” (yes/no) questions and open-ended responses. While open-ended or freeform text answers are invaluable, they are often more challenging to analyze for trends. Now, couple this with the fact that most people who completed the questionnaires routinely didn’t answer the questions that were being asked– they answer different questions entirely – the information became very difficult to categorize for insight.

Discover how PublicRelay’s analysis allowed the IRS to improve usage and enhance satisfaction across the site, as well as ensure the on-going success of their push towards more modern, online communications.

Read the full case study here >>




Why You Should Consider Cyber Insurance for Your Company (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Is your business ready to face a successful ransomware attack and come out alive on the other end? Most small to midsize businesses are not. In fact, 45% of SMBS report that their cyber security is ineffective. They could easily be overtaken by ransomware. 

In the past year, 66% of SMBS have fallen prey to at least one cyber attack, with ransomware being the most common method of attack. Just one successful ransomware attack can mean the loss of copious amounts of money in ransom, extortion, and recovery efforts. It can mean the loss of privacy as personal information may be publicized. It can mean the loss of productivity as systems shut down, and it could mean the loss of reputation as the majority of customers stop doing business with a company that has experienced a data breach. All of this combined means the loss of the entire business within 6 months of attack for 60% of companies who fall victim to ransomware

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020, ransomware attacks have risen by 50%. That means that, every 10 seconds, a person, device, or business is hit by a ransomware attack. The rise in these attacks comes largely from the 70% of the American workforce that began working from home last year. With the sudden surge in use of personal devices and personal networks, rather than company devices and networks, cyber security has taken a huge hit. As IT departments are left blind to the dangers and threats against personal devices and networks, cyber criminals have had a field day with the flimsy security suddenly facing most companies. 

The cost of these attacks is also taking a sharp upturn. Just a few years ago, in 2019, damages due to cyber attacks amounted to 4 billion dollars, but by 2028, it’s expected to reach 28 billion dollars. In 2015, damages due to ransomware cost 24 million dollars, but just 5 years later, in 2020, that amount was at 170 billion. 

Most SMBS are not prepared to survive these attacks. Security measures don’t meet the demand. “Strong” passwords, password authentication apps, and two factor authentication methods can all be easily hacked, leaving SMBS vulnerable to attack and failure. 

Cyber insurance is one way that SMBS can help protect themselves. It doesn’t keep the attack from happening, but it’s a cushion that could help these businesses pull through to live another day.

 

What is Cyber Insurance?


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




The Importance of Small Business Security: What You Need To Know

CommPRO Editorial Staff

As an entrepreneur, you’ve likely spent hours, or even years, building your small business, and you know how important it is to protect your business. However, after all the time and effort you’ve put into running a small business, choosing the right protection and security measures for your company can be challenging. This guide will help you understand everything you need to know to protect your small business both online and offline so that you can focus on running your company. 

Company Culture

When people talk about a company’s culture, they typically mention how the staff interacts with one another and what it’s like to work for a particular business. However, your company culture is essential to your enterprise’s security strategy as the ideas, social behaviors, and customs throughout your business will influence its security. The security culture within your company is built on a foundation from your ability to protect data, information, privacy, and employees. A strategic, long-term approach to consistent security is imperative to ensure that your business is secure both online and offline.

Employees often have confusion about what they should and shouldn’t be doing to protect business information, as security experts have repeatedly communicated contradictory techniques over the years. Security is an ongoing process that should be driven from the organization’s top in conjunction with your IT departments to ensure consistent feedback to employees. Implementing consistent communication to help staff understand how their daily behaviors can impact security is the key to developing the right company culture.

Physical Security for Your Small Business

Many small business owners focus solely on their digital security when they first begin documenting their security procedures. However, the security of your physical location is equally important if you want to ensure that you don’t incur any unforeseen expenditure such as theft or accidents resulting in employee or customer injuries. 

The first step to securing your business is investing in the right insurance. That will provide you with the necessary protection to cover most of the unexpected problems you may face as a company. Unfortunately, it can be confusing when you first look at insurance for your small business, as there are many types to choose from. Still, the best insurance will allow you to customize what coverage you require as every business is different. For expert advice, head over to The Hartford website, where you can get more information about their small business insurance

Once you have the appropriate insurance in place for your business, it’s time to think about other measures you can use to protect your physical location. Security systems are essential, and from door alarms to cameras, there are many options to choose from for your business.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is not typically the first thought on every business owner’s mind when developing their company infrastructure. Unfortunately, smaller organizations are often prime targets for these types of attacks, as smaller businesses usually don’t have the same level of technology security as larger businesses. The aftermath of a cyberattack is potentially expensive and often stressful, and time-consuming for any small business, which is why it’s imperative to have the best measures in place alongside your company culture to ensure you don’t suffer the losses from a cyberattack. Audit your current practices by working with your IT department or an external company to identify weaknesses and develop an effective strategy going forward.




Salespeople, Please Do Your Research

 

Wendy Glavin, CEO & Founder, Wendy Glavin Agency 

Every day I receive invites on LinkedIn. I’m happy that during these times people want to connect more with others. However, it’s important to read and learn about the people with whom you want to meet. Do research on the company, agency, business, or brand to identify their needs and interests before communicating.

I like to be kind, but as of late, I continue to receive automated invites. This means that when I connect, a message shows up offering some type of service, like graphic design. Since I have an incredible graphic design team, I don’t need these services. Even a quick look at my website would show that it incorporates design aesthetics, usability, interactivity, content, social media, and the agency services we offer.

Learning about the industry sectors in which people work, helps to understand people’s needs. For example, often I work with technology startups and businesses; most of which have teams of developers, data scientists, engineers, technologists, IT departments, mobile apps, chatbots, and more. Instead of targeting people to sell, the goal should be to build relationships.

One of my colleagues at a large company offers business consulting. He told me that he researches roughly 100 companies per day to learn about its interworkings, team of C-Suite executives, and reads all of its content before sending an InMail or email. Others at his firm who send mass cold emails rarely, if ever, receive a response.

During these times in particular, when we’re all in this together, instead of selling, start helping. With the loss of lives, jobs, income, and mental health challenges, we need to be empathetic, sensitive, caring, and honest without having the intention of making money.

Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley said, “If we bring our authentic selves to the table, people will trust us. And, trust is at the heart of any successful relationship.”

Here are ten reasons why people won’t connect with you on LinkedIn:

  1. Requesting to join someone’s network to build your own, instead of it being a two-way proposition
  2. Sending impersonal messages
  3. Suggesting a call or demo before knowing anything about the person
  4. Including links to your work and sending them without being asked
  5. Sending multiple InMail requests
  6. Rarely posting or sharing other people’s content
  7. Endorsing people with whom you’ve never worked with or met
  8. Cold-calling
  9. Writing posts that advertise your products or services
  10. Having the goal of getting more followers

Between reading through emails, writing responses, checking and posting on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, watching the news, having Zoom calls and virtual meetings, we’re inundated.

Please be considerate of other people’s time, before you click send.


#SXSW - Wendy GlavinAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy GlavinAgency; specializing in marketing, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Based in NYC, Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. Her monthly technology columnist for Equities.com is “Glavin‘s Tech Talk.” and a featured contributor at CommPROWendy‘s Linkedin Group is Tech Talk: “From Newbies to Savvy.” Contact her at: wendy@wendyglavin.com.




Talking Tech 2019: Year in Review

Photo by Chris Ried on Unsplash

Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

When I look back on the year, I’d never anticipate how eye-opening 2019 was. For me, January was about deciphering all the questions about artificial intelligence (AI). Most notably, the fear of robots taking over our jobs and machines becoming super intelligent.

Nearly a year later, the debate continues about the negative impact on jobs, lack of talent, data quality, cybersecurity threats, algorithmic bias, accountability, transparency, the absence of regulatory and legal frameworks, protecting people’s rights, workforce training and competition.

January 2019: Big Data, ML and AI Fears

Like other technologies I’ll discuss below, one of largest barriers to adoption and innovation is understanding what AI is, how it works, and why it matters for you.

A simple way to explain the benefits of AI is to understand where we are in terms of big data. We’ve reached human capacity or information overload. It’s impossible to read all the structured and unstructured data that exists in the world.

Structured data consists of information already managed by the organization in databases and spreadsheets; it is frequently numeric in nature. Unstructured data is information that is unorganized and does not fall into a pre-determined model or format. It includes data gathered from social media sources, which help institutions gather information on customer needs. (Investopedia, 2019).

AI is based on algorithms or a set of steps for computers to complete a task. Take a digital assistant like Alexa. When you ask it a question, it changes into a digital sound which is translated into English phonemes. Then, the phonemes are broken down into words that are processed by a search engine and formulated into sentences that we can understand in a non-robotic way.

An algorithm in AI provides probabilities based on how it’s programmed or trained to find patterns in data.

By now, you should be aware of the huge amount of data that big tech firms and others have on us. Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Netflix, Telsa and others collect email and IP addresses, phone numbers, locations, search queries, browsers, third-party information, ad targeting data and much more.

February 2019: Data Privacy  Whose Responsibility is It?

Earlier in the year, there had already been 1 billion data breaches. But it wasn’t until the the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented along with the California Consumer Privacy Act that consumers really began to take notice of how their personal data was being collected, used and sold to thousands of institutions, organizations and data brokers.

After a new Vermont law required companies that buy and sell third-party personal data to register with the Secretary of State, Fast Company assembled a list of 121 data brokers operating in the U.S. It’s a rare, rough glimpse into a bustling economy that operates largely in the shadows, and often with few rules.

The registry is an expansive, alphabet soup of companies, from lesser-known organizations that help landlords research potential tenants or deliver marketing leads to insurance companies, to the quiet giants of data. Those include big names in people search, like Spokeo, ZoomInfo, White Pages, PeopleSmart, Intelius, PeopleFinders, and the numerous other websites they operate; credit reporting, like Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion; and advertising and marketing, like Acxiom, Oracle, Innovis, and KBM. Some companies also specialize in ‘risk mitigation,’ which can include credit reporting but also background checks and other identity verification services.”

Beyond data mining is social media mining by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other companies that collect demographic data like age, sex, race, location, profession, schools, friends, connections, networks and more to inform strategic business decisions.

We leave a digital footprint everywhere as we go through the day. Whether we’re speaking on our cell phones, shopping on Amazon, watching movies on Netflix or videos on YouTube, using messaging apps to communicate and more, our every movement is being tracked.

Recently, I asked my digital assistant, Alexa, “Are Amazon and Google listening to my conversations?”

Her response was, “Here’s something I found on the web. According to CNBC.com, Google, Amazon and Apple have used humans to listen to conversations.”

Then, I asked the same question again. She answered, “Sorry, I’m not sure about that.” And again, “Sorry, I don’t know that.” I guess someone at Amazon who was listening asked his or her IT department for help to change the algorithmic response.

Yet there is no consensus about who should be responsible for data privacy. While some believe it’s consumers’ responsibility, others think that governments and businesses should do more. What’s needed is a federal law with consistent standards rather than the states implementing makeshift laws that are inconsistent and confusing for consumers traveling and businesses engaging in commerce across state lines.

Adryenn Ashley and Wendy Glavin @ SXSW

March 2019: South by Southwest (SXSW), Cambridge Analytica and #OwnYourData

During SXSW, I learned even more about data privacy, GDPR, AI, digital money, sovereign identity, fake news and blockchain during #CryptoVixens panel discussions.

Another thought-provoking discussion was with John H. Meyer, Fox Business technology analyst, global technology speaker and consultant; Rachel Sibley, futurist and immersive technologist; and Brittany Kaiser, Cambridge Analytica (CA) whistleblower, Co-Founder of the Digital Asset Trade Association and creator of the #OwnYourData campaign. I was fascinated by what Brittany shared about CA.

Brittany explained that the company collected between 2,000 and 5,000 offline data points and built a database, i.e., ground truth raw data, that is real and predictive about what you’re going to do in the future. CA didn’t just do market research and political polling but did psychographic polling on individuals.

For example, CA would ask your opinion on certain brands or politicians with psychographic political polling. Instead of asking questions like, “Do you like Donald Trump?” where they couldn’t change your mind if you answer, CA would ask, “Do you believe in the importance of art? Do you see yourself as a leader in your community? Do you get along well with children?” These are the types of questions that psychographic models use.

If users like a particular brand, then ads can be targeted to people who have specific traits aligned with what they like. For example, people who are interested in adopting pets can be persuaded with ads from the ASPCA, Petco and others.

CA adopted this model through mimicking Facebook to acquire data on millions of people to target users who were more prone to impulsive actions and conspiracy theorists with Facebook groups, articles and ads. The company even analyzed political topics before the 2016 election and used other social media platforms like Twitter.

April 2019: Blockchain, Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, and the blockchain is the technology that supports it. The blockchain is a digital and decentralized ledger that records transactions. When people purchase digital coins, or buy products and services, every transaction is recorded on an immutable public ledger which maintains a complete historic record.

Rather than having a central hub like a bank, the bitcoin blockchain is supported by a global network of developers, called miners that solve complex mathematical problems in exchange for rewards, such as bitcoins or tokens. Cryptography ensures users’ identity and security with private and public keys that create a digital signature that enables people to sign and authorize transactions.

Many experts say that data is the most valuable asset. Every day, consumers and businesses transact tangible assets like houses, cars, land, cash, stocks, bonds, equipment, vehicles and inventory, and intangible assets like patents, trademarks, copyrights, licenses, customer data, internet domain names, goodwill and more.

Less known are intangible assets like your personal or your business brand which leave a digital footprint for companies to access and harvest our personal data.

Blockchain promises a new ecosystem that’s centered on consumers controlling and owning their personal data. If you need it, please read my primer on blockchain, “How Blockchain Can Rebuild Digital Trust.”

Interestingly, the state of Wyoming is leading the charge with its first-ever U.S. blockchain law spearheaded by Wall Street veteran Caitlin Long. A bitcoin enthusiast since 2012, Long attended the University of Wyoming and wanted to donate to her alma mater in bitcoin. The laws in the state of Wyoming didn’t allow her to do that because of the Money Transmitter Act. Long drafted a legal exemption and organized the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition.

In the 1980s, South Dakota wanted to find a loophole around credit card companies’ interstate banking prohibitions which Long compared to Wyoming’s efforts to avoid financial regulatory obstacles. “South Dakota and Delaware grabbed that industry away from New York,” said Long, who estimates “as much as $20 billion is lined up to come into Wyoming by the end of 2020,” now that regulations were rolled out by the state in November.

State officials say that Wyoming’s bank model enables businesses to legally hold digital assets. Other states are following suit including Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Vermont and Nevada, which is trying to rival Wyoming to be the #1 cryptocurrency haven in the U.S.

Wyoming may have an edge as it has enacted a series of laws that exempt blockchain startups from state taxes, allows cryptocurrency trading, permits corporations to use blockchain technology to store company records and exempts virtual currencies from property taxes. Legislation is also being considered to create one or more cryptocurrency banks which would provide financial services with blockchain-based assets.

Ryan Alfred, president of Digital Assets Data, a financial technology and data company focused on digital currencies, said, “They’re cheerleading, but they’re cautious. Startups are attracted by the potential that Wyoming-chartered banks could avoid arduous New York state regulations while accessing investors inside the nation’s financial capital, by opening a branch in the state. State banks prefer uniformity with national banks for interstate business under federal law.

The SEC declined to comment on the Wyoming bank and whether it holds any risk.

Long said both Colorado and Missouri have taken initial steps to create similar institutions.

May 2019: Blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technology, and Digital Trust

From blockchain summits to conferences, events and parties, blockchain was the key topic along with digital assets, the Internet of Value, digital securities, decentralized finance, regulations, data privacy and digital trust.

After Consensus 2019 in New York City, Gartner reported:

  • Blockchain is still in its early phases and isn’t enterprise ready.
  • Organizations need to determine its suitability.
  • U.S. regulators are cracking down on anti-money laundering cryptocurrency-related entities.
  • Security tokens may hold promise.

However, Gartner named blockchain as one of the top technology trends for 2020. As the underlying mechanism for the crypto market, it’s being used across a wide variety of industry sectors, including but not limited to banking, messaging apps, voting, internet identity, ride sharing, education, cloud storage, music and entertainment, real estate, insurance, supply-chain, sports, retail, charity, cannabis and government.

Distributed ledger technology has the potential to revamp existing trust systems by providing new business and economic models, improving efficiencies, generating revenue gains, enabling users to control their information through a digital identity with cryptography and public keys, creating the mechanism of smart contracts, auditing and reducing fraud.

A major development for the industry was Facebook’s digital currency, Libra, which was registered in Geneva, Switzerland with “Facebook Global Holdings” as stakeholder.

Dubbed a Global Coin by Facebook, its launch was set to be in Q1 2020 across 12 different countries. Throughout June we learned more about the 28 founding members of the Libra Association, each of which are required to pay $1 million dollars for a vote and dividends.

The companies included Mastercard, PayPal, Naspers, Stripe, Visa, Booking Holdings, eBay, Facebook/Calibra, Farfetch, Lyft, Mercado Pago, Spotify AB, Uber Technologies, Inc. Iliad, Vodafone Group, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Inc., Xapo Holdings Limited, Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Union Square Ventures, Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps and Women’s World Banking.

After Facebook released its Libra white paper, top-tier publications highlighted major issues, including regulatory, privacy, ownership by for-profit companies, the potential misuse of economic and political power, doubts about permissioned cryptocurrencies, the lack of vetting app developers and more.

Can’t wait for a cryptocurrency with the ethics of Uber, the censorship resistance of PayPal, and the centralization of Visa, all tied together under the proven privacy of Facebook,” tweeted Executive Director of Open Privacy Sarah Jamie Lewis.

Others hype Libra as having the ability to scale with Facebook’s 2.5 billion monthly users to provide financial access to billions of underbanked people worldwide with low-fee payments across borders, and to raise awareness of cryptocurrency worldwide. E-commerce would be extended by providing products to buy on Instagram and WhatsApp.

While Facebook claims that its wallet, Calibra, will not be connected to user data from Facebook and Instagram without permission, the company’s history with user privacy calls for more than a measure of skepticism.

Other important advancements for the industry were The Securities and Exchange Commission’s public forum focusing on distributed ledger technology and digital assets on May 31, 2019. Organized by the agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub), market participants from industry and academia discussed initial coin offerings, digital asset platforms, innovations and the impact to investors and the markets.

June 2019: Bitcoin , J.P. Morgan and Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin needs the hype to attract mass appeal to be considered a viable electronic alternative to money. It is too volatile, difficult to hedge and limited in transactional utility to be thought of as a real currency today. J.P Morgan’s Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a fraud but later changed his public statement and said that blockchain and regulated digital currencies are promising.

Subsequently, J.P. Morgan issued its own cryptocurrency coin called JPM Coin which is only offered to its institutional clients that have been vetted like corporations, banks and broker-dealers.

Anthony Pompliano, Co-founder and Partner at Morgan Creek Capital, tweeted, “One should be wary of what banks say about cryptocurrencies in general. JP Morgan is now putting out reports about Bitcoin’s intrinsic value. Thought it was worthless and had no value according to Jamie Dimon? Never listen to what a bank says. Watch what they do.” Users responded to the tweet by calling out JPMorgan for trying to devalue Bitcoin in order to hoard the coins.

J.P. Morgan has stated that it doesn’t endorse the use of an cryptocurrency, and its coin is based on the value of the bank’s reserves and may eventually replace wire transfers, and mobile payments. JPM Coins are redeemable for U.S. dollars or stable coins, making it a bank coin rather than a cryptocurrency.

S&P Global Ratings stated that cryptocurrency is a speculative instrument which is dependent on global regulators and policymakers. In its view, if cryptocurrencies become an asset class, the impact will be more gradual and blockchain technology could be a disruptor. Cryptocurrencies do not benefit from the backing of cash flows or a credible central issuer, which would give it an intrinsic value. Instead, market perception drives its valuation.

Goldman Sachs was rumored to create its own bitcoin trading desk but retracted due to regulatory hurdles.

In other news, Facebook released its whitepaper which explains Libra. Its wallet, Calibra, will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger and its own app.

July 2019: Is Facebook’s Libra a Cryptocurrency?

The news of Facebook’s Libra was met with “serious concerns for regulators.” Jerome Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve at a House Financial Services Committee Hearing in Washington, D.C. said, “I don’t think the project can go forward without having broad satisfaction with the way the company has addressed money laundering, all of those things.”

As compared to Bitcoin, which is open source meaning anyone can participate, Libra isn’t and can only be used by pre-approved members of the Libra Association, based in Switzerland.

Since its 28 members are mostly for-profit companies, Libra is neither decentralized nor resistant to censorship. It’s a coin that’s pegged to fiat currencies and securities and is a stablecoin, which have legal, regulatory and oversight challenges. Risks include governance, money laundering, cybersecurity, operational problems, data privacy, monetary policy, illicit financing, tax compliance and more.

Earlier this month, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, and other congressional leaders, sent a letter to Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, asking that the social media giant delay Libra until lawmakers have had time to interrogate it.

“Because Facebook is already in the hands of over a quarter of the world’s population, it is imperative that Facebook and its partners immediately cease implementation plans until regulators and Congress have an opportunity to examine these issues and take action,” lawmakers wrote.

Globally, countries are against Libra’s adoption, including French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Benoit Coure, an executive with the European Central Bank and Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, India.

David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Libra project, testified before the House Financial Services Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs which was met with rebuff.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell both said they have ‘serious concerns’ about the potential for the digital currency to be misused by terrorists, in addition to money laundering and privacy risks.

Meltem Demirors, Chief Strategy Officer of CoinShares, which launched the world’s first regulated bitcoin investment fund, testified to the significant differences between Libra and decentralized cryptocurrencies.

In October, Visa, MasterCard and other companies distanced themselves from Libra because of the regulatory environment and the concerns of centralization and ownership by private organizations. Consumers need to be protected because of Libra’s volatility, the possible use of it to undermine laws and the very real potential for Facebook to collect even more data than it already does from people.

Brittany Kaiser and Wendy Glavin @ the WEF

August 2019: Data Privacy and The Great Hack

Brittany Kaiser’s new Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, begins with Parsons School of Design Professor David Carroll asking his students, “Have you seen an ad that makes you think your microphone is listening to your conversation?” He goes on to say, all of your credit card transactions, swipes, searches, locations, and likes are all collected in real-time into a trillion dollar a year industry.

Carroll was the central figure in the film who traveled to the UK after launching a lawsuit against Cambridge Analytica (CA) to provide him with his personal data. Whistleblowers Chris Wylie and Brittany Kaiser provide all the behind the scenes innerworkings of CA, Facebook’s role in the 2016 presidential election and how our data is being tracked, harvested, sold and weaponized.

The data CA harvested was from 87 million people on a Facebook app which included a personality quiz, that users took through an external app called, ThisisYourDigitalLife. Like with so many other social media tools and apps, people innocently participated without knowing the consequences.

Beyond CA, Facebook has faced numerous scandals, including its news feed, its Beacon program, third-party apps accessing and exposing users’ personal data, its mood-manipulation experiment, GDPR, massive data thefts, violations of Germany’s hate speech laws, its facial recognition software and more.

In the pursuit of personalization, we’re now facing the consequences, lack of privacy, security, how to regain control of our data, fears of identity fraud, security breaches and more.

Whenever I suggest that people watch “The Great Hack,” responses include it’s too scary, I don’t want to know, there’s nothing we can do, and our data privacy is dead.

September 2019: The U.S. Data Privacy Law

With consumers becoming increasingly disillusioned that companies are taking adequate measures, many states are considering creating privacy laws.

In 2019, there were more that 3,800 breaches, a 50 percent increase over the last four years, according to a report published by Risk Based Security.

The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), passed into law in June 2018, has been described as “almost GDPR in the U.S.” While big tech firms and others lobbied against the bill’s passing, high-profile cases of data breaches, hacks, ransomware, and cyberattacks persisted. The CCPA will take effect on January 1, 2020, and be enforced in July 2020.

The CCPA has a non-exhaustive list of “personal data” that a company must disclose—and delete upon request. The list includes: biometrics, internet browsing information, products purchased or considered for purchase, geolocation data, academic and employment information and inferences drawn to create a profile about the individual to reflect preferences.

Meanwhile, institutions, policymakers, attorneys, activists, legislators, CEOs, and House and Senate leaders, among others, debated the compliance costs, restriction of digital innovation and the compliance costs, legal risks, and more.

A number of bills have been introduced throughout 2019, including:

  • The Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2019
  • The Do Not Track Act
  • The Protecting Personal Health Data Act
  • The Balancing the Rights of Web Surfers Equally and Responsibly Act
  • The Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data Act
  • The Filter Bubble Transparency Act
  • The Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act
  • The Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act

Democrats and Republicans have continued to debate whether federal law should supersede state laws. Debates have continued into December with new federal data privacy bills, The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) and the Consumer Data Privacy Act (CDPA).

Both bills propose consumer privacy laws at the federal level, requiring companies to obtain “affirmative express consent” from individuals before data is processed or transferred, maintain “reasonable data security practices,” designate privacy officers and data security officers, conduct annual privacy impact/risk assessments, and not deny goods or services to individuals who seek to exercise a privacy right.

However, CDPA would block state laws related to data privacy except for data breaches and COPRA would protect state laws with greater protections. For more in-depth information, I recommend the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ detailed white paper on the two laws.

October 2019: Consumer Datasets and Data Tracking

By now, we know that everything we do is being tracked both online and offline. Companies have huge data vaults with extraordinary amounts of information on people which includes the data we choose to share and, more critically, data that you did not choose to share.

The most obvious examples are when you send emails, post on social media, use a smart device, visit websites, make purchases and use your mobile phones. Lesser known are how mobile apps track location and harvest data on visits to the doctor, drop-offs at school and other, more intimate, personal details even while we’re sleeping. The online dating industry is unsettling too because it’s difficult to know if you’re interacting with a real person versus a scammer, ghost or predator.

Businesses argue that their interests lie in finding patterns to create more personalized experiences for their customers. But many have access to raw data which identifies people without their consent.

The online data-broker industry mines addresses, phone numbers and other personal information, and legally sells that information to anyone who pays. When I did a search of consumer data sets, I was shocked. The list is endless.

On Data.Gov anyone can get hundreds of free data sets and resources to build apps that help consumers make smarter choices. Under its Finance category, we can explore hundreds of free data sets on financial services, including banking, lending, retirement, investments, and insurance. Anyone can use these data sets to build new products and services,

Under Health, there are datasets, tools, and applications related to health and health care across the Federal Government. Others include data.world, the modern catalog for data and analysis, Kaggle has “all the code & data you need to do your data science work. Use over 19,000 public datasets and 200,000 public notebooks to conquer any analysis in no time” FiveThirtyEight offers data sets from articles available online at GitHub and on its own data portal. The data ranges from information about which states have the worst drivers to the economic worth of different college majors.

One glaring use case is Amazon. High-quality data about consumers, products and other retailers has helped Amazon garner an outsized share of the retail industry. It collects and leverages huge amounts of data from its website, app, its Prime loyalty program, its Alexa smart device, home automation services and its Ring internet-connected security devices.

When Amazon integrated Alexa into its AmazonBasics Microwave and offered consumers a 10 percent discount on microwave popcorn, it helped the company gather valuable data on consumers’ consumption patterns while also helping it capture sales that might otherwise take place elsewhere, according to Digital Commerce 360.

Data aggregators are nothing new. Nowadays, a simple Google search will provide hundreds of data aggregators with thousands of data points on hundreds of millions of people.

November 2019: How to Take Charge of Our Digital Lives

Continuing the inside story of Big Data, CA, Facebook and Democracy, I spent more time delving into the world of Brittany Kaiser, author of Targeted, founder of the #OwnYourData campaign, cofounder of the Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA), cofounder of the Own Your Data Foundation and the primary subject of the Netflix documentary, The Great Hack.

Typically, people don’t want to understand what’s happening because they’re scared, feel powerless, are resigned or think it’s not their responsibility. Having met and spoken with Brittany during SXSW and listening to her speak worldwide, I know no better person to provide recommendations on how we can implement change. Brittany inspired me to become an advocate. Here’s how you can too (adopted from Targeted):

  1. Become digitally literate: Find tools and learn more by searching the DQ Institute
  2. Engage with legislators: Call and write to your legislators. All contact information is readily available at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
  3. Read about Ed Markey’s Consent Bill: The Privacy Bill of Rights Act
  4. Learn more about Elizabeth Warren’s Corporate Executive Accountability Act
  5. Since children are vulnerable, learn more from Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense, who testified before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  6. Review all the legislation named in the section in this article on The U.S. Data Privacy Law
  7. Implement ethical technology solutions by visiting Designgood.tech
  8. Contact the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Trade Commission and speak up about the immediate need for solutions
  9. Make ethical choices by continuing to question fake news. Don’t engage in negativity, don’t participate in quizzes or give away your photos for facial recognition software to determine how you’ll look in ten years which benefits insurance companies, understand that technology and humans have biases. Be diligent when using AI solutions and don’t fall into the habit of mindless convenience.
  10. If you own a company, be transparent about the data you use and allow employees and customers to opt-out.

We can take the steps needed to own our data and value, and help to make the world a place that is based on trust and transparency with online and offline security protocols.

December 2019: Making Sense of It All

For me, a 30-year marketing communications veteran, this year was about delving into AI, machine learning, financial technology, blockchain, distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrency, the cloud, data privacy, personalization, innovation and technology’s entry into different industry sectors.

Whether or not you’re involved or interested in any of these areas, the lesson I want to impart is that you can learn anything if you’re curious and determined. Even if technology is not your thing, there are exhaustive resources to access news and information about any business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) product, service and trends.

Often, people ask how I became a published writer and columnist for Equities. Like anything else, it takes practice. The more you do something you’re interested in, the easier it will be. [Editor’s note: It also helps to be courteous and professional with editors!]

Another takeaway is to be authentic. This year, I decided to say the amount of years I’ve spent working. Some warned me that people will know that I’m old. My response: it’s a competitive advantage because if you’re honest people will trust you.

I understand that in this year in particular, people feel afraid to speak up and speak out because of the divisive climate we’re living in. But another lesson I learned was during South by Southwest (SXSW). There, it was a debate of ideas rather than discussing titles, backgrounds, job roles, age, gender and other stereotypes to try and place people into categories.

As we move into 2020, let’s be more inquisitive, empathetic, helpful, purpose-driven, agile and committed to being #ForeverStudents.


#SXSW - Wendy GlavinAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is a 30-year veteran and Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin Agency in New York City, offering marketing, PR, executive writing and social media. Her specialties include blockchain, cryptocurrency, AI, FinTech, financial services, mobile apps, data privacy, and working with B2B2C technology companies. Her website is https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her directly at wendy@wendyglavin.com




3 Digital Tools That Improve PR

digital tools for PR

If the idea of technology invading the practice of PR freaks you out a little, perhaps all you need is a different perspective.  Yes, technology can be daunting, but it can also make your life a lot easier, help you achieve better results and demonstrate the value of your work.

These three tools can do just that.

A digital newsroom.

online newsroom

There are many vendors out there that will provide this service, but you can also work with your webmaster or IT department and build one in WordPress or your Content Management System.  A newsroom allows you to house your PR content in one place and prepare complete story ideas for the media, making their job so much easier. You can gather all the elements – test, images and video –  a reporter would need to cover the story right in your newsroom.  Then you send them just one link to that content with your pitch.

A social media management dashboard.

social media management dashboard

 

Again, there are many available to pick from. Most are adequate, but there are few that are really excellent.  My choice is Sendible – it has everything you could possibly need:

  • Monitoring online conversations for brand mentions and industry keywords
  • Engagement – shows who is responding to your social content. You can reply right from the dashboard or assign the action to another team member,
  • Create content. Sendible is connected to Canva so you can quickly and easily create high-quality visual content.
  • Identify influencers
  • Email lists of reporters and influencers
  • Content suggestions for posting to your social accounts
  • Schedule posts and fine-tune each post for each platform
  • Reporting and analytics

Google Analytics.

Google analytics Dashboard

 

The biggest advantage digital tools give us is the ability to track and analyze our work and show value from our results.  This is the number one skill CMOS are looking for in 2018.

The custom PR Measurement Dashboard in Google Analytics was created specifically to help PR practitioners get started with analytics and tracking the results of their work.  It’s a free download in the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery.

If you’re new to Google Analytics and have no idea where to start, talk to your webmaster or IT fellas and get them to download this dashboard and show you how to access it. You should be able to track what happens with the content in your blog and newsroom.  You want to be able to show how many people visit the content, which content is getting more traffic, where they came from and what they do once they’re on the site.

These three tools could totally change the way you work and give you the skills the C-suite value most right now.

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The Doc is Texting: 4 Healthcare Marketing Priorities in 2018

Melissa Baratta - The Doc is Texting: 4 Healthcare Marketing Priorities in 2018Melissa Barrata, Senior Vice President, Healthcare Lead, Affect

Emerging technology is having a dramatic impact on the healthcare industry.  Telehealth, AI and VR are becoming household terms, and according to recent surveys by HIMSS, over 90% of physicians are now using mobile devices to engage patients and over 50% of hospitals are leveraging connected health devices.

Technology is not only advancing healthcare delivery and changing the way patients engage with their providers, however; it’s also impacting the role of healthcare marketers. As the healthcare space transforms at a rapid pace, marketers too are evolving – working to keep up with tech innovation within their industry and organizations, as well as within their own marketing roles.

We recently spoke with senior executives from healthcare and life sciences organizations to understand how they’re adapting to changes in the industry and what’s on deck for 2018. We found that marketers are becoming extremely tech savvy and hyper-focused – drilling down on their customer segments, on metrics and on revenue. With that in mind, here are the key priorities for marketers and PR practitioners in the healthcare space this year:

  1. Tie PR or Marketing to Business/Financial Metrics: This has been a goal for some time, but marketers are looking to tie their programs more closely to business metrics and make a measurable impact on revenue.
  2. Better Segment & Target Key Audiences: “Spray and pray” is over. Marketers want to be more targeted with their outreach and focus on nurturing leads, building relationships, buyer journeys and working towards specific goals with their customers.
  3. Create More Custom Content – for the Right Audiences: Content must be highly customized in order to resonate, so creating more targeted content is a key priority for healthcare marketers in 2018. Using content to educate audiences is also important.
  4. Leverage New/Emerging Tech to Communicate with Stakeholders: Marketers are placing a bigger focus on technology enablement, leveraging marketing automation platforms and emerging technologies like AI to transform big data into actionable insights. Some are also starting to use immersive technologies like augmented or virtual reality in their marketing programs.

Social media seems to be getting the biggest lift in order to meet the needs of target audiences and boost engagement, however. One executive we spoke with said “Harnessing social media to drive awareness and loyalty” is the biggest opportunity for healthcare marketers in 2018.

Other important tactics this year include developing more creative storylines for media relations and launching more emerging tech campaigns.

The marketers we spoke with overwhelmingly agreed that technology is the #1 thing impacting healthcare marketing and PR as we head into the new year. Some even said marketing will soon own as much technology as the IT department. As the industry continues to evolve with the advancement of technology, so will the role and priorities of the CMO along with it.

 

To learn more about the healthcare industry in 2018, register to download: Report: Healthcare Marketers to Focus on Emerging Tech, Audience Segmenting and Impactful Storytelling in 2018 

 

About the Author: Melissa is a Senior Vice President and Healthcare Lead at Affect, where she uses her extensive background working with healthcare and technology companies to raise her clients’ brand profiles and position them as thought leaders in their respective industries. As an expert in stakeholder communications, she is adept at helping clients develop creative ways to communicate thoughtfully with their key audiences. Throughout her career Melissa has led programs for a variety of medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical and biopharma companies, as well as care providers and health services organizations. While she has worked across many therapeutic areas, she has particular expertise in oncology and cardiovascular disease. She has also worked with a wide array of B2B technology companies. She has significant experience handling the complexities of communications programs for the healthcare industry, and a unique understanding of the many ways in which technology and healthcare intersect. Prior to joining Affect, Melissa was a Managing Director at Ricochet Public Relations, where she directed a range of agency operations, marketing and account management initiatives. While there, she also led the PR program for GlaxoSmithKline Oncology, focusing on pre-clinical research and pipeline communications, as well as campaigns for Volcano, Agendia and others. Previously, she worked in the financial services space and began her career as a reporter for local New Jersey publications. 




How to Choose the Best Content Management System for Your Business

Nicole Letendre, Marketing Coordinator, Bonafide

A content management system, or CMS, is a software solution that helps you build and maintain a dynamic website. It enables your business to change and publish content easily and maintain an up-to-date online storefront.

Most systems provide user-friendly interfaces and customizable templates to help you get your website started. They typically include an analytics package so you can monitor your website’s performance.

A CMS is a long-term investment requiring careful research to find the right solution for your business.

Here are some tips to help you choose the best content management system for your business.

Form a Purchasing Team:

Who are stakeholders in your purchase and use of a CMS? Your answer should include some thought about future company growth and the potential for expanding your business. Commonly, you will need to include someone from each of three departments.

•Marketing, which is responsible for the overall design of your website, publication of content, and result tracking. Your marketing team will be the primary user of the CMS.
•Sales needs to integrate its CRM into the CMS to maintain a seamless process between itself and marketing.
•IT is responsible for technical support for the technology, including integrating it into your other systems during deployment.

Task your purchasing team with providing a list of requirements. As you discuss requirements, include a dialog about the skill sets your employees possess. They need to be able to use the system on a daily basis without problems or delays.

Prioritize the Requirements:

Each of your stakeholders will have their own ideas about the system’s capabilities. Once they have given you their list, sit down with them to prioritize each requirement.

•Critical: essential features your system must have
•Important: features that your system must have but can wait if you will be implementing in phases
•Desired: features that would be nice to have but are not required for your business to function
•Non-essential: bells and whistles that provide little functionality or are not appropriate now

Do not rush these decisions. A medium-sized business may take two to seven months to determine requirements, research solutions, and select a system. Take your time now to avoid wasted time, effort, and money later.

Finally, as you research solutions take into account the following elements that any good CMS should provide.

•Ease of implementation
•Ease of use
•Support
•Scalability
•Security

Your CMS must begin delivering value as soon as possible and continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

What Features Are Essential to Your Business?

Forming a purchasing team and prioritizing requirements are two general tasks you need to complete before going shopping for your new system. Now let’s get into the details of the type of feature requirements.

Marketing will need feature-rich editorial tools to publish all types of content, including text, images, audio, and video.

•The CMS should provide easy ways to embed videos and insert images, as well as create and change textual content. If you have a company blog, make sure the blogging tool supports your publication, display, and analytical needs.

•Make sure your CMS is built for responsive web design so your website will appear appropriately on any device including mobile phones and tablets. It should also integrate easily into your other sales and marketing systems.

Your IT department will expect the system to provide robust security. Having your site hacked can be a slight inconvenience or it could damage your brand. You need the ability to scale with business growth; you don’t want to experience a sudden jump in business and have your site crash due to heavy traffic.

Deployment Method:

Do you want the solution to be on-premise or cloud-based?

On-premise deployment means installing the solution on your in-house equipment.

•Pro – You have more control over the system. You have the freedom to customize it so fit your exact needs. It is as secure as all your IT equipment.
•Con – You will pay for the solution upfront. Deployment can take time. You are responsible for installation, maintenance, and updates. Scalability may be limited. All work is performed on-site.

A Cloud-based solution lives on the vendor’s server and you access it via a web browser.

•Pro – Fast deployment. No installation or maintenance. The vendor takes care of regular updates. Security is a priority and most cloud-based systems scale easily. You pay monthly for service without a large initial outlay. It is easy for your team to work from anywhere.
•Con – You have fewer customization options and are dependent on the vendor for all your technical support.

If you are a small business with no IT infrastructure, a cloud-based solution may be the best choice. For large companies with existing IT infrastructure and staff, an on-premise solution can offer more customization.

You must have a website for your business. In today’s content-heavy marketing environment, it is critical for you to be able to add and update content quickly and easily. A content management system provides the capability for fast, simple publication with a variety of content.

Before shopping for a CMS, compile a list of requirements from important stakeholders within your company, prioritize them, and search for a CMS with those capabilities. Determine which deployment method works best for you.

Now you are ready to look for a CMS that matches your needs.

About the Author: Nicole Letendre is the marketing coordinator for Bonafide, a digital marketing agency in Houston, Texas. She loves writing, social media and keeping up with the latest marketing trends




Out of Home Advertising Goes Old-School with Hand Paints

Candice Simons, CEO, Brooklyn Outdoor

2017 is poised to be a big year for marketers and advertisers alike as budgets and digital initiatives continue to skyrocket. In fact, marketers are already on pace to outspend IT departments this year on digital and technology initiatives. Just as we see companies place the impetus on digital spend, we’re also seeing brands aim for maximum exposure to hyper-local audiences through a variety of creative, non-digital means. Two of those creative initiatives include out-of-home (OOH) advertising with a digital twist and old-school, hand-painted advertisements. Let’s take a closer look at each and their impact on local audiences.

OOH Advertising in a Digital World

Today’s on-demand economy has created a breed of consumers primed for maximum exposure via outdoor advertising. The travel habits of today’s plugged-in, always-moving consumer exposes them to a great deal of OOH advertising, including billboards, taxis, digital signage and more. Statistically speaking, over 90 percent of Americans above the age of 16 who have traveled in a vehicle in the past month noticed outdoor advertising in their travels (per a recent Nielsen study).

Given these figures, marketers and advertisers are carefully constructing new ways to reach these audiences with OOH efforts that illicit digital engagement. Marketers can now create compelling OOH displays that keep mobile devices in mind, leave lasting impressions on consumers and encourage action. According to that same study, 14 percent of consumers snapchat photos of brands they view in OOH, 35 percent use their mobile devices for an online search of the advertiser and 15 percent download the advertiser’s mobile app (if applicable) onto their phone.

OOH Gets Crafty with Hand Paints

To capture an audience’s attention for maximum exposure and digital engagement, marketing and advertising teams are turning to ultra-creative, hand-painted advertisements.

Hand paints are a “new” art form being embraced by the outdoor advertising industry. The “long-lost” medium originated in the early 20th century and slowly declined with the implementation of graphic design. Fast forward to 2017 and hand paints are quickly gaining popularity with major brands. Not only do hand paints create a more beautiful city landscape than traditional billboards or OOH advertising, they also provide national brands with exposure on a hyper-local level.

The Impact of Hand Paints and OOH on Local Communities

So, how do OOH, hand-painted advertisements impact communities on a local level? When used correctly, the power of OOH advertising can be exponentially positive.

In Detroit, for example, Chevy activated wallscapes throughout the city with hand-painted ads. The advertisements were painted by local artists and placed in a high traffic areas. In fact, the installation process was advantageous for capturing the attention of local street traffic as pedestrians walked by and inquired about the artist and artwork being completed – a win-win for both the painter and Chevy.

We expect to see more big brands leverage hand paints to connect with local audiences. In addition to Chevy, Netflix has engaged with the Detroit community via a hand-paint campaign to advertise the fifth season of Orange is the New Black. Not only did the artwork boost the aesthetic of a previously underutilized wall, but the series also promoted the local artist and helped boost social engagement of the advertisements amongst local passers-by.

The Best of Both Worlds: Blending Digital with Hand Paints

There’s no doubt that digital spend will continue to rise in 2017. However, marketers and advertisers should keep in mind that a mix of old-school, non-digital tactics – such as hand-painted ads and digital activations via social media – can be the key to success amongst today’s on-demand consumers. Brands should consider how to appeal to local audiences via outdoor advertising with creative tactics like hand paints to make a positive impact on the local community and complement ongoing digital initiatives.

About the Author: Candice Simons is the CEO and Founder of Brooklyn Outdoor, a regional and national force in the outdoor advertising industry, with satellite offices and full-time sales representatives in Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles. Brooklyn Outdoor is the only major outdoor advertising firm headquartered in Detroit. Simons was recently named one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ “40 under 40,” and is the founder of Detroit lifestyle blog, “j’adore Detroit.”




From Odd Couple to Power Couple: How CIOs and CMOs Can Work Better Together to Achieve Greater Digital Marketing Success

Claire WiggillBy Claire Wiggill, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, PMG

Less than 20 percent of marketers believe that marketing and IT work closely together to ensure top-notch product delivery.[1] That’s about to change.

Recent years have brought major growth in digital marketing and technologies – marketing budgets have also grown to keep pace. While marketers are eagerly exploring and experimenting with these new platforms, they have little experience implementing them for the enterprise. That’s where IT comes in.

IT’s technology expertise can help marketers successfully manage their digital initiatives and guide them on what technologies are best to deploy. Before IT and marketing join forces, genuine effort should be put toward establishing a collaborative working relationship.

Do that and chances are you’ll see stronger marketing initiatives and perhaps even a reversal of both units’ cost-center reputation. Here’s how to make it happen.

Acknowledge and adapt to changing tech budgets

Obviously, a united CMO and CIO won’t happen overnight. Collaboration takes time and intentional development. And that starts with both parties acknowledging the changing technology landscape.

According to Gartner, CMOs will receive larger budgets for marketing technology than CIOs will for standard enterprise technology in 2017.[2] Suddenly, CIOs may feel like they’re losing their calling card. And if you let it, this real shift in fiscal power has the potential to create strain between your marketing and IT departments.

When this happens, no one wins. A negative CMO/CIO relationship impacts the entire organization, resulting in operational inefficiencies and unnecessary costs.

Fortunately, the exact thing that could potentially drive this divide can be used to drive collaboration. Before IT can even worry about marketing taking over its turf, marketing must come forward and admit its need for help. For the first time, CMOs must make long-term technology decisions for the enterprise. Here’s where a wise CMO can recognize the value the CIO and her team bring to the table.

Use technology to unite, not divide

While energized by their growing technology budgets, CMOs are right to hesitate when faced with the fresh challenge of implementing newly acquired technologies. Perhaps more importantly, they’ll need the wherewithal to create an effective digital marketing infrastructure management system, a critical need with the growing demand for all things digital. While it’s new for the CMO, for the CIO, this is how she makes her living.

Here, at this intersection of need and ability, is where the CIO and CMO can truly begin developing a healthy working relationship. The two parties can join together to ensure a clear and realistic definition of requirements for working together, including a solid plan for communication and change management for implementing new marketing technologies.

It’s also important the two work to implement a single solution specifically for digital marketing infrastructure management, providing a portal for both marketing and IT. This helps the two better work with one another on everything from creating new websites and renewing existing domains to running analytics on a website and launching new mobile apps. So, what does jumpstarting this relationship look like from a nuts-and-bolts perspective?

It all starts with the CIO and CMO themselves. The two leaders need to set the stage for teamwork by championing inter-team meetings. This meeting of the minds can come in the form of weekly check-in meetings. These sessions should establish clear processes, celebrate joint successes and, ultimately, help drive a culture of cross-team collaboration.

Change the cost-center reputation with collaboration

This opportunity to drive team collaboration comes at a unique time for both the CIO and CMO. Now more than ever, CEOs and other business leaders are calling for performance measurement and management. For business units that have struggled with “cost center” reputations, à la marketing and IT, the call for metrics presents an opportunity to quantify their value.

This proves particularly true if the two business units are actively supporting one another. The technology and data expertise of IT can help marketing construct relevant measurements, ensuring marketing efforts are tracked in direct relation to key business goals.

This display of ROI and key performance indicators helps elevate both departments. Together, the two can showcase their value to executives in ways they haven’t been able to before. And a little ROI can go a long way in shifting those cost-center perceptions, delivering a true win-win situation for both marketing and IT.

 

 About the Author: Claire brings over 20 years of experience to PMG, where she is responsible for leading the company’s strategic initiatives. Prior to this role, she spent three years as Service Delivery Manager, where she led customer projects from inception to delivery, including the company’s largest ITFM implementation for a leading Fortune 200 company. Her broad business experience includes various advisory and business management roles for companies such as Wachovia Securities, Servidyne, iXL and Cobalt Interactive. 


[1] https://www.clickz.com/reports/communications-infrastructure-the-backbone-of-digital

[2] https://blogs.gartner.com/jake-sorofman/yes-cmos-will-likely-spend-more-on-technology-than-cios-by-2017/




From Intern to Boardroom

James Orsini-VaynermediaBy James Orsini, Chief Integration Officer, VaynerMedia  

As we welcome another class of interns here at VaynerMedia I can’t help but think about my own internship more than thirty years ago. It was 1984 and I was selected by what is now KPMG to do my internship in their audit department. Upon reflection I cannot believe how many important aspects of my life as they exist today were framed by this single internship event.

It started with an on campus interview in 1984 at Seton Hall University in my junior year. I was fortunate enough to have choices and selected KPMG after a visit to their Park Avenue offices in New York City. I knew this was an environment I wanted more of. Today I remain appreciative of the opportunity afforded to me by Seton Hall University and continue to give back to the school to show that appreciation. I serve on the Board of Regents for SHU and credit the securing of the internship opportunity as the reason to this day I give back to the University.

While working at KPMG one of my clients was Siegel and Gale; a then small branding subsidiary of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. I remember while serving this client as an auditor in a public accounting firm thinking “I absolutely love this creative environment I’m observing and could see myself working in a place like this someday”. The marketing seed had been planted.

I left KPMG knowing the Partner track was not for me. I spent several years on Wall Street at an Investment Banking firm. While the company treated me well and paid me handsomely I recall being unfulfilled in my cubical. One day in the summer of 1988 my phone rang and it was the audit manager I had worked under on that Siegel and Gale client at KPMG on the other end. He too had left KPMG and went to work for Saatchi and Saatchi. He went on to tell me a story of what the future could be. The Saatchi Brothers had just bought a single public relations firm in NYC and wanted to create a worldwide network. He said if you leave Goldman Sachs (definitely NOT what guys were doing in the 80’s) someday we would build a worldwide company and someday I might be the CFO.

Fast forward I left… within five years we built what was then the 5th largest public relations firm in the world and I became a global CFO by the time I hit my 30s. I later oversaw 31 offices in 26 countries. Wow, the internship connections came through! 25 years later having worked for Saatchi twice in that time, I remain in the Industry I love so dearly, spending each day in a creative environment that I would have never known existed were it not for the internship.

But can there be more you ask? Yes there can. While at KPMG I worked with a woman who I was instantly drawn to. Someone who understood me, had similar likes, and really understood what I did for a living. This is someone I met when I wasn’t looking to meet anyone (in that way). I fell in love with JoAnn who became my wife. We’ve now been married for nearly 27 years and have 3 wonderful children. Again the internship came through! And so the world comes full circle. This year my son Christian now 20 has begun the application process for his KPMG internship targeting the summer of 2017.

From Intern to Boardroom

With this reflection in mind, I’m full of excitement for VaynerMedia’s interns. Their lives 10, 20, 30 years from now could very well be changed through the 8 short weeks they spend with these now strangers. Could a future Board role be looming in this internship? Could a future career path in media be unfolding through this internship? Could a future partner or lifelong friend be discovered through this internship? All things are possible to those that believe….

About the Author: James Orsini is Chief Integration Officer for VaynerMedia a social first digital agency. Working alongside founders AJ and Gary Vaynerchuk James helps manage the agency for success. Mr. Orsini was Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors of Single Touch Systems Inc. (SITO:OTCBB), the mobile media solutions provider serving retailers, advertisers and brands. A proven leader and author of business articles (Monetize or be Cannibalized and The Race for Mobile Relevance) and white papers (The Authentic Network, Reverse 360 Mentoring and Mastering Procurement). James has over 25-years of finance and operations experience across a broad range of marketing and communications disciplines in both the Ominicom and Publicis Groupe holding companies. He currently serves on the Board of Regents for Seton Hall University. 




Silence in the Face of Misinformation is Complicity

Helio Fred Garcia

In May the head of the Food and Drug Administration warned that misinformation has become the leading cause of death in the United States. 

The January 6 Committee hearings are making clear that misinformation is a leading cause of political division. And that it is a growing threat to American democracy.  

In both COVID misinformation and the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen, there is another common factor: People who knew about the misinformation, who saw the consequences of that misinformation playing out, and who may have been able to raise the alarm in time, eventually spoke out. But by then it was too late to prevent the harm. 

Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward knew that President Donald Trump understood how dangerous and contagious COVID was and that he was lying about it.

Attorney General Bill Barr knew that Trump’s “Stop the Steal” narrative was, in his own words, “bullshit,” and that Trump was told so. So did many in Trump’s inner circle, whom campaign manager Bill Stepien referred to as “Team Normal,” in contrast to “an apparently inebriated Rudolph Giuliani” and his minions. None of these people spoke out until well after the January 6 attack.

And Trump continued the lies, even to today. And Americans continued to die.

Duty to Warn?

This dynamic raises a moral, ethical, and civic question: When does a public official or public figure have a duty to warn? At what point should civic leaders, public officials, and even engaged citizens sound the alarm when leaders are behaving in ways that put lives and civic order at risk?

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For example, on February 7, 2020, before a single American had died of COVID, Trump told Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward that he knew that COVID is airborne, transmitted by breathing, and more deadly than the flu. 

This was a turning point moment in the pandemic: a moment when a responsible president would share that news with the American people so that they could begin to understand the risks and take precautions. And a moment to begin a whole-of-government public health response to address those very real risks. But Trump did not. Instead, he lied to the American people about what he and the government knew about the virus. And Americans started to die. 

On March 19, 2020, when 265 Americans had died of COVID, Trump repeated to Woodward what he knew about the dangers of COVID, and added that even young people can get it.  In addition, Trump told Woodward that he was intentionally playing down the risks. Trump continued to lie to the American people, and Americans continued to die.

Trump’s firehose of COVID misinformation in the spring and summer of 2020 had at least two effects. First, Trump failed to emphasize the need to take basic public health measures, such as masking, distancing, testing, and contact tracing. Instead, he focused on miracle cures, on discrediting science and scientists, and on disparaging those who challenged him. Second, many of his followers and others believed the misinformation and acted on it, including failure to trust science and scientists. Their belief in the misinformation has persisted well beyond Trump’s presidency to include refusal to get vaccinated or to wear masks.

The World Health Organization has long warned about the dangers of misinformation:

“Misinformation costs lives… Misinformation can circulate and be absorbed very quickly, changing people’s behavior, and potentially leading them to take greater risks. All this makes the pandemic much more severe, harming more people and jeopardizing the reach and sustainability of the global health system.”

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Cornell University’s Alliance for Science conducted the first comprehensive study of COVID misinformation. It reviewed more than one million articles with COVID misinformation published in the first six months of the pandemic. It found that Trump was directly quoted in 37 percent of all instances of misinformation. But when the researchers included Trump misinformation that was retold by others, they concluded that he was responsible for fully 50 percent of all misinformation statements about COVID. 

The study concluded that Donald Trump was “likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation ‘infodemic.’”

It further noted that,

“These findings are of significant concern because if people are misled by unscientific and unsubstantiated claims about the disease, they may attempt harmful cures or be less likely to observe official guidance and thus risk spreading the virus.”

We saw just this phenomenon play out in the summer of 2020. 

And in all that time, Woodward said nothing.  

Then, on August 14, Woodward finally said something. With the launch of his book Rage, Woodward released recordings that revealed what Trump had told him. By then 167,000 Americans had died of COVID; more than one thousand Americans died that day alone. And pandemic response had become thoroughly – and seemingly irreversibly – politicized. 

In Rage Woodward asks, “Who was responsible for the failure to warn the American public of the pending pandemic?”

Woodward is right to ask the question. And he should look in the mirror. 

From both a moral and ethical perspective, I believe that Woodward shares some culpability here. He knew when the death rate was low that Trump was privately acknowledging the severity of the virus and its form of transmission, but publicly saying the opposite. In doing so, the president was putting American lives at risk. But even as the death rate soared, Woodward kept silent until the release of his book in mid-August. 

When does the duty to warn overtake the journalistic convention of storytelling? Or the commercial possibilities of a best-selling book? Before any fatalities? At 256 fatalities, as in mid-March? At 167,000 fatalities, when he launched his book?

The Fraud About Election Fraud

One of the surprises in the January 6 Committee hearings is that then-Attorney General Bill Barr, who for 22 months had been sycophant-in-chief for Trump, eventually told truth to power. 

After the 2020 election Barr told Trump that the Department of Justice had investigated all the claims of voter fraud and concluded that there was none. To his credit, on December 1, 2020 Barr told the Associated Press that,

“Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.”

This led to an immediate denunciation from Trump attorney Rudy Giulliani. And, as Barr later recounted to ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl, this was the beginning of the end of Barr’s relationship with Trump. The president felt personally betrayed by his attorney general. At a later White House meeting, according to Karl’s reporting,

“The president, livid, responded by referring to himself in the third person: ‘You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.’”

Barr testified to the committee:

“I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit. And, you know, I didn’t want to be a part of it. And that’s one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did.”

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But Barr is no hero. His resignation letter began by noting how important it is for all levels of government

“to do all we can to assure the integrity of elections and promote public confidence in their outcome.”

This opening sounds as if Barr was about to tell truth to power again. But he didn’t. Instead of using the letter to address the issues of actual election integrity and voter confidence, he reverted to obsequious praise. He commended the president for his “unprecedented achievements,” especially “in the face of relentless implacable resistance.”  

Trump read the letter in Barr’s presence, and commented, “It’s pretty good.”

Barr left government service and said nothing more in public before the January 6 attack. 

And it wasn’t only Barr. Not one of Trump’s former inner circle – who knew that Trump’s election fraud misinformation was delusional, dishonest, and dangerous – spoke up. 

And in the month following Barr’s resignation, Trump’s “Stop the Steal” became the rallying cry for supporters to come to Washington for a “wild” day. And it became his supporters’ justification for attacking the Capitol, engaging in what Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards described as hours of “hand-to-hand combat” that left several police and Trump supporters dead, and many with physical and other injuries. 

And “Stop the Steal” became the justification for those attacking the Capitol to publicly call for the assassination of Vice President Mike Pence and members of congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The call to “Hang Mike Pence” was not only inspired by Trump. When Trump was told about it, he replied, “maybe our supporters have the right idea. Mike Pence deserves it.”

Barr eventually spoke at length with ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl, whose Atlantic profile was published in June 2021, and whose book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, was published in November, 2021. And Barr testified privately to the January 6 Committee on June 2, 2022. 

We have seen this pattern throughout the Trump presidency. Former confidants, cabinet secretaries, and other senior officials realize the dangerous game the president is playing, and step away. And they eventually get around to sharing what they knew. But long after the damage had been done.

The French philosopher Voltaire warned, “Those who can make us believe absurdities can make us commit atrocities.” And misinformation is not merely information that is factually incorrect, but the intentional articulation of absurdities – as Attorney General Barr said to Trump, of “nonsense.” Trump is not alone in peddling absurdities with dangerous consequences, but he is the exemplar of such absurdities. His followers seize on the misinformation, and act on it, to catastrophic effect.

Silence in the presence of misinformation that risks life, health, safety, and civic order is complicity. 

In presidential scandals it is common to ask What did the president know, and when did he know it? But in the era of misinformation, an equally important questions is, What did the people around the president know, when did they know it, and why didn’t they warn us about it when it would have done some good?


About the Author: Helio Fred Garcia is the president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group. He teaches ethics, crisis, leadership, and communication at New York University and Columbia University. He is the author of five books, most recently Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. He next book is The Trump Contagion: How Incompetence, Dishonesty, and Neglect Led to the Worst-Handled Crisis in American History.




My Old Man

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.
Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’
‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys’.”
– Harmon Killebrew

It is that time of year when the Men’s College World Series is on and also that time of year when all of my teams—Maryland, Michigan, Central Michigan, University of Virginia—have been knocked out along with my Division III team, Catholic. So, you listen or watch the contests for the sheer joy of the game of summer. Bountiful and endless.

I am driving outside of Detroit and listening to the Texas-Texas A&M elimination game and though Texas is far behind late and cannot afford to give up any more runs, the Texas catcher—otherwise a tip top player—makes a mental error and tries to throw out an A&M runner stealing second, with a man on third. This is something you Do. Not. Do. The runner stealing second meant nothing. Sure enough, split seconds later, the errant throw is heading toward shallow center field and A&M scores yet another run, sealing Texas’ fate.

As Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90 per cent mental. The other half is physical.”

As heartbreaking as this was for Texas, it is also why minor league and college baseball are so enjoyable to watch. A brilliant play followed by a mental error that major leaguers would seldom, if ever, make. You get to watch the molding of perfection, but it still needs time in the kiln.

For me, this was the moment. The trigger that makes you want to pick up your phone and call Dad. “Did you see that? What was he thinking?” Dad is long gone and there is no one on the other end to pick up the phone to complete your sentences and read your mind.

If you, like me, have lived long enough to lose loved ones, you know those moments well. It could be the smell of a favorite dish; a Sinatra tune—“My Way” was a favorite; simply the way the light looks late afternoon; a beloved expression; or a baseball game. And there we are, a moment now pregnant with memory, sandwiched between melancholy and joy. As William Shakespeare wrote five centuries ago about the battle on St. Crispin’s Day, “Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he’ll remember with advantages.” These are, indeed, memories with advantages.

Who do you call when only the specter is left? Despite the endless cornucopia of phones on earth, we have yet to master telephony to Valhalla.

Virtually all American holidays have devolved into devotionals to the gods of shopping. Heaven help us if Juneteenth is reduced to Memorial and Labor Days, let alone Christmas, when it is the sales we remember, not the meaning.

If you have not already, for this Father’s Day, hug your father if you can and remember him if you cannot. For so many of us now they are a ghost, a memory and a call we can no longer make.

My Old Man
By Steve Goodman

I miss my old man tonight
And I wish he was here with me
With his corny jokes and his cheap cigars
He could look you in the eye and sell you a car
That’s not an easy thing to do
But no one ever knew a more charming creature
On this earth than my old man

He was a pilot in the big war in the U.S. Army Air Corps
In a C-47 with a heavy load
Full of combat cargo for the Burma Road
And after they dropped the bomb
He came home and married mom
And not long after that
He was my old man

And oh the fights we had
When my brother and I got him mad
He’d get all boiled up and he’d start to shout
And I knew what was coming so I tuned him out
And now the old man’s gone, and I’d give all I own
To hear what he said when I wasn’t listening
To my old man

I miss the old man tonight
And I can almost see his face
He was always trying to watch his weight
And his heart only made it to fifty-eight
For the first time since he died
Late last night I cried
I wondered when I was gonna do that
For my old man

This week’s podcasts:

Two lions of the DOJ, now with Morrison Foerster—Brandon Van Grack and Alex Iftimie, discussing cyber security and the rise of ransomware

Brandon is the former Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit and was a lead prosecutor for Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Alex is the former Counselor to the Attorney General and former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security.  Both are now co-chairs of Morrison Foerster’s National Security and Global Risk + Crisis Management groups.

Not your parents SEC with Thomas Redburn Jr., Partner and Chair of Lowenstein Sandler’s Securities Litigation Practice

Tom discusses SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s ambitious rulemaking agenda, focusing on two significant proposed changes—insider trading and Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs). As Tom says, “While Gensler is a believer in the capital markets as a means of capital formation, he is all about protecting investors … love him or hate him, that’s who he is.”

Community and regional bank regulatory matters with Sandy Brown, a Co-Leader of Alston & Bird’s Financial Services & Products Group

Sandy formerly served in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the Reagan Administration and now counsels and represents financial institutions and specialty finance companies. He discusses banking corporate and regulatory matters, particularly for community and regional banks; the increased politicization of public policy issues related to bank supervision; consolidation in the banking industry and its roots and what caused bank M&A activity to slow considerably in 2022, compared to 2021.

Enjoy the shows and Happy Father’s Day.

Richard Levick

Listen to Two Lions of the DOJ

Listen to Not Your Parents SEC

Listen to Community & Regional Bank Regulatory Matters




A Conversation with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, Author, ‘Rough Draft’

 

Join me and Katy Tur as we discuss his new memoir, Rough Draft, a memorizing account of her lived experience growing up the daughter of famous journalists and charting her own path from local news, to weather chaser, to NBC national correspondent, to anchoring her own show, Katy Tur Reports, on MSNBC.

Guest

Katy Tur

Katy Tur is the anchor of Katy Tur Reports on MSNBC, a correspondent for NBC News, and the author of the New York Times bestseller Unbelievable. Tur is the recipient of a 2017 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism. She lives in New York City.

 

 

 

Host

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings.

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelzeldin

Subscribe to the Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/that-said-with-michael-zeldin/id1548483720




Digital Fatigue in the Modern Work World (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Following the onset of COVID, the world saw a shift to remote work that was far larger than ever before. It was such a large and important shift that 78% of current remote employees want to continue remote work for the rest of their lives. 

The convenience of remote work and realizing the lack of a need for a physical department in many industries has revolutionized how people conceive of working. Although this is not all without consequence, there are some serious trade offs that come with remote work that must be addressed.

The most major of these consequences comes in the form of digital fatigue and inefficiency. Digital fatigue is defined by a few key factors. First, the general way in which a zoom call is oriented is ripe for producing anxiety and discomfort.

This is because of a lack of personal space, reduced mobility, the challenge of nonverbal communication, and the mirror effect. A video call will show each participant’s face much closer than you would realistically see in a physical workplace while also cutting off their body. This creates a lot of awkward eye contact and reduces nonverbal signals. 

Video calls also show each member themselves in the corner of the screen, this produces the mirror effect, basically making each participant much more anxious and nervous about how they’re being perceived than they would normally be. These are solvable but widespread issues.

All of these factors together make it so 49% of remote workers feel exhausted on camera. 23% of remote workers even say their Zoom fatigue is worse now than it was when the pandemic began. This would all be okay if these meetings were necessary, but that doesn’t quite seem to be the case either.

83% of remote employees spend up to 33% of their work week in video meetings and, concerningly, 71% waste time every week due to either an unnecessary or canceled meeting. 56% of employees want to spend less time video calling, and 42% say they actively contribute nothing to these calls.

This creates an average of 31 hours of unproductive meetings monthly per employee. This only makes it so that digital fatigue becomes worse and worse, and on top of all the downsides of virtual meetings, people miss their coworkers. 49% of remote employees miss seeing, and 44% miss interacting with their coworkers. 

Fortunately, although this is a wide spread and complicated issue, there are proposed solutions. Some companies such as RedRex have proposed a more comfortable digital workplace. Creating a digital building that would have floors and rooms for the employees that worked there, even going as far as to have the ability to “knock” on someone’s door.

This would work to return some of the privacy and efficiency of a physical workplace. Everything would be much more cohesive in an environment like this, and there would be much more practical means for coworkers to interact with each other in less serious circumstances. 

This certainly isn’t the only or inherently best proposed solution, but it’s leading a way forward for the unhappy remote workers that exist today. Society is continually moving to be more and more digital, and the workplace has to learn to adapt to that change.

 

The Future of Work & Online Events


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




5 Top Qualities of a Great Place to Work

A Great Place to Work - Company Culture

 

Great places to work have certain qualities in common. Here are the top five.

What exactly qualifies a place of business as an amazing workplace, or a great place to work? It’s a question well worth considering since there has been a tectonic shift in recent years in the way we view employee experience and satisfaction at our jobs. 

Organizations have come to realize that there is a growing movement of empowerment within their ranks, and employees are finding a collective voice that says in no uncertain terms, “We need to be treated better!” The response from companies in an effort to halt the brain drain of exiting staff is to reevaluate their corporate culture and move from a model of profitability to a more personable one.

With quit-culture growing to the point where it can’t be ignored and increasing demand for employee satisfaction in the workplace, companies would be wise to take a close look at these top five qualities and adopt them as best practices. 

While some may be obvious and even thought of as a “given” they could the tipping point between a thriving company and one that is desperately holding on for life.

Focus on people

Successful companies know that their greatest asset is their people. They also recognize that their staff and customers alike need to be treated with respect, kindness, and decency. Great workplaces have abandoned the old mindset of trying to squeeze every last drop of profit out of their employees’ productivity levels and moved to a more human-centric idea of giving back to their employees to ensure their needs are met. 

One could argue that the profit margins are higher in the former model, but it is myopic in its approach. Burnout and overworking result in dissatisfied employees who don’t care about a company that they view as more of a slave-driving influence than that of a caring and decent influence in their lives. A long view of the situation will inevitably bring about the understanding that happy and engaged employees work harder and with more passion and actually care about your customers and the survival of the organization as a whole — because the company’s survival is intimately connected with their own. 

Hiring practices

Tomes could be (and have been) written about the actual hiring process and how to do it well. But here are a couple of high-level points that can make a huge difference in creating a great place to work. 

When it comes to hiring, the prevailing wisdom is that you keep looking and interviewing and keep talking to people until a “perfect candidate” walks through your doors. 

But what many people fail to see is that it is possible to create productive and successful employees out of most any able, intelligent, honest, and willing candidate. In other words, you could create a perfect employee out of an imperfect candidate. The focus should be on hiring a person, not a resume. 

And in-house training and on-the-job experience can turn that person into a great employee. This is where investing in your employees comes into play. If you believe that someone is worth hiring, then surely, they are worth investing in to grow their abilities and become a bigger and more influential member of your team. 

Obviously, you need to be dealing with someone who has relatively high intelligence and aptitude. But in the right hands, a good training program and onboarding process can make a huge difference. 

Speaking of onboarding — One thing that is sorely missing in many companies is a detailed description of what is expected of a new employee. Instead, they’re given a tour of the office and a pat on the back. 

For every position in a company, there should be a complete (and succinct — it doesn’t have to be War and Peace) binder that goes over every aspect of the performance of that job. Here’s how you do such-and-such. Here’s who you talk to if you run into trouble with blah-blah-blah. What to do if yada-yada-yada happens. Here is the contact information for every person you need to be in touch with… and so on and so on. You get the idea.

It is an often glossed-over aspect of the onboarding process, yet possibly the most important. Imagine if you can take out all the guess work and stumbles and falls from the equation. Wouldn’t it be in your own interest as a company to ensure that your new employees can quickly and adeptly step in to any new position and get to work? 

What’s needed is essentially a step-by-step guide for any new hire at your company. It makes it so much easier for them to just get to work.

Pay and benefits

Organizations that care about their people and care about attracting great talent and retaining employees over the long term will make sure to pay their people well and offer benefits that enhance their lives.

Instead of cutting as many costs as you can in the payroll department, this is an area that will pay dividends when done right. Offering a living wage (plus a little extra if possible) and competitive benefits that make the job very attractive to someone will communicate to them that you value them and that they would be a welcome addition to your team. This is the old adage “actions speak louder than words”. 

Company culture

Top Workplaces that are populated with happy and satisfied employees are known to focus on ways to improve and evolve their company culture. This is seen by their intentional and consistent engagement between leadership and employees, they communicate openly and build trust within their ranks. 

A great place to work is vocal about its purposes and values and is sure to align with employees who share those values and are passionate about their mission. 

They strike the delicate balance between treating their people with decency and respect and simultaneously holding high expectations for productivity and delivery of excellence. They treat their workforce with kindness, while at the same time empowering them to do their best work. These two things are not mutually exclusive, and the best places to work understand and practice this philosophy.

Communication

This is listed last here, but communication is at the top of the list when it comes to qualities that make a company a great place to work. 

Great communication builds transparency and trust that goes both ways. It aligns employees and leadership under the same goals and keeps a constant flow of information within the organization. It allows for feedback up and down the organizational chart and when done well, can solve almost any issue that a company might face.

Having a policy on communication methods and strategies establish a decorum and baseline for how team members talk to one another that may reflect policies of respectfulness and kindness, etc. It also has the added benefit of allowing leaders to lead by example. Focusing on communication shows that the company cares about the interactions of its staff. 

In addition, an environment where good communication is encouraged tends to bring people together and raise the level of community among the staff (since they are talking to one another) so the morale, productivity, mutual support, and overall success of the group are uplifted. 

Employees should be able to share concerns and feel heard, while management can utilize employee survey insights to start vital conversations that might illuminate areas of improvement with the employee’s best interests in mind.

 




Wells Fargo Names Amy Bonitatibus as Chief Communications and Brand Officer

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Amy Bonitatibus
(Photo: Wells Fargo)

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced today that Amy Bonitatibus has been named Chief Communications and Brand Officer, effective Sept. 12, 2022. Bonitatibus will report to Bill Daley, vice chairman of Public Affairs.

Bonitatibus joins Wells Fargo from Chase, the retail arm of JPMorgan Chase, where she served as Chief Communications Officer. In her role, Amy led all aspects of the company’s media relations, public affairs, internal communications, social media, and reputation management. She joined Chase in 2012 and has held a number of senior marketing and communications positions, including Chief Marketing Officer for the Home Lending business. Under her leadership, the business achieved record volume and brand consideration ratings.

“Amy brings a wealth of experience in financial services managing a large-scale communications organization as well as deep expertise in brand management,” said Daley. “We look forward to having her join the company in the fall to lead this important function within our Public Affairs team.”

Prior to joining Chase, Amy was a senior director at Fannie Mae, where she managed executive communications and media relations and led a grassroots media campaign for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Making Home Affordable program. She began her career as deputy press secretary to Senator Hillary Clinton, where she drafted and edited speeches, congressional testimony, press statements and op-eds for the senator. She also served as communications and policy director on a number of congressional campaigns.

Bonitatibus holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Policy Management from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.




Loss & Hope

Loss & Hope

“Ah death. A change of clothes.”
– The Dalai Lama

What we remember are the stories. It is what holds us together. Families. Communities. Countries.

I am pretty sure Santa was not there at the creche and that George Washington did not fell his father’s cherry tree, but these stories give us a foundation and commonality which holds us together.

When I was in second grade and just starting to develop my own story of the world, my teacher passed away from cancer after a valiant fight. Like my mother, just three years earlier, my teacher was struck down in her twenties. I turned to my father and with the piercing wisdom of a seven-year-old, asked, “Why do all the people I care about die?” Unbeknownst to even myself, I was preparing for a lifetime of loss.

If you live long enough, it’s a good skill to have.

This week, the January 6th Committee will begin its televised report, in a made-for-television production which is apparently necessary in an age when reading, fact gathering and the ascension to wisdom have gone out of style.

Since 9/11, we have learned that we are no longer immune from foreign attacks on our shores. In 2008-2009 we lost our faith in ever-upwardly mobile economies. The pandemic taught us that we are susceptible to communicable diseases that we had mythologized as being limited to far off places. On January 6th we recognized that the miracle of the peaceful transition of power could no longer be taken for granted.

No wonder we are afraid.

Reasons for Fear

It was a busy week on In House Warrior, the daily podcast I host for the Corporate Counsel Business Journal.

I interviewed Kathryn Kolbert, who has a long and distinguished career advancing women’s rights and is the lawyer who argued Planned Parenthood v Casey before the Supreme Court. The case overturned a Pennsylvania law that required spousal awareness prior to obtaining an abortion and was found invalid under the Fourteenth Amendment because it created an undue burden on married women seeking an abortion.

Ms. Kolbert, who is the former CEO of People for the American Way and the creator and executive producer of NPR’s Justice Talking, discussed the Dobbs leak and the likely overturning of Roe v Wade. She was emphatic about the political reality that abortion rights will no longer be found in the courts. Political action is the only remaining route.

I also interviewed election law Professor Richard Hasen, who is the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine and the Co-Director of the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center. He is a nationally recognized expert on election law and campaign finance regulation; the co-author of leading casebooks in election law and remedies; named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by The National Law Journal; author of the recently released book Cheap Speech: How Disinformation Poisons Our Politics—and How to Cure It and writes the often-quoted Election Law Blog.

We discussed election law from the Florida election recount through the recently leaked Steve Bannon designed “Precinct Strategy,”—a four-part campaign to be unleashed for the 2022 election cycle which includes election-denier poll watchers, on-call GOP lawyers, party friendly district attorneys and loyalist Boards of Canvassers, all designed to intimidate voters and drive down Democratic participation. With Moore v. Harper likely headed to the Supreme Court in 2023, which would give profound powers to the states to curb voting, it is not an overstatement that for millions of Americans, the right of franchise is soon to be a memory.

We are a non-partisan agency that represents companies and countries of all natures and points of view. When you have represented 30 countries, you don’t see the world through just an American perspective, nor through Democratic or Republican eyes. We try to fix the impossible for everyone. It is not a political position I worry about. It is the institutions.

I am an optimist by nature, even about death. But it would be an adventure in unbridled denial to think these things will not have a fundamental and significant impact on this great experiment we call democracy. We are at the precipice where free and fair elections, privacy, stare decisis, respect for the Court and even faith in democracy are in peril.

With apologies to The Book of Numbers, “What hath man wrought?”

Hope Arrives

The thing about loss is, what we do next is what gives it meaning.

Toward the end of the week, I interviewed “The Music Man,” Dan Binstock, a partner with the legal recruiting firm of Garrison & Sisson, a lawyer and a musician. Dan cannot read music but has been playing the piano since the age of five. He has the gift of synesthesia, which means that when he hears a sound or a musical note, he gets a visual representation in his mind of a color and texture of the sound, and, as a result, can instantly play the music he has just heard. Since the pandemic, videos of him playing by ear have been viewed over 40 million times on TikTok. It is a delightful show that will have you singing along, choking up and leaning in.

Back in February, I interviewed Tim Brown, a former Vice President and General Manager of biotechnology at Genentech and now a volunteer with Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute (cc-TDI), in a deeply moving interview about the loss of their son Luke, at age 20, who died after a life-long fight with pediatric cancer. It was a remarkably candid conversation about suffering loss, giving it meaning and finding hope.

The FDA approves on average 12 drugs every year to treat adult cancer but has approved only 12 drugs to treat childhood cancer since 1978. Since cc-TDI’s inception in 2015, it has pushed two drugs into three clinical trials to treat childhood cancer.

A reporter from the scientific journal Nature heard the show and was inspired to write a profile piece on cc-TDI, giving the budding non-profit, which specializes in hope, its first feature coverage ever.

There are very few times in life or work that you can have your hand—even in the slightest way—on something that might change peoples’ lives fundamentally for the better. When I heard about the story coming out, it was one of those rare moments when I thought, “Now this really matters.”

 Let’s do the work that matters.

 “I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear…. I speak as a Republican, I speak as a woman. I speak as a United States Senator. I speak as an American.”
– Senator Margaret Chase Smith, June 1, 1950, four months after Senator Joseph McCarthy made his infamous speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, accusing the State Department of harboring 205 communists and beginning the era of McCarthyism.

Enjoy the shows.

Richard Levick

Listen to The Lawyer Who Argued Planned Parenthood v Casey Before the Supreme Court

Listen to From Hanging Chads to The Precinct Strategy – How Elections & Democracy Hang In the Balance

Listen to The Music Man