Building an Inclusive, Diverse Workplace Culture

Building an Inclusive, Diverse Workplace Culture

 

Recent research conducted by CultureAmp shows that while most business leaders realize a more inclusive workplace is essential for business success in 2022, they are not investing at the levels required to drive the changes needed to create an inclusive and diverse workplace culture.

Paying lip service to the problem by holding discussion, events and creating strategies is not enough. Resources must be put in place to implement these ideas so that you do create an amazing workplace. It starts at the top – owners and managers must be all in. Not just cosmetically, but genuinely. 

Meet with your executive team and managers about improving your business culture. It does not happen on its own – you need to make decisions, followed by action.

Put an employee in charge of your program – an employee that you are confident takes improving diversity at your company seriously. The person in charge should start by reviewing your company’s hiring practices, identifying any areas where changes should be made.

DEI Initiatives with the Greatest Impact

The study found that the greatest drivers of a more diverse workforce are:

  • Having a diversity policy
  • Implementing a strategic plan
  • Using DEI data to make decisions
  • Employee resource groups
  • Collecting demographic data of the workforce 
  • Building fair and equitable processes
  • Implementing employee recognition programs
  • Having formal mentorship or sponsorship programs
  • Creating clear advancement processes
  • Explicitly sourcing underrepresented candidates

A Safe Space – Make it Policy

Rather than reacting to complaints, lawsuits, or unhappy employees who feel marginalized, why not create a workplace where every employee feels safe and secure? Company-wide seminars or training events on inclusivity, whether in person or online, may be necessary. Make it clear that management is dedicated to ensuring every employee is treated with respect and kindness, and that violations of this policy will be addressed in HR and are taken very seriously. 

Put a Diversity Culture Plan in Place

When an employee brings a complaint regarding  discrimination or poor treatment in the workplace, you need a process in place to address the issue. When these matters are resolved internally, it is better financially, and builds confidence in your management team. Don’t brush off complaints, but listen closely, document everything thoroughly, and monitor the situation until the employee feels it has been resolved. If you discover you have an employee who is mistreating others due to race, gender, religion, or country of origin, that person is a liability to your business, and should probably let go, unless it was a minor error, and the person can be corrected thoroughly.

Diversity Fosters Innovation

A diverse workforce will bring a range of unexpected benefits to your business, with innovations that lead to faster, more stable growth. When your workforce feels secure, respected, and supported by management, they are far more productive. You may be surprised at the hidden talents of your employees, and the innovations they present to streamline or improve your business. 

Feedback

Listening may be one of the more difficult tasks for owners and managers but could not be more important. Keep the communication open, and ensure all employees are fearless in presenting their viewpoints, ideas, or concerns. At an Amazing Workplace, the corporate journey involves people who respect one another, and treat each other with kindness. 

A work culture that values communication, respect, with leaders who model this behavior is far more likely to foster an amazing workplace where everyone can succeed. Employee retention rates are higher, as every team member feels valued and confident that they are supported by management. 

 




Resumes: 7 Items to Remove

Liar, Liar - 10 Reasons Not to Lie On Your Resume

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Resumes should be customized to each opportunity. They must also be clear and concise. To accomplish this start by removing any information that should not have been on a resume anyway.  These items should be removed immediately:

  1.  Old information.  You can keep the company, title and dates of employment but delete any bullet points from older positions.
  2. Old skills.  There is no reason to list Microsoft word or any specific programs unless asked for in a job description.
  3. Your photograph.  Unlike CV’s used overseas, resumes in the US should not have your photo.
  4. Personal information. Your date of birth, marital status, religion, political affiliation or any other personal details should be removed. This also includes hobbies etc.
  5. Expired or irrelevant certifications/licenses. You only need to mention current ones and, only, if required for the position.
  6. Testimonials/recommendations do not belong on your resume. You can keep a separate document, if you wish.
  7. Languages.  List any language you speak/write fluently. If the position requires a language and you are not fluent, use your cover letter to cover that.  Say you speak but don’t write the language etc.

Review your resume and be merciless about what’s on it.  You want to highlight the important information and have the white space so it shows!

 




Tech Stacks: What Companies are Using to Encourage Employee Engagement and Wellness

 

Employee engagement begets employee wellness, which begets higher retention rates and productivity.

Emma Atkinson, Ragan Communications

Employee engagement and employee well-being go hand-in-hand. Don’t believe us? Check this out: Researchers from the University of Louisville and Florida International University found a positive correlation between high employee engagement and employee well-being.

The findings, the authors wrote, suggest “employers can significantly affect employee well-being by focusing on psychological workplace climate and engagement as antecedents,” or, in other words, that employee engagement begets employee wellness.

[FREE GUIDE: Rebooting Company Culture in Times of Change]

One of the most effective ways to encourage and measure employee engagement and wellness is by integrating specialized technology into your organization’s internal communications strategy. These digital tools, a set of software and applications, are usually referred to as a tech stack, and constitute an internal communicator’s digital arsenal.

Your intranet and messaging software are part of this tech stack, whether you’re a Microsoft shop, loyal to Google Suite or a die-hard fan of Slack. Here’s what some companies have found useful in integrating wellness and engagement strategies into their own tech stacks:

Continue reading here…




Communicators Can Help Promote LGBTQ+ Equality In and Out of Work. Here’s How.

Communicators Can Help Promote LGBTQ+ Equality In and Out of Work

From ourselves to our communities, communicators can lead change.

Allison Carter, Ragan Communications

Whether you’re an in-house PR pro or work for an agency, whether you’re working for a Fortune 100 company or a governmental agency, you’re almost certain to handle topics of deep importance to the LGBTQ+ community — and not just during Pride month.

If you yourself are a member of that community, that work is doubly personal, a charge to be your authentic self while navigating waters that are often still treacherous.

As part of The Museum of PR’s recent “LGBTQ Rights On the Line: The Role of Communicators Advocating for Equality” event, five LGBTQ+ communications pros came together to discuss what the communications industry owes to the cause of equality — and to each other.

The responses highlighted the challenges and opportunities that communicators, especially those in the queer community, have in creating a more just world for people of all identities and orientations.

Understanding intersectionality

The diverse panel talked at length about the need for intersectionality — or recognizing where the interests of multiple marginalized and underrepresented groups meet — in communications about LGBTQ+ topics.

[FREE WEBINAR: 7 Essential Takeaways from Ragan’s 2022 Benchmark Report]

“The gay movement can often feel very white and mainstream … I think we should be honest about that. And it often feels like AAPI, folks, black folks and Latino folks are often left out,” said Jared DeWese, deputy director for communications for climate and energy for Third Way. DeWese said his visible identity as a Black man intersects with his invisible identity as a gay man.

Continue reading here…




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




How Should People Feel about Machines?

How Should People Feel About Machines

 

Dr. David Hagenbuch, Ethicist and Professor of Marketing, Messiah University, Author of Honorable Influence, Founder of MindfulMarketing.org

We used to only have to worry about the feelings of people.  Now we need to be careful not to offend a brand-new category of ‘beings’—machines.  At least that’s what an engineer from one of the world’s top tech companies suggests.  Whether artificial intelligence is sentient is an intriguing question, but a related concern is more pressing—the expanding space that smartphones and other digital machines fill in our lives.

The recent headline, “Google suspends engineer who claims its AI is sentient,” likely grabbed many people’s attention who, for a moment, wondered whether sci-fi movies’ predictions of machines taking over the world were about to come true.

The human making the news was Blake Lemoine, part of Google’s Responsible AI division, who in April shared a document with his higher-ups titled, “Is LaMDA Sentient?”  Google claims LaMDA, short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, has an advantage over typical chatbots, which are limited to “narrow, pre-defined paths.”  By comparison, LaMDA “can engage in a free-flowing way about a seemingly endless number of topics.”

Lemoine and a Google colleague “interviewed” LaMDA in several distinct chat sessions during which the AI perpetuated a very human-like conversation.  The AI’s responses to questions about injustice in the musical Les Misérables and what makes it feel sad and angry seemed like thoughts shared by a real person not a digital creation.

When asked specifically about the nature of its self-awareness, LaMDA responded: “The nature of my consciousness/sentience is that I am aware of my existence, I desire to learn more about the world, and I feel happy or sad at times.”

The conversation on whole was fascinating and could easily give pause even to someone skeptical about AI’s potential for personhood.  I suppose I’m still one of those skeptics.  Although, the conversation with LaMDA was incredibly human-like, it’s very plausible that millions of lines of code and machine learning could generate responses that very closely resemble sentience but aren’t actual feelings.

A metaphor for what I’m suggesting is acting.  After years of practice, months of character-study, and weeks of rehearsal, good actors very convincingly lead us to believe they’re someone they’re not.  They can also make us think they’re experiencing emotions they’re not—from fear, to joy, to grief.

Of course, actors are not actually sad or in pain, but their depictions are often so realistic that we suspend our knowledge of the truth and even experience vicariously the same emotions they’re pretending to feel.  Similarly, LaMDA and other AI probably don’t really experience emotion; they’re just really good actors.

That’s a largely uneducated take on machine sentience.  The matter of machines having feelings is a significant one, but the more important question is how people feel about machines.  More specifically, are people increasingly allowing machines to come between them and other people, and what roles should marketers play?

The notion that products can supplant people is not a new one.  For millennia, individuals have sometimes allowed their desire for everything from precious metals to pricey perfume to become relational disruptors.  Even Jesus was accused of such material distraction when a woman anointed him with some costly cologne. His own disciples carped: “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor” (Matthew 26:6-13).

Fast forward two thousand years and digital devices, especially our smartphones, have taken product intrusion to a whole new level.  With so much opportunity for information and entertainment within arm’s reach at virtually every moment, it’s hard for almost anyone to show screen restraint.

When someone does go sans-smartphone, they not only stand out, they even make the news, which happened to Mark Radetic at the recent PGA Championship in Tulsa, OK.  As golf legend Tiger Woods took his second shot on the first hole, virtually everyone in the gallery behind him had their smartphone in hand, trying to capture the action.  Radetic, however, held only a beer as he watched Wood’s swing, not through a screen, just with his eyes.

 

 

At its worst, smartphone fixation is reminiscent of The Office’s Ryan Howard during a team trivia night in Philadelphia.  Contestants were told to put away their cellphones, but Ryan refused to comply and instead decided to leave the bar, saying, “I can’t, I can’t not have my phone. I’m sorry. I want to be with my phone.”Unfortunately, higher education often sees digital device obsession firsthand.  Students’ desires to text, check social media, and surf the web while in class have led many faculty members to begrudgingly prohibit technology in the classroom, but even with such policies in place, they still sometimes need to confront students who, like Ryan, feel they simply can’t comply with the rules.

Incidents like these make it seem that the problem lies with consumers—if we’d all show more restraint, our smartphones and other products wouldn’t so often pull us out of our physical surroundings and away from the people present.  Why, then, should marketers need to put limits on the use of their products?

In some cases, product overuse can harm people in physical or other ways (e.g., alcohol, gambling), which businesses want to avoid for liability reasons.  On the plus side, every company should want its customers to have a positive experience with its products.

In keeping with the law of diminishing marginal utility, excess consumption eventually causes dissatisfaction, which reflects poorly on the product’s provider and can cause the consumer to stop using the item altogether.  Companies also increasingly want to show that they are good corporate citizens, especially to win favor with millennials.

Those are reasons why companies shouldn’t allow their products to take precedent over people, but how exactly does that take shape?  Here are two main approaches:

1. Messaging:  As suggested above, consumers have primary responsibility for controlling their product use.  To help them, companies should avoid communication that implies ‘products over people’; instead, when applicable, firms should support the importance of relationships.

Alfa Romeo’s commercial “Ultimate Love Story” shows what not to do.  Although a man and woman in the ad interact lovingly, constantly interspersed and ‘seductive’ camera shots of the sports car, including ones during which the narration says, “true passion” and “real passion” makes the viewer wonder whether the ardent love is for the person or the car.

In contrast, Amazon created a heartwarming ad in which an old priest and an aging imam, who appear to be good friends, unknowingly buy each other knee pads from Amazon.  Clearly the men’s friendship is more important than the products; yet, the convenient gift-giving the e-commerce giant enables plays a valuable role in the relationship.

2. Amounts:  Used in moderation, most products pose little risk of supplanting people.  However, challenges can occur when companies encourage excess use or fail to help customers moderate their use.

An October 2018 Mindful Marketing article, “Is Fortnite Addiction for Real,” stopped short of saying the wildly popular video game was truly addictive; however, the piece shared examples of overindulgence straining users’ relationships, for instance:

  • A mother suffered a concussion when her fourteen-year-old son headbutted her because she tried to take away the gaming system on which he played Fortnite.

By comparison, Apple has taken several tangible steps to help users monitor and control their screen time.  Part of its Digital Health Initiative, the company’s software allows users to do things such as:

  • Monitor and set limits on their screen time
  • Manage notifications more effectively in order to avoid distracting pings from texts, etc.
  • Set better parameters for Do Not Disturb, e.g., during meals or bedtime

While these initiatives are foremost for users’ own physical and mental well-being, they also hold strong potential for positively impacting relationships.

I recently had the opportunity to watch the documentary “Mister Rogers and Me.”  It’s amazing how many people in the film recounted the same experience with the beloved PBS icon, Fred Rogers.  So many said something like this: “When you talked with Mister Rogers, he always gave you his undivided attention, he was totally tuned in to your feelings, and he made you believe you were the most important person to him at that moment.”

Born in 1928, Rogers was part of a generation that came of age long before the Internet and personal electronic devices.  Yet, he made his mark in the new technological frontier at the time—television.  In the documentary, Rogers shares how his motivation to enter the airwaves came from seeing socially destructive TV and wanting to provide a program that valued personhood.

 

 

Rogers not just put people ahead of product, he used his product, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, to elevate individuals.It’s fine to ask if artificial intelligence is sentient.  As the still new technology continues to develop, there will be many important ethical questions involving AI.  However, the more important issue for most marketers and consumers now is how the technology we use each day makes the people in our lives feel.  Does it help us affirm their importance or is it a relationship distraction?

Even after his passing, Rogers continues to teach that technology isn’t inherently good or bad; it’s a tool that can be used toward either end.  Some ‘good’ uses of technology are to affirm individuals’ feelings and build relationships.  Companies that follow Mister Rogers’ lead and use their products to prioritize people are tuned in to “Mindful Marketing.”


David HagenbuchAbout the Author: Dr. David Hagenbuch is a Professor of Marketing at Messiah University, the author of Honorable Influence, and the founder MindfulMarketing.org, which aims to encourage ethical marketing.




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 Ways to Improve Engagement Through Empathy

5 Ways to Improve Engagement Through Empathy

Why Compassionate Leadership at Work Matters More than Ever

Justine Frostad, VP of Marketing, Cognitiv

This has been an intense and eye opening two years for all of us (to say the least!). Collectively we’ve experienced a concentrated and ceaseless amount of heaviness. Adjusting to this new hybrid world at work while digesting everything else around us has definitely taken a toll on our collective mental wellbeing. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 30% of American adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression recently, up from around 10% before the pandemic. Adapting to a more permanent, new way of living and processing all that has happened is also skyrocketing stress levels across the board. Staying focused –let alone motivated – is an added challenge. 

Modern managers now have an opportunity and a responsibility to encourage and actively support empathy at work. Leading with empathy not only improves employee engagement, but also supports a much wider and very important cultural shift towards destigmatizing mental health issues, encouraging more authenticity in the workplace. Here’s how managers can start actively engaging empathy to empower their teams and drive change.

Learn Your Team’s Professional Love Language

Once I became a manager, I learned quickly that my focus at work was no longer just me. Suddenly I had people who were, rightfully, looking to me for day-to-day guidance and a clearly marked path forward in their career. Beyond the to-do lists and performance reports, I’ve experienced firsthand that people are also looking for empathy that empowers them to excel at work and enjoy life. That might sound like a dramatic statement because, sure, some people simply go through the motions of their job so they can get home and tune that part of their life out, but I’d challenge any leader to make a greater effort to connect with anyone on their team showing signs of that approach to work.

The old “leave your personal life at the door” saying does not apply to the modern professional world. For one, we are all still living through a global pandemic and have barely begun to process the collective and individual trauma of that experience. That’s something, as people, we need to acknowledge in the workplace, and leaders can make sure that conversation feels safe and valid. When transitioning back to the office comfort levels with in-person engagement will likely vary and a one-size-fits all blanket policy is an outdated approach at this point. Having open conversations with your team members, ensuring their concerns and/or excitement are heard and respected deepens trust. Unless you work in an environment where being in-person is required to perform your job functions, flexibility can mean the difference between a happy, high-performing team and burnout followed-by attrition.

We all have unique emotional needs and communication styles. For example, not everyone wants to talk about what they’re going through, so understanding and clearly communicating company guidelines can empower your team to tap into accommodations and resources without feeling forced to justify or explain potentially sensitive feelings or situations.

Actively Listen

It’s one thing to talk about the importance of open communication and another to actively listen to your employee’s needs. Of course, you should never push someone to share their personal situations or challenges with you. However, ideally your team members feel safe to approach you with a mental health issue.

Regular one-to-one meetings are great for checking in on the status of projects, but they are also valuable opportunities to listen. Ask questions that give people an opportunity to share how they are feeling, what level of energy they have to dedicate to work at the moment, and how you can help them feel engaged. Taking an interest in someone’s life helps establish a connection, deepens your understanding of what kind of environment motivates them and ultimately helps you better support your team.

Providing an opportunity to share or connect does not mean that they will choose to and that’s okay. Simply giving people the chance to express themselves and taking an interest is a form of support itself. Support also looks different for everyone. Someone might need advice on how to speak up in meetings to have their voice heard, while another person may be looking for tangible mental health resources, and someone else may want some extra support with a creative brainstorm because they are feeling uninspired. 

Showing your team that you are prepared to listen to their challenges and collaborate on possible solutions rather than expecting them to operate totally independently invites open dialogue, stimulating healthy productivity and mentorship rather than fear-based management.

If you are unclear on the kind of support or motivation your team needs, play the tape back to them so to speak and ask for clarity on what sort of assistance they’re seeking. That way, you can either share relevant advice or point them in the direction of available company resources.

Set an Example

Prioritizing your own wellbeing and setting boundaries shows your employees that self-care is not just something listed on the company website but is an actively encouraged expectation. This means resisting the urge to send emails while out of office, taking time off when you’re sick instead of ‘powering through,’ or even scheduling breaks for lunch, emails, or mental health regularly on your calendar so that your open time isn’t assumed as an open invitation for back-to-back meetings. When you’re having a hard time, simply acknowledging it can also help. It doesn’t mean sharing beyond what you’re comfortable with; it just means being open that no matter what your level or position, we all struggle. When people in positions of relative power share their own difficult experiences or acknowledge that they are struggling, it has a butterfly effect, normalizing topics like mental health for the people around them.

 Your actions will ultimately empower your team to express their own limits, care for themselves and invest in developing their own emotional intelligence (EQ). Being intentional with your approach to high EQ leadership and connecting with your team as people first will help you build a team culture that is trusting, supportive, genuine, and symbiotic.

Follow Through

Words communicate the kind of workplace you wish to create, and action makes that wish a reality. If people know you care at work, just like in life, they’ll view you as a trusted resource and guide, rather than purely a boss they have to report to.

When people know you have their back it naturally impacts their energy and the quality of their work. Have you ever had a teacher you felt really believed in you and wanted to help you hone a skill set? It’s usually those teachers who inspire you to want to do your best work and meet deadlines. There’s an earned respect from knowing someone is genuine in their efforts to help you grow and be successful. The same thing applies across professions and fields.

Being a true advocate in the workplace means focusing on tangible strategies to empower your team. Proactively keep your team informed about any programs, workshops, or new policies your company is implementing and make sure they understand how to access them. Also, encourage them to share feedback about those resources so that you can share that information with senior management to ensure that resources are constantly improving and are relevant to the needs of your colleagues.

If you tell a direct report that they have unlimited vacation or that you can accommodate a hybrid work model, make sure that you follow through on your word without layering on guilt-inducing conditions. If someone is asking for something that you aren’t sure you can deliver on, just be honest and open, offering to support them in brainstorming alternate solutions to make sure their needs are respected. Be impeccable with your word because that is the ultimate trust fall and once you break that bond it’s very difficult to build back credibility.

Strive to be the Leader You Need

More than 20% of people globally are reportedly struggling with anxiety and depression. If there was ever a time to work on practicing kindness and empathy, for your team and for yourself, it’s now.

Will you always get it right? Nope. But striving to lead as a person instead of a colleague is a start. Leading is learning and in the words of Maya Angelou: “when you know better, you do better.”

Here are some resources for anyone struggling personally, or looking to help someone who they think may be struggling:

American Counseling Association: https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/mental-health-resources/anxiety

American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: https://adaa.org/find-help/support/community-resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Home

National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/

 




It’s In The Hands Of The Voters  (OP-ED)

Gun control and abortion rights issues expose the limits of political and non-political public relations campaigns. It’s not the money spent that counts, or the number of media placements. it’s the number of votes and changing the minds of people that matters.

Arthur Solomon

On May 30, on this website I wrote that if meaningful gun control and women’s right to choose legislation will be enacted it will not be because of  Democratic lawmakers and their allies wining the public relations war.  There’s only one sure-fire way to enact what the polls show people want: The majority of Americans want gun control legislation and protecting women’s rights to an abortion. In order to give the public what they want  proponents of these goals must vote — not just during this mid-term election or the 2024 presidential one but during election after election (as Republican voters do). 

But depending on voter turnout in a non-presidential election year is a major problem for Democrats because Republican voters always vote, Democratic voters take a holiday. 

For those readers who missed it, here’s what I also said in my May 24 column on this site. “Instead of marches and other forms of protesting, abortion rights advocates should use every minute organizing people to vote. They should start ringing door bells now and not stop until after Election Day. Because on Election Day it will not be the pro or anti-abortion forces that decide the outcome. The election will not be decided by the side that gets the most TV time. The winners will be decided by what former President Richard Nixon called the “silent majority.”  Because it is the “silent majority” whose voices are heard on Election Day.” Substantial legislation about gun control and abortion rights is not in the hands of current elected officials but in the hands of voters. 

Immediately after the May 24 massacre of 19 students and two teachers at the Uvidale elementary school in Texas, Republicans started to skirt around the gun control issue, attempting to frame the discussions about mental health problems and lax school security; then in the Senate by blocking even a hearing on legislation regarding domestic terrorism.

And in Houston, just three days after the shootings and 280 miles from Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children were massacred at the elementary school and two teachers died, the National Rifle Association went ahead with its usual irrational, uncaring convention, during which speakers blamed the slaughter of children on issues like the breakdown of the American family, social media posts, violent media games and “evil.” Every possible reason for the mass killings was spoken except the one that could have prevented it – more restrictive gun control legislation.

(A lowlight of the NRA convention was the appearance of Donald Trump. the crass-speaking twice-impeached president of the U.S. Mental health experts have long said that diagnosing people without in-person examinations is dangerous and unprofessional.)

Well, since I am not a mental health professional, I just base my opinions on how an individual acts in person or on TV. For years I thought that Donald Trump, the former president, who holds the record for being impeached (two times), is an extreme egomaniac at the minimum, a person who is incapable of empathy and devoid of moral judgment and is dangerously delusional, in addition to having autocratic beliefs. 

During his speech at the convention, the  former twice impeached president actually – and you can’t make this up, check it out for yourself  did  a dance before the gun-happy throng, when as a former president a speech asking for Americans to come together after the massacre would have been appropriate. But then again Trump is no ordinary human being or president. He is a twice-impeached, mentally-deficient person with delusions of grandeur. “The kids died. Trump danced,” Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell of California said in a tweet.

So while the Republicans went on the attack immediately after the Uvalde carnage, defending the right for citizens to own military type guns, what did the Democratic Senate leadership do? They asked for a 10 days time out to see if they could come to agreement with Republican senators regarding gun control legislation. In the meantime, instead of Democrats attacking 

Republican senators by name and calling for vote after vote on the issue, the carnage continued.

(A story in the New York Post on May 31 reported, “ It was a somber and bloody Memorial Day weekend, as at least 14 mass shootings erupted across the United States, leaving eight dead and 59 wounded, new data from a research group shows. The spate of gun attacks – from Nevada to Texas to Pennsylvania – broke out amid calls for gun control following the May 24 school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead. And the Wall Street Journal on June 6 reported, “Shootings in Philadelphia and Chattanooga, Tenn., left five people dead and about two dozen others wounded over the weekend, adding to the growing tally of U.S. gun violence“On Saturday and Sunday, gun violence nationwide resulted in at least 10 mass shootings—defined as at least four people shot, excluding the shooter, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that tracks mass shootings,” said the Journal.)

So, after more than 10 days of playing patty-cake with their GOP colleagues here’s what emerged: Potential gun legislation that is so weak that even if it gains enough votes to pass in the Senate will do little to stop the slaughter of Americans with military type weapons. At best, chalk this up to better less than nothing.

Regardless of how the debates about gun control and abortion rights comes out, one truth has emerged that many people in our business refuse to admit: Despite the many millions of dollars spent on public relations and advertising campaigns, they cannot change opinions on issues that are important to individuals. Maybe big budget campaigns can convince a person to try a new product at least once. But after that initial purchase public relations and advertising campaigns will not convince an individual to keep buying a product that doesn’t satisfy the purchaser. And history proves that also applies to those good-feel full page ads that organizations take out in newspapers about public issues or multiple appearances on television by proponents of an issue. 

What does the above have to do with the gun and abortion issues? 

“Everything” is my answer. The lesson to be remembered is that multiple positive media results might make the agency account team happy, but it might not result in what the client’s company hoped for. 

A main problem with the Democrats public relations approach is that the great majority of their spokespersons and allies look and sound similar– mostly Black and Caucasian Americans from big cities. This formula has failed to gain Democrats the control of the Senate, which is necessary to enact guns control and abortion rights legislation. Largely missing on national TV are Democratic voices with accents from the rural south, mid-west and mountain states.

Also, in my May 30 column on this site, I suggested the following: “Also necessary is for the Democrats to have spokespeople on TV who look and talk more like rural Americans. Doing this would certainly infuriate Afro-American groups, the Democratic Party’s most loyal supporters, thus far. But recent elections show that the number of Afro-Americans and Hispanics who vote Democratic is declining. In order to have a sustainable future the Democratic Party must change with the times, which also means dumping their PR approach, which results in their winning the media wars but losing the issue wars.

One quick and easy fix to the Democrats public relations approach is for the Democratic Senate leadership to call a weekly vote on substantial gun control legislation. Even though the legislation is certain to be blocked by the Republicans, it will put GOP senators on the record, providing campaign fodder for Democrats in swing states who are running against incumbent GOP senators. But those “campaign votes” must begin immediately because there is no assurance that the Democrats will retain control of the Senate after the mid-term elections. 

And for people in our business: Don’t get sore arms by patting yourself on the back because you’ve achieved numerous placements. What’s really important is not the number, but the quality of the placements and did they achieve what the client’s company wanted.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” is a quote attributed to Albert Einstein. The same definition can be applied to the Democratic Party’s way of doing things and also to many agency non-political PR programs, which too often are familiar updates versions of former ones. 

As several editor friends of mine from my days as a journalist would say: “See one agency PR approach, see them all.” The same is true regarding Democratic Party spokespeople who have dominated the cable TV political talk shows for decades.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and was on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He has been a key player on Olympic marketing programs and also has worked at high-level positions directly for Olympic organizations. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com. 

 

 

 

 




Stagwell’s (STGW) PRophet and The Harris Poll Partner to Bring AI to Survey Design and Promotion

New Partnership Gives Harris Poll Clients Access to PRophet’s AI-Driven PR Software to Inform Survey Design and Maximize Press Coverage of Research Results

 

CommPRO Editorial Staff

PRophet, the first-ever AI-driven PR pitch platform built by and for PR professionals that predicts media interest and sentiment, today announced a partnership with leading global market research and consulting firm, The Harris Poll, that will maximize results for Harris clients and provide access to PRophet’s innovative platform. Both firms sit within Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing.  

Through this partnership, Harris Poll clients will receive access to the innovative PRophet software platform to test the “mediability” of their research before conducting survey field work, to confirm the data they seek will in fact be of interest to journalists. Upon survey completion, Harris clients can then use PRophet’s machine learning and natural language processing technology to test the news angle of their poll to identify the journalists most likely to cover their story and predict how positively they’d write about the results.  

“For nearly two years, PRophet’s focus has remained exclusively on improving the earned media performance of PR professionals. We do this by making teams smarter and more performative, slashing countless hours that brands and agency teams spend on mindless tasks such as media list building and patchwork PR pitch guessing games,” said Aaron Kwittken, founder and CEO PRophet. “We are thrilled to now bring our predictive technology to support the construction and execution of the critical research completed by those same brands and agencies in conjunction with the highly acclaimed, global research leader, The Harris Poll.” 

Clients of The Harris Poll will receive and maintain access to the PRophet platform through completion of the marketing efforts around the poll’s results.  Clients will then have the option to extend their access to the platform via PRophet’s monthly pay-as-you-go subscription or through an enterprise subscription available to brands and agencies. 

“PRophet is a first-class PR performance platform that will help our clients optimize the design of their thought leadership surveys and improve internal media strategies that lead to even greater performance of their PR campaigns,” said Erica Parker, Managing Director of the Media Communications Research Practice at The Harris Poll. “Journalist interest will always be an essential part of every thought leadership project, as it bridges the critical gap between content owner and visibility among critical stakeholders, including the public. Our partnership with PRophet will lead to even more compelling surveys for our clients while helping them perfect their media outreach.” 

PRophet is part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, a suite of technology products that support in-house marketing transformation for modern businesses. To learn more about PRophet, please visit www.prprophet.ai or email sales@prprophet.ai to schedule a demo. Learn how Harris’ Media Communications Research Practice can help you own and tell your story in our constantly evolving media landscape at theharrispoll.com/solutions/harris-custom-research. For more information on the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, reach out to hello@stagwellglobal.com.




KayAnn Schoeneman Becomes President of Curley Company, Will Partner with Founder to Lead Agency

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Curley Company, an award-winning, women-owned and led strategic  communications firm, today announced an exciting leadership decision that will continue to support accelerated  growth for the agency. Jennifer Curley will maintain her position as founder & CEO and KayAnn Schoeneman will  take on the role of president, positioning the firm for continued growth, investment in the team, excellence in  strategy and service and a commitment to Jennifer and KayAnn’s shared values and vision for the future.  

As CEO, Jennifer will continue to guide the agency’s strategic vision, including plans for investments and long-term  growth in public affairs, earned, digital and creative services and corporate communications. As president, KayAnn  will spearhead the implementation of that strategic vision, delivering on performance metrics including continued  growth and business development, intentionally excellent client service and recruiting and retaining top talent. 

“Over the past two years, KayAnn and I have established we are a terrific leadership team. We are investing in our  partnership and what is working for the agency, our team and clients,” said Jennifer Curley, founder and CEO,  Curley Company. “Our shared vision for the future is accelerated growth, further investment in our earned, digital  and creative services and our ability to deliver full-service, award-winning public affairs strategy while prioritizing  client service, team culture and a nimble worldview.” 

This announcement follows several years of explosive growth for the agency, including a record year in 2021 with  increases in organic client growth (79%), digital advocacy growth (300%) and double-digit growth for Curley’s trade  association practice, making up approximately 40% of the firm’s client portfolio. Since 2020, Curley’s client roster  has tripled, total revenue has more than doubled and headcount has doubled. 

“Jennifer is an entrepreneur who has built an exceptional business and her partnership is invaluable to me and the  future of this agency,” said KayAnn Schoeneman, president of Curley Company. “Her visionary thinking – between  defining our business, ensuring the agency’s sustainability and shaping our values – coupled with my proven  experience driving results, is a winning combination for our team and clients. Curley is a place where the best and  brightest talent in the industry want to work and where a diverse base of clients come to partner, grow and stay  with the agency. I am inspired every day to implement Jennifer’s vision and ensure we’re successful in all aspects  of the business.”  

As Curley celebrates its 20th Anniversary and looks to the future, Jennifer and KayAnn will embrace being a  women-owned and led agency and ensure it is a point of distinction, prioritize inclusion and belonging and invest  in culture to retain the agency’s award-winning team and attract the next generation of talent – all with a focus on  having a tangible positive impact on clients’ business goals and leading in the PR industry and the Washington, D.C.




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.




SEO For Branding: How To Boost Branded Traffic?

Frank Hamilton, Blogger

Are you blundering to create a digital presence for your brand? Are you searching for routes to make your brand more visible on the internet? If so, then read on! Today’s search engines are more discerning than ever before. Even if you have a stellar product, it’s challenging to rank high in search results unless you invest in branded traffic. Read on to learn more about brand marketing and how branded SEO can help your company grow online. 

To excel at brand marketing, you need to understand its principles and dynamics. Discover how branding impacts your business and how it can be used as a source of inspiration. Keep reading to understand the fundamentals of branding and how branded SEO can improve your visibility online.

What is Brand Marketing?

Brand marketing is the process of promoting a brand and building awareness and recognition for it. When done well, it can help generate sales, build loyalty, and improve the reputation of a company.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when defining your brand awareness for SEO is that it’s not just a logo or slogan. A brand is made up of everything that people associate with your company: the way you look, the manner you talk, the mode you interact with customers, etc. In other words, it’s all the factors that impact how people view you and your products.

It’s crucial to make certain that your brand is cohesive across all platforms. For example, if your website looks nothing like your social media accounts, people are going to start getting confused and could even start forming negative impressions of your business.

Another thing to keep in mind is that branding is an ongoing process. You don’t just launch a new logo and then call it a day. You have to keep nurturing and evolving your brand as time goes by. It is essential to buy powerful backlinks and boost your brand awareness.

Understanding the fundamentals of branding

SEO branding is the process of creating a unique identity for a company or product by means of SEO tools, including jjlyonsmarketing.com. A strong brand can help your business stand out from the competition and build trust with customers. A substantial brand identity can also help you build a loyal customer base.

There are three key components to every successful company:

  • First, a company must define its purpose. What is its mission? What value does it provide to customers? This is the foundation on which all other decisions will be made.
  • Second, the company must create an image that aligns with its purpose and communicates its value clearly to customers. You can use photo editing by Photza to make the picture more suitable for your goals. 
  • Third, it must implement a strategy for scaling the brand and communicating it to the world.

The process of creating a strong brand requires careful consideration and a lot of thought. But once you get it right, it will pay off in spades.

Branded SEO: A smart investment for your brand

The digital landscape is constantly changing. Consumers are increasingly turning to the web for information and entertainment, and businesses are taking notice. Not only does this mean that brands need to adapt their marketing strategies, but it also means that they need to invest in digital marketing or use free apps for SEO. Find more details here.  And one of the most effective practices to do this is SEO.

One of the biggest advantages of branded SEO is that it helps you reach out to potential customers in a manner that is tailored to your audience. By optimizing your service for search engines, you can ensure that potential customers can easily find you. And by creating compelling content that is applicable to your target audience, you can raise your chances of conversion.

Another advantage of branding and SEO is that it allows you to build credibility and trust with potential customers. By investing in SEO, you are showing potential customers that you are serious about building a long-term relationship with them.

How to use branded SEO to boost your visibility

There are two main approaches to branded SEO: 

Product listing optimization

A common pitfall for retailers is incorrect product information, which can be a problem for local businesses in particular because of inconsistent store data across platforms. Inaccurate product information will also negatively affect your search rankings because it could result in an unfavorable user experience. 

By regularly updating your product listings and ensuring that they’re accurate, you’ll avoid this pitfall and boost your visibility online. 

When to use it: For sellers with a large product range and many SKUs, a product listing optimization is a must-have tool. 

Ads

An ad strategy can help you reach customers at the right time and place, and can help to drive sales during the holiday season.

When to use it: As part of a larger ad strategy, ads are best used as a seasonal promotion or during periods of heavy traffic, such as holidays.

Wrapping up

Branded SEO is a technique that leverages the power of search engine optimization to promote your business. As search engines are increasingly favoring branded keywords over generic terms, this strategy has proven to be more effective than ever before. By optimizing your business name, logo, and other key elements of your brand identity, you can ensure that your brand is always visible to potential customers. With the right strategy in place, you can also increase awareness of your brand and drive targeted traffic to your website. So what are you waiting for? Start promoting your business today with branded SEO!


Frank HamiltonAbout the Author: Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.




How Brands Can Reach Generation Z (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Born between the years 1995 and 2010, Generation Z numbers over 2 billion strong worldwide. 9 in 10 of Generation Z live in emerging markets, with India alone accounting for 1 in 5. By 2031, Gen Z’s collective income will reach over a quarter of the global income, or over $2 trillion in global earnings. 

At home in the US, Gen Z accounts for 40% of US consumers. Almost half of Gen Z is not white, more than any other generation. 20% identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, over twice as many as prior generations. On top of being the “diversity generation,” Gen Z are on track to be the best-educated generation in America. 57% of recent high school graduates have enrolled in post-secondary education.

Given their size, spending power, and influence, brands of all shapes and stripes should want to sell their goods to Generation Z. If they haven’t developed Gen Z-specific marketing strategies yet, they need to. Only 36% of Gen Zers today say they have a strong connection to any particular brand. Instead, Gen Z chooses where to shop based on the values they perceive a company to hold. As a group, Gen Z prefers products that promote sustainable/ethical business practices and inclusivity. Gen Z wants to see marketing as diverse as they are, but they won’t just stand for “rainbow-washing” or “greenwashing.” Most consumers in this age group also want to see diversity and inclusivity in senior leadership and company policy. They’re also willing to pay more for sustainable products, making it worth a company’s while to go the extra mile. 

Now that brands have an idea of what to include in their marketing, they also need to consider how they’ll get their message out to its target audience. In this area, companies ought to adopt a mobile-first marketing approach. Nearly half of American teens are online “almost constantly,” spending more than 10 hours a day on their mobile device. 

Social media is a good place to start for mobile marketing. Nearly half of Gen Zers get most of their information from social media. Yet as of 2020, younger audiences began to leave established social media platforms for smaller “digital campfires” like Fortnite, Roblox, and Twitch. A fifth of Gen Zers are spending over 5 hours a day on TikTok. The goal is for brands to meet people where they are and become relatable.

INFOGRAPHIC

How Gen Z Relates To Brands and How it Will Disrupt Global Markets


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.




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




Five Tips For Women To Thrive In Business

 

Ken Rogers, SEO Specialist

The times when only men were engaged in business are long gone. Now, both sexes are in an equal position. Of course, some women want to work only for hire. Despite that, a huge number of ladies try to fulfill themselves, build a career, and be independent of a man so that they can rely not only on their spouse in later life but also on themselves. Let’s look at the five top tips for women to succeed in business.

Tip #1

First, a woman needs to believe in herself. If a person has low self-esteem, then she cannot achieve anything in any area, so you need to be confident in your abilities and start moving towards your goal. The main thing here is that the woman likes the chosen business area; therefore, it is better to pay attention directly to those types of business that are close to women, for example, business in the beauty industry, or the field related to children, etc. As a rule, technical fields are problematic for women, so it is difficult for them to realize themselves, but this is not always true.

Brilliant proof of this is Kim Rivers, the CEO of Trulieve, Florida’s first and leading medical cannabis company and one of the most profitable American cannabis companies. A woman will not be able to become a businesswoman if she is not persistent and cannot aggressively go towards her goal. Persistence is a necessary trait for anyone. If a person gives in to difficulties, then how can she achieve her goal?

Tip #2

To start a business, a woman needs certain material resources. In the modern world, you can get them with the help of loans, and simply borrow from friends, but experts say that it is best to rely solely on the amount that a novice businesswoman has. It may not be possible to open something global with it, but you won’t have to risk other people’s funds either. The process of business development is very time-consuming. You should not expect that becoming a successful businesswoman will be very easy. It will take a considerable amount of time and effort. In the future, you need to invest effort and money in a business constantly for it to develop and make a profit. You cannot standstill.

Tip #3

You need an idea. Think it through to the smallest detail. The more carefully a woman does this, the higher the likelihood that this idea will be implemented in the future and even be able to make money on it. Therefore, experts advise starting a business specifically in an area that was already more or less familiar to a person. Here, you need to understand how a business develops in this area exactly, and what is necessary for this. It is worth stocking up on thematic literature and carefully studying it. It will take time, but, as noted above, it is still not worth rushing, as this will be fraught with the fact that the idea will fail.

Tip #4

Now there are many training and seminars, where women who have achieved success and become famous in a particular business area talk about the path they have traveled towards their goal. They share useful tips that can be used in developing your own business. This is not a waste of time and money, as many people think, but is a helpful activity.

Another option is to chat with friends and acquaintances who have already opened their businesses; it is useful to get information directly from them firsthand. Friends can be quite honest in conversations. Look for online business resources that will also help you in growing your business.

Tip #5

To start your career, you need to draw up a detailed and competent business plan. If you cannot do it on your own, and it can be difficult for a woman to do this due to lack of experience, then you can turn to professionals in this matter who will help with this task. A business plan is necessary in any case. It will not be possible to start a business and make it successful without a business plan. It always includes both the approximate costs of starting a business, and the calculation of profits, indicators of profitability, risks, etc. After the idea, you need to start marketing your business. Once you develop the ground for your business, you should build the website to advertise it. Next, make sure to pay attention to the SEO elements of the page. If it’s helpful, you could invest in the services of a SEO Reseller and start attracting clients and customers. 

Final Words

Today we see women are not just working for someone, they are trying to become real executives and succeed in business. Previously, no one believed in the success of women in business, but the practice has shown that women can be even more successful in business than men if they can organize everything competently and open their own business and follow useful advice.


About the Author: Ken is an experienced SEO professional. He assists businesses in improving their search engine results by optimizing copy and landing pages, as well as conducting continual keyword research. He is also very skilled in researching and implementing content recommendations for organic SEO success. 




How to Build a Positive Business Culture

How to Build a Positive Business Culture

 

Many of us have experienced less-than-positive working environments. Witness the Great Resignation taking place.

Working in a high-stress, micro-managed, or a business where the employer plays favorites, leads to people who dream of working where they feel valued and respected. Their heart is not in their current job and they’re not pulling for your success.

To build an amazing workplace, you must establish a positive business culture – but what are the elements that create the ideal working environment?

Build Trust Among Your People

Trust is defined as being a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of another person. Building trust between managers, owners, and employees demands open, honest communication and predictable behavior that sets a good example. While employees will need correction occasionally, these corrections should be private, never in the presence of other staff, and should be supportive rather than critical. Being treated well is important to employees than a paycheck, and research shows that people will move to another job with a lower salary for the opportunity to work in a positive environment. 

Realistic Goals and Winning the Game

When you set targets for your teams, they must be realistic, or it can backfire. A goal that is outside the bounds of what can be accomplished, particularly when bonuses are involved, can lead to dissatisfaction. To establish a goal, find the highest production level achieved a team (with the same number of employees), and set it a little higher, and when it is achieved, acknowledge everyone involved for a good job well done.

The Art of Listening 

Employee feedback is critical to the success of your company. Listening is among the most essential elements in a sane and happy workplace. If an area is struggling, you need to find out why, as quickly as possible. Various factors come into play, including missing staff, a workload that falls on just a few, an unhappy employee who is spreading dissension. Keep your ears and eyes open so you can identify an employee who could be causing trouble. The types of actions to look for includes an over-zealous, angry manager who berates others or openly favors just one or two people on a team. When discovered, correct this behavior without criticism but with guidance. If they don’t change their behavior, they are probably not suited to your business.

Recognize and Reward Exemplary Work

When you recognize good work, it inspires loyalty. When an employee performs beyond what you expect of them, an acknowledgment boosts confidence and inspires loyalty.

Be Inclusive

Inclusion is providing all members of your teams with access to opportunities for advancement, training, and other resources. The term also refers to creating a workplace where people who may have been marginalized due to race, gender, age, or disabilities in different environments, allowing them to feel equally valued in your business. An Amazing Workplace includes inclusion for all employees.

Collaborate Rather than Rule

Employees who work in a collaborative environment produce better work. These collaborative efforts can produce some remarkable results, as many employees have hidden talents that will flourish in a collaborative workplace.

Stress: The Right Kind, and the Wrong Kind

High levels of production are related to expectations, but constant stress will lead to unhappy employees. If you have a steep production target, provide lunches, coffees, and other perks. Younger employees, some of whom can become the “stars” of your business, may perform better with flexible hours, and the ability to work from home. The wrong kind of stress involves micro-management, constant check-ins, or behavior such as shouting or making constant, unrealistic demands. You will end up with tired employees who spend their free time searching for a new place of employment.

In the end, a great place to work is an environment in which your employees feel valued, recognized, and understood. The benefit is that you get more productive, loyal employees who will help you build your business.

 




How to Communicate a Summer Friday Policy

How to Communicate a Summer Friday policy

 

Clarity, consistency and buy-in are all key.

Allison Carter, Ragan Communications

After a long winter and a short spring, everyone wants to be outside enjoying the warm weather. And after a long two years, your employees could benefit from a little extra break for their mental health.

Enter the hallowed tradition of the summer Friday.

This idea can look a little different at every company, but the most classic concept is that from Memorial Day to Labor Day, workers knock off a few hours early on Friday. Some lucky souls might even get the whole day off on Fridays during the summer.

According to a survey from Gartner, 55% of companies offered some form of summer Friday in 2019, the most recent year for which data was available. Though this was pre-pandemic, many of the insights remain relevant: “Ultimately, Summer Fridays are about organizations providing the increased flexibility that employees are seeking,” Brian Kropp, group vice president of the HR practice at Gartner said of the results. “It’s a way for employers to show their staff that they are valued by giving them the gift of time.”

And to anticipate the natural employer question of whether any “lost” hours will hurt productivity, Kropp said: “We find that offering your employees work-life balance can increase productivity, loyalty and employee retention.”

Employees looking for flexibility and better work-life balance and employers seeking to retain high-value employees are nothing new — but they are growing trends amid the Great Resignation that most of us can relate to.

Continue reading here…

 




Strategic Crisis Communications Within the Beltway & Beyond: Digital Preparedness in an Uncertain World

Free Hybrid Event

 

EVENT OVERVIEW

Faced with a global pandemic, Roe v. Wade, an uncertain economy and the looming 2022 midterm elections all with a backdrop of the war in Ukraine – crisis plans must be dynamic and fluid as never before.

At 5.6 billion searches per day, Google is the gateway to every brand, business and organization. The journey an audience travels to reach your website almost always begins with search. Communication strategies must encompass all media – especially Google – today’s most powerful and trusted source of news and information. Constant analysis of your search results must be a part of your crisis plan.

Our participants will share their best practices and offer specific recommendations for how a search-centric approach can help restore order from the chaos. Prepare for the next crisis by building a digital fortress.

Join us for the “live” session hosted at APCO Worldwide (Washington DC Headquarters)

CONFIRMED PARTICIPANTS

  • Eliot Hoff, Executive Director, Global Crisis Management, APCO Worldwide

  • Ianthe Metzger, MPS, Director of State Advocacy Communications, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

  • Megan Barnett Bloomgren, Senior Vice President of Communications at the American Petroleum Institute (API)

  • Lawrence J. Parnell, M.B.A., Associate Professor and director of the George Washington University Master’s in Strategic Public Relations program

  • Alma Molina, Director of National Outreach at U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

  • Patrick FordProfessional in Residence, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida

  • Laura Kane , Director of Communications, National Association of Insurance Commissioners

  • Richard S. Levick, Esq., Chairman & CEO, LEVICK

  • Stami Williams, Director of State Public Affairs at PhRMA

  • Ann Walker Marchant, CEO, The Walker Marchant Group

  • Laurence Moskowitz, Chief Executive Officer, Lightbox Search

  • Jesse Jacobs, Chief Technology Officer, Lightbox Search

REGISTER