-          This week Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National Party Leader, has faced calls to reveal whether she will propose another Scottish independence referendum. Audacious as ever, she has warned that “no politician has the right to stand in the way” if she does... Read More

-          Prince Charles has found himself in hot water this week after being branded as a ‘serial hypocrite’. The royal who prides himself on his green credentials was caught flying a mere 68 miles in order to attend a polo match. Could the Prince be accused of struggling to practice what he preaches? Read More

-           *ADORABLE ALERT* It appears that a baby sloth at London Zoo has a new surrogate mother in the form of a teddy bear. After his own mother stopped producing milk and was unable to care for her infant, the zoo employed a teddy-surrogate technique. The Sloth-teddy has been customised with carabiners so that it can be hung from a branch, enabling the tiny sloth to climb on and strengthen his little limbs. Read More

-          More Calais chaos has occurred this week. The Prime Minister, David Cameron has been urged to call in British troops to help ease traffic congestion in Kent on the way to the Channel Crossing. Cameron, who recently returned from a four-day tour of South East Asia, also said that sniffer dogs and extra fencing would be sent to France to help struggling French authorities in Calais. Read More

 -      -    Also on the Prime Ministers trip to South-East Asia, Cameron announced that he would be putting his weight behind the UK’s technology startups and the finance world, in an attempt to make the UK a world leader in Fintech by 2020. Read More

-          Remarkably, a businessman has been able to retrieve his iPhone after it fell during a flight at an impressive 9,300ft, using an app. Even more remarkable is that the phone’s owner, Ben Wilson, says his phone was "scratched a bit" but still in working condition. Typical eh? You drop your phone from a plane and it’s totally fine, but drop it off your desk and it smashes to pieces! Read More

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22toshiba-web1-articleLarge Last Tuesday, Toshiba Corp. president and CEO Hisao Tanaka, along with two of his colleagues, bowed for 13 seconds before a roomful of reporters. The occasion, as you’ve no doubt read since the unusual press conference, was the revelation that Toshiba had overstated its profits over the previous six years by US$1.2 billion.

Tanaka’s grave acknowledgement of his failure to the company’s stakeholders was one of the more sincere corporate apologies in what’s become a cottage industry for corporate communicators. In the past month there’s been a steady stream of apologies from corporations and high profile individuals, ranging from Mitsubishi, Reddit (sort of?), Whole Foods, to Hulk Hogan, Taylor Swift and even the Pope.

The question facing communications professionals today is less if they will ever find themselves pulled into a war room to craft an apology, but when. With this in mind, here are some tips for taking your apologies from empty to emphatic.

  1. When delivering bad news, look the part.

The FT’s James Mackintosh writes of an upcoming study by researchers at UC Berkeley and London Business School, “a genuinely apologetic CEO, looking properly sad, significantly mitigated the damage to the shares.” In particular, the researchers found that in their analysis of 37 corporate apologies, the absence of “upper face happiness” (or that telling “crinkle about the eyes”) can actually cushion a drop in share prices. Continue Reading »

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Subway SandwichI like sandwiches. A lot. That said, I’ve never liked Subway because the sandwiches are just bad. As a storyteller and marketer though, I’ve followed the brand and been intrigued by their full embrace of an average Joe (or Jared, as it were) who become the face, voice and arguably heart of the brand for nearly 15 years.

Aligning a brand with a single person is an incredibly risky move. Sure, if your audience loves that person, he or she can move the product – and this was certainly the case with Jared and Subway for many years. But what happens when a fallible individual (we’re all human) self-destructs?

Brands rely on their reputation and consumer trust to be successful. These are two things that are built over time and can take years to establish – but humans, as we know, can find themselves in hot water in a matter of seconds in the age of digital media and citizen journalism.

I work in the world of earned media, which means I tend to have less control over outcomes. So putting one’s brand reputation in the hands of a single person, whether celebrity or otherwise, just seems like too big a risk for my taste.

Continue Reading »

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The presidential campaign is in full swing with last count seeing some 16 contenders for the Republican race, least among them Donald Trump in full photo-op glory going to the US/Mexican border, the demarcation line for him with immigration now the focus of his stump speeches. Hillary has been caught sending US confidential emails from her personal account, despite her claims to the contrary, and The New York Times last week was forced to issue a sticky correction on an exclusive story about the Justice Department review into that email account.  More (much more) to come.

Elsewhere:

  • Japan’s Nikkei acquired the FT Group, which includes the Financial Times for $1.32 billion;
  • Anthem agreed to buy Cigna in a $48 billion deal;
  • Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, known most recently as the shamed sexter, joined PR firm MWW, with a PR drama itself of Weiner proportion with his new employers having to explain after the announcement that he will not be directly handling client matters;
  • Gawker declared it would be “20 percent nicer” following the decision to take down an article about a media exec’s possible gay-escort exploits, which prompted two editors to quit and lots of finger-pointing ink;
  • Other other-worldly news this week after Pluto discoveries last week with “Earth’s Cousin” seen through the Kepler Space Telescope, showing near-same properties of our home base some 1,400 light years away;
  • Amazon delivered (and not by drone) surprising profits for the most recent quarter, pushing its stock sharply higher and its market cap above Wal-Mart’s; and
  • A new Dr. Seuss book has been discovered and published, “What Pet Should I Get?” just in time for summer beach reads.

Continue Reading »

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Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .london-rain

London’s famous rainy weather has reared its head today, with more than one month’s worth of rain predicted to fall throughout the day. You’d think we Brits would be more prepared, but in the office we seem to only have one (now communal) umbrella.

John Bercow, the Speaker in the House of Commons (the presiding officer of the lower chamber of Parliament) has come under fire today for his outrageous travel and accommodation expense. The expenses which totalled over £31000 last year, included a claim of £983.40 for a chauffeured lift from Halifax to London – that’s just over $1500 for a journey that takes less than 3hours by train!

This week’s Greek debt crisis coverage appears to shed more positive light on the nation. The Greek government has taken crucial steps towards a bailout after its parliament passed a second set of reforms.

Obama’s remarks on Wednesday encouraging the UK to remain part of the European Union, has received hostile reactions and significant criticism from a variety of Eurosceptic groups. One Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) responded to Obama’s statement tweeting, “Tell you what, Barack Obama, if you’re so keen on the EU, why don’t *you* pay to bail out the wretched euro?”

As for the celeb gossip, it is being reported that Tom Cruise is ‘head-over-heels’ for his British assistant. They are already thought to be planning a life of matrimonial bliss with rumours circling in Hollywood that Cruise may have popped the question already during a recent trip to Morocco. End of Story

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