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3 lessons learned from Starbucks’ racial bias mishap

Recently, Starbucks announced that it will close 8,000 U.S. stores on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial bias training for its nearly 175,000 U.S. store employees. This comes after an incident at one of the company’s Philadelphia stores involving the arrest of two African-American men. The men attempted to use the store’s bathroom without making a purchase, and the situation escalated from there, including across social media.

Some say Starbucks’ response is a bold move, maybe even an over-reaction for a company that is already known for its social conscience. Still others say it’s not enough. Regardless, it’s certainly a costly decision – about $12 million in lost revenue, according to MarketWatch.

From a PR perspective, I believe a culture-driven company…

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Strategic communication is essential to recruit, retain, engage talent

Co-authored by Karin Bonev

We expect to see or hear the headline at least once a week. It’s the headline that laments the loss of manufacturing jobs in the Midwest and links the region’s economic challenges to a loss of middle class opportunity.

These stories ring true in hundreds of communities and tell a story of the past.

But the conversation that focuses on the future of manufacturing and the Midwest economy examines issues such as job training, talent recruitment and innovation. It examines the value of apprenticeships, corporate-college partnerships, research and development and foreign investment. At its most basic, this is a conversation about the competition to attract and retain talented workers.

Many of the manufacturing executives from across the…

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How to identify and vet social influencers for your brand – Part 2

It’s ok to say it out loud: influencers make brands nervous. In our previous post in this series, my colleague Megan McTighe discussed the importance of identifying and leveraging the right social media channel to reach potential customers, generate sales and field customer comments.

However, equally important is ensuring you also engage appropriate influencers.  The wrong influencer can create a media firestorm that will cost time and money, and bring on a bad headache.

It is vital to conduct a thorough vetting prior to beginning any influencer marketing campaign. This must extend beyond a quick check of primary social media accounts to a deep dive to identify red flags.

Here are five easy ways to vet social media influencers:

  1. Examine their social media…
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Take the long way home

By now, we are all accustomed to hearing ridiculous stories about bad customer service from airlines, ranging from problems transporting animals to even more jaw-dropping incidents such as the passenger who was forcibly removed from United flight 3411, which are subsequently shared on social media around the world. It seems like each day there’s a new and more egregious story, and the latest example of airline brilliance comes to us from Sun Country Airlines.

The airline faced a difficult decision created by late-season snow in Minneapolis, which forced the airline to cancel the last of its seasonal flights to Mexico as it switches its schedule to accommodate passengers for other destinations. The only problem was that there were still passengers waiting for…

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How to identify and vet social influencers for your brand – Part 1

Third-party influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly effective tool to reach potential customers, generate sales and field customer comments.

According to Linqia’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2018 study, “92% of marketers who used influencer marketing in 2017 found it to be effective.” Choosing the right type of social influencer is key to driving a successful influencer marketing program.

This is the first of a two-part series offering tips on how to identify and evaluate the right social influencers to help your organization enhance its marketing efforts.

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make with influencer marketing is choosing influencers based solely on their popularity. Influencer marketing is about finding industry leaders who can…

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