Communication Matters - our blog on trends and events


3 employee communications lessons learned from the Starbucks fiasco

Starbucks Corp. is not finding it easy to put the cap back on the can of worms opened by the April incident in Philadelphia where a store manager called the police to remove two young black men who had asked to use the restroom without purchasing anything while waiting for a friend, and then refused to leave when asked to do so.

The company responded quickly and appropriately. The CEO flew to Philadelphia and personally apologized to the two men, and the company announced a day of racial bias training for all U.S. store employees. But coming up with a workable new policy while under the hot glare of the media has been challenging.

Executive Chairman Howard Schultz’s impromptu May 11 disclosure that people will now be allowed to use Starbucks’ cafes, including its…

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Brainfood Live: Social Listening

After much preparation and promotion, our first Dix & Eaton Facebook livestream didn’t exactly go as planned. The Dix & Eaton team tested, rehearsed and worked together to produce Brainfood Live: Social Listening for a month. On the day of our livestream, a recent update to Facebook’s livestreaming interface complicated our ability to get the broadcast started. After nearly 30 minutes of troubleshooting, we made the decision to cancel the event. Thank you to everyone who tuned in and stuck with us while we worked to get the livestream up and running!

We are now pleased to share with you the recorded Brainfood Live session discussing Social Listening.

ProMedica, a Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan health care system, enlisted the help of Dix & Eaton to better…

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What can investor relations do about stock market volatility?

The market has been incredibly volatile in recent months, with some market moves of 200 to 400 points (close to 2 percent) on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This is against the background of highly business-friendly tax reform, which is expected to boost reported earnings and cash flow in 2018.

Stock market analysts attribute these almost daily market gyrations to the uncertainty over the impact on American business of tariffs on steel and aluminum from China and some other countries, excluding Canada and Mexico. Other tariffs are threatened by the Trump Administration on a wide range of products, impacting an estimated $50 billion in trade. Indeed, in recent tweets and comments, President Trump has indicated that if China continues to unfairly inhibit U.S.…

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3 steps brands should take after the Facebook privacy scandal

Consumer privacy is considered a fictional concept by many given the modern world of the internet, social media and ready access to data brokers. What may be surprising to some consumers is how easy it is for brands to profile consumers and hyper target them with ads.

Even before the Facebook privacy scandal related to Cambridge Analytica, brands faced a declining trust in institutions. Now organizations should proceed with greater caution as they use consumer data. Without careful handling of data, consumer trust will likely erode further in years to come. Organizations should do three things immediately to help themselves down the path of maintaining and then regaining trust in brands.

1.  Begin assessing how your organization is using consumers’ personal data…

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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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