Who’s checking your boss’s content?

Who is checking your boss's content?

The Chairman of Beattie Communications, Gordon Beattie, resigned last week for comments he made in a LinkedIn post. You can see the post for yourself below.

"We don't hire blacks, gays or Catholics" Gordon Beattie

His only defence was that his post was made with “the best of intent”. Others have called his comments insensitive, racist, homophobic, utterly unacceptable, and abhorrent. I don’t disagree with any of these descriptions.

The nature of the comments is one thing.

The language he used is offensive, outdated, and demonstrates how far removed this ‘PR juggernaut’ (as described in the media) is from the society in which we live today. The recent resignation of FA Chairman Greg Clarke for using similarly inappropriate language shows that Beattie’s ‘error’ is not an isolated incident.

But what this highlights is how even the most senior people in a business require external support; a second pair of eyes from someone outside the organisation provides the objective sense-check that can stop these incidents from happening, especially when communicating on such a sensitive issue. After all, it’s often difficult for staff to say no to senior figures in the business.

Beattie’s post brings to the fore another major issue in the industry – using provocation to gain likes, higher reach, and attention. Social networks are often fuelled by dissent, disagreement, and polarisation. Unfortunately, being provocative ‘works’ if all you want to do is reach a wider audience.

But it’s lazy practice and a cheap trick. It’s for people who have run out of ideas. It can be damaging, dangerous, and as Gordon Beattie is realising, can destroy reputations in an instant. He was clearly trying to be ‘clever’, but the provocative approach was all wrong. Instead of shining a light on an important issue, his lack of understanding of the platform, the nuance of messaging and the society in which we live, has been his undoing.

Featured Image by Steve Johnson

 

Who’s talking now?

BBC 50:50 The Equality Project

As a BBC producer I heard many outstanding female voices – from presenter Anne Robinson cross-examining CEOs on BBC Watchdog, to numerous female Executive Producers standing up to big bullying businesses trying to kill a great story.

I was part of production teams crafting complex programmes in challenging circumstances. These experiences shaped my own voice, including in the media training room, where I support people preparing to go on the record or in day to day interactions providing crisis management and corporate communications support.

Continue reading “Who’s talking now?”

Why good biscuits won’t cut it in a pandemic – putting our crisis comms tagline to the test

Why good biscuits won’t cut it in a pandemic

Good biscuits plated up on arrival and participants hovering at the door ahead of schedule. Throw in a tailored crisis simulation – part challenge, part playing to individual strengths – and all the positive omens are there for a good training day.

Continue reading “Why good biscuits won’t cut it in a pandemic – putting our crisis comms tagline to the test”

From COVID-19 Crisis → Business-As-Usual

From COVID-19 Crisis → Busines-As-Usual

As COVID-19 silently crept onto our shores you may have been in regular crisis meetings as the virus’ huge impact took hold. Now, you may well be moving from that heightened crisis state to living with the new “normal”, whatever that looks like for your organisation.

As we all bed into week 5 of the lockdown we thought we’d share some insights on how to adapt from crisis to business-as-usual with some suggested next steps and evidence from our client work.

Continue reading “From COVID-19 Crisis → Business-As-Usual”

How do you keep communicating when the crisis is never-ending?

Coronavirus - Crisis Communications

I have seen some brilliant emails and posts in the last few days – from my local Indian restaurant, Haweli, to Sainsbury’s, to other small business owners like me.  It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small; clear, regular and relevant communications are critical.

As we all adjust to the new “normal” personally and “business as usual” professionally, it occurred to me that there are some really simple tips for communicating in a crisis.

Continue reading “How do you keep communicating when the crisis is never-ending?”

“Be Kind” – Yorkshire Tea’s reputation management masterclass

Rishi Sunak "Quick Budget prep break making tea for the team. Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew."

Take one senior politician, one well-known and much-loved brand, and add social media. Stir together and what do you get?

That’s right, the perfect recipe for a Twitter storm.

That’s exactly what happened to Yorkshire Tea this weekend when Rishi Sunak MP, the Conservative MP for Richmond (in North Yorkshire as it happens) shared an image of himself making a cup of tea, standing next to a giant bag of the famous Yorkshire brew.

Continue reading ““Be Kind” – Yorkshire Tea’s reputation management masterclass”

Social Media & Mental Health

Social Media & Mental Health

Why social media companies should (but probably won’t) act responsibly and lead the conversation on mental health

Social media companies are some of the most powerful and influential business entities on the planet. Their decisions shape how the world communicates and how we as individuals consume information. Unlike most large-scale global commercial industries, social media is self-regulating. This puts social media companies in a unique position of global responsibility.

A new report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists last week said social media companies should be forced by governments to hand over their data for independent research into the risks of social media use.

Continue reading “Social Media & Mental Health”

Customer service – You say it best when you say nothing at all

Customer Services

We all have foibles when it comes to good service. Loud background music in your favourite restaurant – no thanks. Unsuitable substitutes in an online shop or a sell-by date less than 24 hours after it arrives. To me, these are like sour milk in my tea. A complete turn off, which could turn me to the Oat-side.

Continue reading “Customer service – You say it best when you say nothing at all”

Are you prepared for a social media crisis? Here’s 7 tips you need

We all know the feeling.

Your phone pings, then again… and again… something has happened.

Twitter is “blowing up” says the voice on the other end of the line. Five minutes later; “it’s all over Facebook”. The on-call Press Officer rings next; local media want a response to the hundreds of comments on Twitter.

So, what’s your next move?

If you’re asking this question now, it’s too late.

Continue reading “Are you prepared for a social media crisis? Here’s 7 tips you need”

Kudos to my ex colleagues at BBC Watchdog

BMW

Credit to BBC Watchdog for their investigation on last night’s programme which lead to BMW announcing a recall of hundreds of thousands of cars.

The truth is that no one really knows what goes on inside an organisation during a crisis, apart from the people managing it.  There are often multiple business objectives which reach far beyond being featured on the programme.  Continue reading “Kudos to my ex colleagues at BBC Watchdog”

Inside a Crisis

Inside a Crisis

Fly on the wall TV, sometimes known as ‘obs docs’ (observational documentaries), are familiar fodder for prime time television. They have bred their own genre of satire, such as W1A and anti-heroes like Malcolm Tucker. But there remains some uncharted territory, and done right this obs doc would be a real eye opener. Inside a Crisis – The Comms Insider – impossible to make, impossible to get legal to sign off and impossible to resist for fly on the wall fans.

Continue reading “Inside a Crisis”

Why Small is Beautiful in a Social Media Crisis

The commitment involved in starting a new business is phenomenal. Winning new contracts, wooing clients, honing your product and getting your name out there. Building a reputation demands time, attention to detail and preparation.

The 100% organic skincare line launched by one beauty innovator had been long in the planning. Products that were clean, kind and ethically sourced – all grounded in an “on-trend” concept, aimed at legions of health and wellbeing devotees. And as the range gained traction, tweets, likes and shares, everything seemed to be on track. But just as the business plan was exceeding year one expectations, a supplier down the chain was exposed for using non-organic base ingredients. The same ingredients now found in the 100% organic skincare line. One negative review became two. Malicious tweets followed and libellous Facebook posts began to unpick hard earned customer loyalty and reputation. Continue reading “Why Small is Beautiful in a Social Media Crisis”