Also: Tide makes documentary series to promote homeless outreach, FTC blasts Facebook’s defense of researcher ban, and Colorado Rockies investigate racial slur.

Hello, communicators:

Proctor & Gamble [P&G] brand Tide has partnered with production companies Hand Made Productions and the Story Lab to create a documentary series about people experiencing homelessness on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. “The Tent Mender” features the titular, fictional character helping Skid Row residents while listening to their stories. The series is part of Tide’s larger effort to promote its permanent laundry room within Skid Row’s Midnight Mission as part of its “Loads of Hope” program, which was created after Hurricane Katrina to provide clean clothing to first responders in the aftermath of national disasters.

“We believe in the power of stories to shine the light on important issues facing our communities and inspire acts of good where our brands can make a meaningful difference,” P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard said in a blog post. “When things become personal, empathy grows,” added executive producer and head of P&G Studios Kimberly Doebereiner.

Pritchard and Doebereiner’s words highlight how including real people and emotional stories in your messaging not only fosters empathy, but can generate meaningful goodwill. However, be sure to make clear what elements of your campaign are fictional and which are factual, especially when presenting the work as a documentary, to minimize additional scrutiny around the legitimacy of the work.

United Nations issues statement on drastic climate change panel findings

The United Nations has shared a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the first major review of its kind since 2013, which found that the Earth is warming at a rate faster than scientists previously thought. According to the report, the planet is on track to cross a crucial temperature threshold as early as 2030.

In addition to connecting increasing numbers of weather and climate events like hurricanes and floods to rising temperatures, the report connects these changes to long-term human causes but says that a willingness to follow global climate reduction measures will “yield rapid and sustained effects to limit human-caused climate change.”

CBS reports:

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the report a “code red for humanity.” Guterres said, “the alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk,” CBS News’ Pamela Falk reports.

Axios reports:

It’s the “strongest statement the IPCC has ever made,” Ko Barrett, the panel’s vice chair and senior advisor on climate to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told reporters.

“The actions we take over the coming years is what will determine if we can get on the right path,” Jane Lubchenco, the top climate official in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told Axios. “So every action matters, every year matters, every fraction of a degree matters.”

Activist groups have already issued statements about how they plan to use this research as evidence in court when combating businesses that are contributing to climate change:

The Guardian reports:

For those governments and businesses that still chose inaction, the IPCC report may well end up being used as key evidence against them in real courtrooms. “We’ll be taking this report with us to the courts,” says Kaisa Kosonen at Greenpeace.

“By strengthening the scientific evidence between human emissions and extreme weather the IPCC has provided new, powerful means to hold the fossil fuel industry and governments directly responsible for the climate emergency,” she says. “One only needs to look at our recent court victory against Shell to realise how powerful IPCC science can be.”

Why it matters:

Coming one week after President Biden partnered with Ford and GM to announce new benchmarks for automakers to increase electric vehicle manufacturing and reduce carbon emissions, this landmark report highlights the extent to which companies must confront climate change. For a bit of inspiration, look to efforts like Lego’s journey to create fully recyclable play bricks or big tech’s disclosure of renewable energy plans as examples of smart environmental messaging. Regardless of how you proceed, explain your company’s sustainability efforts and benchmark goals in clear and easily-understandable language that isn’t bogged down with acronyms or technical terms.

MEASURED THOUGHTS

A recent report from Retail Brew and Harris Poll finds that 54% of Americans surveyed consider the environmental and social impact of doing business with retailers, while 56% consider the faster delivery times and conveniences of e-commerce supersede sustainable shopping practices. “Last year, the U.S. produced a record 407 billion square feet of corrugated materials as e-comm exploded,” the report reads. “Last-mile delivery emissions are predicted to jump by 30+% across 100 cities worldwide by 2030, per a 2020 World Economic Forum study.”

These numbers emphasize the extent to which pandemic-era marketing and business practices have contributed to the global carbon footprint. And, coupled with the previously mentioned IPCC report, serve as a reminder that your sustainability messaging should share the changes that occur amid the throes of rapid restricting or business innovation. While your customers may be willing to sacrifice their values for convenience, your company has an opportunity to become an industry leader by explaining the toll that those conveniences can take.

Check out the full study here.

CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS

The Colorado Rockies baseball team issued a statement after a fan shouted a racial slur at Miami Marlins player Lewis Brinson. The ugly incident was picked up on broadcast.

The Rockies’ statement reads:

Executive director of the MLB Player’s Association Tony Clark also issued a statement:

Many fans took issue with the speed of the statement, instead claiming that the fan was yelling “dinger,” which is common baseball slang for a home run. “Dinger” is also the name of the Rockies mascot:

https://twitter.com/vrhysta/status/1424577233432236038

https://twitter.com/Rockiesfanpage1/status/1424585833584148480

https://twitter.com/encyclodeezy/status/1424601086841790464

The Colorado Rockies’ statement highlights the catch-22 of issuing a crisis statement ahead of having all the facts: Stay silent and you come off as complicit or uncaring, or immediately comment on the matter and risk being accused of rushing judgement. Crafting holding statements that simultaneously emphasize your values and position on the incident, while acknowledging you don’t yet have all the facts, can turn down the temperature ahead of a pending investigation.

TAKE OUR SURVEY

The Institute for Public Relations, Ragan Communications, and the University of Florida are conducting a follow-up survey to their 2020 report, “The Career Path of a Social Media Professional.”

This year’s survey investigates and illuminates the career path potential of social media professionals, shedding light on how social media is being managed, viewed and evaluated within organizations. Here are some highlights from our 2020 report.

We invite you to take this survey, whether you’re in charge of social media for your company or are involved in some aspect of social media for a client. The survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, and all responses will remain confidential.

As a thank-you for taking the survey, you’ll get an opportunity to enter a drawing for three $50 gift cards and will receive a copy of the full report, which promises to be chock-full of valuable data for benchmarking and budgeting purposes. The report will be presented on Sept. 9, 2021 at Ragan’s Social Media Conference in Orlando, Florida and published through IPR and PR Daily.

Take the survey today!

TECH TALK

The Federal Trade Commission [FTC] has responded to Facebook after the social media giant claimed that its ban of NYU misinformation researchers from its platform was in accordance with FTC regulations. In its initial response, Facebook claimed that it banned the accounts “to stop unauthorized scraping and protect people’s privacy in line with our privacy program under the FTC Order.”

The Washington Post reports:

The agency rejected Facebook’s assertion in a letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, penned by Acting Director for the Bureau of Consumer Protection Samuel Levine.

“Had you honored your commitment to contact us in advance, we would have pointed out that the consent decree does not bar Facebook from creating exceptions for good-faith research in the public interest,” he wrote.

The FTC’s response to Facebook’s misinterpretation of the regulatory agency’s guidance emphasizes the necessity of timely, transparent communication with your partners. No one wants to be surprised and find their brand or organization mentioned in the news by a partner without a heads up—federal agencies included. As evidenced here, doing so risks undermining your company’s expertise in its industry by demonstrating a lack of understanding around policies that can be used against you later.

RAGAN’S 2021 BENCHMARK REPORT

Ragan has released its annual Communications Benchmark Report, an exclusive study from Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council that analyzes the major trends in the profession over the last year.

During that time, comms pros have been called on to develop and distribute messages on new policies that affect internal and external stakeholders alike. Their role has become more essential as they helped keep their organizations focused and moving forward. They’ve seen their access to the C-suite increase throughout 2020, and they forged important new alliances with peers in other departments, including HR, finance and workplace wellness.

Culled from more than 750 respondents, the 32-page report is available in its entirety exclusively to members of the Communications Leadership Council.

Download your copy of the exclusive Benchmark Survey Executive Summary today, and get a crucial competitive advantage that will fuel your success for 2021 and beyond.

Live Nation allows touring artists to require vaccinations for entry to their own shows

Live Nation has announced a new best practices policy for the artist teams it partners with on concerts and other live entertainment shows. The new rule gives artists performing at its venues the option to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to gain entry where permitted by law. The news was announced in a letter signed by Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino and shared with Variety. The release also announced Live Nation employees will be required to be vaccinated by October 4.

Variety reports:

 We believe this is a great model, and we have already implemented this successfully at many major shows including Lollapalooza. We know people are eager to return to live events and we hope these measures encourage even more people to get vaccinated. That is the number one thing anyone can do to take care of those around them and we are encouraging as many shows as possible to adopt this model.

What it means:

Live Nation’s new model of putting the onus on its partners to determine a vaccine policy is an industry-first example that simultaneously bolsters trust between Live Nation and its creative partners while mitigating accountability for what is already a controversial policy. By leaning on the wishes of its touring artists and relying on pre-existing relationships between the artists and their fans to enforce this policy, Live Nation also sets an example of how your influencer relationships can go a long way toward building support for your policies by tapping into pre-existing goodwill.

SOUNDING BOARD

Have you partnered with any industry influencers during the pandemic to reinforce your company’s changing policies or new purpose work?

Is there a question you’d like to see asked? Let us know using #DailyScoop!

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