The Single Biggest Mistake a Business Can Make Today | eNews from OWC

The days when CEOs only had to focus on running their businesses are over. Today’s leaders need to be “woke” as they stand for something greater than their own products or services. Those who don’t must be prepared to suffer the wrath of the hashtag. Our business climate is calling for companies to proactively take on issues important to their key stakeholders – regardless of how that may impact their bottom line in the short term.

The single biggest mistake a business can make is not knowing its core values. The core values are the set of principles, morals and policies on which the company is based. These values drive how the business operates and treats people. People want to invest in and buy from companies and leaders they trust and respect. Conversely, many consumers will go out of their way to avoid doing business with companies tainted by negative news about how they treat employees, women, customer complaints, environmental issues and illegal practices.

Here are five common mistakes that tarnish a brand:

  1. Delayed Action. One of the outcomes we see as a result of #MeToo, #TimesUp and even #deleteFacebook movements is that big businesses are now acting fast to correct issues. Executives are fired first and investigated later. There is no time to hide behind legal delays and “no comment” statements. The public is playing judge, jury and executioner, and companies with core values can better distance themselves from controversies or even take an active role in championing movements they support.
  2. Lack of Transparency. Now more than ever, leadership is held accountable for its actions, so it’s crucial that there is transparency from the top down. One of our CEO clients holds regular all-employee town hall meetings where he answers ANY question posed, even about his own compensation. Core values help because well-managed companies do not fear scrutiny.
  3. Not Planning Ahead. When a crisis hits, you need to act fast – but this can only be done when you are prepared. Just look at the “unfriendly skies” and the crises airlines have faced with passengers being forcibly removed from planes and dogs dying. In contrast, look at a company that is committed to its core values and communicates them. You may be surprised to find Delta Airlines on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, especially since no other airline has made the cut in over a decade. Delta is also found on Forbes‘ Best Workplaces list and has a 4.3-star rating on Glassdoor. Delta’s mission statement is to “form a force for positive local and global change, dedicated to bettering standards of living and the environment where we and our customers live and work.” Its value is actualized, its employees are happy, and thus they provide a better customer experience.
  4. Lack of Alignment. Each company needs to come to a point where all the stakeholders agree on core values. This will direct operations, budget allocations and prioritization of time and resources. Think of Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan that empowers everyone to accomplish more and overcome obstacles to succeed. This one core value has impacted all business decisions for the company for the last three decades. The cohesion in mission and messaging are central to its success.
  5. No Focus. Businesses can’t address every issue in the world, but they can support causes and issues that directly impact their customers, employees and communities. A perfect example of how focus can drive initiatives that further build the brand can be seen in CVS’s decision to stop selling cigarettes. Another example can be seen in Dick’s Sporting Goods’ proactive decision to raise the age for firearm purchase following the shootings in Parkland, Fla. Both of these brands are authentic to their core values of health and family, while seeking the social good above bottom line.

At OWC, we work with companies to help identify and amplify their core values. It supports our own mission to build and sustain business reputations. Let us know your business core values @OWCPR.

Calling all entrepreneurs | eNews from OWC

Awards season is here and we’re pumped to medal up. EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, now in its 32nd year, is the big prize to honor entrepreneurs in more than 145 cities in 60 countries who demonstrate extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment. The benefits that past participants have experienced? Accreditation, exposure, recognition, mentoring and public relations.

Here’s some of the coverage from last year’s events across California:

The program is focused on diversity and inclusiveness: Anyone can nominate anyone. Many of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year participants are nominated by proud colleagues, their vendors or admirers, who think recognition is due, and self-nominations are encouraged. Learn more or submit a nomination today. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 9, 2018.

Olmstead Williams Communications is a proud sponsor for Entrepreneur Of The Year, but that’s not the only reason we love the program. We’re cheerleaders for award programs that offer a spotlight to our clients. Awards are one more way to raise your company’s profile and generate news. Here is a sampling of the honors/achievements we are submitting for our clients:

There is an awards program that will help drive your business forward. We’re here to discuss these and other programs.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award recipients in Greater Los Angeles as revealed last year. The deadline for applications this year is Friday, March 9, 2018. Learn more or submit a nomination today.

February 26th, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , |

This is the state of the media for 2018. | eNews from OWC

Fasten your media seat belt for 2018, communication of all kinds is stronger than ever. Despite warnings and howls, facts still have impact and new platforms have learned how to deal with a hostile environment. Rumors get corrected. Spin is detected. New voices are heard whether we like it or not, which is how things are supposed to be. Though America is a free-for-all and this year every business need to be among the “all,” now more than ever before, it really is “lead, follow or get out of the way.”

Download a PDF of this version here.

Here’s what every company needs to know for the New Year:

Earned media is on the rise (really). According to Forrester Research, we are living through a fundamental reassessment of the role of advertising and editorial coverage. Earned media, like news stories and features, is more measurable and effective than ever before. Consumers are increasingly wanting to connect with people and stories, which presents an opportunity for editorial coverage. Eighty-one percent of senior marketers still believe that earned media is more effective than paid media.

Mobile and online consumption has new breadth of reach. In the U.S., roughly nine-in-ten adults get news online (either via mobile or desktop). According to the Pew Research Center, there are now many different audience strategies that news outlets use, through newsletters, original podcasts and allowing comments on their articles. By 2017, 61 percent of these highest-traffic digital-native news outlets had apps for at least one of the two main mobile operating systems (iOS and Android).

The crackdown on false news proves fruitful. A recent study reported by The New York Times reveals that propaganda and outright lies have a wide reach but reduced impact. “For all the hype about fake news, it’s important to recognize that it reached only a subset of Americans, and most of the ones it was reaching already were intense partisans,” according to Dr. Brendan Nyhan from Dartmouth College, who led the study. This year, we’ll see powerhouses like Facebook and Google continue to battle false news. Facebook will use its Related Articles tool to combat misinformation in the News Feed. Meanwhile, future leaders are taking matters into their own hands — right from the classroom.

The New Year has already brought media firestorms, but the trend is toward verification and fact. As always, the most powerful tool in business is an accurate message delivered with a clear voice. That is our mission and passion. Let us know how we can help you prepare for any potential issues that may come this year. Wishing you a prosperous 2018!

February 2nd, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The One Thing You Need To Know About Reputation Management | eNews from OWC

Year 2018: Every Reputation at Risk

What is the lesson of the radically altered reputations of 2017? It is that bad news travels faster than ever before, and there’s nowhere to hide. For companies and their leaders, the need for preparedness has never been more relevant. For every reputation that crashes, so does a company’s market value. It doesn’t take a major scandal to bring disaster, every business is vulnerable to a misleading sentence in a report, a disgruntled employee or consumer on social media or the malice of competitors. As we enter 2018, take heed and be ready.

The five roads to preparedness:

  1. Reputation Management Plan:Short and actionable, ten pages max with all the team players’ cell numbers and social handles at the ready.
  2. Vulnerability Audit: Assess all risks with the team including litigation, data breaches, misconduct of any executive or employee and political climate.
  3. Team Timekeeper: When reputation is at stake, the pre-assigned crisis team and their backups need to convene immediately. The timekeeper knows when thinking time is up, and it’s time to start talking.
  4. Ready Response: There will be only minutes to respond to Twitter and Facebook crises, and not much more for a reporter on deadline. Find words in advance and clear them with the company attorney.
  5. Event Simulation:Surprise your team to see if you’re prepared to hit the ground running. Make it as real as possible using simulation tools that mimic your social channels. Is your response authentic and in keeping with your brand?

In today’s climate, unexpected blows are to be expected. The good news is that successful crisis response can actually enhance reputations. A leader at the helm prepared to speak with conviction and authenticity is not an accident, and can turn accidents into opportunities.

Best wishes for the new year.

December 29th, 2017|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , |