Jeff Bezos misses the mark in space flight presser, tips for crafting engaging emails, and Victoria’s Secret rebrand centers women’s needs
Also: Mattress Firm takes sleep awareness campaign on the road, TikTok introduces resume pilot program and JC Penny launches accessible clothing line.
Mattress Firm has announced a campaign to bring awareness to a phenomenon known as “junk sleep,” which the retailer likens to junk food for the harmful effect that it can have on your health and well-being. The campaign will include a campaign that will see a touring “un-junk your sleep” truck stop at the homes of winning entrants in New York City, Detroit and Houston to provide them with a sleep consultation and a free mattress.
To raise awareness around junk sleep, Mattress Firm has also partnered with actor Liev Schreiber to produce a PSA:
“Our work on the Junk Sleep campaign has opened my eyes to the necessity of adequate, quality rest,” Mattress Firm CMO Ramin Eivaz told PR Daily. “More than two thirds of Americans are being affected by poor sleep habits, and we’re proud to be tackling this problem on a national scale.”
Eivaz tied the launch to the upcoming Olympic Games, where athletes sleeping arrangements have been making headlines. “There’s no better stage to launch the effort than the 2021 Summer Olympics, where some of the world’s top athletes will be on display. These athletes understand that the key to unlocking performance is putting the same value on sleep as eating well and training.”
While Mattress Firm launches its campaign armed with data that points to junk sleep being more than a marketing ploy, Eivaz’s emphasis on tying the campaign to the start of the 2021 Summer Olympics highlights how artfully timing your messaging to coincide with a popular cultural event can hammer home your message in the context of larger trending topics and discussions.
Jeff Bezos takes flak for comments following space launch
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has completed a brief flight into space in a rocket built by his private space company, Blue Origin, blasting off just over two weeks after Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic also took its inaugural flight into the cosmos. While Branson deflected criticism of his costly trip by emphasizing his belief that space travel should be available to everyone, Bezos took a different approach.
“I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this,” Mr. Bezos said during a news conference after his spaceflight.
Mr. Bezos’ comment prompted swift critical reactions, including from a member of the House of Representatives who serves on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
“Space travel isn’t a tax-free holiday for the wealthy,” said Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon. “We pay taxes on plane tickets. Billionaires flying into space—producing no scientific value—should do the same, and then some!”
Bezos’ comments came amid questions about what Blue Origin’s launch says about wealth inequality as Amazon workers continue to struggle and #WealthTaxNow started trending on Twitter:
While Jeff Bezos embarks on his self-indulgent voyage to space, this is what's happening back on Earth.
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 20, 2021
Jeff Bezos forgot to thank all the hardworking Americans who actually paid taxes to keep this country running while he and Amazon paid nothing. https://t.co/tjOeCWbUA8
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 20, 2021
Who else thinks Bezos should pay his fair share of taxes before thanking Amazon customers for funding his joy ride to space?
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) July 20, 2021
Meanwhile, the shape of Bezos’ rocket coupled with his maniacal laugh invited some comparisons to Austin Powers’ nemesis:
jeff bezos’s rocket looks a lil…. nvm pic.twitter.com/az6E7hiA0D
— matt (@mattxiv) July 20, 2021
IM CRYING HE REALLY DR.EVIL pic.twitter.com/2rKkBocwJR
— Shamz ॐ ۞ (@shoumikitiki) July 20, 2021
What it means:
The media frenzy around Bezos’s trip to space is a reminder of the nuances of executive comms in a world where audiences are more and more skeptical of income inequality and are looking for leaders to do more with their millions than create fodder for gossip columns and celebrity profiles. While Bezos may have intended to share his personal triumph with the many workers that have served with Amazon over the years, his unfortunate phrasing only served to highlight a fraught issue for Amazon and its reputation as an employer.
A new infographic by EmailToolTester reveals that emails under 200 words long are most likely to engage readers. “Welcome emails” have an 86% open rate and personalized emails see a 22% open rate compared to a 19% open rate for non-personalized emails.
These numbers highlight the importance of personalizing your communication to foster a relationship with external stakeholders, even when the messages are sent out en masse. Aside from the welcome message and mention of the recipients name, personalization also involves making your communications short and sweet, thinking holistically about the timeframe when you reach out so as to demonstrate mindfulness for how and when your recipient engages with their inbox.
JC Penny has announced a new private label children’s clothing line with products specifically designed for kids with disabilities, including adaptive clothing like pants with an opening for a dialysis catheter and garments made with fabrics designed to accommodate children with tactile defensiveness or touch sensory sensitivity that has sensory-friendly seams, no tags and easy-access openings.
The clothing retailer has also included a donation component to its product launch:
Introducing Thereabouts, JCPenney’s newest kids’ brand designed with every BODY in mind! Now through August 12, we're donating $1 per Thereabouts item sold up to $100,000 to Communities In Schools to support inclusive programming. Shop now https://t.co/StnqroDQMN pic.twitter.com/lS7rpvPtMA
— JCPenney (@jcpenney) July 15, 2021
“We believe all kids should feel confident and capable in the clothes they wear and parents should feel good about the clothes they buy,” said Michelle Wlazlo, JCPenney’s chief merchandising officer, in a statement. “Fulfilling the wants and needs of our diverse customer base is the foundation of our business. That’s why we relied on research and feedback from parents and kids throughout the design process.”
JC Penny’s emphasis on recognizing the diversity of its customer base highlights a successful communications-first DE&I approach that begins with listening to customer’s changing needs through feedback and research, folding certain stakeholders into the design process and communicating their needs as the reason behind its new product line.
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 thanks 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.
TikTok has launched a new feature called TikTok Résumés that allows job seekers to submit video interviews through the app. Target, Shopify and Chipotle are among the first brands to participate in the pilot program, which runs through July 31.
TikTok believes there’s an opportunity to bring more value to people’s experience with TikTok by enhancing the utility of the platform as a channel for recruitment. Short, creative videos, combined with TikTok’s easy-to-use, built-in creation tools have organically created new ways to discover talented candidates and career opportunities.
@makena.yeeHere are the reasons why YOU should hire me! Don’t be shy, let’s get in touch. #tiktokresumes #tiktokpartner♬ original sound – MAKENA
@erinmcgoffAnd yes, you can negotiate your salary for your first job! #careeradvice #work #jobinterview #salary #salarynegotiation #college♬ Paper Birds (3 min) – Jordan Halpern Schwartz
“Given the current hiring climate and our strong growth trajectory, it’s essential to find new platforms to directly engage in meaningful career conversations with Gen-Z,” said Marissa Andrada, Chipotle’s chief diversity, inclusion and people officer, in a separate statement. “TikTok has been ingrained into Chipotle’s DNA for some time and now we’re evolving our presence to help bring in top talent to our restaurants.”
TikTok’s launch of its new program hopes to capitalize on the massive labor shortage that has hit brick & mortar brands like Chipotle especially hard. As such, the social platform demonstrates what providing partners with value truly looks like.
Chipotle’s messaging about the pilot program, meanwhile, emphasizes the importance of fostering conversation with Gen-Z as a previously untapped recruitment tool that highlights the larger emerging trend in communications of focusing more on fostering conversations to engage audiences with your brand or organization instead of just creating content.
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.
Victoria’s Secret rebrands with renewed focus on women’s needs
Lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret explained its plans to restore its image after years of declining sales by renewing its commitment to female shoppers, admitting it has failed them over the years with its retail offerings and marketing strategies. The comments came after news broke that Victoria’s Secret was becoming an independent company amid the dissolution of the L Brands umbrella, which also owned Bath & Bodyworks.
The two companies’ management teams held a virtual investor meeting Monday to detail what the split will look like and what growth lies ahead. Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Martin Waters issued a mea culpa during the meeting, vowing to make the brand relevant again with women.
“We got it wrong,” Waters said during the presentation. “We lost relevance with the modern woman. And she told us very clearly to change our focus from how people look to how people feel—from being about what he wants to being about what she wants.”
Waters outlined some of the steps the company is taking to try to win shoppers back: “Our vision is pretty ambitious. It is to be the world’s leading advocate for women,” the CEO said.
Why it matters:
Waters’ messaging demonstrates that Victoria’s Secret’s leadership may finally be learning from past PR gaffes including past transphobic comments about its models that resulted in a top marketing executive quitting when a transgender model was hired. In any case, his words serve as a reminder that reading a mea culpa from an executive can offer vulnerability that ultimately renews brand loyalty and fosters trust between consumers. More challenging will be sustaining that loyalty by following through with an action plan that demonstrates your brand is growing by diversifying its leadership to include those with diverse perspectives.
When the reputational crisis facing your brand exists around its relationship to sex and gender norms, it’s also worth considering how the language that you use might also be construed as problematic should it overly rely on gendered pronouns and gender binaries that modern consumers are rejecting in higher and higher numbers.
Have you ever partnered with marketing to update your organization’s messaging and refresh outdated language on gender, race or sexual orientation?
Have you ever partnered with marketing to update your organization’s messaging and refresh outdated language on gender, race or sexual orientation? #DailyScoop
— PR Daily (@PRDaily) July 21, 2021
Is there a question you’d like to see asked? Let us know using the hashtag #DailyScoop!