WSJ

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Nike is parting ways with 11 top executives in the face of an employee survey pointing to sexual harassment in the workplace. Facebook is reorganizing into three divisions to put senior management eyes closer to the work areas that have been a little lax in the security department.  It seems that firing and reorganizing are the reflexive methods of apologizing for public company problems.  Other typical tactics include NYT and WSJ apology letter ads and training days (see Starbucks).

Customer-facing business change is best served cold. Not right away. Business change needs to be properly thought out. Not knee-jerk. Poorly thought out change can be more disastrous than the disaster. Nike needs to live its shame for a while. As does Facebook. They need to publish and discuss what they’ve found and how they are going to deal with it. Most PR people will tell you to do something quick and put it to bed. I disagree. Companies need to spend more time living, learning and grieving. Glossing over big mistakes is a big mistake.

Act like a human and you can come back from it. Endure the shame, study it, heal – then move on.

Peace.

 

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If anyone is in position to renew and reinvent the newspaper business it is Rupert Murdoch. First and foremost he is a talented businessman. Second he is willing to spend to learn. Check that, invest and lose to learn. Third he is daring. For a septuagenarian to jump in and buy MySpace with nary a friend request was a bold move to say the least.

 

I applauded Mr. Murdoch for buying the Wall Street Journal because I expected him to take his understanding of the financial news business and marry it with the community building expertise he purchased in MySpace. Then, I thought, he’d build an online business property the likes of which we’d never seen — think LinkedIn meets Facebook meets the Allen and Company Retreat.  (Well, I may have over-thought that one. Hee hee.)

 

But Mr. Murdoch understands news, the human condition and what people want in entertainment (Fox).   Within 2 years I expect him to make a big online move that will cross all these platforms. It will be news-based, globally branded, locally relevant, and will make reporters out of all of us. It will be huge. Peace!

 

PS. Are you listening Jeff Dachis?

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HSBC is a bank among banks. Their branding idea, however, is actually pretty inventive.  It struck me first when viewing some wonderful outdoor advertising in NYC. Developed by JWT, the outdoor showed the same picture multiple times with alternating headlines. One series showed the same colorful shot of a piece of sushi. Beneath one shot was the word “tasty” the next the word “nasty.” 

 

The idea behind the advertising is points-of-view alter everything. I spoke with the planner at JWT who confirmed that the bank is “digging deeper with customers” to really know what’s on their minds. This one execution did a great job of conveying that premise. Most banks say things like “our bankers get to know you like neighbors” or some other fluff, but that claim is so stale it doesn’t process. HSBC’s spin is fresh. 

 

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