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Brand Risk

The Millions You're Spending on Marketing Could Be for Nothing. Here's Why

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The Millions You're Spending on Marketing Could Be for Nothing. Here's Why

Socially responsible marketing is on the rise. If the recent consumer controversy over Gillette’s ad on masculinity wasn’t enough, everyone in the business world is also talking about the new marketing trend. In the last 12 months alone, Deloitte, McKinsey, and the World Economic Forum in Davos have all noted that more and more consumers are looking to businesses to take stances on important social issues. The numbers are talking as well: 66% of consumers will pay more for products from companies committed to positive social impact. With millennials, this number is even higher. 73% will pay more for sustainable products, and 81% expect companies to take a public stance on social issues.

That means that there is an enormous opportunity at hand. Brands that can properly connect their brand with relevant social causes have grown their audience and revenue by as much as 200%. However, you can spend millions on marketing in hopes of winning favor with the public without realizing that it takes as little as one person to erode the goodwill you’ve built. While socially conscious marketing is helpful and even necessary today, a single revelation of toxic employee behavior can render all of those marketing efforts fruitless. Yes, the numbers say that socially conscious marketing pays dividends—but take a closer look and you’ll see the costs of toxic behavior are even greater.

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Google Walkout: Why It’s Up to Tech to Innovate Culture

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Google Walkout: Why It’s Up to Tech to Innovate Culture

The walkout against sexual harassment at Google last Friday turned heads. Following an investigation by the New York Times revealing that Android co-founder Andy Rubin was paid a $90 million exit package after being credibly accused of sexual misconduct, employees walked out across Google’s global offices. The world watched as over 20,000 Googlers demanded better reporting, greater transparency, and the end of forced arbitration around sexual harassment. Their actions carried such weight in the broader conversation that some have called this a “new kind of activism.”

Sexual misconduct has been previously exposed at large and powerful Silicon Valley firms, so what made this event so unprecedented? As a company, Google represents the pinnacle of corporate culture, offering everything from gourmet cafeterias to free time for side projects. So when more than 20 percent of Google’s workforce walked out in protest, they exposed a glaring gap in the company’s culture and shed light on its consequences. While backlash to harassment has often come in the form of lost revenue or negative press, the Google walkouts showed that employers who fail to engage cultural issues don’t just risk customer attrition or litigation. They risk losing large swaths of top talent, even if they’re Google…

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Why Corporate Culture is Far More Valuable Than Perks

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Why Corporate Culture is Far More Valuable Than Perks

Attracting and retaining talent is hard work. For years, employers have tried to understand what helps companies attract and retain top performers. For the most part, they've found that companies with great financial outcomes almost always have happy employees. The research even shows that it's employee satisfaction that results in good performance, not the other way around.

However, this phenomenon has led many companies to confuse the difference between culture and perks. In an attempt to please and attract high level talent, companies are spending more money than ever on perks and benefits believing this to be the key to happiness. Though the increase in company amenities, trips, and material rewards can temporarily boost employee satisfaction, it does little to address any real underlying issues that could be destroying your culture.

If your company offers great amenities but is experiencing low performance or high turnover, then you need to ask why it’s happening. Is it because you need to allocate more of your budget towards perks and benefits, or because your culture has a toxic behavior problem that you need to confront?

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What Background Checks Are Missing (That Online Screening Has Found)

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What Background Checks Are Missing (That Online Screening Has Found)

Standard background screening methods can help uncover and verify some valuable info. They help ensure that a candidate actually went to certain schools, worked for certain companies (with the correct titles and at the correct times), and didn’t commit criminal offenses. Depending on applicable state laws and company interests, they may also help spot drug usage and excess spending. With all these methods in the tool belt, why are we still on edge about who we’re hiring?

The reality is that traditional background checks don’t catch everything they should. Even when all of your background checks have done their jobs correctly, none of these checks will accurately predict a proclivity for criminal, toxic, or unprofessional behavior—and that means a clean ‘background check’ may still miss indicators of trouble to come.

While you might feel that your screening methods have been sufficient, the truth is there might be more falling between the cracks than you realize. In a time when companies in all industries are at risk, companies need a new safety net for their hiring process to capture massive volumes of user-generated content, and internal systems to manage a complex workforce that can make or break their company…

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Where Influencer Marketing Went Wrong (and how to make it right)

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Where Influencer Marketing Went Wrong (and how to make it right)

Influencer marketing has skyrocketed in the last 10 years. Since the arrival of social media, companies have witnessed the rise of a new personality called the influencer. With the ability to engage fans online and offline, influencers can drive purchasing decisions more powerfully than ever thought before. Companies clamor for influencers because their ads look authentic: rather than send a traditional ad into the news feed, brands can have influencers share a post of themselves using or endorsing the company’s product.

With an ability to connect with niche audiences and drive purchase decisions more quickly than most digital ads, influencers are an advertiser’s dream. However, that doesn't mean it's safe to dive right in. In their search for stars who bring in millions of dollars, many brands have foregone due diligence, which has led companies to spend thousands of dollars and hurt their brands in the process. Why does this happen? In part, it’s because only 29% of influencers are asked about their audience demographics. But to more fully understand how influencers can hurt your brand, we need to understand their motivations…

Interested in knowing the full costs of influencer risk? Download our Media & Entertainment risk packet here.

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Defining Corporate Culture: Google Takes A Stand

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Defining Corporate Culture: Google Takes A Stand

The recent events in Charlottesville have forced companies from small startups to Fortune 500s to ask themselves difficult questions about what they stand for as an organization. This blog is the first in a series spotlighting companies that have had to make tough decisions about what their core values actually mean in practice. Today we take a look at the recent controversy around the released memo written by a Google employee.

This past week, the tech giant fired an engineer who wrote a controversial memo criticizing, among other things, the company's diversity efforts and the role of women in the workplace. The memo spread like wildfire internally and then went viral, causing a massive PR headache for the company. The news story is a setback for Google which has been already under fire for gender discrimination. According to TechCrunch, "The timing of the saga is not good for Google, which was hit by a lawsuit in January to obtain compensation data, ending up with a snafu over gender pay discrimination."

If Google is serious about addressing the real issues of gender discrimination in their organization, then they have some difficult work cut out for them. To do it, an organization must be committed to consistent communication to their employees of the values of the organization and be willing to take controversial stands when those values aren’t upheld.

However, these efforts will likely be futile absent a systematic approach to bringing on board individuals who are aligned to the company’s values and mission. Building a strong corporate culture is hard enough when team members do generally agree on values; it’s almost impossible when most don’t.

If your organization cares about your mission statement being more than just a tab on your marketing page, it will have to make decisions like the one Google recently made. The blowback from Google’s actions were magnified because it had failed to convince the public and its own organization of its authentic commitment to those values. Looking at strength of character in addition to job experience of your candidates is one way to do just that. You may even prevent hiring someone who discriminates against your employees or causes a media scandal for your organization.

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