What We’re Reading – January 2021


What We’re Reading is a monthly roundup of current news, commentary, challenges and trends that impact our industry as well as those of our clients. From the new administration’s impact on labor enforcement to lessons learned from the GameStop crisis to adapting pitches to noisy news cycles, here’s a look at the news that stood out to our team in January: 


How to Adapt Your Pitches During Noisy News Cycles Lisa Martin, Ragan’s PR Daily

“Throughout 2020 and into 2021, we’ve been challenged to be heard by media through the heaviest news cycles (pandemic, BLM movement, Presidential election/inauguration). Some of the tips offered in this article re-emphasize the importance of storytelling and strategically weaving relevant pitches into the current news cycle. It also stresses the importance of adapting to the media’s preference when pitching and communicating through their preferred platforms such as their social channels or blog.” – Haley Hartmann

2 steps for using earned media to build brand authority  Amanda Milligan, Ragan’s PR Daily

“In a time where the media landscape is rapidly trying to adjust to impacts from the pandemic, validating media outreach efforts is critical. This article provides insight on impactful content ideas to gain media coverage and build trust with viewers.” – Natalie Wanner

7 PR trends to follow for 2021 Olga Fleming & Courtney Walker, Ragan’s PR Daily

“This one was an interesting read because it shows how we need to continue to shift the way we think about communicating. Brands are moving toward using only short-form (60 seconds max) because consumers have a lot less downtime and lower attention spans. People that were used to commuting for two hours a day at the beginning of 2020 don’t have that same in the day, so content needs to be powerful and concise. Something for us to keep in mind as we continue developing plans and recommending tactics for our clients.” – Stephanie Murray


How To Harness The Hot New Social Media App Clubhouse To Build Your Brand MeiMei Fox, Forbes

“For those just hearing about Clubhouse, this is a helpful read to get up to speed on the app’s capabilities as well as potential benefits to a brand or leader’s visibility. With 2 million active weekly users there’s a lot of noise to navigate, but the app is worth exploring from an executive positioning standpoint as it offers a much deeper level of engagement and conversation with your audience (when properly leveraged) than other social channels.” – Paige Borgman

Big Tech is outsourcing its hardest content moderation decisionsAshley Gold, Axios

“I thought this article presented an interesting potential long-term risk that brands/companies may need to start thinking about. Will this pushing of content moderation responsibility to individuals/entities outside the tech company place additional expectations or risks on brands to weigh in on moderation decisions? Should we expect that activists might look to take advantage of crowd-sourced moderation features like Birdwatch to label company posts as misleading if they are not living up to expectations or commitments?” – Andrew Moyer


Meatable’s New Branding Pitches Cultivated Meat as ‘The New Natural’ Megan Williams, Creative Review 

“This article highlights Studio Koto’s creative approach to rebranding Meatables, a cultivated meat brand, as “the new natural” and effectively distanced the brand from lab and industrial farming related imagery and messaging.” – Tim Mikulski


Top NLRB Lawyer’s Firing Muddies Future Labor Enforcement Robert Iafolla, Bloomberg Law

“I found this article to be of interest because nearly everyone expects 2021 to be a year that features more union activity (organizing, corporate campaigns, strikes) than we’ve seen in years. That’s because both Congress and the White House are now under Democratic control, and the numerous signals the Biden Administration has sent regarding its support for labor unions.  

This article suggests there may be some fertile ground for employers challenging decisions coming out of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) general counsel’s office. That role is known as the most powerful in adjudicating labor/management disputes and the Biden Administration’s unprecedented firing of Peter Robb has potentially set those wheels in motion.” – Nick Kalm


GameStop Story Provides These 7 Crisis Management Lessons for Business Leaders Edward Segal, Forbes

“There are never-ending takes on the GameStop crisis, and the situation continues to evolve today. From a crisis communications standpoint, there are multiple lessons: speed and tone of the response, the degree of proactive nature of the company to “get ahead” of the crisis by having sound and effective monitoring tools, and having the right timing of response to not inflame the crisis worse.

But, one sticks out the most: having an effective crisis plan and showing empathy in the crisis. Being prepared and practicing empathy will go a great deal in preserving reputation and mitigating damage caused by a crisis, and can in some circumstances, help enhance reputation.

Gamestop, the hedge funds in question and Robin Hood fell silent to the media, “experts,” and millions of Reddit users to control the narrative and inflame the situation with misinformation, conspiracy theories and hearsay. Facts and truth must be presented by the parties involved, and they can’t stand on the sidelines in this viral world we are in.” –

Michael Grimm

Accusations of Sexism and Discrimination at Boulevard Brewing Company Show the Industry Still Has Far to Go Beth Demmon, Vinepair

“After widespread allegations of discriminatory behavior towards women broke via Reddit Sunday evening, the brewing industry saw a ‘fall from grace’ at Boulevard Brewing Company.

All it took was 48 hours. Boulevard’s initial (and widely condemned) response added fuel to the reputational crisis, which has so far resulted in three executives losing their jobs. While still unfolding, the crisis at Boulevard reminds me of the critical value of an initial response, how easily one can lose a reputation and how hard it will be to repair trust.” – Frances Fyten


Hiring Tips for a Multigenerational Workforce: From Baby Boomers to Gen ZKiely Kuligowski, business.com

“The first wave of Generation Z is beginning to enter the corporate workforce, meaning for the first time ever employers will need to engage employees across five different generations. It’s imperative that we all come together and understand how each of us has a unique and different point of view.” –

Ruben Castro