What We’re Reading – July 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 union negotiations including vaccine mandates to TikTok Resumes to the employer brand imperative, here’s a look at the news that stood out to our team in July: 


Unions and hospitals headed for showdown over vaccine mandates – David Hogberg, Washington Examiner

“Union negotiations and vaccine mandates are two controversial issues that are now intertwined at hospitals, which are Ground Zero in the nation’s COVID-19 fight.  If hospitals are finding it tricky to navigate through communicating vaccine requirements, employers with represented employees outside of healthcare are going to have an even tougher time.” – Nick Kalm


IPOs are on track for a record year as companies cash in on sky-high stock prices – Yun Li, CNBC

“‘The IPO boom also coincides with the rising force of retail investors who are eager to own a piece of their favorite companies.’ The quote lends itself to the importance of and need for companies that go public to engage in an ongoing PR and financial communications push to continue telling their success stories and what differentiates their companies (read: makes them special) in the eyes of current and prospective investors.” – Brenden Griffin


The Employer Brand Imperative: Why It’s More Important than Ever – Alex Rynne, LinkedIn

“This is an insightful article on how essential it is for brands and organizations to be purpose-driven and people-centric in order to succeed. Today’s marketers and communications teams need to understand that building a strong brand isn’t only about appealing to customers, but also current and future employees. Because when your people succeed, your business succeeds.” – Paige Borgman


Ben & Jerry’s withdraws sales from Israeli settlements but clashes with parent company Unilever – Olivia Solon, NBC News

“While I genuinely feel for the communications teams stuck in the middle of this situation, watching the clash between Ben & Jerry’s independent board and Unilever play out in media statements has been fascinating. Internal disagreements on leadership teams (especially between a parent company and a subsidiary) are not uncommon, but it’s rare to see a direct rebuke like the one from Ben & Jerry’s board chair, Anuradha Mittal, so freely distributed. This type of ongoing public debate will only do further damage to the reputations of both Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever and could act as a signal to competitors that there’s opportunity to grab market share away from one or both organizations.” – RJ Bruce

For FEMA head, trip to wildfire regions reaffirms drive to address climate change – Andrew Freedman, Axios

“There’s a great quote in here from FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell about needing ‘to start to look at future risks, instead of just looking at the historical data…’. She is speaking specifically to the impacts of climate change but is spot on for how companies should also be thinking about a continued risk assessment program to stay ahead on crisis preparedness. Data, and past experience, are an important input for evaluating current and future risks, but shouldn’t be the only one. Too often companies are not giving equal weight to continued evaluation of future risks (how many people had truly gamed out the impacts of a global pandemic before 2020?), or how current risks may evolve in unexpected ways.” – Andrew Moyer


You can now apply for a job through TikTok – Dave Gershgorn, The Verge

“If you haven’t heard the recent news, TikTok launched a pilot program called ‘TikTok Resumes.’ Applicants can use the tool to find current job openings from companies such as Target, Chipotle, Meredith and Shopify, and apply through the site. All they need to do is upload a creative video explaining why they’re the best candidate. For more competitive jobs, these video applications could serve as a unique way to showcase one’s personality and skills instead of on a traditional paper resume.” – Haley Hartmann

Clubhouse Establishes Exclusive Deal With TED To Expand Its Content Pool – Andrew Hutchinson, Social Media Today

“Since Clubhouse has continued to rise in popularity, creating content to sustain the app’s growing success has posed a unique challenge. With Clubhouse’s recent partnership with the respected organization, TED, it will be interesting to see if other well-established organizations will follow suit. In addition, what will this mean for Clubhouse’s success, credibility, and sustainability against key social audio platform competitors, such as, Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio, Spotify Greenroom, and many more.” – Natalie Wanner

Influencer marketing commandeers budget, but ROI tracking and measurement is way behind – Richard Carufel, Agility PR

“I’ve recently been focused on a number of reports about effectively measuring the ROI of PR campaigns, and found this recent report focused on influencer marketing to be particularly interesting. Marketers are focusing more and more on influencer outreach and social media partnerships as a tool to reach their audiences effectively. However, nearly three-quarters (71%) still do not feel they are tracking ROI accurately, instead “relying on likes, shares, comments (84 percent), site traffic (65 percent) and impressions (55 percent).” As we have more access to data, I’m excited to see how we as PR professionals ensure our campaign strategies and decision-making are backed by analytics.” – Fran Fyten

7 PR trends to follow for 2021 – Olga Fleming and Courtney Walker, PR Daily

“As we are starting to come out of the COVID pandemic, brands and companies are embracing technologies that humanize meetings to help organizers ‘read the room.’ With many people around the globe at home, people are consuming more content but in a new way. How do PR/Marketing companies successfully utilize this new form of technology?” – Alex Engel


Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters – Nelson D. Schwartz and Coral Murphy Marcos, The New York Times

“This article illustrates the need for companies to adopt proactive internal communications strategies regarding shifting remote work policies since the pandemic began. The article shows there is a generational divide regarding remote work–millennials tend to favor working from home and older generations tend to prefer returning to the office. Internal communications strategies must have the ability to listen to their workforce via efficient surveys and other employee engagement mediums, and consequently adopt favorable policies to prevent talent from leaving.” – Michael Grimm