What We’re Reading – July 2022


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 Apple’s announcement to slow hiring to Meta’s updates to the Facebook app to America’s youth mental health crisis, here’s a look at the news that stood out to our team in July. 


Baby boomers most likely to boycott activist companies – Eleanor Hawkins, Axios

“When deciding whether to get involved in corporate activism, many firms consider the mounting pressure to weigh in on social issues while others place more weight on the potential backlash associated with doing so. While both are valid concerns, especially amid an increasingly socio-political environment, new research from PwC shows that on average only 1 in 5 people will boycott a brand due to its stance on societal issues. That being said, the generational divide is clear – older consumers may reject brands with which they disagree, while younger generations will likely support brands that align with their values. For communicators, the lesson here is to know your key stakeholders and be cognizant of their attitudes on such issues before taking a stance.” – Gene White

It’s time for corporate America to address the youth mental health crisis – Naomi Allen, Fast Company

“Corporations need to evolve business strategies to provide a tangible and significant impact solving society’s greatest crises. This article illustrates a key opportunity: making a difference for a critical issue like youth mental health. Corporations who wish to win over consumers, garner positive media coverage, retain and attract current and new employees, should consider how they can incorporate strategies that help them become better corporate citizens. It is important that the strategies align with their corporate values to be authentic and most impactful.” – Michael Grimm


Facebook’s workforce grew more diverse when it embraced remote work – Naomi Nix, The Washington Post

“I think most of us are generally aware that employees enjoy the flexibility that comes with working remote/hybrid. However, in this Washington Post article, it’s fascinating to see the success of this as a company benefit and what could be considered an impactful DEI initiative in an organization’s recruitment and retention strategy. Definitely something to keep an eye on.“ – Haley Hartmann

HR has a PR problem. So how can industry pros demonstrate their value? – Emilie Shumway, HR Dive

“Having worked with numerous, high-quality HR pros, I know their work is critical to addressing challenging situations and seizing opportunities, from leadership transitions, succession planning, restructurings, professional development, recruitment and retention and so much more. And, PR is often a critical partner to HR in addressing many of those issues and others, such as labor relations, employer branding, best place to work recognition and more. But, as this piece explains, the HR function is often taken for granted in good times and blamed (sometimes unfairly) in bad times. This serves as a good reminder that all organizational support functions (including HR and, yes, PR) need to proactively and regularly explain to other departments and employees the critical role they play and the results they achieve. That helps ensure those functions are engaged, funded, valued and relied upon in the right ways – all of which are critical to efficiency and organizational success.” – Nick Kalm

7 ways to make hybrid work really work – Ryan Cairns, Fast Company

“COVID-19 continues to reshape how and where we work in America. More and more, employees are reporting working from home by choice rather than necessity. In fact, I joined the team at Reputation Partners because it was a remote position. But, team integration and collaboration looks different in this new, trending hybrid work environment. With the right tools and structure, the hybrid work model can, and should, work really well for teams and foster productivity and connectivity.” – Kate Grodsky

Apple to Slow Hiring and Spending for Some Teams Next Year – Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

“Given the looming recession, Apple’s announcement to slow hiring for the foreseeable future is not out of the ordinary. What will define this moment is how the company continues to communicate around this issue to both current and prospective employees. For many under 35, this is the first financial crisis they’ve lived through as working professionals. How a company handles itself in times of economic uncertainty has lasting reputational implications and can change how job seekers view them in the future.” – Fred Walls


Meta tweaks Facebook app to act more like TikTok. – Mike Isaac, The New York Times

“Facebook has made numerous updates to the way its app looks and operates over the years. Unfortunately, those updates have often resulted in users criticizing the company because they didn’t like the changes that were made. This announcement may be an attempt by Facebook to preemptively counter the critics, and it will be interesting to see how users react now that they know changes are coming.” – RJ Bruce


Chipotle Shuts Store in Maine That Wanted to Unionize – Allison Prang, The Wall Street Journal

“Whether this specific Chipotle location was shut down for legitimate reasons or it was a tactic to prevent unionization is a question that could easily be debated by both sides. However, after reading this news and continuing to watch the ongoing unionization efforts across Starbucks’ footprint, one thing is not debatable: unionization isn’t going anywhere, and companies need to be prepared from a communications standpoint. Now especially, it is critical for organizations to be implementing a strong internal/employee communications program that connects with its employees, conveys the company’s values, and sheds light on topics of importance to employees when the unions ultimately come knocking on their door.” – Brendan Griffith

‘A threat to the whole world’: CEO of Ukrainian PR firm fights on the front lines – Volodymyr Dehtyarov, PR Daily

“Practice what you preach. That should be the case in our industry regardless of what’s going on but is ever so true in the midst of very real, very serious conflict. Dehtyarov expresses this clearly in this Q&A about his move from business owner and PR specialist to public affairs officer for the Ukrainian military. Day in and day out he is using basic communications best practices. However, it’s humbling to remember that our day-to-day crisis communications work does not usually have a life-or-death impact.” – Frances Fyten

Want to know how much your colleagues make? California might crack open companies’ books  – Alexander Nieves, Politico

“Be honest: how many people had a global pandemic shutting down the entire world in their crisis preparedness efforts prior to March 2020? The experience of companies large and small dealing with communications they were unprepared for at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (and continuing still) is only the most recent, and most visible example of the need to always be evaluating and planning against an organization’s risk set. Rarely is an unexpected risk as telegraphed as the potential for dramatic changes in how a company may need to communicate its compensation should California succeed in its pay scale disclosure efforts. Whether it passes or not, organizations need to begin putting together their communications plans for how, if and when they will share a position or point of view on the broad topic of compensation. Better to prepare and lay the communications foundation prior to being forced to do so while being unprepared.” – Andrew Moyer