What We’re Reading – November 2022


We are back with What We’re Reading this month – a monthly roundup of current news, commentary, challenges and trends that impact our industry as well as those of our clients. From the coverage of transitions at Twitter and the collapse of FTX to the 2022 World Cup, here’s a look at what stood out to our team in November. 


Some DEI policies send the wrong message, survey warns – Laurel Kalser, HR Dive

“There’s no question having a more diverse workforce is very beneficial to organizations and society at large, but this article suggests some well-intentioned DEI initiatives and policies may be creating unintended negative consequences.  As with so many other sensitive topics in our deeply divided country, great care must be exercised in all workplace communications and training to ensure the recipients/implementers don’t misunderstand or misinterpret employer directives. Beyond that, and it’s somewhat surprising this even needs to be said: any company openly deprioritizing the hiring or promotion of any demographic group should expect a great deal of blowback and criticism internally and externally.” – Nick Kalm

Here’s the apology letter Sam Bankman-Fried sent to FTX employees: ‘When sh—y things happen to us, we all tend to make irrational decisions’ – Kate Rooney and MacKenzie Sigalos, CNBC

“While the entire FTX collapse has been both fascinating and horrifying to watch, this letter is one of the more interesting examples of executive (or, in this case, former executive) communications I’ve seen. Sam Bankman-Fried may have thought he was coming across as sincere and taking accountability when he wrote the letter but his assertions that the company could have been saved eight minutes after he signed the Chapter 11 paperwork or that it could still be saved prove otherwise. I agree with the former FTX employee quoted in the article that this letter is “too little, too late,” and think it should serve as an example of how not to communicate after such a spectacular downfall.” – RJ Bruce

Sam Bankman-Fried issues mea culpa in letter to former FTX employees – Joshua Oliver, Financial Times

“There is a lot to consider when reviewing the FTX case, as so many were impacted. When addressing a crisis, internal communications is one of, if not the most, important communications channel to consider. Employees are an organization’s most important asset. What can we learn from Bankman-Fried’s mea culpa? The growth of margin positions cannot outweigh the growth contributed by staff, and their stake in the company is just as important as any investor.” – Catherine McCoy

Preventing Communication Gaps Makes Productivity Better, Too. Here’s How. – Graham Glass, Entrepreneur

“This article explores the silo mentality and its impact on organizational success when employees don’t share information with teams as frequently, and/or the same way, as they did when everyone was working in a central location. The author offers a tip for overcoming silo mentality – build a space of psychological safety and free expression.” – Kate Grodsky


Two Weeks of Chaos: Inside Elon Musk’s Takeover of Twitter – Kate Conger, Mike Isaac, Ruan Mac and Tiffany HSU, The New York Times

“Witnessing Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been one of those things that is so cringe-worthy it’s hard for me to not pay attention. The way in which employees were laid off and threatened is truly shocking and not something I would expect from a well thought of company like Twitter. Musk does not seem to be considering the impact of how he mistreats employees on the overall business – and this article confirms that big-name advertisers are pausing advertising for that very reason. Musk’s vision for Twitter appears outwardly to not be well thought out and is an extreme example of how quickly a new CEO can transition the opinion of the firm they join.” – Kellie Clock


Smirnoff promotes safe holiday drinking with animated ‘Drops of Advice’ Sara Karlovitch, Marketing Dive

“When your brand promotes a vice, such as drinking, you must take extra care to ensure you’re viewed in a positive light, and Smirnoff’s “Drops of Advice” is an attempt to do just that. This campaign simultaneously assures the public that it’s ok to have fun during the holiday season while also reminding them to drink responsibly. Moves like this are a great way to stay relevant while putting yourself ahead of the reputational curve.” – Fred Walls


More CMOs Are Investing in Their Personal Brands – Patrick Coffee, The Wall Street Journal

“If given the choice, most people would prefer to buy from or do business with companies and/or people they know. Interestingly, this article poses the notion that some CMOs (and this could apply to all C-suite executives) might run the risk of being too self-promotional. However, if done correctly, executives can find the balance of presenting their authentic self and expertise in a way that best serves themselves and their company – these sorts of leadership campaigns are win-wins.” – Brendan Griffith


The World Cup That Changed Everything – Tariq Panja and Rory Smith, The New York Times

“Controversy and crisis mitigation – that seems to be at the heart of news surrounding this year’s World Cup games in Qatar. Ever since announcing the games in Qatar, FIFA officials have had to mitigate and respond to criticisms from around the world. Whether concerns about migrant workforce and labor safety, or the latest ban on alcohol in the arenas, we’re going to continue to see as much drama off the pitch as we are on it during these games.” – Frances Fryten


The State of Podcasting 2022 – Muck Rack

“Muck Rack recently published their “State of Podcasting 2022” Report and there are a lot of interesting insights. One of the most compelling things I learned is that current events are the leading source of podcast content, so when pitching a potential guest, the topic should be well-informed by the latest news or research. While podcasting may still be viewed separately from traditional online media, the way you pitch both are vastly similar. For example, keeping pitches short (roughly 100 words max.) and making your pitch personalized to the person and medium are best practices when it comes to pitching both traditional media and podcasts.” – Haley Hartmann

LinkedIn Launches Native Post Scheduling in the App – Andrew Hutchinson, Social Media Today

“Hip hip, hooray! LinkedIn has always been one of my favorite social platforms, however there’s no denying it has fallen a bit behind on some of the basic capabilities that can make a social media manager’s life a lot easier. I’m so pleased to see the platform has finally added the ability to schedule content natively! While most third-party scheduling tools already enable LinkedIn scheduling, there’s something to be said about the reliability of native scheduling – including accurate post previews and less likelihood of technical hiccups impacting post timing.” – Paige Borgman


US soccer star Tyler Adams’ response to mispronouncing Iran is a lesson in class – Scott Stump, Today

“Anyone looking for a prime example of just about every best practice for executive presence and media training should look no further than how U.S. captain Tyler Adams handles and responds to this line of questioning – 1) don’t take it personally, 2) don’t get defensive, 3) be open and acknowledge mistakes, 4) connect with personal stories, 5) be authentic, 6) address what you can directly, don’t ‘over’ comment or commit,…I could go on. You couldn’t ask for a better spokesperson for our team – or your organization if handled similarly.” – Andrew Moyer