Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign

I have found dozens of companies that practice good CSR, but I have fallen in love with Dove.

I want to disclose that Dove isn’t paying me for this post nor am I a medical professional. The views I express are entirely my own. Please do what is best for yourself and use whatever health care products that you wish.

Now then, here are the 4 reasons why Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is great CSR

1. Corporate social responsibility is anchored in having a philosophy that benefits the public and the company. The Dove Real Beauty campaign was created in 2004, and their first objective was to widen the cultural definition of beauty. Age, weight, height and skin color were targeted by different campaigns.

2. Dove thought creativity about how to reach audiences. The most well known campaign is the “Real Beauty Sketches” which aired on television in the early part of 2013.

This video tugged at the heartstrings of American women. For a while, the advertisement was the most viewed commercial on YouTube. As a student of journalism, Doves’ creative tactics got my attention. I am impressed with how Dove continues to integrate marketing and social media to create natural spokes models.

3. The power of a review from a friend. There are dozens of brands and hundreds of products to choose from at the store – having a friend recommend one thing over the other is what PR is all about. (Advertizing is telling people your product is the best, PR is having people tell others that your product is the best).

Below is a screen shot of Dove’s Instagram page highlighting how beauty is in every woman. Using Instagram to encourage women to promote their natural beauty and dove products is a great PR tactic.

4. Dove’s compliment campaign “Girl’s Self Esteem”. After so much social media coverage people wanted to know what else Dove was doing to empower women, especially young girls, who are very impressionable. Dove commissioned a global report “The Real Truth About Beauty” in 2004. A highlighting factor is only 4 percent of girls describe themselves as beautiful. Dove is trying to widen the definition of beautiful, not by encouraging girls to buy their products to become beautiful, but to buy their products to keep clean and celebrate their own beauty.

What is in a name you trust?

Google: noun. The number 10 raised to 100 (10^100), or 1 followed by 100 zeros.

The above definition isn’t the first thing I associate with Google. Rather, I like everyone else with internet literacy knows Google is a multifaceted tool of learning, communication and innovation. I say this in confidence because in the last four years Google as tied for no. 1 place of “most trusted company”.

At first glance Google can be perceived as a horizontally integrated  firm owning communication applications (Gmail, Google+ and Drive), marketing applications (AdWords, Finance and Google Analytics) and recreational applications (YouTube, Google Play and Hangouts).

Did you know that Google is moving towards vertical integration? Google created an inexpensive notebook, known as the Google Cromebook, which exclusively runs on internet based Google applications. Additionally Google is testing out their own internet providing services. In the summer of 2013, New Zealand played host to “Project Loon” which launched 30 balloons into the stratosphere to bring people a 3G-comparable internet connection for 25-miles around.

In the United States Google has selected test-cites to implement similar “Project Loon” internet connections. These implementations are called “Fiberhoods“. Google is building infrastructure and laying cables to bring fiberhoods faster internet connections.

In Kansas City Mo., Google was criticized in late April (2014) by community officials who had evidence that that implementing internet access in affluent neighborhoods is widening the gap between wealthy and minorities/elderly. The problem facilitating the criticism was Google was unable to reach, and then gain sing-up for service informaiton, from people without internet access. Furthermore Google didn’t have the ability to sign-up for internet service in a paper form. In other words people who could sing-up for fiberhoods were switching from one internet service provider to another.

Bridging the gap between people with internet access and without internet access proved to be a challenge Google had not anticipated. But Google used a very unique PR outreach after the issue had been brought to their attention.

Like a bookmobile or ice cream truck, Google took a van to neighborhoods whose residents may not have regular access to internet. The vans purpose was to gain registration to expand the fiberhood across Kansans City.

From Wyszomierski Google+

Now Kansas City may feel like hundred of miles away to all of my Oregon friends, but it’s important to keep tabs on the Google fiberhoods because one could be coming to Portland, Ore. very soon.
Infact there are nine proposed locations for the next Google Fiber City.

So what does this mean for the future of online existence? What will happen when the internet provider also provides email, search engine, video player, books and App store? I am going to make an educated guess and say that people will have to relay on public relations consultants to manage and define their identity online.

Right now, it is common for PR practitioners to have their legal name on everything, but I wonder if that will change in the next 10 to 20 years. Perhaps everyone will adopt a pseudonym for security measures, and only leave their legal name for official records (have an SSN isn’t enough these days). It would be reasonable for everyone to use a pen-name while online, especially as Google infiltrates more of our lives. I will blog more about pseudonyms in July 2014.

With Google establishing itself with horizontal integration and vertical integration, image management will begin playing a big roll in how we interact with the company we trust our electronic communication, and our lives, to.

Have a comment? Post below!

Infographic

I was asked to put together an infographic for a class assignment. Infographics are like 5000 piece puzzles. They look fun at a distance, but once you start working you find yourself in a sea of small data points that don’t look like they will fit into a nice display.

Here is my finished puzzle, er… I… I mean “Infographic”

Infographic Female Education t3

I am pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out. I compiled this on Microsoft PowerPoint.
Don’t pass out – stay with me for a moment! I know there are vast collections of data visualization software available at my fingertips, but I’ve played around with a lot of different programs and I haven’t stumbled on anything I click with. I also knew that I wanted my infographic to be rectangle for distribution on posters or websites.

But enough about that. I chose to make an infographic for female literacy rates around the world because getting young girls an education is something I have been actively apart of my whole life. I found the most complete information on female education information though the United Nations Children’s Fund State of the World 2012 education report. I created a map with Google Fusion Tables that showed each countries young female literacy rate. Coding that data took over two hours, but I am happy that I am displaying a map that I created and not one that I pulled off the internet. Then I added a small call-to-action via World Vision because I have been sponsoring a child through them since 2011 and I am familiar with their programs. World Vision is also recommended by UNICF Girl’s Education Initiative along side a handful of other organizations.

Here are my tips for creating an infographic

1. Be original and authentic. Infographics aren’t a cork board collage of pretty images. Create everything yourself and don’t hesitate to do something nontraditional. The way we visualize data changes week to week – maybe your original design will be popular soon.

2. Know your audience. Creating information for a specific audience will make any communication easier.

3. Use color wisely. If you have time to get fancy and match color palettes then skip this tip. I fought with the world map to make the colors different but in the end I had to be okay with green. However, with the pink lady icons I was able to adjust the brightness to give the illusion of fading color.  The goal is to get a viewers eye to dance around the infographic and pick out key bits of information.

This post is Gluten-Free

A week after I learned I was allergic to dairy, almonds and coconut, a friend invited me to her birthday party. Being a little kid, I felt uncomfortable asking what kind of cake she was going to serve, but I knew I had to ask. She told me “a white cake with almond chunks and coconut shaved frosting”. I wish I was making this story up for dramatic effect, but it really happen. I tried to politely explain that I won’t be able to eat the cake but I would still like to come. Unfortunately we were so young that having a “new” food allergy was in an attack on her mother’s cooking. I was swiftly uninvited to the birthday party.

Several years later that same friend discovered she was unable to digest gluten. She was scared and refused to eat anything, so I purchased vegan gluten-free nut-free cookies, and we talked about the new chapter in her life. The moral of this short story is a chocolate chip cookie can always make you feel better.

Lucys-Gluten-Free-Cookies-Chocolate-Chip-897519001006

It can be frustrating to keep up with the newest healthy food craze. If you are only preparing meals for yourself it might be easier to peruse the nutrition label and ingredients list while in the grocery store. But if you are caught in the store with little kids, you may not be able to concentrate on the fine print.

A recent New York Times article discussed the trend of gluten-free foods. It reported “a Mayo Clinic survey in 2012 concluded that only 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack the small intestine when gluten is ingested and can lead to other debilitating medical problems if not diagnosed. An additional 18 million people, or about 6 percent of the population, is believed to have gluten sensitivity, a less severe problem with the protein in wheat, barley and rye and their relatives that gives elasticity to dough and stability to the shape of baked goods.”

The Stanford School of Medicine believes if one family member is allergic to something, then there is a 60 percent chance that another family member will have the same allergy.  Simply put, two out of three children in a home will be allergic to the same food. This means it is easier for some households to discontinue purchasing the irritant food in favor of a food that everyone can eat. Cleansing the pantry and fridge of all foods related to an allergy is the best way to keep kids safe while encouraging independence in food choices.

So when does too many gluten-free options become a problem?

The entry into the market is easy for small facilities that sell locally, because a small to mid-sized bakery can concentrate all of the resources on producing gluten-free products. Larger companies and national chains may struggle to break into the gluten-free market because of cross contamination and problems surrounding freshness. Personally, I don’t think there can be too many products that cater to dietary restrictions. Variety is important.

Image from ripenfit.com

Poor corporate social responsibility comes when products are advertizing gluten-free under the pretense that the recipe has been altered to make the product gluten-free. Many foods and processed products are gluten-free by nature. Adding a label to the cover of a box doesn’t alter the content of the product inside, but it does give consumers the illusion of purchasing the best product.

On the other hand, labeling products as gluten-free is good corporate social responsibility because the company is informing consumers about the product and allowing more people to try their product. In fact many popular companies like Hershey and General Mills have lists of foods that are compatible with dietary restrictions.

The corporate social responsibility component of gluten-free products is rooted in the motive behind producing, labeling and selling gluten-free items.

Do you prefer gluten-free foods? Let me know why in the comments below.

CSRwire hosts Twitter chat

The CSRwire hosted a Twitter chat on Feb. 12, 2014 to talk with corporate social responsibility opinion leaders. For my blog post I am going to list the questions I liked the best and then talk about the responses.

The first questions posed was

Capture CSRwire Q1

The top responses included; transparency, nontraditional partnerships and recognizing consumers as a primary stakeholder.

I agree with this list. Transparency is something that businesses are going to strive for on a day-to-day basis. The yearly CSR reports containing miles of text have a very short half-life if compared to monthly or quarterly reports of CSR work. Transparency involves timeliness.
Then there is the rise of self-aware consumers. Arguably, they have always been present, but what is changing is how businesses treat them. The power of social media allows boycotts to start before a public relations specialist has time to punch out a news release to calm the fire. Being present and available for communication is important for survival, because substitute products are always available in the market and consumers have no problem paying a little extra for the production of products they want.

Capture CSRwire Q2Top answers: Tangible value, qualitative data and completeness in data.

Numbers and short feature stories aren’t enough – they were never enough. So what if your company reduced water waste by 30 percent? In the process you outsourced and then optimized resulting in the layoff of 1,000 employees. Is that really CSR?
Each action a corporation makes in the name of CSR is going to have negative impact somewhere else. Consumers are seeing this and it makes them disappointed. This is why completeness in the data is crucial. It is important to find all consequences a choice has and minimize damage before it even happens.

(Skipping a few questions)

Capture  CSRwire Q7GRI is Global Reporting Initiative and it comes from the fact that many companies operate internationally.

Top answers are story telling and competitive firms.

GRI can be difficult. For example lets say there is a company that makes shirts. They get cotton from the United States, thread from Thailand and machines from China, but the assembly takes place in Mexico. Is it the shirt companies responsibility to make sure that employees are being paid well in Thailand? How can they? The shirt company is only buying thread, they aren’t responsible for wages. Global Reporting allows some transparency in the inputs of production. So while the shirt company may be practicing great CSR, the components of their product may have bad CSR. Accurately measuring a product would involve tracking it back through the manufacturing process. I hope to see more GRI as 2014 progresses.

What soon-to-be graduates should know about salary

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It’s that time of year when hundreds of thousands of college students transition from full-time education to full-time employment.

But I am prepared… right? I have a résumé, writing samples and graphic designs that have been reviewed, torn apart and sewn together multiple times. I’ve even completed more internships than what can fit on my résumé. The graduation line is just 1 ½  terms away, I can almost taste the coffee from my future employers communal coffeemaker.

With résumé and work samples in hand, I sat down at my computer and began searching for jobs. I wasn’t window shopping this time, I was searching for the real deal. When I found a job listing I liked, I would search for their current public relation efforts. I even ran searches to see how other people like working at the company/branch.

But all my education, job experience and window shopping had left me unprepared for five little words.
“Please include your salary requirements”

Really? The last time I had to negotiate a salary was when I was 16 and babysitting. This salary inquiry got me thinking about how much college graduates may not know about salary negotiations. I have compiled a list of the top 5 things I believe every college graduate should know.

1. Know your bottom figure. Pull out a calculator and pen to do some calculations. What is rent, electric, cable, student loans, food, and bills going to be each month? Come up with a number that will get you from one month to the next and then start thinking about savings for emergencies and savings for retirement (yes I said “retirement”). Multiply this number by 12 to get the yearly income. This number should be your bottom figure, the least amount of money that you need for the beginning of your career.

2. Find out how much other people in the field make. This can be as simple as politely asking or preforming an internet search. I would recommend onetonline.org where salaries for any job in any state are listed. For example in Oregon, PR practitioners are expected to make an average of $79,000 a year when national average is $95,500. (Keep in mind that the cost of living in Oregon is typically low). Image below is taken from this link.

OR vs National wage PR

3. Come up with a range. A range demonstrates the research preformed in steps 1 and 2. According to Doyle employer’s ask for salary requirements because they are screening out people who ask for more money than the company can afford. For example, a company would loose money if they invest in you and then you quickly leave because your pay is too low. Employers are trying to find a candidate that fits their budget.

O’Donnell’s LinkedIn post had a good script for when you are negotiating your salary. O’Donnell says: Share with the employer you are looking to make between __ and __. Now, this range will be pretty wide, so you should immediately follow-up with something like this: “The reason the range is so broad is, for me, no two jobs are the same. Money isn’t my only criteria for work. The benefits and opportunities for growing my skills are equally important in my mind. So, I’m willing to be flexible in my salary, depending upon the position.”

4. Know when to discuss your ideal salary.  Only put your salary range on your résumé, cover letter or application if asked too by the organization. Sometimes the salary negotiations don’t come up until after you have been offered the job. However, it is still important to know what you are worth before applying.

5. Don’t buckle under pressure. I was once told “your interview is 50 percent ‘do we want this person working here?’ and 50 percent ‘do I want to work here?’ “. I believe this to be very true. I am fully aware that a potential employer may try to low-ball me, despite how great we are getting along during the interview. The competition for any job is high, and in the back of the mind we know someone is willing to do the same job for less money. Remember that if they asked you for your salary requirements it means they are open to negotiation. Show off your portfolio, be polite and don’t buckle under your bottom figure.

Got a burning question? Have anything to share? Comment below!

Pushing Smokers Out

Just as the white paper shrinks on a lit cigarette, the smoking phase is turning to ash.  In the Northwest; Washington, Oregon and California have statewide laws prohibiting the use of tobacco in restaurants, bars and hospitals. Even at the University of Oregon, as of Sept 1, 2012, smoking is no longer allowed on campus. The culture of smoking is being pushed aside. I am of the generation where I never saw someone smoking indoors nor did I ever see advertizements for tobacco. This is the result of decades of laws restricting smoking. These laws are designed to promote health and decrease the number of people who smoke. The results are stunning, cigarette smoking has decreased from 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today.

The loss of tobacco sales is effecting everyone. On February 5, 2013 CVS, a national pharmacy chain, announced that stores will stop selling tobacco products by October 2014.  CVS disclosed that they are giving up about 2 billion in annual sales, or about 1.6 percent of the company’s 2012 revenues. Additionally CVS has “identified incremental opportunities that are expected to offset the profitability impact,” but did not specify what they are. I would like to take a guess.

I believe CVS has identified “specialty drugs” as the next big moneymaker. In November 2013, CVS released a prediction that specialty drug spending will more than quadruple by 2020, crossing $400 billion a year. Refocusing sales in specialty drugs that treat multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease will allow CVS to cash in on the aging population. This makes sense from a business standpoint, provide the products that your customers want the most.

In my opinion CVS didn’t announce it will stop selling cigarettes because they wanted to take part in CSR. More likely CVS was loosing money on tobacco sales. My claim is backed up by the fact that less then 5 percent of tobacco sales came from pharmacies (according to a study done by Center for Global Tobacco Control in 2009), and that only 1.6 percent of revenue for CVS was coming for tobacco in 2012. If I am right then CVS is discontinuing the sale of tobacco for profits and not because they believe cigarettes are bad.