Category Archives: social media apps

Caveat Emptor – Social Media Influence, the Frye Fest and Reputation Management

This is not an echo of these words of P. T. Barnum – “As a general thing, I have not ‘duped thePT-barnum world’ nor attempted to do so… I have generally given people the worth of their money twice told.”, but rather these “Every crowd has a silver lining.”

Every generation has a Bernie Madoff, a Kenneth Lay, a Donald Trump who beguile the seekers of vast wealth, inclusion, distraction or any combination thereof to part with their money.

For Millennials, at least for this end of April 2017 weekend, it seems that person is Ja Rule, née Jeffrey Atkins, rapper, and creator of Bahamian Ponzi Scheme also known as the Frye Music Festival*** 2 May update – Federal Trade Commission violations cited and lawsuit filed.

Like so many before him Ja Rule was successful in his scam (or “not a scam” as he claims) for two reasons, he understood the raw vulnerability of the masses (even privileged ones willing to spend upwards of $250,000) and created a compelling campaign leveraging LOTS of young beautiful women (gaining more than 800k views) whose only claim to fame is to have built very successful personal brands making them social media influencers as a means of monetizing that vulnerability for personal gain.

frye

The influencers (I think the term shills is more appropriate) among them Kendall Jenner (nearly 22m Twitter followers),  Bella Hadid (more than 750k Twitter followers), Em Rata (more than 1m Twitter followers) made out like bandits with paychecks reported to being $250,000 to stand around, or lounge in bathing suits adorning the eye with a promise of ‘come play with me’. Using Instagram they promoted, and promoted, and promoted and in doing so the money poured in. Sex, as ever, sells.

Kendall Jenner made 250K off of promoting #fryefest ,

Yesterday, April 28th, Ja Rule (allegedly) tweeted and someone posted a screen grab to Instagram that the Frye Festival was all a big ‘social experiment’ to test the mettle of participants in a Hunger Games like scenario of adversity. (Some of the related posts include drinking their own urine to survive.)

#fryefestival • Instagram

Time will tell how short the memory of the public is, and whether by association these women have negatively impacted their credibility and their future earnings, and whether Ja Rule will be the subject of both a Class Action lawsuit and criminal charges for fraud.

This goes back to my last post, less than a week old, about ethics and reputation management. The nature of social media is that everything good or bad plays out in real-time. In our Wild, Wild West of social platforms there is broader issue for Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to consider – if ‘sponsored content’ results in an abuse of the public trust by hosting the influence peddling content are you complicit?, and if so, are you culpable?, should you distance your business further from such content and somehow shift the juncture of revenue generation? If a post subsequently results in bullying, terrorism, human trafficking, stalking, domestic violence, fraud, wrongful death, or murder have your policies enabled such to take place? Will any of these potential tragic events subsequently amplified to audiences approaching 600 million people globally result in lawsuits for ‘pain and suffering’? Corporate communications professionals should be involved in risk assessment, and not simply for the sake of reputation management or avoiding crisis management. I hope that this weekend legal, executive and communications teams at various social companies are meeting to develop (or expand) policies and legal protections.

The public clamors for social influencers to more carefully examine their choices of endorsement deals, a fairy tale ending which will never happen. It is the idolization of the rich and infamous which brought these individuals to Exuma and they need to take personal responsibility for their choices.

In closing, Caveat Emptor

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

Sustainability communications

ev logo[I was invited by Ethical Value to be a guest blogger, this post was originally written for, and published there, but the content remains my own and I thought I would share it here.]

“There’s a kind of self-fulfilling perception to it,” said Robert Lichter, a pioneering media-bias researcher who heads the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. “Once people see something they don’t like, they notice things that reinforce the belief that there’s bias” in the media as a whole.

While the above quote supports politics, the truth is that our personal filter (conservative, liberal, eco-warrior and corporate raider alike) determines just how any messaging will resonate with us; and that is precisely my point.  As a communicator I often marvel how the truly well-intentioned manage to sabotage their altruistic intent, while the commercially focused manage to leverage all the ‘goodness’ of the sustainability message to greater profit. (In this I am focused only on messaging and not on the financial means to cover every eventuality and thus to dominate the landscape.)

“However great an evil immorality may be, we must not forget that it is not without its beneficial consequences. It is only through extremes that men can arrive at the middle path of wisdom and virtue.”

Wilhelm von Humboldt

Sadly many of those (thoroughly) invested in sustainability, in protection of the planet and its renewal, whose works span every aspect of driving ethos toward a common standard of good, are very much like (highly skilled surgeons or) engineers in the technology sector with whom I have worked – infused with passion and intelligence they make the tragic error (from ego-centricity) that they can also create compelling, succinct messaging which will engage both constituent audiences as well as the broader general public.  It simply isn’t so. To establish that ‘middle path of wisdom and virtue’ demands cohesion, breadth of skill and continuity, the satisfactory resolution of a problem demands active communication – (not as exampled with this link) and it requires the development of communications which while not offensive to the ‘choir’ will encourage the ‘to-be-converted’. There is an art and science to this. You have to be capable of switching the flavor of Kool-Aid to accommodate specific tastes!  Bridging the space between the über-conscience and the corporate bottom line must draw upon our common humanity and our unified status as stakeholders– a precept of effective management fostered by R. Edward Freeman in his influential book Strategic management: a stakeholder approach published in 1984.

Image

Vintage Van Cleef & Arpel “birds” brooch (sadly, not mine).

The truest tragedy of sustainability communications, like our filters over choices related to primary source for news and information, begets the ‘birds of a feather, flock together’ syndrome. The message stays within a group already pre-disposed to the content; yet we are all stakeholders in sustainability.  Whether beating back human trafficking, climate change, fracking, Monsanto, big Agra-business and beverage companies over labeling or the total removal of GMO or the warmer and fuzzier challenges related to clean water, children’s education and immunization, the ‘eco-warrior’ is viewed as an extremist – even as all humanity would benefit from the changes being championed. Ironic isn’t it? And, as with the old adage about to mark true wealth is to be able to count on one hand those people you could call at 3 in the morning if you were in trouble, so too a resonate message for a cause our filter deems worthy will drive us toward engagement and support. ­­

Twenty years ago, what has now morphed into the sustainability dialogue was pitched as ‘cause-related marketing’ and those companies whose leadership ‘got it’ understood that alignment with something ‘warm and fuzzy’ was very good for the bottom line – especially with tax loopholes which allowed for the costs of deployment to be written off as charitable contributions or operating expenses.  Sustainability or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) takes cause-related marketing one step further – or should – and applies equally to the not-for-profit as well as for profit segments of our society.  CSR ideally is the active cultivation of a corporate conscience embraced by every employee from the mailroom staff to the corner office occupant that ‘doing good’ because it is the right thing to do and in doing so subsequently creates benefit for the corporation.  I am of the opinion that embracing CSR is the surest path to creating not only broad stakeholder value but ultimately improving the full breadth of perception including employment branding (which fosters retention and mitigates costs related to hiring and training), AR, IR and PR, shareholder value, sales as well as fostering change for the greater good.

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the value of a cup of tea in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share the blog with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

AllThatINeedbizcardartfront

Related articles

Personal engagement

A brilliant young(er) man I once had the pleasure of working with (he did an internship for my ecommerce venture Thistle & Broom while finishing his studies at Yale School of Management) has reachout-1created something called KangoGift.  While used primarily to support companies’ employee recognition programmes it came to him based upon the absolute ease of buying friends small gifts (a cup of coffee, lunch, et al) via a mobile app while he was working for Google in Korea.  On Facebook not so subtle reminders pop-up to send someone a gift in conjunction with the birthday announcements now embedded in the platform.  Crowd-funding platforms provide for immediately supporting innovation, new music and art, good deeds and to fix various social malaises.  With all this ease of ability to ‘reach out and touch someone’ (amidst the economic meltdown just about every country is experiencing) I wonder, how often people actually are using these tools?

Image

Click image for video how-to’s!

flowers

Click image for lush flower market images to inspire you ‘locally’.

We text with rapidity, we pride ourselves on achieving speed in everything from our athletic endeavours to preparing a meal in under 20 minutes, and these software platforms mentioned above allow for us to engage and feel righteous without much personal ‘investment’.  The status quo is easy, human beings are essentially – lazy – and even as we free up all kinds of time, what exactly are we doing with it as we have found it?  Taking time, s-l-o-w-l-y, writing a letter, whipping cream in a copper bowl, actually selecting flowers one-stem-at-a-time – by hand is a lost ‘art’. These are sublime pleasures, not only for ourselves as we go through the act of doing, but most assuredly for the recipient.

A woman in Sweden, who is not a business associate, who I have never met, never even spoken to, did something very nice for me; the Internet allowed me to review the work of a dozen florists around her corporate offices in Stockholm and email Jemima, the owner of Norr Mälarstrand Blommor, and send the most exquisite bouquet of flowers to thank this woman. (I know they were exquisite because not only did Jemima send me a photo via her phone but the response to the flowers within the recipients’ office filtered out the door and across the ocean to both my inbox and to my ears directly.)  Two things came of this gesture – Jemima may have earned her business a new corporate client, and I was able to make someone’s day as they had made mine; reciprocity in absolute perfect balance.

I am heading out to my garden shortly to finish planting spring bulbs and continue the efforts of putting it ‘to bed’ for the winter. It’ll be a long, physical day filled with mindful intention. The irony is that I hope not to be ‘here’ to see the net results of these efforts next growing season – and yet, still, I am compelled to ‘do’ because energetically I know as I put my energy out in the universe, in this case in conjunction with making the centre courtyard of my apartment building more beautiful for everyone who lives here to enjoy, in my heart-of-hearts I know that this extended love will somehow, someday, when I least expect it to come back to me.

It’s in all of us to put more love out ‘in the universe’ – even if we need the Internet to do it – but putting in place a pebble in the pond which ripples with goodness really does take less time than preparing dinner.

If you enjoyed my blog please consider sharing it with a friend on Facebook, Twitter or Google+!

AllThatINeedbizcardartfront

To order my book, click here:
The cover of my book, available at Barnes & Noble, Lulu and Amazon!