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Corporate Reputation

General Mills Holds Its Nose, Leaps into Climate Change

GM-cereal

General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and other such consumer goods, took a bold step into the CSR pool this week by announcing that it would make changes to its agricultural practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously mounting related advocacy efforts designed to affect public policy.

What does this mean? From the company’s post on the matter yesterday:

“Nearly 2/3 of the GHG emissions and 99 percent of water use throughout our value chain occur upstream of our direct operations in agriculture, ingredients and packaging”

So they’re insisting that their suppliers get on board by reducing those emissions and “achiev[ing] zero net deforestation in high-risk supply chains by 2020″…or else. We assume.

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Comcast ‘Provides’ What May Be The Worst Service Call Ever

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There is no secret, no hidden truth, no mystery on this planet that refutes the abysmal customer service that call centers at cable companies provide. It’s like they all hire from the same discount store that shuttles HR rejects from the hotel.

The proposed Comcast and Time Warner merger? That’s a utopia of pleasantry just waiting for America (and one of those brands may vanish this year).  You would think the powers-that-don’t at Comcast would appreciate public perception.

Not when gems like this call to cancel service, which should serve as a crisis communications starter kit. (Oh, please take time to listen to these 10 minutes of bliss.)

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LEGO Issues Tepid Response to Shell Controversy; Greenpeace Issues Mock PSA

One has to admire Greenpeace’s dedication to solid production values. Check out this mock PSA, which came out today:

The org might not be so great with money, but it certainly jumped on the opportunity to criticize LEGO’s new partnership with big bad Shell a week ago, writing that the decision to include the Shell logo on some products (and reap the retail rewards) meant that the company was putting cold, hard cash “above its commitment to the environment and children’s futures.”

There’s also the expected petition complete with an image of a polar bear balancing on a LEGO ice block in a sea filled with oil and what looks like a pirated rig. All of those things and LEGO’s weak response after the jump.

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Corporate ‘Fact-Checking’ Blogs: Trend or Fad?

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In the wake of aggressive corporate communications moves like America’s biggest company “fact-checking” New York Times op-eds, we thought we’d check in on BlackBerry, the former best friend of Alicia Keys.

Last week, the company’s SVP of marketing announced the launch of its own “fact check portal”, which is usually the kind of thing reserved for politicians whose enemies will never believe that they have, in fact, seen the birth certificate.

So how is the portal doing so far?

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Mary Barra Tells Matt Lauer: No Cover-Up at GM

Mary Barra sat down with Matt Lauer this morning on TODAY, and we think you’ll agree that the questions he lobbed her way were a bit softer than those she received from Congress earlier this month.

At the very least, she’s consistent with the message. That’s a good thing, because she’ll have to repeat it many more times before GM can move beyond this story.

What do we think of her appearance?

The 11 ‘Worst Places to Work in America’

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It seems to be par for the course: gossip around the water cooler, gripe about the company brown-noser, plot an intricate plan to call in sick and go to the movies (or an interview) instead.

This is life at work for most of America.

Hearing that would make most people sad. Reading that could cause a rash of hopelessness. However, fret not: all is not bleak. For those who wonder if it could be worse, there’s always 24/7 Wall St.’s annual list of The Worst Places to Work in America.

At least you don’t work at any of these places.  Read more

The Koch Brothers Want to Hit the ‘Reset’ Button

If you follow politics and consider your partisan orientation to be somewhere near or left of the “center”, then you may know Charles and David Koch as right-wing bogeymen allergic to the words “regulation” and “government.”

As with most things in politics, the story is a bit more complicated than that–and the brothers want you to know that their energy and consumer goods company Koch Industries is not the mythical bad guy. In fact, they’re all about Americans, values and the things Americans value.

To that point, today Koch launched an ad campaign titled “From the Heart”:

Why are we interested in this story, beyond the obvious political angle? It’s a classic example of a company trying to repair its image via a “refresh” or reintroduction to the public.

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Netflix Stops Accusing Verizon of Being Slow, Starts Proving It

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Verizon may claim to have moved on from its spat with Netflix, but the latter isn’t quite done with this business, thank you very much.

After Verizon sent a cease-and-desist letter insisting that Netflix stop accusing it of slowing down customers’ streaming speeds, the content company’s comms director wrote a blog post indicating that its “transparency campaign” would officially end next week. We might take that announcement with a grain of salt, though: the real purpose of the post was to hype the release of a new round of performance data designed to shame those very service providers.

Click through for the statement, which we read as, “We MIGHT stop bringing attention to your network congestion. Or we might not. Deal with it.”

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Chobani Claims That No One Owns the Word ‘How’

During last year’s Super Bowl, Chobani and its ad agency Droga5 told us that “how matters.” It was a brilliant Chipotle-style CSR call-to-arms that led, in part, to speculation that the company will soon go public.

Now author/ethics consultant Dov Seidman and his lawyers want to make that filing process a bit more difficult.

Seidman, whose best-selling book bore the title How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything and an introduction by no less than Bill Clinton, filed suit against both agency and client yesterday for “trademark and service mark infringement and unfair competition.”

For some reason, he seems to think that the campaign might have been related to his book…

Interestingly, Seidman’s company LRN retweeted the message above before declaring it to be lawsuit-worthy. A little extra explanation after the jump.

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CNN Editor Fired for More Than 50 Acts of Plagiarism

CNN-Fail

Shia LaBeouf? Please pick up the white courtesy phone.

You think you know a network.

As PR professionals, we look up to CNN. It’s the the 800 lb. gorilla in the room–or it was before the FOX News Godzilla showed up. The network was created to broadcast something 24 hours a day. What was that thing called again? It had something to do with unbiased reporting, educated insight, and a lack of hyperbole …

NEWS! That’s right. News.

Those were the days. Now, we have exaggeration, lunacy, flat-out lying, and now plagiarism at CNN. First, it was Fareed Zakaria lifting words from a New Yorker article. He got a slap on the wrist but his reputation was seriously damaged.

This latest copying debacle is a tad more serious.

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