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Posts Tagged ‘General Motors’

GM Needs a New Spokesperson, Stat

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Not going so well for her.

This young week has already brought us two new job openings that sound great on paper but might just make you think twice: social media manager at U.S. Airways and director of communications at General Motors.

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the first execs to get the axe in GM’s ongoing recall drama were the heads of PR and HR. In yet another non-surprise, the company refused to tie the departures directly to the recall. (This is the kind of decision that makes journalists roll their eyes back as far as humanly possible.)

CEO Mary Barra’s most visible statement this week? A blog post encouraging employees to report safety concerns “whether openly or anonymously.”

Cue that eye roll again…

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GM CEO on Recall Crisis: ‘Terrible Things Happened’

Here’s a case study in double duty internal/external crisis communications via General Motors and The New York Times.

This video was broadcast to employees, but it was clearly also meant to be a public statement; it’s been published on multiple news sites today.

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Recall Looks Like Big Trouble for GM

General-MotorsWe knew the story of faulty ignition switches, airbag failures and the subsequent recall of 1.6 million General Motors automobiles would make for terrible press. But the most recent revelation will almost certainly compound the problem: last night we learned from GM’s own reports that it knew of the issue approximately three years earlier than previously reported.

Of course, this finding will only help to fuel the “novel” lawsuits waiting to be filed.

GM has taken some crisis comms 101 steps to address the problem:

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GM Releases More CEO Pay Details to Counter Gender Discrimination Charge

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Today in This Had to Happen news, General Motors has responded to a flurry of stories reporting that its new CEO Mary Barra (the first woman to hold that position) would earn “48%” as much as the company’s previous chief by releasing more details of her compensation package two months early.

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GM Gets Bad Press over First Female CEO’s 48% Pay

gmThe fact that General Motors named Mary Barra as its first female CEO on January 15th was a big deal. President Obama even mentioned her in his State of the Union, calling her “the daughter of a factory worker [who] is CEO of America’s largest automaker” and inspiring a rare moment of bipartisan applause.

But according to Fox Business News, this “big deal” may not be quite as impressive as it seemed on announcement: after crunching the numbers, Elizabeth McDonald found that Barra’s $4.4. million compensation package would only amount to 48% of what former CEO Dan Akerson made in 2013 (note: these numbers include stocks and other “incentives” well beyond base salary).

That’s not all: GM retained Akerson as a “senior advisor” who will earn $4.68 million in 2014—so based on current numbers, the former CEO will still make more than the current CEO. This may well be the first time we’ve seen a Fox outlet criticize the White House for not going far enough with its gender inequality messaging.

It doesn’t look good for GM, but some major caveats apply.

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The PR Measurement Debate Enters a New Stage

Going up...

Putting the usual cultural/political flotsam and jetsam aside, these are two of the month’s most interesting developments in the PR world:

1. A majority of marketing execs think PR should handle social media duties

2. Many clients are ditching the idea of “social ROI” altogether

In short, an increasing number of people think that PR is best equipped to do social, and many within the industry are pushing for a bigger focus on measurement. At the same time, the concept of measuring the success of social campaigns in dollars-and-cents terms is losing favor among certain higher-ups.

The second point got a big boost last week when four major corporations announced plans to adopt measurement standards developed by the Coalition for Public Relations Standards, a group created in 2012 with the participation of nearly every major PR industry group.

What does this mean?

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8 Tools to Help Companies Connect With Employees

Socrates, Circuit and Spotlight: you may find these sites while searching online, but you won’t be granted access. Unless, that is, you work at General Motors, Intel, or SunTrust Banks; these are intranet sites for those companies’ employees.

Intranets, proprietary social media platforms, mobile apps and rewards programs were on PRSA Connect13’s conference “employee social communications” agenda in New York on Tuesday, where corporate presenters ranging from industry leaders to resurgent companies shared case studies.

The following connection tips and tools aren’t new, but these companies, as well as SAS and IBM, found interesting ways to adapt them for employees.

1. Intranet: Circuit is Intel’s go-to platform, created to help employees follow company news and post related comments. Intel’s corporate initiatives director Melissa McVicker told attendees that employees use their personal pages to enter countdowns to their sabbaticals (which they earn every seven years).

2. Customized social media platforms: SAS maintains The Hub, hosted by SocialCast. Here employees join personal and work groups and give props to peers with a “thanks” feature. They’re also encouraged to submit ideas — and top-rated concepts make their way to R&D. CEO Jim Goodnight posts content, as do many employees. The Hub also serves as a real-time engagement platform: according to SAS internal communications manager Becky Graebe, two employees met, fell for each other and literally got engaged there.

3. Mobile apps: Intel introduced GoMyBenMobile, an app where its engineers and manufacturing employees have easy access to benefits information and company news without needing laptops.

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Coke Clarifies: Social Buzz Complements Long-Term Sales

You’ve probably heard that everyone’s talking about Coca-Cola‘s social media reveal this week. According to the soft drink giant, the fact that more people are discussing its brand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube doesn’t necessarily mean that more of them are buying Coke products. But maybe “How many people bought a Coke after retweeting a call to action?” is the wrong question to ask.

In an effort to clarify its points and counter the media’s collective freakout, Coke’s SVP of integrated marketing Wendy Clark wrote a blog post arguing that social does, in fact, play a large role in boosting brand perception and audience engagement–which leads to more sales.

Her point, of course, is that the fact that data can’t directly link the number of comments on a Facebook post to the number of people buying Coke does not diminish the value of said content. This kind of “buzz” is only one part of Coke’s extensive branding/PR puzzle, which uses earned, shared, paid and owned media to encourage the brand’s ultimate goal: driving consumers to buy more soda in the long run.

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Branding: Making Corvettes to Sell Malibus?

CorvetteChevrolet unveiled its new 2014 Corvette at the Detroit Auto Show on Sunday–and while the new model boasts gas-and-speed-friendly features and an updated look, it remains, without a doubt, a Corvette.

The 2014 model pays homage to its ancestors by reviving the retro Stingray name, but chief engineer Tadge Juechter made clear that this is a car for the 21st century: “We don’t want to do retro…we don’t want to go back and do like some manufacturers [and] go relive the glory days.”

While the Corvette, which celebrates its 60th birthday this year, is not nearly Chevy’s best-selling car (the company barely sold 12,000 last year), the iconic (if impractical) muscle car is an integral part of the company’s branding.

Brian Moody of AutoTrader says, “It’s almost like a rolling billboard for the company, for the attitude of the company [and] the spirit of the company”. He went on to say that the purpose of building a high-performance sports car like the Corvette isn’t actually to sell a lot of Corvettes, but to sell more Impalas and Malibus.

That’s not to say, however, that Chevy isn’t invested in expanding the Corvette-buying market.

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GM Says No More Super Bowl Advertising

General Motors has dropped another advertising bomb, saying it will no longer advertise during the Super Bowl. CMO Joel Ewanick made the announcement, complaining that the price is too damn high (the going rate is about $3.8 million for a 30-second spot now). GM pulled its $10 million in advertising from Facebook just a couple of days ago.

The company has recently selected a new ad agency and says its re-evaluating its marketing. But “the Super Bowl has become arguably the most effective single platform for auto marketing,” according to Forbes. Not only is the game among the most watched programming for the year, but the clips get added legs through YouTube and other Internet views both before and after the broadcast.

Moreover, they didn’t even make as much of a splash with this announcement because they made it on Facebook IPO Friday.

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