There is no easy path to brand citizenship, but it’s still a path worth taking

Brand Citizenship: Perils and Payoffs

Warning: Long post follows

The roster of companies taking positions and undertaking initiatives that go well beyond the comfortable mediocrity of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is impressive.

Influencing public policy is nothing new for businesses—it has been the work of lobbyists since they first began plying their craft during the Ulysses S. Grant administration. (Grant, in fact, invented the word when he saw the usual cadre of influence-peddlers waiting for him in their usual place: the lobby of the Willard Hotel, which he passed through every day after work on the way to the bar.) This is different. Rather than pay… Read More »

Friday Wrap #157: DMs unchained, Apple ad-blocking, VR in NFL training camp, internal comms lives

Friday Wrap #157
Wikimedia Commons photo courtesy of Andrew Dressel
The Friday Wrap is my weekly collection of news stories, posts, studies, and reports designed to help organizational communicators stay current on the trends and technology that affect their jobs. These may be items that flew under the radar while other stories grabbed big headlines. I collect material from which I select Wrap stories (as well as stories to report on the For Immediate Release podcast) on my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.


Twitter DMs can be as long as you want—Starting next month, you’ll be able to DM your friends on Twitter with a message of any… Read More »

Intranet Global Forum: The benefit of small conferences that deal with real-world challenges

Toby Ward speaks at the 2014 Intranet Global Forum

I tend to stay away from the big social media conferences that attract the same speakers over and over and over again. It’s not that I have anything against these folks; in fact, I count many of them among my friends. They’re mostly terrific speakers. And I have had great times at New Media Expo and some of the others you’re likely to hear touted every year.

Given the amount of time I spend on the road anyway, I just find my time is better invested speaking at conferences attended by the people to whom I most want to get my message across: communicators dealing with real-world issues for companies that are mostly not doing business… Read More »

How Ray Bradbury came to write an article for me

My Mattel business cardIt was the summer of 1986.

I was halfway through my four-year tenure at Mattel, Inc. Bad times were on the horizon. Soon, the company’s finances would suffer and leadership would implement cost-cutting measures, including a crippling experience with McKinsey & Company’s dreaded Activity Value Analysis. But for now, budgets were still untouched and the Employee Communications Department cranked out a monthly newspaper for all employees and a quarterly magazine for employees, shareholders, partners, and other important audiences.

The magazine, which I established soon after starting at Mattel in 1996,  was called Windows. The name… Read More »

Friday Wrap #146: Up Periscope, FTC looks at IoT, Comcast gets social serious, lots of Facebook news

Friday Wrap 146
Flickr photo courtesy of Duncan Holmes
The Friday Wrap is a review of news, posts, reports, and other items appearing in the last week that will help you stay on top of the forces shaping communication in this fast-paced, ever-changing environment. These are stories that may have been lost in the flood of headline news stories. This week, in the wake of Facebook’s F8 conference, there’s so much Facebook news that I’ve set it off in a separate section. I collect all of the items from which I choose the Wrap stories in my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow.


Twitter launches Meerkat competitor to glowing reviews—Thanks to… Read More »

What Yik Yak—a problem in universities—could mean to the workplace

Yik YakMost of the buzz around the mobile app Yik Yak is focused on universities, where its founders intended it would be used. Make no mistake. As surely as Facebook expanded beyond its university roots to become the top social network employees use in their day-to-day workflows, Yik Yak will make its way into the workplace.

The inevitability of employees adopting the anonymous messaging app has a lot of businesses concerned, considering the university experience. Several universities have taken the futile step of banning or blocking Yik Yak, but since it doesn’t rely on a WiFi connection—standard 3G and 4G cellular connections work just… Read More »

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