Donald Trump’s Arts Council just resigned, and they want him to do the same

Artist Chuck Close, author Jhumpa Lahiri, musician Paula Boggs, and actor Kal Penn were among the 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities who resigned today in the wake of President Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. They issued a harsh rebuke of the president’s “false equivocation” and “refusal to quickly and unequivocally … Continue reading “Donald Trump’s Arts Council just resigned, and they want him to do the same”

Artist Chuck Close, author Jhumpa Lahiri, musician Paula Boggs, and actor Kal Penn were among the 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities who resigned today in the wake of President Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. They issued a harsh rebuke of the president’s “false equivocation” and “refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred,” and called on him to resign. Director George C. Wolfe was the lone member of the council to not sign on to the missive, and presumably is sitting in the conference room all alone, eating a donut.

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Nearly a quarter of Donald Trump’s weeks as president have been his “worst week”

How many bad weeks can a person have in one year? If your name is Donald Trump, many. According to more than a few headlines, this past week has been his worst. After a slow and ineffective response to the deadly rallies in Charlottesville, pressure is mounting against Trump—even from within his own party. But … Continue reading “Nearly a quarter of Donald Trump’s weeks as president have been his “worst week””

How many bad weeks can a person have in one year? If your name is Donald Trump, many.

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Tech’s Swift Reaction To Hate Groups Was Years In The Making

Advocates like the Anti-Defamation League have been cajoling Silicon Valley for years to cut off violent white-supremacist groups.

The sometimes-uncomfortable relationship between online service providers and their more unsavory customers changed in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. Companies that don’t take a public stand on the content they carry started to take one, with both GoDaddy and Cloudflare dropping infamous neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer. Others, like PayPal, which had quietly taken one-off actions on hate sites in the past, started dropping customers by the dozens, including American Renaissance, League of the South, VDARE, and Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute and AltRight.com. While tech’s crackdown on violence-inciting white nationalist sites came rapidly following the turmoil in Virginia, it took years of cajoling by activists and advocates to get Silicon Valley ready for action.

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Nearly a quarter of Donald Trump’s weeks as president have been his “worst week”

How many bad weeks can a person have in one year? If your name is Donald Trump, many. According to more than a few headlines, this past week has been his worst. After a slow and ineffective response to the deadly rallies in Charlottesville, pressure is mounting against Trump—even from within his own party. But … Continue reading “Nearly a quarter of Donald Trump’s weeks as president have been his “worst week””

How many bad weeks can a person have in one year? If your name is Donald Trump, many.

Read Full Story

Tech’s Swift Reaction To Hate Groups Was Years In The Making

Advocates like the Anti-Defamation League have been cajoling Silicon Valley for years to cut off violent white-supremacist groups.

The sometimes-uncomfortable relationship between online service providers and their more unsavory customers changed in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. Companies that don’t take a public stand on the content they carry started to take one, with both GoDaddy and Cloudflare dropping infamous neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer. Others, like PayPal, which had quietly taken one-off actions on hate sites in the past, started dropping customers by the dozens, including American Renaissance, League of the South, VDARE, and Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute and AltRight.com. While tech’s crackdown on violence-inciting white nationalist sites came rapidly following the turmoil in Virginia, it took years of cajoling by activists and advocates to get Silicon Valley ready for action.

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Storyworks.me: Leading Through Turbulent Times

Political uncertainty leads to economic uncertainty, which, in turn, leads to business uncertainty as people fear for their job security and the future success of their company. What people want, and need, during tough times is strong leadership.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to attend an Omnicom University seminar and learn from historian Nancy Kohen about the power of leadership, particularly during turbulent times. There are so many critically important attributes that all successful and powerful leaders exhibit: agility, resilience, purpose, integrity, the ability to take risks.

Having the right strategy, and ensuring decisions are being made quickly and implemented effectively, is only half of a leader’s job. It is also critical to ensure that both your people, and the outside world, know what your values are, what you are doing and the impact it is having.

Providing an organisation’s stakeholders with a clear vision, direction and benchmarks for success are the new table stakes. And, to that end, having a powerful communications framework to tell the stories of an organisation through the personal perspective of its senior leaders and subject matter experts has never been more important.

As Nancy Kohen says in this video, leaders are made not born. And in moments of crisis, whether personal, within the organisation, or in the world, it is critical for leaders to stand up and be counted. Of course, actions speak louder than words. But if you don’t tell people about your purpose, what you are doing and the progress you are making then it is impossible for them to follow you.

Never in my lifetime has the world needed powerful positive leaders more. Now is the chance for business and social leaders to rise up and hold the line on standards. To stand up for those who need them most. To show a progressive path forward where we respect one and other and create a positive economic environment where everyone can thrive.

If you’d like to learn more about Storyworks.me, Ketchum’s senior executive visibility programme designed to foster direct relationships between senior leaders and brand stakeholders, please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out directly!

Friday Reading #106

It’s never nice to lose a client, but this week we parted ways with Spotify after 18 months of genuine partnership with lovely clients, creating work we’re very proud of. As the business consolidated their account into a single agency worldwide, we’re not (yet) in a position to manage that. What made the whole process much easier to swallow was the thoroughly classy way Spotify handled it, flying out to the UK to explain why in person. Andrew was so impressed he penned a piece on LinkedIn which seems to have resonated with a few people.


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Instagram has come a long way since it first appeared in
2010, as co-founder Mike Krieger discusses in this
interview with WIRED
. It’s interesting to see how a simple acorn of an idea
(allowing people to ‘unleash’ their camera rolls) has grown into a social media
giant, and genuinely changed the way in which people capture and share personal
photos. Krieger talks about some of the ways in which they overcame the
initially poor quality of phone cameras (introducing filters, to bridge the gap
between perception and reality) and outlines the system which has allowed the
team to enjoy so much success over the years – a balance between ‘putting out
fires’ and always looking ahead for the next opportunity to push the app
forward.

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On a related note, what does it take to be a multi-Billion start up in Silicon Valley these days? Seven lines of code? Two brothers from Ireland’s ingenious Stripe platform have revolutionised the payments industry. Taking a simple approach, they are now
running the back ends for Uber, Facebook, and now Amazon – making them overnight
billionaires. The two founders, Patrick and John Collison talk to Bloomberg
about their alternative approach to machismo and self-centered world in Silicon
Valley and the prospects of bringing commerce to every part of the world
through simple technology.

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It was only last week that password Guru, Bill Burr,
awkwardly admitted that his complex and rather annoying
rules for ‘safer’ passwords may have actually decreased system security, when this
morning, HBO’s Twitter account was at the end of yet another cyber security
scandal. Hacking group, OurMine hacked HBO’s Twitter account and released some
scandalous information about HBO’s hit show, Game of Thrones, causing a frenzy
among GoT lovers. HBO gained access to their account shortly after, but not
before the hackers sent HBO a rather cheeky tweet
using the Game of Thrones
handle stating: “OurMine are here. we are just testing your security. HBO team
please contact us to upgrade the security – ourmine.org -> Contact.

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One step closed on the path towards making humanity redundant, it’s now possible to create self-healing robots. It’s not quite the T-1000′s terrifying liquid metal yet though – researchers in Brussels have created a robotic hand made from rubbery polymers
with the ability to heal itself when cut or ripped, by simply applying a little heat. Experiments
showed that damage could be healed completely without leaving any weakness
.
Useful in the food industry and important when thinking about prosthesis it
could be the start of something interesting and extremely beneficial.

We’re all familiar with the push to short form video, and it’s a brilliantly effective way to advertise. Asking less of their attention tends to mean people are more likely to stick around. But IKEA are having a go in the opposite direction entirely – creating a 25 minute, leisurely paced film designed to relax a tightly wound student audience with a gentle tour around a bedroom. Beyond the relaxed tone, the film makes use of some interesting neuroscience; autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) uses specific tones and visuals to create a relaxing, tingling sensation in the viewer. Luckily for those of us still struggling with that attention span, they’ve also made some 1 minute clips which deliver the same effect. Give it a try, it’s rather nice.

Touch-a, touch-a, touch me

If Susan Sarandon singing in white negligee to be touched doesn’t inspire you to touch someone then you’re a lost cause and we can’t help you. Not that Sarandon is the point here, we just liked the idea of slipping in a Rocky Horror Picture Show reference because why the hell not, but rather the universal desire to be touched is the point here. Whether it’s physically, emotionally or mentally, as humans we crave to touch and connect with one another. To feel like we’ve had an impact or someone has had an impact on us. And while it’s so true for every personal relationship, it’s even more true for brands and the behaviors they employ with their consumers. Because the things brands have mostly cottoned on to over the years is this; if they mimic human behavior and human wants and needs, they will convert prospects to sales and their revenue will go up. It’s quite literally that simple. And what is more human than the desire to be touched?

And so we have touchpoints. The aim of them is to touch the consumer both mentally and emotionally, guiding them through the journey to a point of sale. It seems glaringly obvious and we all subscribe to the idea, but here’s the thing, brands are mostly talking about touchpoints but every retailer does not interrogate each touchpoint and live up to it. There might be a few poorly defined touchpoints at the beginning and then a sudden rush calling them to buy something, do this, type an email address in or give away their first born. Well, the latter doesn’t actually happen but it feels like that when brands ask for so much of your time, attention and money, and give so little in return.

Brands, especially retail brands need to start giving more back. They need to look at those touchpoints as not just a fancy extra, but an integral part of their content marketing strategies. Because the idea of content is to inform, surprise, entertain and delight the would-be consumers and touchpoints have always been some of the best ways to do this.

For example, a brand that does this really well are Wyevele Garden Centres. Throughout their branding they’ve developed integrated consistency and rolled out a project that amplified their brand throughout the entire line, from press ads to digital and all the way to in-store touchpoints. That dedication to making sure your brand is saying the same thing, every step of the way, is what sets apart brands today and the reason your customers will or won’t engage with you.

Another retail brand who gets this right is the sock company Quiet Rebellion. Their content is brilliant, clever and perfectly matches their audience, but more importantly, once you’ve bought some socks they don’t leave you high and dry. Once your box of socks arrives it comes with three postcards with illustrations of rebellious people across history that you might not know about. The cards tell an entertaining story about these people and by the end, you’ve been informed, surprised and delighted. And when you’re dealing with socks as a product, that’s a tough ask and yet they’re a brand who does it flawlessly.

The product or service can vary but it never changes a brands ability to create meaningful touchpoints that resonate and connect with their audience. Often, it’s as simple as inserting a card into the package with a personal note. People want to be touched damnit, and it’s time brands started doing it, they can’t afford not to.