Out of Scope Issue 90: Internal Communications Take Center Stage
Plus: Gas prices are king, and a fake out from Drake
This week brought internal communications to a new level of global awareness as mass layoffs rocked the tech industry. Amidst a busy week of midterm elections, turmoil in tech, and pre-World Cup chatter, Hirsch Leatherwood examines a glaring commonality - words matter and massively impact perception.
💡ON OUR MINDS: Internal Communications Take Center Stage
Internal communications have taken center stage amidst layoffs in the tech industry this week. Internal memos have been splashed across global outlets—notably Meta's announcement of its massive staff reduction—and we’ve had the chance to evaluate how massive companies communicate with their employees.
In Twitter's case, employees were told via an unsigned email last Thursday to brace themselves for a “workforce reduction" the next day. Some employees lost access to internal work systems that night, making it apparent they had been axed from the company. Follow-up emails were blunt, with details of next steps and continued benefits differing by region. Whiplashed, some ex-employees were asked to return to the company mere hours later.
CEO Elon Musk’s tweets about the layoffs mirrored internal communications - blunt and focused on product, rather than people. Reactions have been swift and mostly negative: the manner of the layoffs has resulted in a class action lawsuit, the resignation of several key executives, and pulled ads from major advertisers.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a different approach - contriteness. Amid mass speculation, this week, Zuckerberg sent a signed employee memo (also published to the site) taking personal accountability for the largest layoff in the tech industry.
The memo clearly outlined next steps and available resources for affected employees. Not perfectly executed by any means (it was abrupt, and employee questions were not taken during the Zoom call) - it shows that while there is no such thing as a good layoff, having internal communications that offer a degree of personal accountability, empathy, and clear next steps can go a long way.
📡 ON OUR RADAR
Live and die by the pump: there’s no other consumer good so visible - and visceral to our psyche - than gas. The marketing of the product is omnipresent - the price tags are visible from the street, which can explain why gas prices have far-reaching effects on consumer behavior and outlook. From consumer sentiment to presidential approval ratings and voter perceptions, constant visibility and pervasive marketing can widely affect our perception and reality.
For months, Airbnb guests have complained about less-than-transparent fees and having to complete outrageous chores on vacation. CEO Brain Chesky responded, validated consumer complaints, and rolled out new changes at Airbnb. This call to action solidifies the consumer’s voice while providing a framework for how executives should respond to criticism of their company.
With the Men’s World Cup approaching, brands are in a bind. Based on the host nation Qatar’s problematic human rights record, the event has run into reputational trouble. While brands and advertisers typically flock to the global sporting event, some chose outward criticism instead, sometimes with a finger pointed right back at them.
Brand expansion is tricky, but success can be sweet: Hershey, synonymous with chocolate, aspires to be a global snack powerhouse. From popcorn to pretzels to tortilla chips, Hershey has expanded their market cap and is approaching $10 billion in sales. The century-old company is a great test case for how brands can use innovative thinking and marketing strategies, like leveraging social media, to excite people about the possibilities ahead and nostalgia for how it all started.
In case you missed these stories this week.
Drake and 21 Savage embark on a fake media circuit to promote their new album, including fake NPR appearances and Vogue covers.
Click here to find out what rugs and Peloton bikes have in common.
A major crash amplifies ongoing concerns about cryptocurrency.
We’ll see you here next week! 👋
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