Diversity in a Women’s World

All this talk about ‘gender diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ at workplace is kind of lost on me. I don’t get it and you really can’t blame me. Having worked only in the PR world, I find it difficult to realize that it isn’t the norm.

A few years ago when I started my work-life and a career in communications, I was surrounded by women all around – bosses, colleagues, clients, media. Fresh out of college, it was so liberating to see smart, articulate, bossy women all around me. Women who would engage and consult the seniormost levels of CEO or MD, or silence them if needed. They could handle corporate crises on their own and also make elaborate lunch plans with their teams. A few years down the line, when I started interacting with and counselling clients independently, every time after a media interview/show when one of the top corporate honchos would turn to me and ask how they did, my inner ‘me’ would respond from seventh heaven. It was empowering and humbling at the same time. This profession taught me that without sex and age as bars, if you are focused and know your business, it can take you to the moon and back.

After nursing and teaching, I think PR is one of the rare professions in the corporate world heavily skewed towards the fairer sex. A rough estimate of the sector would put the female male ratio as 75:25. I have often wondered, what makes women better in this field vis-à-vis others. According to me, the two key reasons for women succeeding in communications world would be – we are better at communication skills and multi-tasking. While there might be reasons galore but this post does not intend to address those, let’s keep them for a different discussion.

Well, a lot of my male counterparts might disagree and debate the reasons endlessly. Have also heard the other side, male colleagues suggesting how the PR field is kind of sexist with pretty girls wielding their soft skills. But how far will your pretty face and soft skills take you? And sorry if we ate up your jobs and your success but we are good at it and you better acknowledge that.

But it’s a special day as all of you have been screaming and shoving it down my throat with offers, emo messages and discounts. In order to show solidarity, I have decided to undertake gender diversity in my own little way in this field. I have inducted a male colleague in the team servicing women’s beauty products. How is that as a small step for gender diversity in this female skewed world of PR? I know that’s not enough but I promise to do more in my own little ways. Hire more boys, appreciate their work more often, teach them to multi-task, give them more feminine products to work on and more. Do you have any more suggestions? After all why should women have all the fun?

This piece has been contributed by Liza Saha, a closet feminist trying to make a career in the communications world. Hates tokenism and chauvinism but appreciates chivalry.

Change is the only constant

Last year wBlog_Shilpias a truly insightful one for me. I stepped outside the realms of PR after about a decade in the industry and had the opportunity to work with diverse set of people, with different specialities and across various sectors. The sheer experience of meeting and interacting with new people taught me a very important aspect of one’s professional life i.e Change is the only constant and one should always be open to it.

Yes, this is an old adage so you might think that I am saying nothing new here. But it is one thing to read about these motivational phrases in text books and another to experience it and understand the essence of it.

In fact, recently, as part of Text 100’s training programme we had the former Xerox India MD, Mr. Rajat Jain take a session on leadership for the entire managerial and leadership team. He called out “Change” as one of the single most important factor that has helped him to succeed in the various endeavours he has undertaken so far. ‘Change’ in his thinking, his approach and attitude to enable him to evolve in every role he has undertaken and adapt to new circumstances.

It is important for professionals to always look at newer ways to bring about change, to sustain an edge in this competitive environment. A successful professional will always be aware of the needs of the environment and willing to make the relevant investments towards “Change”. Individuals or companies who are unable to embrace change or innovate to drive an edge for themselves in this scenario, perish.

We have examples of several companies who were leaders in their category when they started but today are struggling to find their identity. Some, in fact no longer exist. Some of the biggest companies have been challenged by the innovative thinking of the start-ups who have forced them to relook at their traditional approach to address the changing requirements of their customers.

Taking a cue from children

We often see that children at any age love to experiment, try out new things – their mind is never bogged down with the fear of the unknown, fear of  failure, fear of what others will say, whether they will perform better than their peers, whether people will appreciate them. And because they are fearless, they learn new things every day and adapt to new circumstances quickly. On the contrary, our mind is constantly plagued by various inhibitions and we remain ensconced in our own world – scared to try out anything new.

In the era of survival of the fittest, it is extremely important for everyone to constantly look within themselves, innovate, remain agile and abreast with new developments taking shape. Those who cannot do that, will not be able to survive the test of time!

This piece has been contributed by Shilpi Prasad

Buy by Wire

If you wanted to buy an electronic device a couple of years back, there was always this ‘guy-geek’ in your circle of friends whom you would call upon. He would definitely know the market like the back of his hand. He would give you some much needed but heavily boring gyaan about clock speeds and sensor sizes. A conversation that would help you purchase the much needed gadget but would leave you with a headache.

Let’s fast forward to today. How would you buy an electronic device, for example a digital camera today? The first thing you would do is put it up on the social network of your choice – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.

Or, you would find a forum that is discussing about cameras and ask the people there. The chances are that the ‘guy-geek’ is also there, who is giving his valuable inputs. But, there are even greater chances of hearing from normal people (non-geeks) and their experience about the device that you are about to buy. And, sometimes, that information is a lot more important than just an objective comparison provided by a magazine or your geek-friend.

This is exactly what our findings tell us too, according to Text100s Digital Index – Consumer Electronics, Indians place less importance on word-of-mouth when researching Traditional Electronics and Home Appliances (33%). However they do rely heavily on what may be termed the ‘modern word-of-mouth’ – online sharing – particularly when researching Smart Devices and Wearable Technology (49%-56%).

Why do you think we are seeing this shift to online research rather than word-of-mouth. Yes, its true that we have better broadband penetration in terms of fixed line as well as mobile broadband. But, as history has told us, its more about the application of technology than the technology itself.

The biggest reason for this is the opportunity for people to complete the purchase cycle easily in India. Earlier, we could research for hours for a product that we wished to buy, but buying it was a different story altogether. I remember waiting for months for some of the game titles to launch in India before I could buy them. But, no more.

Let me illustrate this with an example of my cousin, who stays in Gwalior. One of the major cities in Madhya Pradesh in India, Gwalior has an important place in the history of central India. It is a small city with an abundance of monuments that are a photographer’s delight.

My cousin, who has been born and brought up in Gwalior, was always mesmerised what his home city offered. He started his photographic journey with a a traditional film-based Nikon SLR. And, he was using the same camera for the longest time. Mainly because of two reasons – firstly he could not buy a new model and its accessories easily in his city and secondly, nobody was ready to buy his traditional SLR kit to help him upgrade. It took him almost a year to get rid of his old camera and buy the equipment necessary to shift fully to a DSLR.

This was about seven years back. Fast forward to today – he has just changed his loyalties and has moved to a Canon DSLR kit. Try speaking to a photographer and you would know how difficult it is to change camps from Nikon to Canon and vice-versa. None of the accessories like lenses and flash are compatible. How long did it take for him to shift? Less than 15 days.

This included selling off his old camera and its lenses, researching for a new Canon camera and buying all the accessories. All of this was done online. He sold his old camera on OLX (an Indian auction site), researched using various forums that he was part of and bought all the new equipment from various online portals like Ebay, Flipkart, HomeShop 18 and others.

To summarize, while the new order has increased the choices for consumers in metros; the real impact is more countrywide for people in tier 2/3 cities. They can not only research products online they can use that research and actually convert that into a purchase of a product from virtually any part of the world. Finally, they are able to complete that purchase cycle. Something, that could not even be imagined less than five years ago. 

Authored by Geetaj Channana, Senior Consultant and National Digital Lead at Text100 India

Measure the value of PR, what’s that?

India and globally as well, despite knowing the benefits that PR delivers to a brand or product, spends on it are miniscule in comparison to advertising. PR budgets are a part of the advertising spend that a company plans and then only about 3% to 5% of the advertising budget is set aside for PR.

There are enough studies done to gauge the impact of PR on company’s products and services and more importantly their reputation. In fact, an InterBrand study found that 27 percent of a brand’s value is tied to how often the brand name appears in the press. In industries that involve more research before purchases are made, public relations can account for nearly half of the brand value. It is also a well established fact that good editorial coverage is considered 6x to 8x as influential as advertising. Despite these facts, budgets for PR remain abysmally low and no investments are made for measurement of PR either by companies or by PR Agencies.

To the best of my understanding, the challenges that remain for measuring the impact of PR are 2 fold and interrelated.

  1. Since the budgeted spends on PR are very low, the budgets for measuring PR either do not exist in the budgets allocated or are so low that nothing much can be done in that money besides, Advertising Value Equivalents (AVE) calculations.
  2. The problem is also compounded by the fact that other measurement techniques and services come at an exorbitant rate in comparison to measurement in advertising.  For example, in advertising usually a company spends about less than 3% of their advertising budgets for measurement.

Sadly, in India specifically, Advertising Value Equivalents (AVE) method of measurement is quite prevalent with a lot of Corporate Communication professionals. AVEs are calculated by measuring the column inches of coverage and based on their placement (page) multiplying it with the publication’s advertising rates. The resulting number is what it would have cost to place an advertisement of that size in that publication.

Advertising Value Equivalents have no place in public relations or media measurement is a fact known by several measurement experts, public relations professionals and academicians, besides, this model has several inherent flaws too.

  • Advertising and publicity have complementary but not same strengths: Generally speaking, advertising tends to command attention and create awareness. Public relation tends to build credibility. Normally a business needs both. However, AVE tends to cloud this issue by falsely equating advertising and public relations. This in turn reinforces the ancient but ever-popular fallacy that public relation is “free advertising”. In fact, it is not free and it is not advertising
  • Advertising Rates & Calculation: The calculation of AVE itself has several problems. In many cases no advertising rates exist and in a few instances, publications don’t accept advertisements on their front pages. In recent times publications have further segmented their rates through cross-bundling (other publications & channels of the group), promotions, colour and other such variables. The measurement agencies are not reflecting this segmentation in their calculations
  • Positive coverage: A highly positive article can be worth much more than a single advertisement in the same space. This is because readers consciously or sub-consciously think of an advertisement as an instance of a company boasting about itself. However an article is viewed as an implied endorsement by a presumably objective and knowledgeable third party. So, from this perspective, AVE underestimates the value of the editorial
  • Negative Coverage: There is no advertising equivalent to a ‘negative’ or ‘unfavorable’ story. So how does AVE factor for this type of coverage that impacts perceptions? Most times, it is simply ignored, thus giving a biased measurement result
  • Industry Coverage: Many articles are industry stories where several companies are quoted. There is no benchmark of calculating AVEs in such instances; is the entire article to be used or the portions where the client is quoted or mentioned to be used?

There has not been much investment by PR companies in developing proper tools, science and systems for measuring the work that they do and linking it to business performance of their clients. And unless we can develop a system of measurement linked to the business performance and show the impact of PR on that, investments will continue to be low on PR and even lower in measurement.

The leaders of the PR Industry need to make investments into developing measurement tools that are cost effective and showcase clearly the impact of PR on the company’s bottom and top line. They also need to come together as one and adopt a method of measurement as an industry standard instead of having multiple methods of measurement being recognised. There is much merit in learning from our richer cousins – the Advertising Industry.

Some of my more erudite clients asked me to provide them with an easy solution to measuring PR, they like me did not believe in AVE, however, needed a volume based system to be able to satisfy the accounts division who questioned ROI and others who were also looking to pull down the work that the corporate communications department was doing. We designed a metrics based system on readership, viewership and page views and it’s working well so far. Perhaps we as an industry can begin with this married to the message being delivered and the audience that we are reaching through the media vehicles we are using. This can be the first tiny step we take together.

Authored by Rafi Qadar Khan, Deputy Managing Consultant @Text100India (Delhi) – ace communications consultant, self-proclaimed amateur photographer, foodie and someone who talks for a living. 

A Syrian war of words! Can cross-border PR save the world?

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are fighting the big fight. Not with bombs and missiles, but with words. A softer and in the long run, a more powerful weapon.

What, you may ask, is happening?

The Background: It’s got everything to do with Syria. Following evidence (just like Iraq had WMD’s I suppose) that sarin gas was used to kill 1000’s of its citizens recently, the United States and Obama is chafing at the bit to go to war with Syria. A limited, no boots on the ground war, that aims to take out “key” targets. Early in September, Obama stated publicly that he planned to seek approval from the US Congress for war against Syria. The deadline for approval was set as Sept 9.

In the interim, Russia and Putin, counter argued that US could not unilaterally declare war on a sovereign nation. They interceded and offered a silver lining to Bashar Assad – if Syria would agree to handover their chemical weapon stockpile, war could be averted. Assad of course grabbed that with both hands.
Obama however is not convinced. Arguments for and against war is raging in the US media (the US has to be and wants to be the top dog of the world. Anything that will undermine their position will not be tolerated).

Something else that is different from any of the wars / potential wars of before – Obama is looking for permission from the public to go to war with Syria, couching it as the US’s duty to protect people who are oppressed. However, the citizens are tired of war. Afghanistan and Iraq are still simmering.

Here is where PR comes in.

Putin, in all his KGB brilliance, penned an Op-Ed piece in the holy of holies, The New York Times! So well crafted, that a person reading it will come away marveling at Obama’s foolhardiness and 2ill-thought approach to the Syrian crisis. [As an aside – if anybody ever questions you about the power of an opinion article, please share this with them].

The article is sheer brilliance. Words are used ever so subtly. A few of them below:

  • “RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders.” –Americans love forthrightness. By and large, the regular folks are pretty straight. By using “speak directly” Putin touches a chord
  • “The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter.” – Hammer the point that UN Charter was developed with US consent
  • “Potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims” – The Pope is referenced. America is a very religious country (Surprised? It is very much so) and jotting down that the Pope too has voiced his concern adds might to his argument
  • “We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.” – This is for everybody’s benefit, not just Russia
  • “Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored.” – Israel is a touchy subject. Anything that might threaten Israel’s security does not go down well with American public
  • The ending paragraph is again sheer brilliance (yes, I know I have used the word too many times). Please, please read it.

The article was placed with the help of Ketchum, who is representing Putin in the US. There is reason to believe that the translation might have been done by them. I wonder how many drafts it went through!

I can’t think of any other time a leader of a country has written to citizens of another, to appeal them to *not* side with their own elected officials!

If you want the back story on how the article was placed, read it here. The NYT says that it is one of most popular opinion pieces they have ever featured. Editor Andrew Rosenthal also answers questions on whether it was morally (it is universally acknowledged that Putin is no angel) right on NYT’s part to give Putin a podium to voice his opinion.

So, what do you think? Is this PR at its finest? …or worst?

Authored by Zibi Jamal from @Text100India (Bangalore) – a communications consultant par excellence. 

A conversation with PR guru Deirdre Breakenridge on all things PR

In a way, 2012 has been a watershed year for Public Relations and Social Media in India. With 2 major conferences held in the same year, the profession couldn’t have asked for a better PR boost for itself. The world danced to the tunes of Psy in true Gangnam style, including India’s biggest superstar from Bollywood. The country engaged in heated debates on article 66A of the Indian IT Act. Even for the naysayers, Social Media emerged as a stark reality, that promised to redefine the paradigms of human interaction and brand engagement. The opening up of FDI in Retail revived the Lobbying vs PR debate. The profession hit front pages of business newspapers in the backdrop of one of India’s most high-profile state elections. It all happened in 2012. But that’s just the tip of a massive PR iceberg.

 We, at Text100 India, caught up with (virtually, ofcourse) PR guru Deirdre Breakenridge to provide an international perspective on the year gone by and crystal gaze into the communications trends to watch out for in 2013. Deirdre is a veteran with over 20+ years in the communications industry and is the author of four acclaimed Financial Times books – “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations,” “PR 2.0, New Media, New Tools, New Audiences,” “The New PR Toolkit” and “Cyberbranding: Brand Building in the Digital Economy.” She recently made her maiden visit to India as the Key Note Speaker at #PRAXIS2012 in Pondicherry.

 You may be a Marketer, a Corp Comm officer, a PR consultant in an agency, a Social media enthusiast, a businessman or a PR/Mass communications student… Read on to get a perspective on the future of the Public Relations and its marriage with Digital and Social Media.

Deirdre Breakenridge

Deirdre Breakenridge

How was your experience at PRAXIS 2012? Did you find any commonalities with similar events abroad in terms of themes, content, participation, etc.?

PRAXIS 2012 was an amazing experience for me, as it was my first trip to India. I met so many incredible professionals and found myself definitely wanting to spend more time seeing and experiencing India, during my very short visit.  With respect to PR and commonalities with similar events abroad, the same types of vocal concerns about measurement are expressed worldwide. Whether it’s in India or in the U.S., PR professionals know that they are accountable and, although the Barcelona Principles are in place, there are still so many questions about the value of PR, business outcomes and how to show that ROI to executives.  I also find that regardless of the country, PR professionals are eager to participate in events to learn about the integration of social media into their communications programs. However, they find out quickly that the degree of challenges vary across the globe, both in the internal and external environments.

What are your views on the state of Public Relations in India and its growth?  

India will experience a great deal of growth in the area of PR and social media, as the Internet and technology continue to become more essential to businesses.  We have already seen heavy usage of social media participation on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. PR professionals in India will be required to expand their knowledge, skills and communications practices as consumers and business come to rely more on social media communities to deliver communications and to engage with the public. Although PR doesn’t own social media, because it is proliferating worldwide, we need to be able to breakdown the communication opportunities for our brands, and also be able to counsel and measure results.  During the keynote Q&A, the moderator, Anant Rangaswami stated that, similar to what happened in India with TV (going from a few channels to many), the same will happen with social media.  India must be ready.

What according to you were some of the defining trends in PR and Digital / Social media in 2012? What trends do you foresee in 2013 and beyond?

In 2012, we got a taste of new practices, learning more about social media and how to engage on collaborative platforms, developing content for social media channels and learning the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We also grew our knowledge in areas including video, multimedia and web analytics.  This year also proved important for PR and mobile communications as well.  At times, we saw ownership issues over social media; who owns social media? Is it marketing or PR. We learned that it’s a shared responsibility that doesn’t solely live in the communications department anymore.  In 2013 and beyond, we will see the silos between marketing and PR breakdown even more. In addition, PR professionals will be working more closely with other departments including customer service, IT, Legal, HR, etc., as a result of social media. Moving forward, content marketing will become increasingly important, as we embrace how PR content is no longer restricted to news releases, white papers and customer testimonials.  As a result, PR professionals will learn to write for different channels including Twitter and Facebook and our content will be more interactive by nature.

Many PR agencies continue to focus on media relations as their primary deliverable. At the conference you spoke about a “Hybrid Professional”; what according to you are essential qualities for being a communication professional of the future? Or simply put, Professional2.0 !

PR people are learning that media relations is one part of our role.  We will continue to rely on credible third party endorsements whether it’s through the media, bloggers or our customers.  However, the Hybrid PR 2.0 professional understands this new approach; there is no more mass or broadcast messaging in web communities. Our approach has changed from top down messaging to a bottom up approach that includes listening closely to conversations and involving your audience much more in the brand communication. Through direct social media engagement (a peer-to-peer approach), brands are becoming meaningful resources by answering questions, solving problems, helping in purchase decisions and providing valuable information and resources to stay “top of mind” with their stakeholders.

‘Putting public back into public relations’ – that’s the title of one of your books. Is this relevant only to Western economies or do the principles apply to countries like India too?

The thought process behind Putting the Public Back in Public Relations is to involve any public in brand communication, and is meant for every economy. Today, consumers are driving and controlling their own communications. They rely much more closely on their peers (who are trusted influencers) so much more than media, government or corporations.  Consumers are also deciding where, when and how they want to consume their news and information. With so much power in the age of public conversations, it’s best for a brand to become a part of these conversations; to breakdown the corporate walls and show the human side of the company. People want to talk to people and as this type of communication is proliferating through social media, brands that don’t put the people first will not capture the trust, loyalty and advocacy from today’s media savvy consumers.

Any final words to PR consultants / Corp comm. professionals /Marketers reading this interview?

My advice for 2013 is to take the best of traditional communications forward; our ethics, critical thinking and great communications skills serve as a guide to best practices. However, be open to new types of engagement with people through social media, by embracing and experimenting with what is new and often unfamiliar. You will always need to be 10 steps ahead of your companies, yet on the same page with consumers, to understand their preferences and to better serve their needs. Media models are shifting and changing. Regardless, we have to learn to work closely with journalists, whether they are more “traditional” or these journalists are also bloggers. We also have to help our brands learn to build closer and more human relationships with new influencers as well as their customers. Technology will continue to change and so will the media.  As a result, our roles and responsibilities will expand too. This is our greatest opportunity to be strategic in all types of communication and raise the profile of PR in the eyes of our executives and in the eyes of the public.

You can follow Deirdre on Twitter @dbreakenridge

Papa Don’t PReach it right?

An interesting PR battle is being baked in the US with Papa John’s Pizza. Though the crisis is not of a monumental scale a la BP after the oil rig disaster, this one has the potential, if not addressed, to do real damage to the brand and company in the long run. Why? Because public opinion is rife against Papa John’s and it has even caused the stock to take a downward slide in the market.

This post will look at Papa John’s positioning/messaging before, during and after the recently concluded, US Presidential elections, a bitterly fought ballot with accusations, innuendos and low brow tactics employed by both the campaigns to malign each other. Lot of PR lessons to be learnt, if one is so inclined.

Before I delve into the PR bit, here is a short brief on the topic: One of the most polarizing issues during the elections was the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more popularly referred to as Obamacare, a sort of universal health coverage which Obama was successful in getting passed during his first term. Mitt Romney and the Republicans were dead set against the ACA as it makes it mandatory for a) Every organization to provide health coverage to all full time employees and b) Individuals have to purchase coverage from the market.

Healthcare costs are sky rocketing in the US and it is believed that it will get even more expensive in the days to come. Many Presidents tried to bring about legislation to rein in costs (Clinton did too) but never succeeded. Anyway, moving on.

As you can imagine, multiple organizations opposed the legislation and aligned themselves with Mitt Romney who promised to scrap or at the very least, overhaul the ACA.

PR part of it: For those who are not familiar, Papa John’s is a pizza delivery chain, built on a franchise model, as Pizza Hut and Domino’s. It is a well known and loved brand in the US, and has a global presence. PR before the elections centered on how “Papa John’s has the best pizzas because they only use the best ingredients.” John Schnatter is the CEO.

During the elections, John, and by extension Papa John’s, were vociferous in their opposition to the ACA, noting that forcing employers to provide health care coverage for all FULL TIME employees (i.e., those who work 35 hours or more per week) will:

  • Put the squeeze on small to medium enterprises (a typical Papa John franchisee) – therefore there were implied threats that the pizza chain would either reduce the hours of employees to make them part time workers or lay off hundreds of them
  • Increase the final cost to consumers (12-15 cents per pizza!). Otherwise, Papa John would incur a loss to the business to the tune of $8 million per year

Stories were a plenty in the blogosphere, SM platforms and in mainline press debating Papa John’s position. A Forbes reporter investigated the price increase claims and published that as opposed to 12-14 cents, providing health care would only increase pizza cost by up to 5 cents.  Even Jon Stewart of Comedy Central got in the act. That kind of gives you a flavor of the craziness around the topic. Here is a sample if you want to read more about it. Be sure to check out the video:

Now that the election is over, and there is no hope of repealing ACA, Papa John’s finds itself in a tough spot. All those election time messages of “giving healthcare to all will lead to business closures” have ensured a lifetime of negative publicity for organizations loudest (more examples – Applebee’s, Denny’s) in their protest against ACA. There have been calls to boycott Papa John’s pizza, and a number of franchisees have seen sales decline as a result.

What does one do in such an instance?

Schnatter decided to write an article clarifying his position on Obamacare. The article went up on Huffington Post, one of the most widely read news blog sites in the US. In the article (The Real Scoop on Papa John’s and Obamacare, Nov 20, 2012), John argues that he was misunderstood and all that hullabaloo was a result of words taken out of context from a speech he was giving at a Florida school. The article is earnest, and clearly lays out his position:

  • He is not against Obamacare
  • Papa John’s will not lay off employees or reduce work hours to circumvent the employee policy
    • Cleverly noted is that it was the position that he thought would be taken by Papa John franchisees over which he has no control

Reading the article, it is clear that a PR mastermind is at work, clarifying and subtly deflecting all criticism directed at the company and the CEO. Taken at face value, the letter is a good move and I believe people will react to it positively. It is always a good idea, in my opinion, to address concerns directly and transparently when crises strikes. It cuts down on rumors and helps the organization take back control of the message. A status update on Facebook read “Nice to see a primary source going on the record. : )”

More discerning readers however will have a lot of questions to do with timing (why did Schnatter take 2 months to correct the negative stories) and his disingenuous response to the comments attributed to him.

It is too early to tell what the fallout will be. Early reactions to the article are not positive. Comments on Huffington Post are overwhelmingly against Schnatter and call his integrity into question with a random one thrown here and there acknowledging his stand. Reaction on Twitter too seems modest, nothing much to write about. A comment on Facebook said the article seemed “backpedally” which is to be expected.

What we can expect to see more from Papa John’s is how they are all about valuing and taking care of employees. Interesting times ahead.

What do you think? Will Papa John’s succeed, or do you think they will come out stronger than ever before?

Authored by Zibi Jamal from @Text100India (Bangalore) – a communications consultant par excellence that enviously embodies all positives of her sun sign – magnetism, wit, intelligence and compassion.