Announcements rippling throughout the digital news and entertainment space are focusing more these days on layoffs than on earnings or next stage funding. Numerous industries are reporting growth slowing, the international trade questions continuing to loom large, consumer confidence is quirky, and communications coming out of corporations, government agencies, and various international news media are just plain crazy. Add to this the recent news that Buzzfeed may have reported incorrectly that Michael Cohen stated that President Trump told him to lie to Congress and we’re all compelled to revisit the basics of good business sense and communications – at all stages of a business’s development.
Whether the president did or didn’t, or whether Buzzfeed has the goods or not, or whether Mueller refuted the report for whatever reasons, what we have is a news feed misfire blemishing all other news feeds. Remember the Dan Rather assertion about the Killian documents? Many people believe that error cost him his job and blemished the news space then as well. So, is this Cohen piece just a Buzzfake?
This situation, of course, was followed by Buzzfeed’s recent news about significant layoffs and the publishing of CEO Peretti’s email memo to all staff, before the layoffs, with the subject line, “Difficult Changes.” The email was likely intended to be a high-quality leadership statement that the layoffs were necessary to reduce costs, improve the operation, and prevent the need to get funding elsewhere. In other words, if you are one of the people losing your job, you’re supposed to somehow be happy that your termination is helping the business stay alive. And, since you now know there will be layoffs the following week, do you know if you’re one of the survivors or not? Interesting strategy.
In this case, the CEO wisely didn’t pass the buck as many others do, but in a very real sense he did pass an uncomfortable and unfortunate corporate wind.
But, this commentary isn’t about this CEO, or Buzzfeed, or Mueller, and so on; they’re all just topical right now. This is about a business’s need to execute communications with the highest quality – and in all circumstances.
Earl Nightingale once stated that communications account for 75% of any person’s compensation – our ability to communicate drives our ability to earn. For the sake of strategy, let’s add that to a business’s ability to drive revenues – good brand, quality service, lean and mean marketing and communications and so on, support the business’s ability to perform.
A consumer’s ability to trust your business and brand is tied directly to what you communicate and how you communicate it. At all stages of a business’s development, quality communications should be a primary objective – work with the best content, support the best writers and strategists, train and support all staff that work with the public and each other, carefully review and confirm the messages before publication or print, and prevent your f- – t from becoming the buzz.