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Publitics Founder and Principal Matt Krayton Talks to American Express OPEN Forum About Boycots

Publitics Founder and Principal Matt Krayton Talks to American Express OPEN Forum About Boycots

Publitics founder and principal, Matt Krayton spoke with Mark Henricks for American Express OPEN Forum about what to do in the event of a boycott. 


  • Be prepared: Have a crisis plan in place
  • Get the facts: Before responding make sure you have a clear picture of the situation

You can read the article here:

Research Bite: What Types of Scandal Bother U.S. Consumers Most?

Research Bite: What Types of Scandal Bother U.S. Consumers Most?

In the wake of London's decision to not renew their operating license, Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in an email to employees that, "There is a high cost to a bad reputation."

Whether your audience is a regulatory body or consumers, a bad reputation can have a real and serious impact on the bottom line.  In our most recent Research Bite, we asked U.S. consumers what types of scandal are most likely to make them abandon a brand.  Instead of attempting to develop and test an exhaustive list, we chose a few broad categories of scandal that have dominated the news cycle recently.   

Here's what we found:


  • Consumer-facing issues bother consumers more than back-end issues 
  • When consumer-facing issues (defective products and abusive behavior toward customers) were removed, unfair labor practices became the top issue 
  • Despite a polarized political environment, political gaffes by CEOs register lowest for consumers as a reason to abandon a brand

The key takeaway is that consumers have the most intense feelings about scandal or issues that impact their own experience with a brand. It is important to note, however, that the health of a brand and reputation is the sum of all parts; some parts carrying more weight for certain constituencies than others.  That is why it is critical for reputation management to be a critical business function.  



Trendlines 2017: Trust and Reputation

Trendlines 2017: Trust and Reputation

2016 was a tumultuous year for trust. From a presidential election that upended many of the rules of politics in the United States, to Brexit in the UK, 2016 tested the public’s trust in institutions, brands, organizations and public figures. 

Declining Trust in the Media & Institutions

A big 2016 storyline has been growing distrust of traditional media and the continued rapid decentralization of mass communication. According to Gallup, the American publics’ trust in media hit a new low of just 32% of adults who reported having a great deal or fair amount of trust in the mass media. Particularly striking is the downward movement between 2015 and 2016, but if traditional media isn’t viewed as a trustworthy messenger, who is? 



It’s not other major institutions either. 


Source: Gallup;

Trust in organized religion, public schools, the Supreme Court of the United States, banks and Congress, organized labor and the criminal justice system have all seen a decline in public trust since 2006. Trust in big business has remained the same, at 18% (Read more at Gallup).

Lack of trust is particularly pronounced amongst Millennials. A Harvard IOP survey found that just 9% of Millennials trust the media “all or most of the time.” While other institutions aren’t quite as distrusted by millennials, they don’t fare well either. 

Looking to 2017 and Key Takeaways

2016 highlighted significant issues in the way institutions, organizations and brands have to handle communications and strategic challenges. As we move into 2017, leaders will have to grapple with how to build trust and protect reputations. Here are five key points:

  1. Building trust and protecting reputations must be a core strategic function of any organization or brand. 
  2. Executives and leadership must take an active role in building trust and ensuring organizational readiness for challenges to reputation and trust.
  3. While trust in the traditional sense is declining in many institutions (and individuals), trust is manifesting itself in other ways, specifically in the sharing economy. According to a report by PwC, consumers trust peer regulation. Finding new ways to connect with the public will be key. 
  4. Organizations and brands must have a framework in place to confront crisis. This must include developing an deep understanding of the constituencies that organizations must address and the assets, external and internal, that are available to assist in doing that.
  5. Organizations and brands should be proactive in building trust and reputations. Communicating value and purpose through CSR and other initiatives should be a part of overarching strategy.

The 2016 Election — Lessons Learned, Questions Answered

The 2016 Election — Lessons Learned, Questions Answered

Just how unusual was the 2016 presidential race from a communications perspective?

It was definitely unusual, perhaps unprecedented. Campaigns are still largely decided on television. Typically, resources are spent on buying ad space. Clinton looked like a much more traditional candidate, making large TV buys throughout the campaign, while Trump didn’t (nor did he really have to in any significant way). Trump may have even exceeded Clinton in raw minutes on air.

The tone and delivery of messaging certainly diverged from campaign orthodoxy in many ways.

What are the key lessons learned? Did 2016 have any implications for running campaigns in the future?

It is true that Trump broke a lot of rules that most consultants would have considered sacred. There was one hard and fast rule, however, that remained unbroken: Candidates have to persuade voters to vote for them. Mediums come and go, it will always be about persuading and motivating voters. Trump was able to steer a lot of the conversation.

Trump was unique in many ways that allowed him to break and bend some the rules. It’s not totally out of the question that other candidates would be able to take the same approach, but there are still guidelines that (most) candidates have to follow.

Is the there a crisis in the political consulting world?

It’s a fair question. This is just a singular result. It’s still valuable to have expertise. The best campaign doesn’t always win, but professionalism and expertise are advantages.

It is important, however, to note that the political consulting field needs to continue to innovate, learn and advance.

Is polling broken? What happened?

Pollsters came out of this with some tarnish. There are a number of theories as to what happened, but it was likely a confluence of factors including increased turnout of low propensity voters in certain key areas, some shyness with pollsters and low response rates. Issues notwithstanding, polling is still an important tool. There is room innovation with multi-modal surveys, better integration of qualitative research and developing new ways to harness found data.

Insights: Second Annual State of Starting Up in the Garden State Survey

Insights: Second Annual State of Starting Up in the Garden State Survey

In 2014 Publitics partnered with New Jersey nonprofit, LaunchNJ, to take the pulse of New Jersey's entrepreneurial and startup community on a variety of issues that are critical to building and maintaining a vibrant entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem.  We are now in the second year of the survey and are proud to announce that 2015's results are now out.  

Friday Read: Measuring '16 Hopefuls By Emojis

Friday Read: Measuring '16 Hopefuls By Emojis

he way we communicate constantly changes and evolves.  The emoji is a part of that evolution.  The Atlantic tapped into Twitter to see how users were using emojis to describe 2016 candidates.  The results showed interesting differences. 

Three Questions: Snapchat's First Political Ads

Three Questions: Snapchat's First Political Ads

With an estimated 30 million active monthly users, Snapchat is a social media force to be reckoned with.  Perhaps one of biggest the signals that Snapchat has arrived is the announcement that Snapchat will serve its first political ad.

The ad buy was placed by the American Action Network and prompted viewers to push Congress to pass TPA (Trade Promotional Authority).  The ad ran during Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride "live story", and is likely the first of many.

Going into 2016 there will be a great deal of chatter about Snapchat.  The disappearing messaging app's active users are overwhelmingly members of the important 18-24 year old demographic block, making it a tempting medium for campaigns that trying to speak to young voters.

As with all decisions about how to spend resources, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of different platforms and strategies.  Here are three questions advertisers should ask before making an ad buy on a new platform:

1.  Who is the target? 

This seems to be obvious, but sometimes novelty can eclipse good judgement.  Again, Snapchat's demographic skews young.  It's important to figure out whether or not that audience is going to receptive or attentive to specific issue-based messaging.

It's unclear whether trade issues are top of mind for the 18-24-year-old set, but it's important to figure it out before pouring resources into an ad buy.  To mitigate some of the risk, the AAN made sure place the ad during a political "live story," increasing their chances of reaching a politically engaged audience.  Just how big that audience is or how likely they are to take action is another question entirely.

2.  What kind of message will work? 

Message is just as important as audience.  What you say will not matter if you don't package the message effectively.  A common mistake on social media platforms, particularly new platforms, is attempting to repurpose content from other mediums to work on social media.  This even applies across social media channels.  What works on Facebook, may not work on Twitter, which may not work on Snapchat.  It's important to keep channel in mind when developing creative and message.

According to reporting in the International Business Times, the American Action Network's ad took the repurposing approach when devising their 10-second spot, reformatting for Snapchat's vertical orientation.  This particular ad doesn't feel like the right tone for Snapchat, but in fairness it is the first political ad on Snapchat.

3.  How can it be targeted?

One of the big advantages to digital is being able to hyper-target messaging.  Some platforms offer more robust targeting at the demographic and geographic level than others.  As it stands, Snapchat is still working out the targeting piece, so buying ads for geographically limited campaigns would be less effective than focusing on platforms that offer better targeting.

-Matt Krayton, Principal and Founder of PubliticsPR+Digital