Linstock’s Friday Takeaway – 11 March 2016

“A good communications strategy to deliver powerful messages can attract more senior women and improve company performance.”

In the News

Good Week: Diversity
Diversity was top of the news agenda this week. Companies across the world took to social media on Tuesday to celebrate International Women’s Day. This included highlighting the business case for gender diversity in the workplace. There were also celebrity endorsements of the feminist cause aplenty, not least from legendary actor Tom Hanks. Separately, the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced that he will be leading a new anti-racism taskforce focused on improving the life chances of ethnic minority groups. The news created a buzz online as the minister highlighted the lack of black and minority ethnic employers in senior business management.

Bad Week: Maria Sharapova
Five-time Grand Slam winner, Maria Sharapova, has come clean…for not being very clean at all. In a press conference on Monday, the tennis star revealed that she tested positive for Meldonium, a drug which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list on 1 January. Various brands, including sportswear giant Nike, are pulling back on their sponsorship deals with the athlete, who faces suspension starting this weekend. Despite being bashed by fellow athletes for being negligent and setting a bad example, Sharapova has also received some praise for proactively breaking the news on her terms at a press event she arranged – an effective reputational management technique.

Good Week: Football Fans
Premier League football clubs have unanimously agreed to cap away ticket prices at £30 for the next three seasons. A series of protests from supporters, including a recent mass walkout by Liverpool football fans in the middle of a match, have centred on drawing attention to the issue of overpriced tickets. Although the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) had been pushing for a £20 cap through its ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign, the improvement on prices is certainly a step in the right direction, and a reminder of the power consumers can wield when they vote with their feet.

Bad Week: Adblocking
Adblocking firms have been criticised this week for having “unsavoury” business models which exacerbate the issues faced by struggling publishers and ad agencies. Both the chief executive of the Daily Mirror publisher, Simon Fox, and Guardian Media Group chief, David Pemsel, have voiced concerns about adblocking technologies over the past seven days. Last week, the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, announced that the government is looking to take action against companies operating in the sector.

Client News
Grant Thornton International’s latest annual Women in Business Report received worldwide coverage from the likes of Reuters, Forbes and the Financial Times. The new report, entitled ‘Turning Promise into Practice,’ was launched on International Women’s Day. It finds that an eye-opening 33% of firms worldwide still have no women in senior management positions.

Linstock News
Keith Brookbank shared his thoughts on Grant Thornton International’s 2016 Women in Business Report, arguing that a good communications strategy to deliver powerful messages can attract more senior women and improve company performance: ‘Change the scorecard to boost women in business leadership positions’

Coming Up
We’ll be attending a Financial Services Forum conference exploring the role of digital in financial services marketing and communications.