Nestlé proves CSR can give your company a “Good Life”

Have you ever wondered where your coffee comes from? (Picture courtesy of Nestlé)

Have you ever wondered where your coffee comes from? (Picture courtesy of Nestlé)

Have you noticed that more and more people seem to be walking around carrying cups of coffee in their hands? Whether they’ve stopped by Starbucks, their local cafe or have made it at home, coffee cups seem to have become the ultimate accessory for both men and women.

I don’t know whether this is due to the fact that people lead such hectic lives that they just don’t have time to sit down for their coffee, or whether they are drinking more of it than they used to. What statistics do show, however, is that there is a good chance that the coffee they’re drinking is made by Nestlé, as 5,500 cups of Nescafé alone are drunk every second.

As the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, Nestlé’s motto of “Good Food, Good Life” has lead them to be one of the world’s most profitable corporations. However, things weren’t always so good. Continue reading

This is war!

WWII Propaganda poster.

WWII Propaganda poster.

OK, that’s it. Portraying PR people as evil spin doctors full of cruel intentions is getting really old. Last week, I attended the latest in a series of debates about PR, this one titled “Modern wars are spun and not won. What warring parties say is more important than what they do”.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great debate (there was even some pen-throwing involved!), but the fact that the profession is still seen by many as being twisted and murky is infuriating. It would be great if PR practitioners were all-powerful influencers, but in most cases that’s just not so. Continue reading

And now we have horseballs…

Ikea meatballs have also been found to contain traces of horse meat.

Ikea meatballs have also been found to contain traces of horse meat.

Bad news for all of us who are (were) Ikea meatball lovers. The Swedish company has had to withdraw this famous product from 21 European countries after officials in the Czech Republic found traces of horse DNA in a bag labelled as beef and pork. This is just the latest development in a series of scandals which have involved meat products sold by well-known brands such as Tesco, Findus, Birds Eye and Nestle. As consumers, we must ask ourselves whether we can trust the information on these products’ packaging. As PR practitioners we have to wonder… Were these companies too busy thinking about broader Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) tactics to worry about their supply chains? Continue reading

Debate about ethical PR. Leave your boxing gloves at home, please!

Is there such a thing as ethical PR?

Is there such a thing as ethical PR?

I recently took part in a debate titled “The Only way to practice ethical PR is to work for the not for profit sector. Everything else is just corporate, political or consumer propaganda”. No doubt about it: this is quite a radical statement. As luck would have it, two colleagues and I wound up defending it…reluctantly, I might add. No self-respecting PR practitioner would agree with such a thing. Or would they?

Please note that we started off by having a show of hands which quickly showed none of the attendees were on our side and that we actually managed to come up with some pretty convincing arguments. Would we manage to convince anyone to support us?  Continue reading

I quit! How two words can prove the need for good PR.

Pope Benedict XVI gives attends an official ceremony while two cadinals whisper behind him.

Pope Benedict XVI gives attends an official ceremony while two cadinals whisper behind him.

Four days ago, Benedict XVI said the words no Pope has said in 700 years: “I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome”.  A simple sentence that has had a powerful effect on millions of people all over the world, including the media and the Vatican itself. The general reaction to the Pope’s resignation has been a mixture of shock and disbelief. Even those who are highest up within the Catholic Church admit that they were surprised by the news. Given the consequences that this action could have for the Vatican, we must ask ourselves how all of this plays out from a PR standpoint. Continue reading

PR “a la española”

Mariano Rajoy, President of Spain, "attends" a press conference after the scandal breaks out.

Mariano Rajoy, President of Spain, “attends” a press conference after the scandal breaks out.

Whenever anyone talks about the countries where the function of PR is most evolved, they generally mention the United States and the UK. Sometimes Australia… Germany… but never Spain. Any self-respecting Spaniard would be annoyed at this. We do after all have our pride! However, the events that have occurred there within the past few days should make any Spanish PR practitioner cringe; both politically and “PR-illy”. Continue reading

Banks need a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future. ASAP.

Mr. Potter, The banker from "It's a wonderful life".

Mr. Potter, the banker from “It’s a wonderful life” (1946).

When I picture the CEO of a bank, I can’t help but come up with an image like the one featured in this post. An arrogant, selfish, ruthless older gentleman who is a mix between the mean old men who tormented Mr. Banks in “Mary Poppins” and Pre-Christmas-Ghosts-Scrooge. I know this idea is pretty far from the truth, but I’m not sure that everybody else does. Continue reading