Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Best Buy is current PR flub poster child

Change is hard

Leadership must embrace and sometimes even force change to protect an organization.

It seems like every month we have a new poster child that illustrates all that is wrong in corporate communications. A few months ago it was Netflix. Then Bank of America. Then Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Now, Best Buy is getting its turn in the spotlight.

As everyone who pays attention to the business media is aware, Best Buy is under severe pressure because of a business model that doesn’t work as well today as it did a few short years ago when the company was lauded as a retailing savior. Big box stores are too expensive. Their differentiator  of having techie experts ready to help isn’t economic. And Amazon is grabbing chunks of market share. At least that’s the conventional wisdom today. Check back in 24 months and I am certain that attitudes will have changed.

Into this macro story was dumped the smelly turd of an alleged sexual harassment misdeed on the part of the now former CEO Brian Dunn who was determined to have had an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate. Didn’t he know those are only allowed on TV sitcoms?

Kudos to Gil Rudawsky for an excellent overview in Ragan’s PR Daily examining what organizations can take away from Best Buy’s foibles. He likens the saga (from Dunn’s resignation until last week’s resignation of founder/chairman Richard Schulze) to the slow drip of a blood letting.

Rudawsky and others suggest that this was a PR problem, when in fact it was an operational and leadership problem. The company’s leadership was slow to identify the relationship between two consenting adults as a problem, when in fact it was a serious breach both legally and ethically. They wanted to give their CEO the benefit of the doubt and resisted forcing a change. Those are the failures that kept the story alive.

So the best advice for organizations that want to avoid following in Best Buy’s footsteps would be to resist your adolescent sensibilities about workplace relationships between men and women. I mean, is it me or did we not get a pretty good handle on that 20 years ago during the Clarence Thomas confirmation process? Resist the cult of personality that often insulates a CEO and/or chairman (ahem Aubrey McClendon and Chesapeake). Be ready to enforce all company policies and, in the process, to hurt people with whom you are friendly in order to protect your brand and everyone who relies on it.

These are the hard lessons of the Best Buy saga. Tough decisions are tough to make and human nature is to resist them and hang on to the status quo until the pain of continuing to do so is overwhelming. If you are a child of divorce like I am, you know what I am describing.

Nonetheless, Rudawsky offered some sage advice for companies responding to unpleasantness that I will repeat here:

  • Quickly activate response strategies and messaging for internal and external audiences;
  • Engage in online and offline stakeholder communication;
  • Designate on-the-ground staff to support employee teams locally, regionally, and nationally, if applicable;
  • Monitor and respond to traditional media and social media around the clock;
  • Develop and implement proactive reputation-management campaigns;
  • Review and revise crisis procedures and plans;
  • Continue to foster relationships with the media and key influencers and audiences.

Enduring a crisis can  leave an organization better off and in this case I absolutely believe that is true. The actions of the former leadership illustrate that they were not the change agents that are needed to re-imagine what Best Buy must become to return to relevance in the current retail upheaval. This cleansing may seem awful now, but it was a necessity.

And for those of you who are seasoned enough to have “Cult of Personality” in your heads, here is Living Color:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Daniel Keeney

Dan Keeney is the president of DPK Public Relations, which represents PULSE, The Aldridge Company, Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication, ERHC Energy, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Arocha Hair Restoration among other companies. Specialties include helping organizations increase their positive visibility and establish and strengthen relationships with influencers in their markets.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations might...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.