For Immediate Release 109: CEOs Torturing English

Shel and I recorded the October edition of the monthly Hobson & Holtz Report. This month’s topics: Three distinguished PhDs propose a Magna Carta for Artificial Intelligence. Too soon? Research establishes a connection between CEOs who mangle English during analyst calls and falling share prices. What can PR agencies and associations do to build a reputation of trust in the wake of the Bell Pottinger scandal? New data points reinforce the importance of companies taking positions on social and political issues. Most importantly, Edelman’s 2017 Earned Brand study found that 30% of consumers are “belief-driven” buyers. In the UK, political activists are using an app to influence party conference votes. Two crises — one from Facebook and one from Unilever’s […]

Continue reading


How to engage the C-suite about social media with authority and confidence

“Social media takes time to build,” said one of the participants in the webinar on social media and the C-suite that I co-presented for the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) of The Conference Board earlier this month. It underscores a primary reality for communicators looking to engage their leaders in helping them understand the strategic value of social media in the long term as a legitimate business tool. It’s equally true that one of the biggest obstacles to using social media for business effectively and measurably has been a gap, a lack of clarity of mind, where leaders of organizations cannot see beyond tweets, likes and impressions – hardly strategic imperatives, in their minds – a point I noted […]

Continue reading


SDF podcast 12: Scope and scale of Fake News and GDPR

September was PR Measurement Month, and October is conference season. Not just in UK politics, but also for a number of trade bodies in communications, PR and media monitoring. From AMEC and the PRCA, to FIBEP, ICCO, PRSA – there are plenty of awards and some reflections on where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we are likely to be going. Fake news remains the centre of attention and is the starting topic of discussion in episode 12 of The Small Data Forum podcast. This episode’s show notes were written by Thomas Stoeckle. Tuesday’s New York Times ran the story How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape US Politics. As an issue that affects the democratic process in […]

Continue reading


Social media stars breaching rules on promoting brands, watchdog says

songofstyle Instagram

The Guardian reports on a rise in complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK advertising regulator, who says ‘influencers’ on social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter fail to declare that they are being paid to publicise products. The newspaper defines ‘influencers’ thus: Social media celebrities who have large and engaged followings online. They get paid money to publicise products and can command tens of thousands for one post. This is about disclosure where the influencer publicising a product or service would makes it clear in his or her post that there’s some kind of relationship with the brand owner and/or that the influencer receives compensation for that post, financial or otherwise. It’s common sense to disclose such […]

Continue reading


Who should die when a driverless car crashes? Q&A ponders the future

In the 2004 science fiction film I, Robot, the police detective hero played by Will Smith is in a car crash resulting in his vehicle and another sinking in a river. The other car contains a trapped 12-year-old girl. With imminent death by drowning confronting both characters, a rescue robot appears and rescues the hero from his doomed car but leaves the girl to die. Why? Because, the robot’s logic tells it, her survival was statistically less likely than the Will Smith character’s. This ethical dilemma of choice – as a human would see it – underpins much of the movie (set in the year 2034), informing the viewer of the driving emotional forces motivating the hero. In our real […]

Continue reading