Sunday, November 28, 2010
Vera Bradley creates a pattern every few seasons where 10% of the proceeds from sales of that particular pattern go towards the Foundation. Past breast cancer patterns were Pink Elephants, Pinwheel Pink, Hope Garden, and Loves Me. The most recent pattern is Twirly Birds Pink, which was released with the Winter 2010 collection.
Customers can also donate directly to the foundation by visiting www.verabradley.org.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
A majority of Target employees across many stores in the U.S. have taken matters into their own hands primarily because an open discussion forum and/or any other type of communications effort does not exist among managers, team leaders, cashiers and etc. As a result, employees have reached out to websites including Indeed, True Insider, and blogs, such as Target Sucks (http://targetfiling.blogspot.com/) secretly badmouth the lack of employee recognition programs, benefits, salaries and opportunities of growth available. The majority of posts and comments are negative, particularly discouraging others to work for Target.
This serves as a perfect example of the effects of social media, and what happens when companies, such as Target, do not incorporate an effective communications policy to the company’s overall strategies and goals. If Target seeks to improve employee outreach, they need to open the board for discussion between all types of employees, especially upper management.
Monday, November 22, 2010
In May 2008, Food Network star Rachael Ray was featured in a Dunkin' online ad in which she was wearing a simple silk scarf. This scarf, however, caused a ruckus. Many people said the scarf looked like a keffiyeh, or a traditional male Arab headdress, and complained because of the "symbolism." As soon as Dunkin' heard about the comments they immediately tried to explain that it was simply a scarf, but when people continued to discuss the topic they removed the ad and put out a statement:
"In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by her stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we are no longer using the commercial."
[photo of Rachael Ray + scarf: http://bit.ly/gJotQY ]
Though the removal of the ad may have quieted done the original opposers, it also sparked judgment from others who said they should not have taken down the ad. In my opinion, I agree with the latter; I don't think they needed to remove the ad. If they simply addressed the bloggers who were posting negative comments and perhaps explained further that it was just a plain old scarf--maybe even going as far as to prove the brand or logo of the scarf--then the bloggers would have no real evidence to base their claims upon and the chatter would fizzle out. However because they removed the ad entirely it brought far more media attention to the fiasco and other people felt compelled to comment on the issue.
Once upon a time, the salad oil aka soybean scandal bankrupted a subsidiary of the company, as Anthony De Angelis managed to swindle millions of dollars from at least 16 companies. American Express Warehousing got themselves in trouble, as they wanted to promote their traveler's checks and signed off and De Angelis's warehouse receipts. It was a situation that could have easily been stopped, had someone anywhere down the line only bothered to check up on the paperwork. You can read the full story at Time.com.
Most recently however, American Express had some trouble in early 2010 with the volcanic ash cloud that covered most of Europe. Apparently, travelers were stranded without a means of returning home for days when all transportation was halted. During a crisis such as this, American Express really stepped up their game plan to ensure that their customers would return home safely and quickly, putting in about 12,000 hours of overtime helping individuals change their travel plans. The crisis was really one of communication, and the company has been revising its plan to ensure a continuous information flow to its customers.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Johnson and Johnson’s infamous crisis was in 1982 when Tylenol bottles were being tampered with cyanide. Johnson and Johnson responded quickly and effectively. However, recently in 2009 Johnson and Johnson had a recall on Motrin. Johnson and Johnson received negative publicity because they tried to keep the recall a secret. In 2008, Johnson and Johnson had sent contractors to go to drugstores and buy out Motrin, something known as “phantom recall”. However, people caught onto this and in 2009 Johnson and Johnson had a public recall on Motrin. Johnson and Johnson’s secrecy got them in trouble and consumers looked unfavorably on their actions. The FDA along with their shareholders were confused on the why Johnson and Johnson wanted to remove Motrin from the drugstores but did not actually make a public announce about a recall until 6 months later. Another crisis that Johnson and Johnson dealt with was the Motrin commercial that upset mommy bloggers. Johnson and Johnson have dealt with many crises. The company has done an excellent job admitting their mistakes and trying to improve their image.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Hearst Magazines public relations professionals discussed the ideal plan to ease consumers. Though the editor-in-chief, Joanna Coles did not directly apologize, she did mention that the particular writer was battling her own insecurities. Within 24 hours, the author herself posted an update on the entry, “I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn't productive, either...” Since then, public scrutiny has dwindled. It was important during this time that certain protocol be followed, and it was. Public interest was placed first, the magazine took responsibility, the publication was open to the public, and designated the editor-in-chief and original blogger as the spokespeople. It was a bold move for the editor-in-chief to make a statement, and an even bolder move for the author to take the blame and apologize to the public.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
By: Carly Hart Feb 2, 2009
Macy's has announced its 2009 reorganization plan, taking the bull by the horns in this sluggish economy. Macy's new business plan is a bold one, seeking to consolidate operations and dynamically reduceits debt. According to the press release available on the Macys.com site, most of the operational decisions will be made in New York. Divisional offices, including San Francisco, Miami and Atlanta, will suffer deep cuts. 2,850 layoffs, or about 40% of the total net job losses, are expected to occur at these locations under Macy's 2009 reorganization plan. Moreover, Macy's still intends to close 11 under performing stores. The remaining stores can expect 5-6 job losses per store, mainly to keep staffing in line with projected sales figures and customer service needs.
Macy's 2009 reorganization plan: More than just layoffs;
In addition to the 7,000 layoffs, Macy's intends to pro-actively seek to reduce its debt. Employees are also being forced to tighten their corporate belt. Merit raises for 2009 and bonuses for 2008 for executives will not be awarded. Management will also be seeking to reduce executive perks, including clothing discounts, and company cars, as well as financial counseling and life insurance. Additionally, Macy's will be reducing its employer match for employees' 401(k)s. Even stock holders are being asked to tow the line since the retailer plans to slash its quarterly dividend by more than half, down to 5 cents per share. Further aggressively seeking to reduce its potential interest debt, Macy's has also announced it is seeking to buy back $950 Million in notes expected to mature in April and July. One thing is clear: throughout the company, everyone will be impacted by Macy's 2009 reorganization plan in one way or another.
Macy's 2009 reorganization plan: New customer-focused program to drive sales concurrent with Macy's job cuts and aggressive debt reduction and cash conservation practices, the retailer is also launching a new program called "My Macy's" that will focus on customer needs by region. This local marketing program should help reduce costs since customer needs vary by location and the ability to make merchandising decisions based upon varying regional needs should lead to higher customer satisfaction. This new customer-focused approach will help set Macy's apart since customer service will be key in this floundering economy. Rather than wait for disaster in the face of lower sales projections for 2009, the retailer is doing all it can to make sure it doesn't become a casualty of the current economic crisis.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Prior to the settlement, Goldman issued press releases denying allegations. One, issued April 16, listed factors company executives felt were important to its reputation's preservation.
Goldman's approach seemed to shift during the chronic crisis stage. Later releases acknowledge misrepresentation and promote a new Business Standards Committee's establishment.
While this shift is indicative of an increasingly proactive communication plan, financial blogger Courtney Comstock noted in a September 2 post that Goldman seems to put more energy into promoting its PR tactics than into mending its image (Comstock).
Comstock, Courtney. "Goldman Sachs is Conducting Image Studies in China." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc., 02 Sept 2010. Web. 5 Sep 2010.
In reaction to the economic downturn Starbucks closed 600 of their poorly performing locations. And decided to open 200 fewer stores than planned in 2009. Also, along with these store closings comes job loss. Although they tried to place their employees who worked in the closed stores in locations that were still operating, Starbucks announced they had to cut its workforce by 600 employees.
1. food donation at the Johnson City store for their 19th anniversary to charity; support “Harvest for Hunger” campaign; donated food to local schools; Wegman’s Scholarship Program
2. Allentown, Bethlehem, and Nazareth stores support local scout troops with annual food drive by donating old Wegmans bags
3. support Rochester Roots program, which helps local low-income families
4. 3 Pennsylvania stores support the “Feed a Friend” organization by having cashiers ask for small donations at the check-out
5. D.C. store provided ingredients for Capital Food Fight fundraiser
6. Maryland and Virginia stores donated food to Maryland food bank
7. Rochester Wegmans participated in CANstruction fight against hunger competition that collects cans for the less fortunate
8. Jersey Wegmans donated $26,000 worth of food to elementary schools
9. all stores run "Check Out Hunger" fundraiser in which people can donate money as they check out
Wegmans also has worked to improve their sustainability efforts over the years. They focus on three main areas, which are Carbon Footprint, Packaging and Recycling, and Products. In order to reduce their carbon footprint, Wegmans has taken over 200 vehicles off the road, created new tractors that cut emissions by 90%, switched to using new flourescent lighting, and using a non-ozone depleting refrigerant in their freezers. To improve packaging and recycling, Wegmans has switched to using 100% recycled food boxes, started using natural fibers for fish containers instead of styrofoam, reduced the weight of their plastic containers, and began selling reusable grocery bags. Finally, to improve the products they offer at their stores, Wegmans created a 50-acre farm in Western New York in order to learn about the struggles farmers face, to learn how to grow organically, and to share their findings with their growing partners. They also buy local produce and fish that are captured from sustainable fishing practices.
Advancing Cancer Research
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The “Overview” section provides links to annual reports, earnings releases, proxy statements, presentation documents, creditor information, current press releases, and corporate governance documents.
The “Financials” section provides links to quarterly earnings; proxy statements; 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K forms; and financial highlights.
Presentation documents used between November 10, 2009 and October 19, 2010 are available under “Presentations”.
Under “Creditor Information,” website visitors can view credit ratings, which several credit rating agencies provide; borrowings, which include commercial paper, promissory notes, short- and long-term securities, medium term notes, and global bonds; balance sheets, preferred stocks, and liquidity risk management information.
“Corporate Governance” has information regarding guidelines that are applicable to management and lists committee chairs. It includes bylaws, information pertaining to the company’s political involvement, and the Code of Ethics. It lists committee chairs for the audit, compensation, corporate governance nominating, and risk committees.
The “Business Continuity” section presents Goldman’s crisis plan.
Other pages include “Frequently Asked Questions” and “Investor Contacts.”
The Goldman website does not provide information related to CSR initiatives.
In a 2006 interview, Vice President Sonal Shal said, “We will make money off of [CSR]. We will be a better partner to our clients, but we will also create a better business” (Ferdinand). She expressed interest in focusing CSR initiatives on environmental sustainability, but stated that, unlike competitors’ environmental focuses as defense mechanisms, Goldman is taking a business-oriented approach. The company is investing $1 billion in alternative energy. It also is investing in a research company in hopes of pinpointing important issues to assist in planning for CSR initiatives (Ferdinand).
Ferdinand, Andrea. “Goldman Sachs VP Says Corporate Responsibility Part of Strategic Plan”.McCombs School of Business.7 Nov 2006. 9 Nov 2010. http://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/news/pressreleases/SonalShah06.asp
Stannard-Friel, Jessica. “The New York Times on the Goldman Sachs Foundation, or WHY Can’t We Acknowledge that CSR is GOOD for a Company??”. Reimagining CSR. 12 Nov 2009. 9 Nov 2010. http://reimaginingcsr.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-york-times-on-goldman-sachs.html
When you click to the investor relations section of the website, you can see their earnings releases and presentations, corporate governance, shareholder information, financial information and filings, press releases and their fixed income investors. Here is a link for this page: http://ir.americanexpress.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=64467&p=irol-irhome Each category is labeled in a concise manner, which eliminates any confusion when viewing the website.
As you can observe, the company arranged the website in a user-friendly way. This communication tool succeeds in providing the investors with up-to-date information on an obtainable medium for all.
These are some of the community service efforts that they participate in:
Habitat for Humanity, Multiple Locations, U.S.
American Express provides capacity building support for Habitat for Humanity programs in Broward County, Florida; Central Arizona; Greensboro, North Carolina; and New York City. This funding enables American Express employees to volunteer alongside community members to help build decent, safe and affordable shelter for those in need.
New York Restoration Project, New York, NYThe Put Down Roots campaign is the first urban tree planting of its kind, designed to utilize community volunteers to invite property owners to plant trees in their yards. This program is part of the City’s MillionTreesNYC initiative that intends to plant and maintain one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade, and aims to educate an entire city on the dramatic benefits, including health, aesthetic and financial, that trees provide.
According to AMEX's website, the cultural heritage funds are only given to organizations that follow certain criteria. "They must ensure public engagement, present work that is in danger of being lost, and preserve monumental cultural traditions." Here are some organizations that have received grants:
Brooklyn Museum, New York, NYThe Brooklyn Museum's mission is to act as a bridge between the rich artistic heritage of world cultures, as embodied in its collections and the unique experience of each visitor. American Express supported an exhibition that will premiere in September, 2010 presenting the tipi as an expression of artistic and cultural identity and an interior space of domestic and ritual use. This will be the first exhibition to comprehensively examine the tipi and its multiple roles, and provide visitors of all ages and backgrounds with unique opportunities to experience a tipi first hand, and the publication will be the first major contribution to the general literature on tipis in more than 50 years.
Florida Grand Opera, Miami, FLAmerican Express supported a production of Julius Caesar, which has not been performed in the U.S. in almost 20 years, in the musical tradition of Baroque opera that is rarely seen by audiences. Baroque was a ground-breaking musical form in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Though Baroque music is well known, Baroque opera is rare due to the vocal challenges it places on singers. Julius Caesar is only the second Baroque opera to be presented by Florida Grand Opera in its 67-year history.
They also participate in the leadership aspect because they want to take part in creating the leaders of tomorrow. According to their website, the organizations that they are connected to are in one of these categories:
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) is a premier leadership development organization for Asian and Pacific Islander communities in both the for-profit and non-profit sector. Through the Emerging Leaders Program, LEAP targets 10 to 12 talented emerging Asian Pacific Islander leaders at nonprofit organizations to prepare them for future leadership roles. The Emerging Leaders curriculum blends one-on-one coaching with group learnings such as: basic leadership skills through experiential learning; leadership simulations; interactive problem-solving; and action-planning and networking sessions with seasoned community leaders.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Some background information on Wal-Mart's Investors: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,600 retail units under 59 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Wal-Mart employs more than two million associates worldwide. Wal-Mart also ranked first among retailers in Fortune magazine's 2010 Most Admired Companies survey.
Also located on this portion of the website are news articles and press releases pertaining to financial news.
The sustainability efforts began in 2005 and changes have been made to add value to their business. The effort includes renewable energy sources and improving the efficiency of buildings to reduce their energy use and emissions. Their waste is sent to recycling facilities instead of a landfill and they are making more recycled commodities available for new packaging and products. "By providing our customers with product choices that can reduce their impact on the environment, we are helping them save energy, water and money." (Sustainability 360)
The investor relations page is very informative. It has an overview of what the company "is all about" as well as some specific stock information about how the company is doing on the market that day.
What I thought was very interesting was the fact that investors can listen to the Q4 2010 Starbuck's Conference Call right from this page. It is a recording of all of the 4th Quarter information about the company. Also included on this page are past annual reports and proxy statements. On the side of the page there is a box with links to other IR pages that may be of interest to investors such as the board of directors, analyst coverage, annual reports, financial highlights and rumor response.
I thought that the company's IR page did a good job of informing investors about what is going on with the company financially. All of the information is either presented on the IR Overview page or within one click of the sidebar.
Canon’s Investor Relations page is set up in a way that allows their shareholders to get whatever information they need about the company easily. Their most recently released financial information is their third quarter results [pdf], which were posted on Oct. 27.
Other information on their investor relations page include:
- Stock information (dividend history, stock price, etc…)
- Previous SEC filings
- Events and Conferences
- And more
Overall Canon’s Investor Relations page does a good job of making their financial information available to those who need or want it. They also post important financial information in their press release section of their website to further promote their business efforts.
Canon decides on their Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns through their corporate philosophy of kyosei, which “aspires to a society in which all people, regardless of culture, custom, language or ethnicity, harmoniously live and work together for the common good.”
Canon Global uses this philosophy to focus their Corporate Social Responsibility in a few categories. They are humanitarian aid and relief, art, culture and sports, education and science, local communities, social welfare, conservation of the environment.
Since Canon has offices all over the world their corporate social responsibility is different with each branch of the company. Some examples of their programs [pdf] are:
Asia/Oceania- Check-ups for Children- This program offers free health checkups by doctors, as well as donating household goods to impoverished children in Vietnam, where there are three Canon factories. These activities started in 2007, and have helped a total of 3,500 children to date.
The Americas- Canon Forestry Program “Generation Green”- In 2009 Canon U.S.A. had two programs of reforestation. For the consumer side, a tree was planted for every ten registrations collected of customers who purchased environmentally-friendly Canon products such as those with energy-saving designs. On the industrial side, a green initiative supported planting 10 trees for every factory-certified model business copier sold. Combined 30 thousand trees have been planted since 2008.
Africa- Sweet Dreams for Local Orphans- Since 2000, Canon has supported African orphanages. In 2008, employees from Canon South Africa gave teddy bears to the children, and spent time together reading books.
These are just some of the programs that Canon Inc. runs. With so many corporate branches they try to find programs that will resonate with the local population and have some positive effect on their communities.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I did learn however, that at the end of the 2008 fiscal year, Hearst experienced growth in all areas. Revenue experienced an influx of 9.8%(4810.00M)and the amount of employees increased by 17.2%. This is pertinent information for potential investors, because the company is profitable.
They have included shareholder services, calendar of public disclosures, the annual report/fact book, SEC filings and they even have live webcasts that allow an open communication between the organization and their investors.
Macy's Inc is currently gearing up for their holiday season and still in their third quarter. Their second quarter just ended in 7/31/2010. When they ended their statement of income in a 13 week period it was $5.1 million dollars.
Macy's Inc does a great job with keeping their investor's informed. Their website is laid out perfectly to find all of the information. Investors appreciate the up-to-date statements and organized layout.
"Collectively, contributions from Macy's, Bloomingdale's, the Macy's Foundation and the Bloomingdale's Fund of the Macy's Foundation - as well as employee contributions through workplace giving campaigns and customer contributions through our signature giving programs - totaled more than $71.2 million in 2009.
Across the company, our support helped sponsor important exhibits at museums, formed partnerships with symphonies, theaters and zoos to create educational and fun "family days," provided scholarships and mentoring for disadvantaged youth, raised funds for the fight against breast cancer, supported women's shelters, and rallied behind the HIV/AIDS cause with funding for testing, food banks and other support services."
This is just a small collection of philanthropy efforts on Macy's part. They have won countless awards since their first opened their doors and they continue to be a company that gives back.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
The website is split up into comprehensible sections, with links for further information under each category. All information is public, so any financial report can easily be downloaded.
All SEC filings are available online, including the most recent 10K filing for the period ending September 30, 2010 (filed on November 3). A press release was issued to sum up the quarterly report, stating that the net income has increased 71% since last year ($640 million in 2009, $1.1 billion currently).
Additionally, losses totaled have also decreased, which the company believes is a sign of continuing credit improvement.
The press release is also available online for investors to review.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
1) Cultural Heritage
3) Community Service
The Philanthropy: The mission of our Corporate Social Responsibility program is to bring to life the American Express value of good corporate citizenship by supporting diverse communities in ways that enhance the company's reputation with employees, customers, business partners and other stakeholders. We do this by supporting visionary nonprofit organizations that are:
I will focus on what they do for the environment. Starbucks focuses on recycling, energy, water, green building and climate change.
According to their website, their goal for recycling is "By 2015 we plan to have recycling available in all of our stores where we control waste collection and serve 25% of beverages in reusable cups." Last year 70% of their stores recycled at least one type of waste...they are continuing to try to make this percentage higher. To reduce their carbon footprint in their stores, they are working to reduce their energy consumption in their stores across the world. They are attempting to make 50% of the energy they use in their stores from renewable sources. They are also doing research in order to better understand how to use water in their stores. They are attempting to reduce the amount of water that they use in every store.
As you can see, Starbucks is specifically trying to reduce their effect on the environment in-house. They have set specific goals for the company, and are committed to achieving these goals.
Monday, November 1, 2010
- Preserving and enriching our diverse cultural heritage
- Developing new leaders for tomorrow
Dunkin' Brands focuses on 4 different areas of corporate social responsibility.
The first is Economic, which includes their commitment to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business as well as their Coffee Origin Program which highlights the fact that they use Fair Trade coffee beans which helps to support the farmers and communities where they get the beans from.
The second focus is Environmental. Dunkin' Brands is focusing on reducing their environmental footprint and working on building more energy efficient and "green" certified stores.
The third is Philanthropy. Dunkin' Brands created the Dunkin' Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation which in itself has three areas of focus: "Food for Our Hungry," "Health for Our Children," and "Safety for Our Neighborhoods." The organization works with franchises and also local non-profits that align with their initiatives.
Their fourth area of focus is Social, which addresses national issues with their Dunkin' Brands Nutrition Advisory Board and also the Disaster Relief Fund.