All posts by David Wenger

My career began in television and eventually turned to advertising, marketing and brand consultation. BA in Communications from Brigham Young University, and an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. Employed as director of communications, marketing and public affairs at McCombs School of Business at UT Austin. Google Profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/wengerprofile

Young PR Professionals Don’t Expect to Confront Ethical Issues; What?!?

Bang!
Your PR team needs to get confident about ethics, particularly the younger members who haven’t yet witnessed ethical crises in their career.

This finding may not be surprising on the face of it. A recent study of Millennial-age public relations practitioners found them to be earnest, eager, and…naive.

The study, funded by the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State and sponsored by the PRSA Board of Ethics & Professional Standards was administered during September of 2016 to newer members of the Public Relations Society of America.

The majority of respondents said they felt ill-prepared to advise their clients or employers about ethical issues related to their work, and in fact did not even expect to face ethical dilemmas during their careers.

Yes, this is a facepalm cue for us older more experienced members of the communications world but should we be surprised? These talented, young pros learned the craft from us.

It’s a lack of ethics education, not desire or skill

Unsurprisingly, those who had mentors and had completed adequate ethics training felt more prepared and were more likely to speak up when faced with an ethical dilemma.

Four factors were found to significantly impact Millennials’ confidence in discussing ethical concerns with supervisors and clients.:

  • Mentors
  • College ethics courses
  • Employee training
  • Professional association training

While the majority of millennials in this study had completed an ethics course in college, most were not receiving ethics training at work or through an association. This critical lack is not just debilitating to these young professionals but also hampers their ability to contribute fully to their firm’s mission.

Even good people do really lousy things

Continue reading Young PR Professionals Don’t Expect to Confront Ethical Issues; What?!?

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Around the World in 80 Min. w/Admiral Bobby Inman

Economic growth follows stability, and it flees from disorder and strife. For business purposes that matters more than the form of government.
inman
Bobby R. Inman, Admiral, U.S. Navy, (Retired). Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy

Navy Admiral, spy, technology innovator, university professor, corporate executive, board member, and savvy global investor, Bobby R. Inman is counted among the best and wisest who have held each of these titles.

Knowing the global breadth of his knowledge as it pertains to governments, societies, economies, and enterprises, we were delighted to entice him to speak at a Texas Enterprise gathering on the UT Austin campus on a topic he knows better than most, the international marketplace.

His full video remarks are worth the time, but following is a summary and partial transcript of his presentation. A few comments have been slightly reordered so that countries are appropriately grouped, but I’ve done my best to preserve his original meaning.

What do you need to find opportunity at the international marketplace?

  1. Stability. Economic growth follows stability, and it flees from disorder and strife. For business purposes that matters more than the form of government.
  2. Capital availability. What kind of investment climate do you find, and what is the tax climate? But I never saw a sound decision made purely on the basis of taxes…if there really wasn’t a solid business purpose underneath it, it turned out to be a bad outcome.
  3. Capable workforce, and an
  4. Education system that produces a capable workforce.
  5. Rule of law. If there are clear rules, regulations, and laws then it’s much easier to conduct business.

Continue reading Around the World in 80 Min. w/Admiral Bobby Inman

Top Five Brand and Innovation Tips From 2014

Research insights from the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin

Texas EnterpriseI work among brilliant people at the McCombs School of Business. For your benefit and mine, I keep my eyes open and watch for the big ideas that are most useful for brand builders and innovators. Here are five of the best tips gleaned from Texas Enterprise during 2014.

1. Don’t Tell Me About Your Brand, Engage With My Life

Febreze BottleProfessor Art Markman reminds us that communication is only one, and not the most important, factor in engaging consumers with a brand. “We are all lazy creatures,” he writes. “That means that [marketers] need to help customers to arrange their environments in ways that support the continued engagement with a product.” He points to a redesign of the Febreze container, designed to encourage consumers to leave the product out and visible rather than hidden away under the counter. Usage and sales increased.

2. Your Personal Brand is About Relationships, Not Just Connections

In a must-see presentation for professionals, especially those currently looking for a job, Rajiv Garg uses his research on social networks to show that the quality of your professional network will advance your career, not the size. While having hundreds of LinkedIn connections may reward your ego, when it comes to leveraging your network when you need it most, there is nothing that replaces trusted colleagues who know you well and are willing to vouch for your abilities. Garg offers three key suggestions for building your personal professional brand: Identify, Connect and Convert.

Continue reading Top Five Brand and Innovation Tips From 2014

Herb Kelleher’s Classic 14 Ways to Be a Leader

“You must be jazzed by problem solving, the same way that a fireman gets a buzz out of extinguishing fires.”

Herb KelleherOriginally published in McCombs Today.

Despite soaring fuel costs and a glut of domestic airline seats, Southwest Airlines reported its 32nd consecutive annual profit in 2004. At that year’s McCombs BBA commencement, Herb Kelleher, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines, delivered the keynote remarks in a lecture entitled “Fourteen Ways to Be a Leader.”

Kelleher began by proclaiming the commencement to be a splendid occasion. “Why? Because you are the kind of audience I crave; you have to listen to my thoughts, no matter how dull, how puerile, or even how depraved those thoughts might be,” he said with a grin.

The address that followed was classic Kelleher.

Ten years later, since retired from his leadership role at Southwest, Kelleher remains an astute and beloved commentator on life, business, and the principles of success. As commencement approaches for 2014, we’re pleased to present “Fourteen Ways to Be a Leader, Centennial Edition” with one modification (point No. 4), suggested by Kelleher in retrospect.

Continue reading Herb Kelleher’s Classic 14 Ways to Be a Leader

Live from the Workshop on Social and Business Analytics

“We have to unite the art and science of marketing. The MadMen and the MathMen.”

This post was created as a live blog from the Workshop on Social and Business Analytics (#McCombsWSBA) at McCombs School of Business on March 28, 2014. I’m not a data scientist, and much of the material presented was way over my head, so I’ll apologize both to the readers and the presenters. I know I got some of this wrong, and the rest is stated in an overly simplistic way.

Perhaps I’ll pull it down later, but for now I’ll leave it up as a resource for others who attended and want to recheck their own notes.

Welcome & Logistics: Rajiv Garg, University of Texas

Rajiv Garg is a new faculty member at McCombs, in the department of Information, Risk, and Operations, and he has played a primary role as an organizer and promoter of this event. For the first workshop of this kind at the university, that I’m aware of, he has managed to assemble a stellar list of guests and attendees.

Welcome Remarks: Janet Dukerich, Sr. Vice Provost, University of Texas

Purpose of this session is to bring industry and academics together. We can produce massive amounts of data, but how we manage to make sense of this data is a critical area to explore. There are enormous policy considerations in the management of these data. 

Session 1: John S. Butler, Chair

Shyam Venugopal, Frito-Lay/Pepsico “Analytics as an Organizational Change Force”

Frito-Lay is no longer on the sidelines on how to use business analytics as a decision tool. 

You don’t have to understand every complexity of analytics. Figure out how to organize the data and the questions. The “sexy tools” aren’t going to get you anywhere. 

When the CFO leaves a company, who do key metrics and processes stay in place, but when a CMO leaves everything changes? The reason is that marketing lacks metrics and processes that reliably tie our activities to financial return in a predictable manner.

This is easier said than done, because the world is very complex. It can be quite overwhelming to get to our consumers. We have to unite the art and science of marketing. The MadMen and the MathMen.

Frito-Lay centralized our marketing decision making for all of our brands, so that what works for the individual brand must also work for the entire portfolio.  This was a difficult transition. “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.” Continue reading Live from the Workshop on Social and Business Analytics