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Wondering what’s trending in the world of Food & Drink?

June 13, 2023

This month, the London FAB Brand Marketing team has taken a deep dive into what’s hot and what’s cooling down in the industry.  Featuring hyper-local as well as a global view on food and drinks trends, the report also looks at ingredients & manufacturing, market maturity and how influences are crossing borders and verticals – the menu of food trends has never been livelier!​

The post Wondering what’s trending in the world of Food & Drink? appeared first on United Kingdom.


TickTockTech: Leaders cautious, yet optimistic about cybersecurity spend this year

May 24, 2023
By Matthew Caldecutt

Attendees at the recently concluded IT security-focused RSA Conference emerged with a positive outlook for the cybersecurity sector despite challenging macroeconomic conditions. New technologies are introducing new threats. In fact, there’s been a surge in at least one type of attack, leading to the expectation that cybersecurity budgets will remain stable or increase. Instead of developing technologies to combat what arises one threat at a time, the sector is beginning to shift its security approach to be more proactive and less reactive — beginning with a more comprehensive defense at the various entry points where issues can emerge.

During the official program and among those on site, a number of discussions were had about a key development: the impact of generative artificial intelligence (AI), as well as zero-day exploits (those being discovered well before vendors are aware), which contributed to the positive sentiment. Generative AI, for example, has been a boon to numerous industries, including security professionals. For them, like others, it’s a means for improving productivity. But, at the same time, generative AI makes it easier for new bad actors to emerge. Meanwhile, the increasing use of zero-day exploits due to the current geopolitical climate is something to which chief security information officers (CISOs) of large, international companies need to pay close attention. Anywhere you’re doing business is somewhere that you might be vulnerable.

Contributions made by businesses at the conference also provided an indication as to the direction in which the industry is heading, including:

  • The need to prevent threats such as the ones resulting from the employment of generative AI and zero-day exploits more holistically.
  • The benefit of platforms instead of point solutions, which could pave the way for more comprehensive strategies
  • The concept of extended detection and response (XDR), which is a natural outgrowth of a platform mentality – the ability to monitor across the board to prevent problems.
  • The need for unified security across systems – necessary to keep out miscreants before they can enter and cause issues. 

And while a broader perspective on security is necessary, the technology that plugs into various systems deployed by businesses was also a concern. In the coming year, it’s clear that how employees interact with systems and the information they need must be protected even more.

Overall, what’s happening in the world today clearly calls for keeping a careful eye out for what’s potentially going to be an issue down the line. As a result, IT security leaders are taking steps to create options that can be more easily used to look ahead and guard multiple entry points into what should be secure systems. Fewer and more comprehensive products will ultimately be where investments are made.


TickTockTech: Using Communications as a Catalyst for the Energy Transition

April 6, 2023
By Mary Salvaggio

We’re facing a new energy economy. Whether you’re an industry wonk, a communicator keen to understand the macro environment or an energy justice warrior, chances are you have a baseline familiarity with the major global shift in how this critical resource is being supplied and consumed today. But the current volume of discussion on the energy transition can be overwhelming. With a backdrop of tech industry layoffs, factors like evolving climate risk disclosure policies and the race between legacy and startup players to lead the clean tech revolution have us at an inflection point: How does the world think about the future of energy and what is the role of technology in this sea change?

With that, there’s a huge opportunity for communications leaders to show up as true business partners, using the function as a catalyst for change.

Communications to Understand and Prioritize

If you work in the energy field, it’s easy to assume your organization’s stakeholders all understand and agree on how to meet the business opportunity. But if you’re steeped in the work day-to-day — especially if you’re working primarily with like-minded individuals — you may be living in an echo chamber. You require a deep understanding of the full spectrum of your organization’s stakeholders and their current perceptions before your can build your communications strategy:

  • What are current versus desired perceptions?
  • What kind of objection handling should you anticipate?
  • What strong third-party relationships exist and where are new ones needed?

Understanding these elements will help you craft an outcomes-driven communications program while also gaining alignment from your internal business partners on how you’ll prioritize your team’s energy and focus. A win-win. 

Communications to Drive Growth

Once you understand where your audiences sit, you can design a comms strategy to reach and influence them accordingly. Let’s imagine you support communications at a B2B company with a growing clean energy business unit with technology at its core. To drive growth, the company needs to influence CXOs at other organizations for potential collaborations. As part of your stakeholder analysis, you know that some of these C-suite leaders don’t yet know about your company’s new business unit. And, when they’ve partnered with others in the industry, it’s traditionally been with massive legacy players.

In this case, because you’ve done the foundational work to understand your audience’s true current state, your strategy will focus on awareness and trust building, rather than working from an assumption that your target audience already understands what you do and leaning into comms that differentiate. Your content and channel approach will flow from there.

Communications to Recruit

With a global market opportunity for clean energy technologies worth $650 billion by 2030, the energy transition will require the creation of new roles and skill sets. To win in a competitive market, companies will need top tech talent. But talking about stocked fridges and hackathons won’t cut it. Leveraging communications as a recruitment tool starts with understanding what is valuable to your potential candidates and acknowledging there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Some individuals may crave in-person collaboration time and continued education opportunities while others appreciate the ability to log off around school pickup time and get back online after family dinner. If potential candidates only see messages around catered lunches and quarterly offsites, but your target employee prioritizes flexibility above all else, you’ll fall flat because you’ve failed to articulate what is truly meaningful to them. This is where audience research comes in. Once you know that the early-in-career engineer you’re looking to bring on craves a hybrid work environment and the ability to rapidly accelerate their career, you can lean into messaging and examples that bring this to life.

The clean energy transformation is one that will impact future generations in unimaginable ways. To enable this transition, it’ll be necessary to educate, influence and align a complex set of stakeholders, especially as the democratization of energy expands. By working in true partnership with the business to offer strategic, data-steeped counsel, communicators have an unprecedented opportunity to be a catalyst for one of the most significant shifts of our time. 


SXSW 2023: Predictions for the Future of Food — and What They Mean for Today

March 30, 2023
By Jennifer Aguilar

SXSW is known as the mega-event for exploring what’s next in tech (with a taco in hand). A highly anticipated interactive conference sandwiched between a film and music festival, the event brings together industry professionals from tech, food, education, entertainment and health for one week of sessions, exhibitions, networking opportunities — and did we say tacos?

Returning fully in person this year with its expected amount of gusto, the buzz coming out of SXSW 2023 was all about AI – be that artificial or augmented intelligence – and community. These themes dripped heavily down into the food track where advancements in soil and water case studies, carbon neutral beef pilot programs and the commercial viability of cell-cultured or cultivated meats were explored alongside the philosophy that humans’ relationship to land, animals and each other is both communal and ancient.

An undercurrent moving through it all continues to be the social environment, impact and emergence from the pandemic whether your part in the food business is a producer, at the supply chain or in food service at any scale. The past few years and recovery from them lingers in every consumer decision, workplace culture and inflated costs. In attending SXSW, it would seem the solution lies in deeper community connections and diversity of thought as well as diet.

From a Media + Platforms point of view, Reddit and social media are places where unique communities are thriving. While brands are harnessing a video-focused social media platform effectively to deliver outcomes that are 1.4X greater for the food and beverage category, Reddit remains a place anchored in realness and the spirit of discussion where brands could both be doing and gleaning more. It starts with finding your audience, listening and observing, moving into interactions and then on to commentary that could become a powerful thought leadership and reputation tool.

While brands are frantically deploying fan strategies for the metaverse, there’s a simultaneous push for live interactions centered around food in the real world (IRL). Science has shown a “feast paradox” — evidence that people who eat with other people do indeed consume more food but have better health outcomes. With retail stores failing every week, many of these empty spaces will become experiential — expect to see culinary collaboration centers rising all around.

And SXSW wouldn’t be complete without taking away a trend that is poised to reshape an industry’s landscape in the near future. For food research, development and innovation the opportunity is in air. By leveraging air to change texture and shape to send certain neuro-signals to the brain, food experiences can be completely transformed and improved while using half the typical water commodity.

In the end, food futurologist Dr. Morgaine Gaye sums it up best: “We think we eat what we eat because we like it, but that’s not the reason. Food is a social communicator that shows us and others who we are.”


Let’s Talk HBCUs: Accessing this Untapped Talent Market & Debunking the Myths

February 6, 2023
By Candyce Burke

“Really? You want to go to Morgan State?”

“Morgan is like the 13th grade!”

“There is no diversity. Why would you want to be in an environment with only Black people? The real world isn’t like that!”

“You will never get a job if you go to Morgan. Recruiters aren’t looking there for talent.”

When I chose to enroll at Morgan State University – a public, historically black research university (HBCU) in Baltimore, MD – I was met with many detractors. Looking back on it, I am not sure what bothered me more at the time, the comments themselves or the people who made them.

After graduating in 2020, I noticed that many of my peers who graduated from HBCUs encountered similar misperceptions during their job searches, and some began to lose hope. I realized that changing mindsets towards HBCUs starts with tackling some of the most common myths.

Candyce Burke (above), assistant account executive at FleishmanHillard and Morgan State 2020 graduate.

Myth #1: HBCUs don’t produce top talent.

HBCUs are a market of untapped talent and potential. Recruiting from HBCUs can help companies diversify their workplace, especially in fields like public relations, where over 70% of employees are white. HBCUs are responsible for 22% of current bachelor’s degrees grated to African Americans. While HBCU students represent some of the most talented prospects in the job market, recruitment efforts from companies at these institutions are still inadequate. According to a recent LinkedIn article, the industries that outperform others in recruiting HBCU grads include energy and mining, software and IT services, hardware and networking, finance and manufacturing. The public relations industry should take note of how these industries are attracting and retaining HBCU talent, and work to produce similar results.

Myth #2: There’s no diversity at HBCUs.

HBCUs are incredibly diverse. These institutions were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to primarily serve the Black community and correct for systemic exclusion of Black people from higher education. However, during my time at Morgan State, I met students from Latin America, Africa, Europe, various Caribbean islands and states across the U.S. This opened my eyes to the abundance of diversity within the Black community, and to the beauty in all the cultures and experiences that connect us yet make us so unique.  Diversity comes in many forms, and HBCUs allow Black students to stand tall and take pride in their intersectionality. No matter a student’s gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background or nationality, there’s a place for everyone to feel safe. Personally, this is what made me feel most comfortable at Morgan State – the freedom to be myself.

So, what can companies and their recruiters do to reach diverse talent at HBCUs?

Here are some of my thoughts:

Recruit outside of the box: There are currently 101 HBCUs in the nation. However, many recruiters gravitate to the same ones to find new talent. Connecting and partnering with schools around the country (outside of the typical suspects) can help more students get experience and opportunities, as well as face-to-face interaction with recruiters.

Work on internal DE&I efforts: As a diverse candidate, I would not apply anywhere I didn’t feel represented. On top of having a DE&I plan and initiatives in place to make all their employees feel included, companies should also have diverse recruiters. This would also make applicants feel comfortable asking questions, giving recruiters the chance to explain why the company is a good place for them to start their careers.

Make hiring more accessible and less exclusive: A lot of the best opportunities require an “in” or a connection. Many companies recruit new hires from within their employees’ networks, which can lead to a lack of diversity in their workplace. Instead, companies should reach out to, for example, student-led organizations at HBCUs to recruit talent. Building relationships with HBCU student groups and others within this community garners trust and leads to inclusive and accessible hiring practices.

I am not the only one who wants to see more opportunities for students graduating from HBCUs. And unfortunately, I am not the only one who has heard negative comments about HBCUs based on false stereotypes and misinformation. It is my goal to encourage companies and their recruiters to reach out and explore the fresh faces and rich perspectives that HBCU students offer. This is how I give back to Morgan State and the other 100 HBCUs across the nation.


MLK Day: Bending Our Universe Toward Justice

January 16, 2023
By AJ Bockelman

Many see January as a time to reflect, regroup and consider the work ahead. As we look for inspiration, the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day offers an opportunity to reflect on how we intentionally shape that work so that it centers upon justice and equity.

Dr. King’s legacy is one that sought to lift up people and create the “Beloved Community” he envisioned – despite the deep-rooted racism and discrimination against Black Americans at the time. He courageously called people to the streets in non-violent protest and shared a vision that built the modern civil rights movement.

This year will mark 60 years since Dr. King’s historic 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, and in that time, he has been lionized and regarded as one of the most prominent figures of the civil rights moment. However, it shouldn’t be lost on us that Dr. King wasn’t held in such high regard in his day. He inspired people to speak truth to power in ways that disrupted the status quo. Words were not enough though. Dr. King’s actions accompanying those words led him to be reviled by many, including in the media, and ultimately led to his imprisonment.

Yet despite those setbacks, Dr. King’s steadfast convictions and actions led to change for Black Americans. And by him clearly articulating how we structure our laws and communities, it has led to change for other voices too that have often been forgotten, ignored or targeted. During his lifetime, Dr. King shaped laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Since then, his legacy continues to reverberate over decades of progress in civil rights laws that have expanded protections for many people.

And while we still bear witness to the fact that Dr. King’s dream is not yet fulfilled through the injustices and inequities we experience to this day, we can point to change that continues to advance his vision. 

With that, we strive to honor Dr. King’s legacy in how we approach our work at FleishmanHillard all year long. Our DE&I journey is certainly inspired by his legacy. We reflect on Dr. King’s teachings as we continually evaluate how we approach and support our colleagues, clients and communities, and as we seek to broaden our perspectives and understand the lived experiences of others to create an inclusive environment.

As part of our FH4Inlusion work, we’ve engaged in some incredible work with The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change based in Atlanta, where Dr. Bernice A. King, MLK’s daughter, is CEO. We shared details of our work in an earlier blog post. Across our FleishmanHillard headquarters office in St. Louis, my fellow colleagues and I collaborate with leadership to convene thoughtful discussions and activities that elevate diverse voices and create opportunities to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.

It is hard work, but we must commit ourselves to effect positive change and continue to honor Dr. King’s dream. For me at least, a queer member of Generation X, FleishmanHillard has created a space where I find my voice valued and not just in some niche way. My perspective has been directly impacted by the legacy of Dr. King and I feel a responsibility to continue understanding the lived experiences of others. That is how I personally choose to honor his memory. The collective intention behind this work in our personal and professional lives, and across our communities, is how we will advance justice and equity.

As we celebrate MLK Day and consider the work ahead in our workplaces, communities and broader society in 2023, let us all be inspired and guided by Dr. King’s legacy and teachings. He reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Let’s continue to bend our own universe.


Fintech in 2023: The areas firms should be prioritising

December 6, 2022

As 2023 nears, it’s important for the fintech industry to air on the side of caution. Take a look at what our fintech experts believe should be priorities for 2023.

The post Fintech in 2023: The areas firms should be prioritising appeared first on United Kingdom.


Healthy Futures: Exploring buying local and sustainability during the cost-of-living crisis

November 28, 2022

As the food and drink sector undergo various challenges due to the cost-of-living-crisis, the FleishmanHillard UK Food, Agriculture and Beverage team explore the ramifications for brand and communication teams in their new “Cost-of-Living Bites” series.

The post Healthy Futures: Exploring buying local and sustainability during the cost-of-living crisis appeared first on United Kingdom.


Supporting Employees Through a Personal Crisis

October 11, 2022
By Mollie Dreibrodt

When a personal crisis strikes, even employees with the best work-life boundaries can find themselves struggling to stay afloat amidst the storm they’re experiencing. And at some point in your career, you’ll likely be called to support a team member through these murky waters.

Be it a death in the family, severe illness, miscarriage, medical diagnosis, or other event, when things go awry in an employee’s personal life, how you and your organization respond can make a big difference in that individual’s (as well as observers’) employee experience.

Having supported my husband through a cancer diagnosis, reoccurrence, and corresponding treatment twice in the last three years, I’m all too familiar with this. With the benefit of hindsight, there are a few things I’ve learned that can help organizations in supporting their employees through a personal crisis.

1) Synthesize and share benefits information. While your organization may offer a host of benefits that could support an employee through a difficult time, combing through a benefits site to locate or better understand the offering requires the mental capacity that most won’t have in the middle of a life-altering event or diagnosis.

Managers can simplify this process by connecting with HR representatives to understand what benefits are available and most helpful to the employee’s specific situation. Doing this will help engage the right business partner(s) and make an already daunting process seem less overwhelming to the impacted employee.

As you relay options for leave, emotional well-being or mental health support, fertility benefits, employee advocacy programs, etc., take some of the work off the impacted employee’s shoulders by addressing head-on what they’re eligible for, what is needed to use a relevant benefit, and who is their point-of-contact for each benefit.

Particularly for those who are on short- or long-term leave, ensure that you – and the team member – know what documentation requirements exist and communicate any known deadlines for end of coverage, paperwork submissions, etc. to minimize added stress during the actual leave period.

2) Let the impacted employee dictate how much of their situation is shared. I’ve personally found being transparent with team members about my situation as the best approach to ensuring business continuity despite periods of increased absence from work or need for additional flexibility. However, that should not be the expectation of all employees going through a tough time.

If you’re the employee’s manager and they’ve shed light on what’s happening, ask them explicitly when – if at all – it’s appropriate to share what’s going on with other colleagues and/or clients, and what level of detail they’re comfortable with you sharing.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution and stick to “[NAME] is [OUT OFFICE UNTIL WHEN, WORKING A DIFFERENT SCHEDULE FOR THIS TIME PERIOD, ETC.] due to personal circumstances.” and do not budge if probed for more information without explicit permission.

3) Show your humanity. Whether you know details of a teammate’s circumstances or not, small acts of support and kindness go a long way. We spend so much of our lives with our co-workers. If a teammate’s situation is known, silence can cause them to question the work community that they’re investing so much of their time and effort into.

A few of the most memorable human-centric moments I’ve experienced were:

  • Managers who remembered big appointment dates and sent encouraging texts ahead of those.
  • Teammates who took on extra tasks, calls or assignments without grumbling and often at the drop of a hat when a new “bad news” call or appointment popped up.
  • Teammates who sent “thinking of you” cards, texts and emails – I know your time is valuable, so the thought does count.
  • Teammates who supported our family with contributions to fundraisers, meal trains, gas and travel money, etc.
  • Co-workers who asked how things were going instead of assuming I didn’t want to talk about it.

4) Support a slower or flexible re-entry period. For employees who have been on leave or working a sporadic schedule, don’t expect them to be back to 100% on their first day – or week – back to regularly scheduled programming.

As a manager, ensure their workload is still distributed for the first week (or more) of re-entry. If appropriate and assuming the requests have been handled, assure them they don’t need to address the overwhelming amount of unread emails they probably have in their inbox.

Respect that life has likely drastically changed for your teammate and give them the space to process that transformation however needed.

At the end of the day, empathetic leadership and giving grace can go a long way. Balancing work and life is always hard, but when tragedy strikes, priorities will likely skew toward “life.” At a time when more employees are asking for their whole self to be prioritized by their employer, how you respond and support them through a personal crisis can have a major impact on their morale, engagement and perception of your organization as a whole.


Cyber-attacks in the changing world of cyber communication

October 4, 2022

High-profile cyber-attacks seem to be hitting the headlines even more regularly in 2022. For every incident you see in the press, there are many more that never become public. We’ve spent an awful lot of time responding to ransomware attacks this year, and we have spotted some emerging trends. Cyber-attack tactics All ransomware attacks have […]

The post Cyber-attacks in the changing world of cyber communication appeared first on United Kingdom.