Crisis of the Week: DuPont’s Board Fight With Activist Investor | WSJ

The crisis this week involves DuPont Co. and its successful effort to defeat a slate of candidates to its board put up by activist investor Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management L.P. DuPont was under pressure from Mr. Peltz to give him some board representation and to perhaps split the company to maximize shareholder value. In addition, the company and Chief Executive Ellen Kullman had to persuade shareholders to disregard recommendations from proxy advisors Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co. to back Mr. Peltz.

Vincent Schiavone, executive chairman, ListenLogic: “I think Dupont/Trian is an important case study of how to handle the activist investor proxy fight crisis many chief executives and boards face today. Ellen Kullman and her team executed flawlessly from start to finish, as they needed to, to win against one of the best activists in the business, who had significant support from powerful allies.

“Kullman and her team were rigorous in their research and analysis of Trian and its allies’ positions and communications. They identified factual errors and debatable conclusions and very effectively used them to bolster their arguments. They communicated well against the activist positions while emphasizing their success, a clear strategy for the future and progress against that strategy.

Read the entire piece here.

Crisis of the Week: Lumber Liquidators Fights Flooring Foes | WSJ

Lumber Liquidators was the subject of this week’s crisis, as the company has seen its stock price take a wild ride down and back up after allegations raised in a ’60 Minutes’ story. The story alleged the laminate-flooring material sold by the company didn’t meet emission standards for the chemical formaldehyde. The story prompted one U.S. senator to call on federal agencies to investigate, and the company’s stock plunged as a result of the negative coverage.

Vincent Schiavone, executive chairman, ListenLogic: “Rule number one: Don’t make things worse! That is exactly what Lumber Liquidators did by agreeing to an on-camera interview. Lumber liquidators is experiencing an attack crisis in the digital world where consumers, media, activists, lawyers, regulators and politicians are aligned as stakeholders on an issue damaging to the reputation and value of the company.

“While the strategic goal driving stakeholders, short sellers and tort lawyers seems to be financial in nature, the enabling trigger issue is the health and safety of ingredients in the product. The core issue driving the conversation is corporate profits at the health risk of the customer.

“Lumber Liquidators chose to participate in the ‘60 Minutes’ story, something they should not have done. Often putting senior executives on the spot in an interview puts the company at greater reputation risk than issuing a statement. A written statement would have been less damaging. If a company is going to respond to an attack issue they need to be prepared to answer the key question: ‘What did you know and when did you know it?’ That answer determines if you can or want to apologize, take responsibility, reassure that all is OK and promise it will never happen again.

Read the entire piece here.

Do Deflated Balls Take Air Out of Pats’ Reputation? WSJ

This week the crisis experts looked into the comments from the New England Patriots and how they are handling the controversy over deflated footballs. The team’s coach, Bill Belichick denied any knowledge of deflating game balls, then held a second press conference in which he talked about the science of deflation and made a reference to the 1990s comedy “My Cousin Vinny.”

Vincent Schiavone, executive chairman, ListenLogic: “[This] is not really about under-inflated balls…it’s not even about the larger questions: ‘Did the Patriots and coach Belichick get caught cheating again?’; ‘Does nice guy Tom Brady cheat?’; ‘Do all teams and all quarterbacks prepare their balls outside of the official rules?’ All communications from all involved parties are focused on one thing–the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is big business, the most watched and most valuable sporting event in the U.S.

“All parties are handling it the best they can under the circumstances. The number one rule of all crisis communications is to not say anything that will make the situation worse. Any admission by Mr. Brady, Mr. Belichick or the Patriots would force the NFL to do something about it before the Super Bowl. The driving strategy for this crisis communication is ‘Do not do or say anything that may impact the Super Bowl!’

“Mr. Belichick’s response that he had nothing to do with the balls and ‘You will have to talk with Tom” was not so good. Neither was his response he looked into the process and then presented plausible explanations as to why it could happen. The coach is seen as distancing himself from the crisis and throwing his [quarterback] under the bus.

Read the entire piece here.

ListenLogic Featured by Deloitte in WSJ

Deloitte recently requested ListenLogic as expert source for their Wall Street Journal feature entitled ‘Strategic Risk: Emerging Technologies and Business Model Disruption.’ The piece focuses on the major disruptions as declared by over 300 executive respondents to Deloitte’s ‘Exploring Strategic Risk’ study.

ListenLogic Co-Founder, Vince Schiavone, is featured in the story, discussing the massive impact of social media on strategic enterprise risk, which executives state as the top technology threat to their businesses in Deloitte’s study.

As Schiavone explains, “As the social, mobile and consumer ages advance and converge, identifying the complex array of threats from the open social universe in real-time has never been more critical or challenging for corporations. The nature of threats is not necessarily new to corporations; however, with social media serving as a catalyst, the speed at which these threats can emerge and develop into crises can result in increased damages to an organization’s revenue and reputation.”

Read the entire piece here.

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Listening Report Features ListenLogic

ListenLogic advanced social intelligence solutions are profiled in the most recent Gleansight Benchmark Report on Social Listening. The report compiled by Gleanster Research, reviews “the art and science of social listening” and examines the enabling technologies, analytic capabilities, business processes, organizational resources and corporate cultures they’re putting in place to maximize the value of their investment in this initiative in order to to achieve their objectives and ultimately drive increased shareholder value.

The Gleansight Report points to ListenLogic’s pioneering solutions with comprehensive social media monitoring capabilities and provides an overview of the company’s extensive experience delivering advanced social intelligence to leading corporations. The report also features ListenLogic’s unique “approach of combining social media monitoring tools with human filtering.”

The report also highlights ListenLogic for its focus on the pharmaceutical and healthcare space, pointing to its social intelligence product suite tailored to the industry. As the report also states, ListenLogic has been quite successful in carving out a nice around generating insights from patient-to-patient conversations.

More information on the Gleanster Social Listening Report can be found here.