Sound Off Podcast: Social Media Privacy in the Workplace

Sterling Communications Account Supervisor Scott Smith sits down for a chat with colleagues Tiffany Bryant, Jordan Hubert, and Lisette Rauwendaal, to discuss how many companies are increasingly evaluating potential job candidates, and current employees, by evaluating content on their Facebook, Twitter and other social network pages. In the wake of recent news focusing on companies that require login information, and access to personal pages as a screening method, the panel delves into whether this is a step too far, or if there is a need for such policies.


Sound Off Podcast: Communications Around the Acqui-Hire

Sterling Communications Account Supervisors Scott Smith and Devin Davis sat down to talk acqui-hires. With a series of these happening in rapid succession recently – including Google’s acquisition of  Milk (and it’s superstar programmer team fronted by Digg founder Kevin Rose), the two discussed the strategy behind these “hires,” and how that strategy can be best communicated to the public at-large.


Sound Off Podcast: PR Consequences of Public Resignations

Goldman Sachs, LoserFor Goldman Sachs, a public-relations disaster had real consequences this week — $2.15 billion consequences on Wednesday. That’s the market value stripped away from Goldman’s stock price when shares dropped 3.4% after Greg Smith’s farewell to the company in The New York Times Op-Ed section. (The Times paid Smith the standard $150 rate for the unsolicited letter.)

Today on Sound Off, Sterling’s semi-regular podcast series, Kevin Pedraja and Lisa Hawes discuss the media firestorm ignited by this and a spate of recent public resignations. What are the dangers posed to companies when employees use traditional and now, social, media to air their grievances? What lessons can be learned? All this and more in eight minutes.

Sound Off Podcast Episode 2: Netflix, What the F***?

panel from the web comic The Joy of TechNetflix’ stock price, brand value and customer goodwill all seem to be tanking after the announced split of its video streaming and mail-order DVD businesses. Not only are most vocal customers unhappy with the changes, but Netflix communicated change poorly twice and made customers feel like they weren’t the top priority, which is unusual.

Netflix wants to get ahead of the sea-changes in its industry, but angering customers while launching a new brand with a video apology isn’t usually recommended by most communication firms.

Separating DVD rentals will no doubt simplify that eventual transition, but many current customers don’t seem to care. Instead, they’re creating new headaches for Netflix and Qwickster, which seems a name better suited for a chocolate milk enthusiast site than a DVD-by-mail service.

How did it all go wrong? What is the fallout for the company’s PR, social media, and branding efforts? And what could have they done differently? Tune in to hear a conversation between Sterling Communications VP Kevin Pedraja and creative director Kawika Holbrook in the latest podcast episode of Sound Off.

Sound Off: Episode 002 – Netflix, WTF?

(Note: At one point during the podcast, Netflix founder Reed Hastings is referred to as Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn. Sterling regrets the error.)

Kawika Holbrook is creative director at Sterling Communications. Follow him on Twitter @kawika or email him at

Sound Off Podcast Episode 1: The Customer Isn’t Always Right

Sterling Podcast Episode 1

It goes without saying that Facebook probably regrets engaging Burson-Marsteller to conduct a whisper campaign against Google (especially Facebook's "adult supervisor" Sheryl Sandberg, yesterday's BusinessWeek cover story). And Burson probably regrets agreeing to do it. But what can agencies learn from this embarrassing episode?  What impact will it have on the reputation of the PR industry? Tune in to hear a conversation between Sterling Communications VPs Jay Nichols and Kevin Pedraja.