The rental platform’s Covid-19 response sparked a double backlash from guests and hosts

Airbnb logo is seen displayed on a phone screen
Airbnb logo is seen displayed on a phone screen
Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images

In the first months of the pandemic, Airbnb’s model — along with the rest of the travel industry — was sent reeling. But although Airbnb has seen bookings begin to surge through the summer and filed to go public on August 19, its crises in the early days of the coronavirus still serve as a powerful reminder of the ongoing, complicated relationships Airbnb manages as a marketplace.

In late March and early April, as cities entered lockdowns and booking cancellations surged, Airbnb’s hosts were devastated by the sudden loss of income, and the company found itself torn between simply weathering…

The good news is that people are reading more books during the pandemic than before. However, the numbers show people are buying the big names on popular websites while emerging authors can’t breakthrough. What can drive change in the book industry?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

People are reading more books during the pandemic than before. According to NPD BookScan, print sales were up almost 8 percent during 2020, growing across all readership segments, from juvenile to adult non-fiction. E-books and audiobooks, which make up a smaller portion of the market, are up as well. From my local library’s lovely librarians who are thrilled to share the rising numbers of local readers to the most powerful executive in American publishing, declaring 2020 the best year for publishing in a very long time, the market is booming. This is excellent news! …

Dr. Brené Brown hosted President Obama to talk about his book. Their friendly banter, which lasted 1 minute and 48 seconds, is a perfect example of how to start a conversation

In what has become a popular marketing approach, companies encourage their employees to become influencers and promote their brands through their private social media. What to avoid and how to do it right

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Influencers have long been a popular marketing platform to share companies’ voices on social media. Yet, employee influencers have become a trickier marketing domain in recent years. While professional influencers are external to companies, getting paid to promote brands to their followers, employees-turned influencers are very different.

Like Intel, Mastercard, Starbucks, Reebok, Vodafone, Best Buy, Ford, Walmart, and more, many companies encourage their employees to become influencers and post content about their workplace. Companies encourage their employees to post independent content on social media, such as GameStop, Dunkin’, and Sephora. Other companies, like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, use employee advocacy platforms…

Four notable apologies dominated the public agenda recently. The Bachelor franchise issued direct and focused apologies, setting a positive example, unlike Timberlake’s elusive apology. What can we learn from these about PR's power to set the public agenda and encourage a socially responsible discourse?

Justin Timberlake, picture by Gage Skidmore Wikimedia Commons

Four notable apologies dominated the public agenda this week. Justin Timberlake apologized to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson for his behavior. Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant in the current season of the Bachelor, apologized for racism. Chris Harrison, the show's legendary host, apologized twice for interjecting himself into the racial discussion and defending Kirkconnell and her actions.

The ongoing social changes in recent years have necessitated many public apologies. Written by the leading public relations experts in the world, these apologies have protected the brands and reputations of celebrities, business people, and politicians. Not only are these apologies important to the…

Peloton is changing the media ecosystem by strengthening its role as a media company, providing both the platform and content

Photo by Author

Peloton Interactive is a fitness phenomenon with its high-profile at-home spin bikes and treadmills. It has more than three million subscribers who follow the company with an almost religious zeal. Recently, Peloton announced its first-ever quarterly profit as it saw a 172% surge in sales during the coronavirus pandemic. The stay-at-home fitness company has become ever more relevant for its audience, looking to stay in shape while gyms were closed by COVID rules, showing them an innovative and new way to keep in shape.

Peloton is not just a fitness company. It also produces content and has built a community…

Photo by Dylan Scarsone Apexpixel on Unsplash

Appealing texts are wide and deep enough to allow audiences from different cultures, ethnicities, genders, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds to project their personal thoughts and feelings into the text and make it their own.

People find a text more appealing because it allows them to pour their personality, worldviews, and experience (traumatic or pleasant) into the entertaining text.

An appealing text places the protagonists in conflicts that resemble real-life choices, yet at the same time allows the audience to tiptoe into the reflection pool of emotions and fantasize about their choice.

From the BBC’s Masterpiece Theatre to reality TV and…

The largest bank in the US announced its groundbreaking investment to fight racial inequality in housing but left out a key point: the social change it is driving.

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the US, announced (October 8, 2020) its $30 billion plan to address racial inequality in America. The Wall Street mogul placed itself as a key player in one of the most pressing social spheres in America today by committing to invest and donate a groundbreaking amount of money. The bank detailed the plan’s ambitious numbers and goals, as it should. Yet, the bank’s social story has been lost in the flurry of bold numbers, financial projections, and buzzwords. …

The new mediated shopping experience, where customers wait in line to enter a store, to pay or read their order to a salesperson, makes brands’ human connection more important than ever.

A Frozen Yogurt store during the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture by the author

A few weeks ago, before inside seating in restaurants was allowed in New Jersey, I went to buy some Build Your Own Yoghurt with my children. It was a hot day, and we were all thirsty for something cold. As we stood in line outside, we peeked at the menu posted proudly at the entrance. We asked ourselves which flavor would be perfect for this summer day and tried to imagine the cold fresh taste under our masks.

When it was our turn, we approached the efficient and busy salesperson who asked us for our order and wrote it in…

Artwork at Tel Aviv beach was painted over after outrage over an assault on a teenage girl, sparking discussion about popular culture, politics, art, and gender.

On August 23, 2020, the Tel-Aviv municipal authorities removed an 18-year-old “peeping toms” mural painted by the Israeli artist Rami Meiri. It showed two young men peeking in the window of a ladies’ changing room at the beach.

The ‘Metzitzim’ (Peeping Toms) mural at the Tel-Aviv beach, picture by Udi Steinwell Wikipedia Commons

The mural refers to the Tel-Aviv beach, unofficially known as Metzitzim (Hebrew for “peeping toms”). Metzitzim is also the title of a cult 1972 film about two friends who don’t want to age; one of them is a lifeguard fighting peepers on the Tel-Aviv beach.

Painted on an actual ladies’ changing room of a family-friendly beach on the Mediterranean, the mural was…

Shani Horowitz-Rozen, Ph.D.

I help companies and executives to tell their stories, focus their messages and reach audiences

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