Bryn Mooser, founder of Ryot, describes his recent efforts to achieve a better work-life balance and avoid burning out.
We seem to be entering a new era of the publicapology, with the news cycle barely complete before a new major PR disaster occurs. Companies scramble to address customer concerns as quickly as possible before mass media moves on, speculation becomes fact, and their reputation is tarnished irreparably.
If you’re over the age of 15, you may not know the name Logan Paul. He is our modern-day Charlie Chaplin, and he makes a lot of money by performing silly and obnoxious pranks on video.
With over 15 million fans watching his monetized YouTube videos, combined with his acting career and his Maverick line of merchandise, he reportedly earned $12.5 Million in 2017 alone. He produces an average of 15 minutes of new content daily to keep his fans engaged, and keep himself relevant.
For someone like Paul, this requires a constant level of one-up-manship. As the attention span of his target demographic is notoriously fickle, he needs to be crazier and more over-the-top in order to keep them loyal to him and his brand. And, for the most part, the “Logang” is loyal – so much so that they overlook all of his flaws.
Which is a huge problem, as Logan Paul has found himself at the center of an internet controversy larger than he may have anticipated.
In a recent video, Logan Paul and his crew were walking through the Aokigahara Forest in Japan, which due to its remoteness and privacy is unfortunately dubbed the “suicide forest”. (It is so well known that there are signs posted throughout the forest, urging people to reconsider, to think on their life and family, and to seek help.)
In the video, titled “WE FOUND A DEAD BODY!!!” Paul and his team find an apparent suicide victim, then are visibly shaken and attempt to recover emotionally while simultaneously describing it and turning it into an impromptu PSA. Eventually, they give up trying to salvage the scene and regroup in the nearby parking lot.
Paul posted the video on YouTube, saying (in his two apologies) that he’d thought it was an important thing for people to see. Basically, his stance is that he thought he was educating his followers on a sensitive topic and hadn’t considered that it could be seen in poor taste, and could cause more potential harm than good.
WhileLogan Paul is the center of today’s PR storm, you never know where it will turn tomorrow. How can you best prepare your company for when the spotlight is on you?
Set Your Core Values
When you start a business, you often come up with your mission statement and your product, and then you start going to make it happen. Unfortunately, in doing that you miss a huge step in forming the culture. By having core values for the business, you will have a “code” for your business to live up to.
By listening to Logan Paul, I get a sense that he has personal values of strong work ethic, celebrating uniqueness, willingness to taking risks, and connection – but I see nothing stating them for his business.
Live the Values
Once you have core values, you need to live them. Use them as a template for every business decision that you need to make, including hiring new employees, creating marketing materials and designing products. If something doesn’t ring true, then you can toss it out.
In Paul’s case, prior to posting that video, he could have run it past each of those values as a filter. It obviously showed a risk and was unique, and there is always an underlying element of his work ethic involved, however where it may not have been so strong was with the connection piece.
Be Transparent — Responsibly
While it may seem obvious to a Youtube star who is dedicated to putting his entire life on the internet, there is a lot more responsibility behind being transparent than simply being open with everything to everyone all the time. Companies walk a fine line in releasing the right information at the right time.
For Logan Paul, it’s one thing to choose to be open about his life, but he also needs to take into account his customer base, and take responsibility for the product he has created. At the very least, he appears to understand what he’s done wrong (even though his fans may not), and he’s trying to mend the damage.
They say that any publicity is good publicity; whether this hurts his brand, time will tell.
When New York State went into quarantine in mid-March, Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra had just moved JCRT, their direct-to-consumer shirt company, to a new office on Pier 59 in New York City. Founded in 2016, JCRT celebrates all things plaid and camouflage, with colorful patterns named after David Bowie and Kate Bush albums and movies such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Stuck in a rentalhome in rural New Jersey,the married Costello andTagliapietragot to work. Heartsick that the city that had been their base and home for years was the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak, they wanted to do something to help friends on the frontlines.Costello began sewing masks from whatever sample fabrics he had on hand.Tagliapietra boxed them “by the hundreds” and the couplesentthem to wherever they heard PPE was needed.
“Everything was sort of unknown at that point,” Tagliapietra says. “We were very happy to be able to even do that.”
After sewing about 600 masks (“My hands were tired!” Costello jokes), they were able to reopentheir factory in the Dominican Republic, which been closed due to government quarantine and curfew rules, and began producing masks for sale and donation, giving more than 12,000 to first responders. They’re donating a portion of their retail sales to the New York City Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund, benefiting health care workers, supporting small businesses, and vulnerable workers and families. Without any marketing other than their social feeds, Tagliapietra and Costello estimate they’ve sold 45,000 masks through JCRT and raised more than $65,000.
Now they’re selling masks and collared shirts made from a black, red, and green plaid, with proceeds going to Movement for Black Lives. Over the Father’s Day weekend, which also included the commemoration of Juneteenth, they donated 100 percentof the sales of those goods to the organization.
JCRT is a second act for Costello and Tagliapietra, who previously founded a women’s wear business called Costello Tagliapietra in 2005. Their runway shows were written up in glossy fashion magazines and the founders got a lot of press for their shared plaid-on-plaid aesthetic and impressive beards, which led to theirbeing dubbed “the lumberjacks of fashion.”
Keeping their operation small also allows the foundersto decide where and how to focus their energies, including supporting the causes they careabout. They’re nowat work on another fundraiser, this one for Pride month,with proceeds going to the Ali Forney Center, a New York City-based program for LGBTQ homeless youth.With their factory up and running, JCRT also continues to release new designs, sellingdressshirts, pants, jackets, bags, and accessoriesthrough their website.