August 1, 2014
Business travel is picking up this year, with companies spending money on group meetings and sending more workers overseas, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). As USA Today reported on July 8, the number of business trips for U.S. companies rose nearly 3 percent in the first three months of 2014, compared to the same period last year. Companies in the United States are expected to spend $292.3 billion on business travel this year, 6.8 percent more than in 2013.
A major reason for the growth has been an increase in the amount that businesses are spending on group meetings or conventions, with a 7.1 percent jump expected for such travel. Business trips abroad are predicted to grow by 6.6 percent this year, with spending up 10.3 percent. Mike McCormick, executive director and COO of GBTA, says, “When you’re doing business in a global economy, nothing replaces face-to-face.”
Many readers feel tricked by sponsored content or native advertising, which looks like editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser. Two-thirds of respondents in a new study felt deceived when they realized that an article or video was sponsored by a brand.
As Fortune reported, digital ventures such as BuzzFeed have embraced this kind of advertising, as have online versions of traditional publications like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Fortune. Last year, advertisers spent a reported $2.4 billion on native ads — a 77 percent increase over 2012.
In the survey by Contently, a start-up that connects brands with writers who create sponsored content, about half of the respondents said they don’t trust such content. And 59 percent think that a news site that runs this type of camouflaged advertising loses credibility.
Journalists use social media posts widely despite doubting their reliability, and PR professionals believe that news is becoming less trustworthy as many journalists no longer check their facts, says a study by Dutch bank ING. Sixty percent of journalists said that when using social media, they share their personal opinions and feel less bound by rules of objectivity. Half said they consider consumer opinion to be more reliable than statements issued by organizations.
According to the survey, reporters use social media to find out what people are talking about, but don’t always check whether public opinion is based on facts. Fact-checking in general has become less thorough, with “publish first, correct later if necessary” as an unspoken motto. With journalists under pressure to get stories out quickly, only 20 percent always check their facts before publishing, the survey found. More than half of PR professionals surveyed said that since the arrival of social media, journalists contact them less frequently to check facts.
Eighty-one percent of communicators believe that public relations can no longer operate without social media. Sixty-four percent consider social media to be more superficial than traditional media, but 81 percent believe that social media platforms have a more rapid impact.
Just one small ethical lapse can snowball into big trouble, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Workers and companies are vulnerable to scandal unless managers snuff out ethical transgressions, BusinessWeek reported on June 26.
Researchers tested college students and professionals to see how they would respond when offered cash incentives for cheating, and how unethical decisions compound over time. Two groups were asked to estimate the number of dots in two triangles, and received more money for saying that the left triangle had the most dots, even when a greater number was gradually appearing in the right triangle.
When incentives for little fibs slowly morphed into incentives for big lies, rates of unethical behavior more than doubled. “Because of this rationalization process — what we call ‘moral disengagement’ — people are more likely to slip into a pattern of behavior,” researcher Deirdre Snyder of Providence College said. “We call this ‘the slippery-slope effect.’”
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