Our 11 most popular stories of 2016

Chief storytellers. Black Lives Matter. Executive Twitter feuds. And pets. PRWeek's 11 most-read stories of 2016.

Taking a long-deserved break (or hiding your head under the covers) after the presidential election? Binge-watching Mad Men? Or just looking for something to read? You’re in luck. Here are PRWeek’s top 11 stories of 2016.

Mars Petcare wants consumers to ‘freak out’ their dogs
May 5
PR professionals love their pets — case in point: this month’s uber-popular feature about the cutest pets in PR — and they love reading about other people’s pets as well. Topping the list of most popular articles from 2016 is a story about how Mars Petcare encouraging dog owners to show their pets "freaking out" while enjoying wet dog food. The company worked with Weber Shandwick on the campaign.

Deloitte modernizes its brand image
June 17
Stodgy old management consultancy no longer. Deloitte gave its brand a facelift this summer, and a long-overdue one at that, considering its last rebranding took place in the dark ages before Facebook. It rolled out its latest branding at a global meeting in Tokyo.

United hires Dana Brooks Reinglass as first chief storyteller
October 24
United Airlines showed it is going far beyond in-flight travel magazines in telling stories to its customers when it hired Harpo Studios veteran Dana Brooks Reinglass for the new role of chief storyteller and MD of digital engagement this fall. The airline’s external social channels include Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram accounts. It also has an internal website called Flying Together and a employee-facing Twitter account, @WeAreUnited.

Chipotle, Edelman split amid E. coli crisis
January 5
It was Splitsville late last year for embattled burrito chain Chipotle and the world’s largest PR firm. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said the two companies parted ways "because a piece of business they were taking on that presents a conflict." It hired Burson-Marsteller in March.

Hyatt Hotels global comms VP Candace Mueller departs
November 28
The PepsiCo veteran left the role of VP of global communications at Hyatt Hotels after one year. She was responsible for global internal and external communications strategy and integrated communications planning and messaging at the hotel giant. She previously worked in various roles at PepsiCo since 2006.

The communications goals and strategies of Black Lives Matter
February 10
Shanelle Matthews, the lead communications strategist for Black Lives Matter, discussed the group’s plan for driving communications from the local level to the White House. "Narratives created about black people, our experiences, and our value are deep-seated," she said. "Un-anchoring those narratives won’t happen overnight."

Cheerios, Hamburger Helper delete Prince tribute tweets following complaints
April 21
Not all news events are fair game for brands to connect with on social media. After the shocking death of entertainment legend Prince in April, Hamburger Helper and Cheerios quickly posted tweets connecting their brands to the tragedy. Twitter users quickly criticized both companies for inserting their brands into a tragedy.

How a series of crises flipped Target’s internal comms strategy on its head
October 3
Between late 2013 and early 2015, Target dealt with a data breach, a CEO transition, job cuts, and significant challenges in Canada. Its employees also felt like they were out of the loop. One way the retail brand responded was with an internal newsletter inspired by The Skimm that boasts a readership of more than 80%.

Where does PR rank on the list of the most stressful jobs of 2016
January 19
At number 6, at least according to job-search site CareerCast, which evaluated 200 professionals. More stressful than PR pro: enlisted military personnel, firefighter, airline pilot, police officer, and event coordinator. Media jobs broadcaster and newspaper reporter ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.

Why the ‘Sharapova response’ will go down as a crisis communications blueprint
March 9
RockOrange’s Miguel Piedro weighed in on why the tennis star’s forthrightness was a case study in proper reputation management, praising her bold and mature handling of revelations that she took a drug banned by professional tennis.

Sprint CEO Claure takes Verizon down a peg following Twitter burn
June 22
First, Sprint grabbed Verizon’s former pitchman, Paul Marcarelli, better known as the "Can You Hear Me Now Guy." Then Verizon struck back with an ad campaign starring Jamie Foxx and tweets directly dissing Sprint. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure answered with a series of funny tweets—except to Verizon—taking on its network. 

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