Tag: Social Media

Humana leverages tech-savvy employees to build network of 3,000 advocates on Twitter and other social media — in just one year

A year ago, the Louisville-based insurance giant had already signed up 90% of its 50,000 employees to an internal social network, and 40-45% logged in at least once a month. That’s when it decided to encourage the most motivated ones to share approved articles about the company, plus other health-care news on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks outside the company, AdAge reports today.

Employees use the hashtag #HumEmployee to make clear they work for the company. To launch the program, called Humana Advocates, the insurer hired Dynamic Signal, a Silicon Valley company that builds employee advocacy systems. The pilot program started with a couple hundred staffers, rising to 500 by January. Since then, the number has jumped to 3,000.

Dan Gingiss

The system shows a list of approved articles for users to share. But most of it “isn’t directly Humana-related, because we don’t want employees to look like shills for the company,” Dan Gingiss, Humana’s head of digital marketing, told AdAge. Most of the content is about health and wellness, some of which is created by Humana itself, with the rest from third parties.

Humana’s effort is only the latest example of how companies are fiercely competing for market share by harnessing free social media technology, where hundreds of millions of current and potential consumers spend more and more time. Twitter says some 313 million people use the short-message platform each month. The figures on Facebook are even higher: 1.7 billion, including 1.1 billion every day.

KFC bucket of chickenAmong Louisville companies, the battle is especially strong among restaurant giants that compete for young customers who practically live online: Yum’s troika of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell; pizza colossus Papa John’s, and steakhouse chain Texas Roadhouse. On the public-relations front, companies also need all the help they can get from employees to burnish their image when bad news spreads online.

The chains have recently pushed back against headline-grabbing behavior from employees themselves. Last month, Continue reading “Humana leverages tech-savvy employees to build network of 3,000 advocates on Twitter and other social media — in just one year”

The power of free publicity illustrated right here: This Instagram won more than 10,000 likes in the first 24 hours since Taco Bell posted it.

View this post on Instagram

Save wisely.

A post shared by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on


But it’s got a long way to catch up to the 54,000 likes this one’s received since it first appeared eight weeks ago:

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A post shared by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on

Texas Roadhouse rage: As chains race to douse social media wildfire, chain fires waitress for ‘kill Mexicans’ Tweet

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 12:02 p.m.

TEXAS ROADHOUSE fired a waitress in Greeley, Colo., this week after she tweeted a threat to kill Mexicans, in a flash of roadhouse rage because a customer didn’t tip her. Texas Roadhouse spokesman Travis Doster told ABC 7 News: “Our managing partner was actually mowing his lawn when he was alerted. He immediately rushed to the restaurant, met with the employee who posted this disgusting Tweet, and she was terminated.”

Former waitress Megan Olson, who goes by the name Megatron on Twitter, wrote: “If we had a real life purge I would kill as many Mexicans as I could in one night. #learnhowtotipyoufuckingtwats.” ABC 7 showed an edited photo of the Tweet; photo, top.

Olson later apologized on Facebook: “I wrote hurtful, inconsiderate, insensitive and careless words and I understand the amount of people I have offended by that. There are no excuses for what I have done. . . . I want you all to know that I do not actually feel this way.” Her Twitter account is now password-protected. (ABC 7 News)

A Facebook user reported Olson’s Tweet on the Louisville-based restaurant chain’s Facebook page Thursday, and the company responded immediately, illustrating once more how quickly companies try to extinguish bad news before it goes viral on social media.

The Texas Roadhouse case was the fourth time in less than a month where Louisville fast-food chains were attacked for employees’ discriminatory behavior. There was last Saturday’s much-discussed Taco Bell employee in Phenix City, Ala., who refused to serve two uniformed sheriff’s deputies (story, below), and two Papa John’s restaurants where employees used racial slurs on order slips, in Denver last week, and in Louisville at the end of June.

Meachem and Moore
Meachem and Moore

TACO BELL: In Alabama, dozens of residents gathered Continue reading “Texas Roadhouse rage: As chains race to douse social media wildfire, chain fires waitress for ‘kill Mexicans’ Tweet”

Restaurant regulations 101: Risk factors companies face in the course of their business

Publicly traded companies disclose an array of risks to their businesses in annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lawsuits and other legal proceedings are a big one, because they can spur huge monetary awards to plaintiffs.

Here are relevant passages from the “Risk Factors” section of the annual 10-K reports for three restaurant chain giants that are occasionally drawn into crime news stories; links are to the reports themselves. Continue reading “Restaurant regulations 101: Risk factors companies face in the course of their business”

BF starts distribution system in Spain; GE Appliances owner Haier dragged into GOP China politics; and Tenn. man arrested over 20 lbs. of marijuana allegedly shipped via UPS

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:55 p.m.

BROWN-FORMAN announced this morning that it’s launching its own distribution network in Spain, Europe’s third-largest whiskey market and the world’s ninth-biggest overall. The Louisville spirits giant will add about 40 employees in the expansion. The current distributor is Importaciones y Exportaciones Varma S.A. under a contract that will end June 30, 2017. “Establishing our own distribution organization in Spain will support the development of the Jack Daniel’s trademark as well as our broader portfolio in this dynamic market where premium spirits are growing,” said Thomas Hinrichs, president of Brown-Forman’s Europe and Asia markets.

Spain will join Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and the U.K. as markets where Brown-Forman owns or directly manages its own distribution. (press release). The company employs 1,300 workers in Louisville and another 3,300 across the U.S. and around the globe.

Trump and Pence
Trump and Pence

GE: Haier Group has been drawn into the bitterly contested Republican race for the White House, less than two months after the Chinese company completed its $5.6 billion purchase of GE Appliances. The conservative Federalist website says Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s past support of Haier’s research and development center in Evansville, Ind., is an example of the politician’s helping China “steal” U.S. jobs. Although Donald Trump has run on a campaign attacking U.S.-China trade, the website implies his selection of  Pence as running mate casts doubt on the GOP nominees’ anti-China bonafides (Federalist). In the past, the site has sparked stories in more mainstream media, including Politico and The Daily Beast.

Haier Pence
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, second from right, and Haier Group President Liang Haishan, far right, at the Evansville ribbon-cutting.

A year ago, Pence joined Haier executives at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Evansville center. The pro-trade America China Society of Indiana quoted Pence saying at the time: “When I met with Haier executives in China this spring, I was invigorated by the company’s plans to accelerate technology development in Indiana. In addition to our strong workforce and pro-growth business climate, Indiana has quickly become a center for innovation, making the Hoosier State the natural choice for this facility as Haier continues to increase its presence in the United States” (America China Society). GE Appliances employs 6,000 workers at Appliance Park in Louisville’s south end.

UPS: In Spring City, Tenn., a man was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after Rhea County Sheriff’s deputies caught him with 20 lbs. of marijuana he allegedly received via UPS from California. Sheriff’s investigator Charlie Jenkins said the man, George Robert Luttenberger Jr., told him he’d been getting pot from California since 2012 (Herald-News). In Brooklyn, a federal judge allowed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to proceed with a lawsuit accusing UPS of discriminating against male workers and job applicants who wore beards or long hair for religious reasons (Reuters).

PAPA JOHN’S fired a Denver employee who used a racial slur on a customer’s order slip and apologized to the teenager who placed the pizza order. “This action is inexcusable and doesn’t reflect our company values,” company spokesman Peter Collins told the Denver Post.

This was the second instance in less than a month where a Papa John’s employee was fired over an apparently racist order slip circulated on Twitter; the first one involved an Asian-American customer’s order at a Louisville restaurant near the end of June.

The Denver area restaurant is owned by Peyton Manning, the retired Denver Broncos quarterback who’s promoted Papa John’s in TV commercials. The teenager’s mother saw the order ticket and asked a community activist named Brother Jeff Fard for help (Denver Post). Yesterday, Fard sent a Tweet that included a possibly NSFW photo of the racial slur: Continue reading “BF starts distribution system in Spain; GE Appliances owner Haier dragged into GOP China politics; and Tenn. man arrested over 20 lbs. of marijuana allegedly shipped via UPS”

Taco Bell to open flagship Cantina on Las Vegas Strip; Pizza Hut launches a chatbot ordering system; and Humana stock edges higher, breaking downward spiral

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 5:34 p.m.

Artist’s rendering shows new two-story Las Vegas restaurant.

TACO BELL this afternoon announced plans to build a two-story 24-hour flagship Cantina in Las Vegas right on the Strip at East Harmon Avenue, across from CityCenter and The Cosmopolitan Hotel; it’s expected to open this fall and will be the third in the growing Cantina division. Like other Cantinas, the Las Vegas restaurant will serve alcohol, including beer and Twisted Freezes slushies. Taco Bell introduced the Cantina concept last year with two urban locations, in a bid to draw younger diners with a more tech-focused ordering system and design. Of the 2,000 Taco Bell restaurants planned to be built by 2022, 200 will be urban locations, a typically underrepresented geography for the brand (press release).

Cantina debuted in Chicago last September, and a San Francisco outpost followed a few weeks later. After Las Vegas, Taco Bell plans to take the concept to Atlanta, and further expansion is in the works for college towns and dense urban areas across the country (Eater). Twisted Freezes come in three flavors: Taco Bell’s proprietary Mountain Dew Baja Blast (blue), Cantina Punch (red), and Margarita (green). Patrons can add their choice of rum, tequila or vodka (Chicago Eater).

Baron Concors

PIZZA HUT announced a new artificial intelligence chatbot that works within Facebook Messenger, and on Twitter, part of a massive roll-out the company is calling “social media ordering.” Chief Digital Officer Baron Concors demonstrated the chatbot at MobileBeat 2016 during a session on chatbot innovations. The new bot can handle pizza and other food delivery orders from customers who have Pizza Hut accounts, streamlining the process, improving accuracy, and eliminating wait-times. It will be available starting next month (Venture Beat and press release).

HUMANA‘s stock closed moments ago at $154.65 a share, up less than 1% — still, the first up day since news broke last week that the insurer and Aetna of Hartford were struggling to keep their $37 billion merger on track during an unexpected meeting with the Justice Department. Aetna’s stock fell less than 1%, closing at $115.50 (Google Finance). None of the parties in the DOJ negotiations Friday have publicly disclosed the outcome. Humana has 12,500 employees in Louisville.

AMAZON: Some shoppers encountered a glitch Continue reading “Taco Bell to open flagship Cantina on Las Vegas Strip; Pizza Hut launches a chatbot ordering system; and Humana stock edges higher, breaking downward spiral”