Borkowski Media Trends: Jordan Henderson, Concrete Crisis, Beyonce & More!
PLUS: the latest Social Media trends
Thanks for reading Media Trends and Insights by Borkowski! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.
Advising Jordan Henderson
Many of our readers will have wondered what advice would have been suitable for Jordan Henderson amidst the fallout from his interview with The Athletic after his transition to play football in Saudi Arabia, especially given his previous stance as an LGBT ally.
The foremost and most crucial counsel would've been not to interview in the first place; in fact, based on the situation, we'd advise not moving to Saudi Arabia initially if safeguarding his reputation was the primary concern.
Choosing to partake in the interview placed Henderson in a series of predicaments where outcomes were unfavourable. These challenges could have been minimised through a measured silence, which he could address upon retirement or another significant career move. However, making a public statement requires complete control of its narrative to avoid turning a difficult situation into a far-reaching crisis. Because of the respect Henderson previously held within the footballing realm, criticisms are bound to be more severe.
A subsequent misstep was Henderson's decision to conduct his interview with The Athletic. While some argue that the platform's specific focus on sports might steer the conversation towards the game, a closer examination of The Athletic's comprehensive approach to football suggests otherwise. Experienced and precise journalists will inevitably address any significant underlying issues.
There's an indication that Henderson was not adequately prepared for the interview. Once the decision to hold the interview was made, he should have been thoroughly guided by his management and PR teams to anticipate and practice responses to potential challenging questions. Instead, his approach seemed disjointed, resembling a vehicle entering a bustling roundabout without direction.
Such uncoordinated actions often lead to inevitable consequences. Surprisingly, many footballers and their teams underestimate the repercussions of these hasty decisions. With players often nurtured with excessive admiration from an early age and frequently surrounded by overly agreeable acquaintances and lenient football media, they might not be sufficiently equipped to tackle mature reputational challenges.
Given today's unforgiving media landscape, coupled with the intensified scrutiny on public figures, it's remarkable how someone as esteemed and seemingly pragmatic as Jordan Henderson could inadvertently step into such a pronounced communication pitfall.
Keegan’s concrete slip-up
It hasn’t been the smoothest return from summer for Rishi and his government. It already started on shaky ground with Amber de Botton, the PM’s communications director, exiting No. 10, hinting at fractures within Downing Street, plus Westminster insiders leaking that letters have gone in from Tory MPs asking for a leadership vote.
Now the news about deteriorating concrete posing a safety hazard in schools - prompting several closures across England - hints this predicament might linger with more buildings across the UK at risk.
Rishi might find a momentary respite after Education Secretary Gillian Keegan made headlines for an unfortunate hot mic moment - caught complaining about not being thanked for doing a “f****** good job” over the concrete crisis. Although pressure on the PM will likely intensify as this adds another headache for the Tory party, which is polling poorly against Labour.
Keegan has made a few mistakes in the past including wearing a £10,000 Rolex to negotiate a below-inflation pay deal with teachers and taking part in a “sleep out” to support a local homelessness charity during the pandemic pictured on a luxurious garden swing, which her recent high-profile blunder shines a spotlight on.
The crux, however, lies in how Keegan addresses the current situation with parents and teachers. Gavin Williamson’s 2020 school exams fiasco is a timely reminder: education-related PR disasters can escalate rapidly, impacting a minister’s and government’s standing. It underscores the importance of making the right decisions and managing their PR effectively, which we’ll see play out over the coming weeks.
The Renaissance of Renaissance
In the epic showdown between two of the world's greatest performers, Taylor Swift's Eras tour and Beyonce's Renaissance tour have taken the globe by storm. When both icons unveiled their global stadium tours last winter, it became immediately evident that comparisons were not just inevitable but almost instinctual. While some critics have decried this as misogynistic, it seems valid to want to juxtapose two of the greatest artists of our time.
On the one side is Taylor Swift's Eras tour, a career-spanning retrospective that's been generating buzz for months. With a decade of hits and ten albums, Taylor set out to deliver a showstopping performance that celebrated her journey from country sweetheart to pop sensation. The hype was real, and fans couldn't wait to relive each 'era'.
On the other side, Beyonce's Renaissance tour entered the ring with headlines proclaiming it would be the first to generate a staggering $1 billion. Expectations were sky-high, but so was the pressure. Could Queen Bey deliver a tour for the ages?
When the curtains rose, it quickly became clear that this battle wouldn't be a nail-biter. Taylor Swift's tour unleashed a wave of trends, memes, and fan-organised craziness - all the cult-like trappings that elevate today's pop stars to megastars. From special fan-made bracelets to trade with each other to impromptu duets with the crowd, Taylor's tour became a viral sensation, and it didn't stop there - it has lasted an unprecedented six months and is still going!
And it was Beyonce's Renaissance tour that initially felt like a damp squib. Sure, there were TikToks of people crafting disco-inspired costumes, but there were also viral videos of dance breaks so low in energy that fans began to speculate Beyonce had undergone secret foot surgery. The only truly viral moments were when things went wrong, like that one time a stagehand forgot to help Beyonce off a prop, and she became visibly irate, to put it mildly.
However, the pause between Beyonce's European and American legs gave her time to restrategise. In the refreshed American leg, her team emphasised a unique challenge, a moment of silence during the hit 'Energy'. When Beyonce sings, "look around, everybody on mute," the crowd is encouraged to stay silent as long as Queen B does, no easy feat in stadiums filled with 80,000 people. City after city is competing to be the quietest, with Atlanta's second night quickly rising to claim the crown. This unexpected twist has breathed new life into the Renaissance tour and finally given Taylor's domination a run for its money.
But the question lingers: is forced virality ever as successful as the real deal? While Taylor's Eras tour fostered (seemingly) organic fan-organised activities like bracelet swapping and audience duets, Beyonce's mute moment felt far from natural. Her team even gave cards with instructions as fans entered the stadium, detailing the exact moment and requirements.
As such, the Battle of the Tours has become an intriguing investigation into virality, where the line between organic and inauthentic blurs. It remains uncertain whether one approach truly outshines the other, as Taylor Swift's naturally occurring fan frenzy contrasts with Beyonce's carefully orchestrated challenges. Given that Taylor's tour is set to continue for another year and a half (at least), plenty more battles are left before one can claim the war.
TikTok’s Latest Messaging Upgrade - What You Need to Know!
TikTok has been working on its messaging game. Recent job listings reveal the company’s plan to upgrade its messaging capabilities.
Why does this matter?
TikTok execs are concerned that users are exiting the platform when sharing content with friends, opening a gap in the platform’s ability to retain users’ engagement. TikTok is locking its users and attempting to boost engagement by enhancing messaging features.
Messaging is integral to navigating social media - look at Instagram and Snapchat, which cracked simple and fast messaging features. And now TikTok is stepping up to compete, which should lead to innovation across the board.
While TikTok is currently king of content, they’re evolving to pummel its competitors, offering consumers a more complete experience driving towards authenticity and personal connections.
This signals potential competition and disruption in the social media landscape. As communication professionals, it’s crucial to understand how these updates can impact how we engage with audiences and create effective campaigns.
Thanks for reading Media Trends and Insights by Borkowski! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.