Many companies struggled in 2019 having operated through the troubled times of a US-China trade war, the destabilization in Europe caused by Brexit, tensions in the Persian Gulf, protests on US streets and the congressional impeachment of a US President. However, 2020 saw chaos on an entirely new level.
No one alive has lived through a more serious pandemic, one that has taken millions of lives and has affected hundreds of millions more. It started off in late 2019 with initial reports indicating that a potential virus was on the loose. The reports were serious, but from far away places, like in the US, many of us didn’t realize how contagious and deadly the virus would be.
The early months of 2020 saw the threat grow, but few could predict the disparate reactions from state and federal government officials. In late January travel restrictions went into effect. On February 3rd the Trump Administration declared a Public Health Emergency. Subsequently on March 19th California enacted the first Stay-At-Home order followed quickly by the state of New York. It was at this point that many businesses realized how vulnerable they were.
Suddenly businesses found themselves shut down, displaced or struggling to serve their customers in an environment never before seen or imagined. Consumer priorities changed, causing behavioral shifts and forcing some businesses to collapse while others exploded. It happened fast, and to survive businesses needed to quickly adapt to the new normal.
While speed is key, businesses must rethink their strategies to position themselves for long-term, stable growth. The post-covid mindset of workers and consumers will drive change. Employees who used to work from an office have gotten comfortable with working from home. Consumers who used to shop at retail locations have been introduced to the convenience of ecommerce. Perspectives have evolved, risk aversion became elevated and online activity dramatically increased.
Businesses must rethink and rebuild operational structure to create agility and resilience. Rethink and embrace the future of work. Reimagine competitive advantages. Coming out of this crisis, businesses must answer important questions about growth and sustainability.
Three factors will be vitally important: the ability to incorporate data and analytics into decision making, the creation of models which support both individual and institutional growth and learning, and the support of an inclusive organizational culture that fosters value for employees and their consumers.
Lastly, businesses must accept and invest in digital adoption and expansion. We were on that path already, but COVID has forced digital awareness and use far sooner than what was predicted pre-pandemic. An example is the education sector; schools cannot avoid the fact that they now must have the ability to support distance learning.
The world has changed and businesses that survive and thrive will be those which have adapted, quickly and effectively.
By: Jason Vernier
IntegriShield Monitoring & Transcription Capabilities
The opportunity for anyone to abuse and exploit consumers without a company’s knowledge puts businesses at risk. IntegriShield was created out of the need to protect our clients and their industries. Our services uncover violations so companies can quickly address issues. Since each business comes with different objectives and needs, we create custom monitoring programs to match their goals. IntegriShield’s technology and dedicated service team will provide any company with the ability to manage a task which otherwise would be costly and time consuming.
Our Approach and Technology
IntegriShield’s audio and video monitoring is the most effective way to identify brand misrepresentations and violations. We customize our process to meet the operational challenges you face. Quickly identify risky violations and missed opportunities using speech to text technology. Using IntegriShield, you can transcribe calls, audio recordings and videos. Video transcription allows your organization to keep records of video content from YouTube to TikTok and beyond. Accuracy is the most valued aspect of the process. Custom solutions can be designed to meet even the toughest challenges with manual reviews or combinations of automated and manual processes.
Audio transcription and modeling is a data-centric approach where we review a percentage of a clients total recorded audio and video communications. A custom scorecard with dozens of key points is developed which includes categories to address training issues and violations which can put a client and their brand at risk.
At the beginning, we often identify numerous violations per audited file which creates the baseline for the program and defines the initial score. The scorecard is intended to identify broad issues while also providing insight into specific rep-level challenges over an ongoing period of time.
We typically meet with our clients each month to review findings. As part of the process, we began compiling a month-over-month report to show progress. We also implement a report to assist corporate leadership with warnings and coaching. This report includes all the file data along with time stamps and the specific language which resulting in the violation. This allows corporate leadership to quickly address issues, leading to improvement in results month over month.
Our services would typically take five specialized staff members to complete in an average month. By utilizing the IntegriShield service, corporate investment drops to the equivalent of two staff members. The improvement in representative performance reduces client risk, improves customer engagement and builds a better brand.
Commitment to our Clients
It is our belief both technology and human oversight and optimization are critical to providing the best outcomes for our partners. Our team will work with you to customize a plan to meet your needs and budget. We are committed to offering a custom solution and to developing a unique granular approach unlike any in the industry.
We have successfully proven that our Audio/Video Monitoring and Transcription program decreases brand risk, improves customer engagement and delivers a better media ROI.
Fact: The Biden administration will have controlling support in both the House and Senate.
What does this mean for the Education sector? A lot of potential change.
We hear rumors that Gainful Employment may come back, that community colleges may become free for specific family income levels, and that student debt will be forgiven. Could the 90/10 rule be changed to 85/15? Yes.
Specific regulatory changes haven’t yet been announced, but it isn’t a big leap to assume that the education sector is going to experience sweeping change.
What do we know about Dr. Miguel Cardona, the nominated Secretary of Education? He appears to be an honestly good guy, who has spent most of his life within the public education system.
Dr. Cardona was born in Meriden, Connecticut to Puerto Rican parents. He grew up speaking Spanish as his first language and attended public school, acquiring a Bachelor of Science in Education from Central Connecticut State University and a Master of Science and Doctor of Education from Connecticut University.1
He began his career as a 4th grade teacher in Meriden, later becoming the youngest elementary school principal in the state’s history. He subsequently served as Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning for his local district. In 2019, he became the Commissioner of Education for the state of Connecticut.2
Not much is known about his thoughts on private higher education, but it seems clear his focus is on students and closing any gaps of inequity.
In a pre-Christmas announcement, President-elect Biden said “he will also strive to eliminate long-standing inequities and close racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps – and expand access to community colleges, training, and public four-year colleges and universities to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous and more inclusive middle class.3
Vice President-elect Harris is no stranger to the education sector. As California’s attorney general, she sued Corinthian Colleges, accusing the school of false and predatory advertising. In 2016 she won a $1.1 billion federal court judgement against now-bankrupt Corinthian.
It is unclear how aggressively the Biden administration will approach the higher education sector, but it stands to reason that significant changes are coming.
While a quality education and equality for all students will be top priorities, money will likely be a driving force for regulatory change. Personal debt is rampant, and our government has spent trillions in 2020, adding to an already high deficit. The Biden administration will be seeking ways to streamline the education sector while improving outcomes. There will be no quick or easy single solution, but likely a wide-spread evolution which could catch some unprepared.
It is advisable to get ahead of potential issues, as many of the rules and regulations already in place will stay or tighten. It’s doubtful that regulations will be rolled back, unless they are deemed antiquated or inefficient by the new administration.
Schools which cover their bases by monitoring their marketing, updating their websites, tracking student engagement/placement and carefully following the rules will avoid many potential issues. Document everything and be able to prove the steps taken to abide by the law and exceed expectations.
1. “Biden To Pick Connecticut Schools Chief Miguel Cardona As Education Secretary”. NPR.org. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
2. Binkley, Collin; Jaffe, Alexandra; Lemire, Jonathan (December 22, 2020). “Biden picks Connecticut schools chief as education secretary”. Associated Press. Retrieved December 22, 2020. “About CSDE–Commissioner”. CT.gov – Connecticut’s Official State Website. Retrieved December 21, 2020. Cardona, Miguel Angel (2011). Sharpening the focus of political will to address achievement disparities. University of Connecticut. OCLC 1196370756.
As many direct selling businesses know, social media use is on the rise. The FTC sent out warning letters on Covid-19 claims in June 2020 to direct selling companies. With these claims on the rise during this unprecedented time, the FTC is now monitoring these companies and distributors even closer. These claims can range from product health claims, to potential earnings that can benefit one’s financial situation during the pandemic. Being proactive about finding any Covid-19 claims can help protect your company from receiving one of these letters from the FTC. Along with monitoring and being proactive on Covid-19 claims, unauthorized sales claims may also be on the rise while consumers are spending more time on social media.
The power of networking comes with being a distributor. In today’s world, many distributors turn to t social media to promote their business and/or products to their friends and family. With being able to promote to a wider crowd at once, this also makes it important for companies to monitor what claims their distributors are making. These platforms are commonly known for being able to share, save and send posts to connections within the network. Some of the popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Tiktok, and selling platforms such as Mercari, Ebay and Amazon.
TikTok has made the news multiple times within the past few months. Most recently, the company has announced their latest company guidelines were going to focus on eliminating multilevel marketing companies’ recruiting tactics. Although the company guidelines are going to become stricter on this, direct selling companies have already started to monitor this platform to get a head start on taking a proactive approach to dissipate these claims from breaking TikTok’s guidelines. Taking a proactive approach has allowed direct selling companies to send out notices to their distributors and keep these claims from being made again by the same distributor.
While TikTok is the first to place strict company guidelines on multilevel marketing companies, taking a proactive approach on monitoring other social media platforms during the nationwide pandemic may be a wise thing to do. Statistics from a study showed that 82% of respondents indicated that product information and brands were discovered from social media outlets (DigitalCommerce360.com, 2020). With social media playing such a large role in purchasing products among consumers, the need for monitoring sales following guidelines is also on the rise.
With more people spending time on social media during Covid-19, more posts are being published and shared. Company’s have started to take a proactive approach on Facebook Marketplace to ensure their distributors are not violating any of the company’s unauthorized sale policies. Along with the Marketplace on Facebook becoming a trending stop for social media users, many distributors have found their way to private Facebook groups where they can pitch their products to potential consumers, and/or sell the products they have on hand, which may go also go against company guidelines. With trying to reach a wider target of people, distributors are also turning to other platforms to sell such as Ebay, Amazon and Mercari. Mercari is a trending app among millennials and others, allowing them to buy and sell any products for whatever amount they want to sell the products for. Some compliance monitoring companies like
IntegriShield are able to monitor these selling platforms to alert the direct selling companies and take necessary action on reaching out to the distributors for violating policy guidelines.
Growing internet usage among all generations, brings more platforms for distributors and consumers to promote, review, buy and sell products on. From Covid-19 claims to unauthorized sales, being proactive can benefit your company from avoiding complaints and warnings from the FTC. Monitoring every platform allows companies to also capture violating content, provide additional trainings to their distributors and help eliminate the unauthorized sales from reoccurring. Are you monitoring all necessary platforms to fully protect your brand?
Articles for reference: https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2020/09/16/covid-19-is-changing-how-why-and-how-much-were-using-social-media/
False affiliations and online ad fraud are still the leading violations impacting IntegriShield’s small dollar lenders. As of November 30, 2017, 70% of our findings were unauthorized use of our client’s brands.
Compliant digital content has become a hot topic in many financial blogger circles. We recently sat down with Phillip Taylor, CEO at FinCon, the peer conference for the financial media community, to discuss the industry’s key compliance pain points. Below are the five topics that bloggers need to manage in order to maintain compliant content.
- Ability to add URLs and Editorial Content
- Credit Card or Offer Feeds
- Content Inventory
- Search Phrases and Link Requirements
Student outcomes are an increasing focus point for accreditors and the Department of Education. The final chapter in the student life cycle now demands more focus and detailed reporting than ever before. This whitepaper includes four ways to go the extra mile in providing detailed reporting of employment verification.
- Job Descriptions
- Hire Date
- Contact Information
- Employer Feedback
Download this playbook now to learn how to evaluate whether your placement verification is optimized. Gain insight on key criteria that make a placement verification program fail or succeed. Topics include:
- Revealing Industry Research
- How to Reach Graduates
- Industry Best Practices