B²: Uber and Lyft

On May 7th, the citizens of Austin, TX said “Nah to the ah to the no, no, no” (a la Meghan Trainor) to the rideshare economy. Due to safety concerns, Uber and Lyft were asked to operate under increasing regulations (like fingerprinting) in addition to the already-mandated background checks. Both companies challenged the ordinance, lost, and have taken their business elsewhere.

The blame can partly rest on the “DO ALL THINGS IN THE NAME OF SAFETY” refrain that more and more cities are adopting. Burdensome regulation is imposed (‘cause safety) and goods and services that benefit the consumer are nixed.

The “DO ALL THINGS IN THE NAME OF SAFETY” refrain isn’t new, is probably here to stay, and can be applied to numerous goods and services that make your life easier (think also: Airbnb). Uber and Lyft are only its latest victims. So, how do you argue for the continued existence of a valuable good or service in light of safety concerns?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Isn’t this about safety? Aren’t these regulations, like fingerprinting, needed?”

B²: “Not at all. Background checks are required, and the customer rating also alerts drivers and riders to problems, should there be any. But one major advantage of ridesharing is….<insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, acknowledge the safety concern first. You have to pacify fear before launching into any benefit of the good or service – your message will be lost on an anxious audience if you don’t. Then, pivot to the overriding benefits this good or service provides. Yes, legitimate safety concerns should be addressed. But if checks already exist to prevent tragedy, it’s reasonable to question any additional regulation that won’t prove helpful.

Friends don’t let friends lose out on really good things in the name of regulation.

B²: Going Green

Big things are happening on Friday – 1) it’s Earth Day and 2) the Paris Agreement is scheduled to be signed in New York. Climate change advocates everywhere rejoice!

Especially President Obama. Remember that one time he said, “No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” That’s right. Not ISIS or terrorism or literally anything else. Obama wants desperately to impose regulations he thinks will make a difference before he leaves office in January.

However, (cue the sad trombone) numerous studies have proven the opposite – instead of stopping or reversing climate change, the regulations will be of little help AND place a heavy cost on families. No bueno.

In anticipation of Friday’s events and Obama’s determination to maintain a legacy of climate change reversal, beware of reporters who will want to throw accusatory questions at you. Questions that assume you deny climate change and hate the environment. Do you know how to stand your ground?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “It has been reported that energy regulations are necessary to stop climate change, but you favor not imposing regulations. Why don’t you want to save our planet?”

B²: “I care about the environment, which is why I don’t agree with the regulations the President and others want to impose. Research proves that the Paris Agreement will have little impact on global temperatures but significant impact on people’s energy costs. For example, <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, make sure you talk about caring for the environment first. Sure, cost matters and it’s important to talk about how American jobs will be harmed and energy costs will likely increase by 20%, but combat the typical rhetoric and embrace your concern for the health of the planet. Because you do care! And it’s ok to talk about it! Not only will you disarm a hostile reporter/host, but you’ll establish common ground with those who favor regulation. All of a sudden, your position doesn’t seem so extreme.