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Public Engagement in the Conversation Age Vol. 2 (2009)

This second volume of Edelman’s annual publication, Public Engagement in the Conversation Age, is a collection of thought pieces written by the UK team about the communications challenges facing brands, corporate, politics and NGOs – as well as our own industry, as we evolve from Public Relations to Public Engagement.

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Public Engagement in the Conversation Age Vol. 2 (2009)

  3. 3. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2FUTURE ECOLOGY:A NEW ERA OFPUBLICENGAGEMENTPR is changing. Driven at pace by the democratizing power of digital and thecontinued shift from a shareholder to a stakeholder society, we are witnessing theemergence of a new model of Public Engagement. Networks have replaced channels;influence has supplanted audience; shared interests are moving us beyond dogma;and multilateral connection is the new dialogue. We are faced daily with a chaos ofnews and views. The golden age of broadcast is finally over.This all has profound implications for the communications active citizenship, as calls for transparency intensify and asworld. In a parallel trend, corporate reputation and brand transparency itself is further empowered by the digital are converging at speed; we, the people, have Citizen politics now demands that governments and businessbecome media in our own right; and everyone – from citizen Act and Tell. Storytelling alone is just not good enough – andto brand to corporation – now has the ability to participate an evolved form of communications is the obvious the conversation, anywhere and at any moment in time.Opinion is becoming increasingly democratised and media Public Engagement is the codification of where we are todayincreasingly socialized. None of this should surprise us – it is – a recognition of the new order that is emerging from thethe reality of the everyday. continued chaos. Public Engagement embraces the current reality and faces the future, safe in the knowledge that wavesImmediacy is everywhere. We no longer wait more than of change will inevitably come again. The PR agency whichminutes for our news, in a world where the story of an sits back and watches the chaos unfold is the one which willearthquake breaks on Twitter before it reaches the newswires. play no part in the future ecology of communications. WhichNewspapers have become ‘Viewspapers’. The old rules of is why we, at Edelman, continue to think, write and debateaudience cannot apply and the conventions of advertising are these new truths and why we are re-shaping ourselves tounderstandably crumbling. The 30-second spot has become deliver in a world of cross-influence. We do not have all thethe short-form film… and it is all content for the conversation answers. Nobody does. But, as these Public Engagementanyway. essays demonstrate, we will both stimulate and participate in the conversation.This is not merely a tale of technology, however, nor is itjust about the internet. Technology has begat behaviouralchange and introduced the new norms. Reform is unlikelyto stop here. This is an unfolding story of society and people– how we interact, what we prioritise and where we cometogether in active coalitions. Recent Edelman Trust data (July2009) ranked the interests of the employee and the customeralongside those of the shareholder, while supply chain ethics,Directors’ pay and responsible governance have suddenly Robert Phillipsbecome genuine influencing factors in purchasing decisions. UK CEOGovernments are increasingly held to account by a digitally- 3
  4. 4. EDELMANIN AN ENGAGED WORLDLISTENING ISMOREIMPORTANTTHAN EVERConsider a moment we have all experienced. Standing at a party, chatting amiablywith a friend, an interloper arrives, interrupts our conversation, seizes control andturns it in an unexpected and perhaps unwelcome direction. Too often, this is theapproach that communicators and marketers label ‘engagement’.To be sure, some people will listen for a few moments, then By listening with new intelligence, we can identify the keymake their excuses and drift away. But many will be (at best) idea starters and amplifiers. Idea Starters are the ones whoannoyed and the outcome will be unsatisfactory for everyone. will spark the conversation. Amplifiers can be anyone. TheyBrilliant grandmothers the world over have made a cliché out are the ones who will continue the discussion and advance itof the notion that we were given two ears and one mouth for through their networks.a reason. But those who practice ham-handed attempts atengagement behave as if they have a very large mouth and no Listening can also impact a business beyond communications.ears at all. Starbucks (an Edelman client), for example, has created MySuccessful engagement must begin with a realization that Starbucks Idea, a platform for listening to, and co-creatingmight at first be uncomfortable: as communicators and with, its customers that has yielded important suggestionsmarketers, we no longer control the terms of engagement. for improving the company’s business. Ranging from productThe decision to interact is necessarily one of mutual consent. ideas to operational improvements, Starbucks’ commitment to listening has driven results straight to its bottom line.So before we can engage, we need to take the time tounderstand the answers to several key questions: Similarly, by listening to its customers wherever they were• Who might be interested in talking with us? talking – in this case, Twitter – U.S. cable giant Comcast• What are they interested in talking about? improved its customer service and, according to its CEO,• Where and on what terms would they like to connect? changed the culture of the company, making it more responsive and engaged.Answering these questions ensures that when we do engage, The risks of failing to listen are massive. In a world wherewe will approach the conversation with content that is everyone is a publisher and compelling content alwaysrelevant, timely and interesting. manages to find an audience, a crisis can appear from anywhere. Failing to listen can leave us ignorant andEffective listening also provides a roadmap for deploying our impotent.resources and ensuring that whatever approach we adopt ispractical and realistic by helping us prioritize the influencers So if we commit ourselves to listening, how should we do it?we might want to engage. 4
  5. 5. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2 LISTENListening with new intelligence is a uniquely human skill.Discerning sincerity, subtlety and emotion are all instinctivehuman abilities that no machine or artificial intelligence hasyet mastered – in spite of the countless over-marketed claims The Seven Behavioursto the contrary.Technology can and must provide assistance, but at its core,listening is more art than science – more a personal exercisethan a computational one. of PublicThe countless platforms for listening are useful for gatheringtogether elements of the conversation that are relevant. But Engagementonce gathered, real understanding only comes from immersion 1. LISTEN WITH NEW INTELLIGENCEin the content and an in-depth understanding of the context.And real success only comes from a commitment to act on 2. PARTICIPATE IN CONVERSATION:what is learned. REAL TIME/ALL THE TIME 3. SOCIALISE MEDIA RELATIONSOver the last few years, social media and similar technological 4. CREATE AND CO-CREATE CONTENTchanges have made the world more connected, interactiveand dynamic. In short, the world is a conversation. 5. CHAMPION OPEN ADVOCACY 6. BUILD ACTIVE PARTNERSHIPS FORSo at its core, the imperative to become better listeners rests COMMON GOODon a simple, human truth: We cannot join a conversationwithout listening to it first. 7. EMBRACE THE CHAOSAre you listening? Public Marshall Manson Director Engagement: Marshall is Edelman’s EMEA Director of Digital ADVANCING SHARED INTERESTS IN Strategy. He has a diverse background in communications and lives in London. A WORLD OF CROSS-INFLUENCE 5
  6. 6. EDELMANTHE POWER OFEMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENTTHE AGE OFPERSONALSOCIALRESPONSIBILITY‘I don’t like Mondays’ may have been a hit single for The Boomtown Rats in 1979, butone can’t help wonder if the sentiment reflects the feelings of much of today’s workforcefollowing months of challenging business conditions and continued uncertainty.We can hardly question the deep rooted effect that events work they do. It is about establishing mutual respect in theof recent times have had on us all and one thing is clear: if workplace for what people do and can be. But it goes beyondbusiness is to rebuild trust, this must begin with employees. this: to engender pride to work for a company not only drivesAs employees, we want our employers to communicate motivation and productivity but creates ambassadors for yourand engage us with greater transparency and authenticity. business who in turn help attract the best and the brightest toMoreover, the licence to operate for business has changed, your organisation.our perspectives as individuals have changed, and, as a result,we expect business to recognise its role in driving greater The recently released MacLeod report ‘Engaging for Success:socioeconomic development in a new era of what we call enhancing performance through employee engagement’,‘mutual social responsibility’. commissioned by the UK Government, states that employee engagement practices can actually help a company dealSo, if we expect a higher level of social and environmental with the impacts of recession and emerge stronger. It revealsengagement from employers as well as from ourselves as that employees are often a source of knowledge and ideasindividuals, is there any merit in bringing these two things which lead to operational efficiencies and, by providingtogether? And can business genuinely improve employee employees with a platform for sharing these ideas, a companyperformance and motivation by harnessing a shared will establish trust and loyalty. These are two qualitiesresponsibility for doing good? that it is critical for a company to foster, particularly when there are difficult decisions to be made that impact theIn order to try to answer these questions we must first look at workforce. Recent Trust Barometer data show that employeesthe evidence for prioritising effective employee engagement, and customers should rank as the CEO’s most importantand then the case for creating effective engagement to drive stakeholders when making business decisions (July 2009).performance – what engages and motivates employees today? Yet employers still have work to do when it comes to meetingEmployee engagement strives to create an emotional these engagement requirements. The Trades Union Congressconnection that an employee feels about the organisation surveyed 3,000 workers in 2008 and found that almost one inwhich influences him or her to exert a greater effort in the three (30%) felt that their organisation does not fully engage 6
  7. 7. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2them and less than half (46%) of those questioned felt that continuing education. Today’s workforce, and particularly thetheir employer deserves their loyalty. younger generation of workers, look for personal relevance in the fabric and meaning of their jobs. A sense of personalPerhaps part of the reluctance to address this situation is due responsibility for the state of the environment, the state of ourto the fact that meeting these aspirations seems so daunting. finances and retirement options, the state of our health andIt can’t be ignored that, with fast changing technologies, education systems is increasing.the immediacy of communications, and the rise of CitizenJournalism, many employers are cautious of committing to Business must move beyond these traditional models ofopen channels of communication and true dialogue with corporate responsibility to a more strategic and integratedemployees. But, for those that do, the benefits can be seen approach based on sustainability across social, economicwell beyond loyalty and employee retention. and environmental parameters. It must be driven from the core of the business and commitment must come from theSo, what should we be engaging employees with and how do top of the organisation. It must transform the values of thewe motivate them? The result of the recent crisis has meant organisation into programmes that employees will be inspiredthat conventional rewards such as pay rises and bonuses are to participate and engage in and ultimately engender a senseeither simply not there or perhaps, more importantly, as we of pride and purpose in working for that organisation beyondreturn to the point of our individual and collective need for simply taking home a salary every day, week or to drive mutual responsibility, do not go far enough Perhaps in understanding our own personal role we can learnto drive loyalty. Sylvia Ann Hewitt, economist and member from Sir Winston Churchill who said “We Make a Living Byof the World Economic Forum Council on the Gender Gap What We Get, We Make a Life By What We Give”.and founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy,has published research which shows that high potentialemployees are motivated by a desire to give back to theircommunities and these employees are seeking out employers Pamela Fieldhousethat allow them to do so ‘on the job’. Managing Director Pamela leads Edelman’s corporate reputation team.Traditionally, companies have viewed employee engagement She has been passionate about understandingin terms of corporate social / environmental responsibility how to influence behaviour change since studyingprogrammes, such as allowing employees time off work in psychology at university.order to get involved in community initiatives, or encouraging 7
  8. 8. EDELMANWHY IT’STIME FORTHE ADAGENCIES TOADMIT DEFEATWhen ad agencies are rebranding themselves as “short form content agencies” andmedia agencies are suddenly sprouting production arms, you know the jig is up.You can’t rename a 30 second spot a viral, or seed an ad online, pretending it’s purecontent and then bump it onto TV and expect no one to notice. The very ethos of apiece of entertainment that audiences self select is that it is MADE to engage, to berelevant, to provoke conversation – not to sell, not to shout. It has to be entertainingfirst and commercial second to court and invite participation – that way lies properloyalty from the audience.This is an age where appointment to view is dead, where and fuelling discussion, driving participation and enjoying theviewers are in control and someone broadcasting from their momentum of sharing, while nailing publicity, fame and sales.front room can reach a global audience. In the world of public This is what PRs have always done, being agnostic in ourengagement, a brand, product or service can and must be a choices of channel but greedy in our desire to channel in its own right, in order to have ownership The X–Factor phenomenon shows how entertainmentand to start – and keep – the dialogue. This means authoring and content can work beyond broadcast. It is all aboutcontent, embedding the message and/or the ethos within the participation and even lack of control, as the productionactual content – and not in the zappable space around it (and company themselves load excerpts onto YouTube,that includes bumpers and sponsorships). understanding that they need to play freely in the digital space in order to command the control (and money) withExclusive content is the fuel for engagement and the the phone voting when they do broadcast. They will makeopportunity to gain audience participation and traction. But £20million on this series (Broadcast, 30/10/09) and are nailingto get that engagement, you need experts. And they are over 20 million viewers.not 30 second ad creatives. And they are not media buyers.They are the professionals of the entertainment industry – But X–factor aside, the entertainment industry is in trouble.production experts – together with those (yes, people like The loss of audience figures means advertising revenues areus!) that understand that the campaign does not live only by smashed, so production budgets get slashed and the contentthe content itself. Expertise that works on the distribution, is diluted or programming gets cut completely. In Septemberthe conversation, amplification and exploitation online, in 2009, the government announced it would review legislationmedia, on networks – pulling eyeballs back to the content around product placement allowing brands to become inte– 8
  9. 9. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2grated into existing TV shows. But we know from the US that is priceless. The time for commercial selling and dubiousexperience that this is a weak alternative, accepted from a product claims are over – audiences expect companies toposition of financial stress and where creative delivery is often interact with authenticity and transparency. Companiescompromised by commercial pressure, leaving neither partner need engagement. Both will only achieve these if drivensatisfied. by compelling content that courts, plays and engages with credibility and professionalism. As Peter Whitehead wrote inHowever, what the production company really wants is the FT “...Web 2.0 is a world in which anyone can have a gobrand relevant partnerships that can take their content and at generating content; Web 3.0 is where professionals takebuild it online, in–store, in media, via downloads and on new the lead in shaping that content”. And those professionals areinfluencer platforms with new consumer experiences beyond the production experts and the multi–channel, multi–mediathe TV screen – and the money they will accept for access engagement experts. A new world, needing a new marketingand exploiting exclusive content is not that expensive. This offer. It’s all for the taking...approach is way beyond product placement, bumpers or namechecks – more intelligent, more integrated, more shared. Andit builds audience, loyalty and revenue for the brand and the Jackie Coopernetworks, and is a new model for working that can replace the UK Creative Directorad agency relationship. Jackie is Creative Director & Vice Chair and has spent nearly 30 years in brand marketing. SheA consumer brand recently paid £500k to sponsor a TV established the (already award winning) Edelmanbroadcast film – but the deal allowed the film to be released Content offer to deliver a unique combination of contacts and expertise in the entertainment,in weekly 10 minute segments for 9 weeks, airing the entire production and digital space. Her passionatefilm at 10 weeks. After only 2 weeks, the film was nailing belief is that stellar clients deserve world classan audience of 5 million. The online power of garnering production and exploitation collateral.audiences before a programme airs traditionally (or instead jackie.cooper@edelman.comof) is immense. Networks will kill for this. And brands enjoy David Fineaudiences that positively replace the centre breaks of old, and Director, Contentadd value to the consumer experience. The time has come David Fine, Director of Content joined Jackie onfor corporations and brands to have the belief and vision to her quest to identify and realize new opportunitiesmake the leap and break out of the marketing silos of old for brands to reach and motivate audiences in theand embrace an opportunity that allows them to play on the non-zappable space after 15 years in consumer,screens of their target influencers in a way that is multi– entertainment and endorsement PR.platform, multi–experience, driving loyalty and participation 9
  10. 10. EDELMANEMBEDDING SUSTAINABILITYINTO BUSINESS AND BRANDMAKING SENSEOF THEUNKNOWNUNKNOWNSI never thought I would find myself recalling Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous words:“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are knownunknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But thereare also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know”.Most laughed out loud at the time, but somehow the words • what a company sellsstill resonate. And perhaps none more so than in an age when • how it operates we hear endless warnings of climate change and we try to • who it is. comprehend the abstract consequences of what action (orinaction) today will mean over the next 40 years. At its heart, sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of futureAs businesss and brands grapple with their commitments to generations to meet their own needs.sustainability, a survey by PwC of 140 chief executives of US-based multinationals found that 85% believed that sustainable Can a company really have a ‘green’ product line if it doesn’tdevelopment would become increasingly important to their have a grip on employment practices in its supply chain? Is abusiness models. Despite this, a recent MIT Sloan Review and CEO a climate change hero because he tells the world his firmBoston Consulting Group study highlighted a lack of under- offsets its carbon emissions but does nothing at all to quantifystanding of what sustainability is and a growing disconnect the impact and actually reduce them? Is a firm really ethicalbetween corporate sustainability concerns and actions. As a if it donates millions to charity every year but continues toresult, many organisations perpetuate a superficial model of develop products whose raw materials deplete the rainforestscorporate responsibility as some kind of salve to those they at ever increasing rates?think are paying attention. Increasingly, it backfires. And anew activist is born. Does that mean a CEO should abandon any attempt to conduct his business in a more transparent, accountable andSo what are we talking about when we say ‘sustainability’? responsible manner? Not at all. But it does mean that we need to be very clear on what we mean when we talk aboutSustainability, in so far as it can be universally defined, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, or sustainableis measurable and effective strategy in execution at the development – and their limitations and genuine opportunitiesintersection of three domains: for systemic change. 10
  11. 11. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2 ii. Measurable outcomes for business, policy and public – that incorporate social, economic, environmental and ethical equity and justice at local, domestic and international levels for enterprises of all sizes and ownership structures. iv. Innovation: Thinking the unthinkable. Sustainability is about deep, long term transformation. Let us not accept anything less as corporate reputation becomes the democratised brand. v. Public Engagement as role model – Systems cause their own behaviour. The very substance and function of communication must evolve to make engagement more sustainable and meaningful. PwC says responsible leadership means integrating ethical considerations into company decision-making, and managing on the basis of personal integrity and widely-held organisational values. And here’s the crux – the rules of the game have changed since Milton Friedman wrote about the ‘social responsibility of business’. Social, environmental and ethical issues are not so much tangential to the business of business as fundamental to it. This year’s Edelman goodpurpose study found that more than half of consumers (56%) believe the interests of society and the interests of businesses should have equal weight in business decisions.We must exhibit what Lord Browne of Madingley called “clear- We don’t quite know what governance models will shapeeyed realism” at what can be achieved in the face of the known business of the future, how convergence will shapeunknowns of climate change and world poverty. Coherence in conversation and debate, what consumer habits andfour areas will drive strategic change towards sustainability expectations will drive product innovation or what the leaders– domestic regulation, industry standards, capital markets of tomorrow will learn in the hallowed halls of our greatand consumer behaviour. Navigating this journey will require learning establishments. But engagement will be responsiblecourageous leadership, clear measurement and the continuous for the success or failure of conversation and debate.engagement of all stakeholders. We must all develop what, author and psychologist, DanielAnd this will have a transformational impact on the role and Goleman, calls ‘ecological intelligence’. It is about our abilityresponsibility of communications. to accept that we live in an infinitely connected world with finite resources. If we knew the hidden impacts of what weRobert Phillips has said elsewhere that the PR industry stands buy, sell, or market, we could become shapers of a moreat the threshold of achieving what it has always aspired positive future by making our decisions better align withto. Through the elevation of strategic insight and content our values. We as communicators must make sense of andexpertise, we need to adopt a ‘systems thinking’ approach to mainstream this nascent ecological transparency for ourcommunication that starts with a fundamental re-evaluation collective future.of the structures and behaviours inherent in the discipline. And that would make those unknown unknowns just thatThe new model of Public Engagement (PE) can clarify and little bit more familiar.amplify the most important and far reaching conversationsthat business, government and citizenship need to engagein to make sustainability mainstream. This model of PE forSustainability has five dimensions: Anne Augustinei. Mutual responsibility & accountability – a better Head of Sustainability alignment with business, civil and national objectives and Anne joined Edelman in November 2009 to values, communicated with integrity and honesty. spearhead its Sustainability practice. She was previously EMEA director of corporate sustainabilityii. Platforms for shared conversations – they are for a global IT services business. Anne thinks John happening everywhere, all of the time. PE can become the Peel Day should be a national holiday. network in a world of abundant cross influence. 11
  12. 12. EDELMANPUTTINGCREATIVITYFIRSTIt’s a tough job as a brand or marketing manager. The fast pace of change in thecommunications world is clearly outstripping the marketing model of years goneby – the one that manifests in a prescriptive, traditional ATL and BTL split. Yet thereis little room for manoeuvre for marketing teams. Where online conversations shapebrands, and with communication as much from the bottom up as it is top down, newapproaches, strategies and skills are required. However, as long as brand managersare still accountable to the old ROI marketing measures and channel planning models,the freedom to create genuinely innovative solutions that drive positive brandengagement via the new world order are a long way off.So, based on where we are now, whether agency or client, including The Science of Sexy, an online film featuring Ditaimagine the next integrated agency planning meeting. The Von Teese discovering the formula for sexy. This was thenbrand challenge for 2010 is set from above: find the next seeded online via partnerships with various sites and bloggerscreative idea that’s going to propel the brand to No 1 in the such as Perez Hilton. The on-going social media outreach,category... see sales rises of 25% and make it the nation’s print, radio, TV editorial coverage and experiential campaignfavourite. However, here lies the dichotomy. With the channels saw brand collateral disseminated to influencers onlineoften already selected, the constraints to creating that big idea and offline to drive real brand awareness and engagement.are already in place. A case of tail wagging dog that restricts Dita appeared on TV and radio as well as print andcreativity and the opportunity to capitalise on what is now a magazine interviews and the viral became the most viewedcomplex network of cross influencers – much of this through entertainment film on YouTube in the UK. The results spoke forsocial media. But that’s what we’re trying to do... around themselves. With no traditional advertising, the product hadthat table, come up with the killer idea and get the target sold out as it hit the shelves.demographic to buy. Look at the ‘Bring Back Wispa’ campaign that relied onSome of the most recent marketing successes started online Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and You Tube and a social mediathrough social media, in partnership with print, radio and outreach campaign to galvanise support. The activity wasTV editorial coverage, and then called on advertising at backed by a heavy-weight press, TV and radio editorialthe tail end of the campaign – simply as a reflection of the campaign to encourage influencers including journalists, DJsviews of those who started the conversations. In other cases, and TV presenters to back the campaign. 14,000 Facebookadvertising has been ignored all together and the brand still fans and a photocall with Rula Lenska sparked a two yearmanaged sell-out activities. So why do brands still insist on campaign culminating in the recent, and more traditional, TVshouting at people via the old model when we’re now in an advertising campaign ‘For The Love of Wispa’ featuring a castage of conversation and engagement? of hundreds of real people. The re-launch via social media and editorial activity boosted Cadbury’s sales by 5%.The award-winning Wonderbra campaign to launch DitaVon Teese’s limited edition range is an excellent example Measuring these sorts of campaigns is getting moreof breaking traditional boundaries in a world of public sophisticated. Edelman is already creating a seriesengagement. JCPR created a unique integrated campaign, of sophisticated algorithms, such as TweetLevel, and 12
  13. 13. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2measurement tools to go head-to-head with the traditional ideas... free yourselves from the shackles of prescriptiveadvertising measurement models used by media buying marketing models and media buying agency channel plans.agencies. With a fast-moving communication climate and this Let your creative agencies (and not just the ad team) lead thecomplex network of cross-influence, the challenge is now to way here and throw the gauntlet down to them. You might bekeep up with these rapid changes and measure accordingly. surprised.And fast they are. According to new insights, teenagersapparently reject advertising, particularly digital, as well Forget the money at the idea stage– much creativityas sites such as Twitter (Morgan Stanley’s How Teenagers and idea development is constrained by talk of money at theConsume Media Report). Research from AdWeekMedia and brainstorm stage, and also the fight between the agencies forHarris Interactive back this up and show that 46% of US net their slice of the pie. Start with the position of ‘the sky’s theusers ignore banner ads. It’s clear therefore that fresh thinking limit’ – it will pay dividends and will enable you to assess trueis required to reach the brand’s key demographic – especially value for money when you’ve developed the concept.when it comes to creating online momentum. Marketing is not an exact science – predicting a successFurthermore, with AVE falling rapidly, marketing budgets is virtually impossible. Whatever happened to gut feeling andbeing cut and consumer behaviour changing when it comes risk? Who would have thought that the meerkats for how they receive information, the time is right for the bold com would build a brand profile and position the comparisonand adventurous marketing teams to harness the opportunity. site at the top of the nation’s mind? After all, we are allSo for all those brand and marketing managers wanting to consumers. The best marketers instinctively know whenmake a real difference, and be known for creating that one something will work. And it’s based on their instinct. The newmemorable campaign... what’s the advice for the advent of world order of public engagement requires marketers to beBrand Bravery? brave, so take the leap of faith – it might just work!Talk about ‘channels’ in a different way – the new eraof public engagement relies on a complex web of influencers. Emma NicholsonChallenge agencies to see if they truly understand how to Directorlayer a campaign effectively to create bottom up dialogue and Emma heads up the Leisure & Lifestyle team in Edelman’s consumer division, JCPR. She has beenconversation. creating consumer campaigns for leading UK and international fmcg, retail and service brands for theExplore and encourage creativity – use your agencies past 15 years.effectively and efficiently and regularly develop creative 13
  14. 14. EDELMANIT’S POLITICS, JIMBUT NOT ASWE KNOW ITThe new world of public engagement in which we have witnessed an explosion innew networks of influence; the emergence of new influencers and niche onlineforums (such as ConservativeHome, Guido Fawkes); the continuing decline oftraditional media; and a move away from a top down approach to communicationto a world where anybody can be an influencer via their blog, Facebook or Twitteraccount, has profound implications for the main UK political parties and our politicalsystem as a whole.Here are four trends for what this new era of communications John Prescott tweeted at the time: “It will be the son,means for political parties and, as we look ahead to 2010, daughter, uncle, mother and friend wot will win it in 2010.future general election campaigns: Endorsements from ordinary people NOT media barons.” It will be the endorsement of these ordinary people (peers1. The rise of the ultra micro-group. All three main with a small ‘p’), who are shaping and influencing the political parties employ the Mosiac marketing system debate through niche networks, that political parties will which divides Britain into 155 types of individual, 67 increasingly seek. Party leaders are already beginning to different households and 15 other groups as a way of recognise the influence of sites such as Mumsnet (http:// targeting different voter types (remember Mondeo Man, a parenting forum that attracts over and Worcester Woman). However, the rise of social 800,000 unique users. Both David Cameron and Gordon media, which creates both small and large online activist Brown fielded questions on the site in 2009. communities - usually based around just one single issue, that don’t conform to traditional demographics - means that political parties will have to rethink how they target 3. The continuing decline of two Party Politics. The the voter. new world of public engagement will see yet another nail hammered into the coffin of the traditional two party Brockley Central ( – system. While back in the 1950s, 95% of votes cast went run by an Edelman colleague – is one example of an online to one of the two main political parties, by the last general network that demonstrates these shifts. The site appeals election in 2005, they were only receiving 69% of the vote to a wide cross-section of voters who are not necessarily – today that number is only in the mid 60s. This decline is connected by demographics, but by local community set to continue with the demoncratising power of the web issues. Parties who offer a one size fits all model, and don’t and the rise of single issue groups. People no longer see take account of these networks of influence, will simply not themselves as a lone voice protesting about a particular survive in the new world of public engagement. issue but rather part of a group who are no longer catered for by the traditional two-party model – and whose shared2. It won’t be the Sun wot won it. While people will interests can be advanced through the power of the web. debate whether it was The Sun’s endorsement that won The rise of resident associations, of extreme groups at the 1992 General Election for the Conservative Party, local government level or UKIP at a European level, are the continuing decline of traditional media and the manifestations of the changing nature of the Party system. rise of online networks and influencers mean that print newspapers’ endorsement will no longer be the holy 4. A Manifesto for the people by the people. While Tony grail for any political party. As that sage of the internet Blair’s Big Conversation initiative was widely criticised as 14
  15. 15. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2 nothing more than an election gimmick, the collapse of top The MPs’ expenses were a painful example of this new era of down communications, the fragmentation of the media, the transparency and accountability but this is just the beginning. empowerment of the voter via the web (digital democracy) Soon, the public sector will be forced to reveal the detail and and the rise of consumer politics mean that any Party that value of its contracts and another bout of soul searching will adopts a strategy that sees an election manifesto emerge begin and questions will be asked about how the body politic from on high and expects it to excite and engage the can regain trust. voter is surely a strategy doomed to failure. Empowered citizens will expect, if not demand, an ability to help shape The new Speaker and some enlightened thinkers from and influence the content of any manifesto. While political both sides of the House of Commons have begun to talk parties will no longer be able to count on the reach of about how Parliament and the wider political system needs traditional media to communicate their policies, they will to change. However, none has yet grasped, or perhaps need to use the principles of public engagement to reach even fully understood, the magnitude of how society is out and engage the voter. changing, brought on by the rise of new technology, the empowerment of the citizen and the thirst for transparencySo there you have it. Four trends for what the changing and accountability.communications landscape means for political parties and anyfuture General Election campaigns. However, it’s not just theparties who will have to adapt, change and embrace this newreality if they are to survive and prosper. The political systemitself will also need to change or face a crisis of confidence –more traumatic than the recent expenses scandal.It’s a new world in which transparency and accountabilityare central. The democratising power of digital means thatcitizens will no longer tolerate advice being kept secret ordecisions being taken behind closed doors. Indeed, one only Alex Biggneeds to look at the increasing demands for independent Managing Directorinquiries across a broad range of issues and incidents to Alex is Managing Director of Edelman’s awardgauge the mood of an increasingly sceptical public when it winning Public Affairs practice.comes to believing what they are told by Government. 15
  16. 16. EDELMANSOUNDBITEORSOUNDINSIGHTI am often struck by just how close to the wind some high-profile political speakers cansometimes sail. It seems rather unfair that our political masters – or those who would aspireto be so – can make what appear to be rash statements and claims based on little more thanthe failure of another group of politicians to deliver on a manifesto promise and the fact thatthe speakers’ party would somehow ‘do it better’ with little substantiation of how.In the world of medical communications, we are constantly • well trained – they know how to use small gestures, voice on our guard to ensure that we work within strict guidelines, intonation and pauses for maximum effectdo not make unsubstantiated statements, ensure that the data • well rehearsed – they never leave anything to chance and support our arguments and operate with full transparency with have well prepared answers for difficult questionsour clients and the doctors and other health-care professionals • charismatic – on the whole they project personalitythat we work with. It seems unfair at times that we cannot spe- • engaging – they deliver a speech that audiences feel culate on the data too far, we cannot criticise competing drugs drawn to listen tobecause they haven’t delivered on all of their endpoints when • speaking with few notes – very few are distracted by ours have – after all if our politicians can, why shouldn’t we? shuffling of their notes • using few, if any, visual aids – you’ll see very few Well, obviously, there are big differences between political PowerPoint slides!rhetoric and scientific accuracy. Medical communicationsprofessionals aim to prove their points through evidence; In a controlled profession like ours, the basic rules ofpoliticians, more often than not (particularly on the Today presentation and communication still apply. However, theprogramme!), tend to beat down an opposing view based industry often falls into the trap of relying on presenting largeon who can shout the loudest and for the longest without volumes of data and slides without thinking about audiencegiving in to another’s perspective. In medical communications engagement – this can do a disservice to the doctors that wethis should not happen; sure, there are disagreements about work with and become a barrier to open debate. As impressivestudy design, data interpretation and statistical validity but as it might be, the data will not always speak for itself – itthe majority of scientists and clinicians generally have an must be supported by clear messages, suitable platforms andappreciation for what the data reveal and of their limitations. compelling delivery to meet the company’s objectives.Nonetheless, can we learn anything from the political speech It is incumbent upon us, as medical education professionalsmeisters? On the whole, the notable speech makers have and communicators, to develop more engaging programmesseveral attributes that can be applied more thoroughly in and think more insightfully about how we truly engage withmedical communications; more often than not they are: our audiences. Should it be a traditional passive style or 16
  17. 17. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2should we be looking for opportunities to open up discussion? Now what I am not suggesting based on my comparison withPerhaps we should even get perspectives from other groups politicians is that we dumb down medical communicationsthat we might not normally reach. Our audiences might to a few sound bites – clearly key messages need to betraditionally be a closed group of professionals, but the communicated around the therapeutic value of a drug, butprinciples of public engagement apply to them as much sound bites should never replace real insight about the benefitsas any other group – something that can sometimes be of the drug, its place in clinical practice and the differenceoverlooked in order just to continue the churn of data. it could make to patients. Broadening our world view to engaging with audiences beyond our immediate communityAt BioScience Communications – Edelman’s specialist of physicians also provides an opportunity for pharmaceuticalmedical communications group – we believe that the companies to demonstrate a responsible attitude towardsprinciples of public engagement that we apply across the patient education and a commitment to engage.Edelman business to audiences of all types do also applyfully to doctors and scientists in health-care. The value of We have to acknowledge that medical communicationstrue engagement with our audiences can be impactful for is something of a conservative discipline, but perhaps thepharmaceutical companies, such as: time has come to move forward confidently and invest in• profiling the organisation’s willingness to open up opportunities that provide clients with the most important findings for discussion and critique return on their investment in a medical communications• demonstrating openness and transparency programme – a high profile for their brand through genuine• seeding debate that can provide valuable customer engagement with their target audiences and, importantly, insights with a broader audience than they might be used to. Now that would be a real innovation for medical communications.• potentially exposing the data to a wider audience through ongoing debateThese might seem very obvious points to make, but in orderto increase the levels of transparency in the communication David Nobleof medical data, engaging with, and listening to, audiences Managing Directoris critical. Ultimately this will begin to increase the levels oftrust in the pharmaceutical industry – the reputation of which David is Managing Director of BioScience Communications – Edelman’s specialist medicalhas suffered in the wake of a number of poorly managed drug communications group. David has two childrenfailures and issues around clinical trials in recent years – much who ensure that his debating and influencing skillsof which has been due to lack of debate – and the apparent lack are tested daily.of willingness from the industry to engage in discussion. 17
  18. 18. EDELMANDEMAND DRIVEN DIALOGUE:DESIGNINGDEMAND INTHE IT WORLDThe growing impact that the internet and the current economic climate are havingon the attitudes and behaviours of all users of modern technology is not in doubt. Inmaturing markets, where products are becoming more commoditised, customer groupsare fragmenting into communities which share common values and idea. For those of usselling technology it means traditional sales techniques are insufficient, because thesegroups are emboldened to demand more from vendors.The ultimate goal for boardrooms across the IT sector does priorities and interests. This can be conducted even before anot change – the chief executive still has to prove two things product exists, or can be used to help a company entering ato shareholders. Firstly, how the company can sell more to new market to understand how it can marry its offering withexisting companies and secondly how the company can the needs of the market. This process should be seen as a waycredibly convince new customers to buy their products. to refine traditional marketing techniques. By giving greater access to information, the internet enables companies to beBut given the landscape, there are two deeper questions that more precise in their assessment of and engagement with keythe chief executive must answer: influencers –the individuals who crucially will help to make1) How do I talk differently to existing customers in mature marketing events more enticing to customers and prospects. markets to sell more? The Demand Driven Dialogue model follows four stages, which are split into two parts. Phase one (Stages One and2) How do I talk credibly to a prospect who does not know me? Two) is about designing demand for a product or service. Phase two (Stages Three and Four) is about driving demand.For the technology industry it means communicators canact as powerful catalyst for change, because vendors mustfind new ways to engage and compelling storytelling is PHASE ONE – DESIGNING DEMANDthe tool to achieve this goal. Edelman has developed the Stage One – Understand the Conversation and Identifyconcept of Public Engagement, which at its highest level, the Influencers: Others have written elsewhere about theadvances shared interests in a world of cross-influence. In importance of listening with new intelligence in a world ofthe enterprise IT market, this can be specifically focused on cross-influence. Identifying the most important conversationshelping companies to design a conversation that will appeal and who is having them, where, is a critical starting point forto stakeholders and, more importantly, drive demand for companies because (even though some IT companies stillproducts/services. believe it) most customers do not spend their entire time talking about their products.This is what we call ‘Demand Driven Dialogue.’ Stage two – Engage the Influencers and Build theAt its heart, this process is about helping companies to Conversation: Influencers range from producers of contentbetter understand the genuine interests of their audiences by to commentators and sharers, as well as watchers, who simplyengaging with those people to build a clear picture of their want to understand what is being said. The key group at the 18
  19. 19. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2heart of any debate are the curators and they perform a vital iv) Act: be seen to respond to feedback that is received, suchrole. Often they have no allegiance to one vendor, and are as adapting product roadmaps or adding functionalityprepared to manage content as an amateur pastime, purelybecause they are passionate about a subject or product. Stage four – Go to Market – and embrace the chaos:Companies must participate in the conversations – in real Armed with the knowledge of the key influencers andtime and all the time. By engaging these individuals in confident of the demand in the market, all that is left is todialogue, and then working with them to have conversations announce the product or service to the wider market. In awith a wider network of influencers, it is easy to quickly complex world of multiple stakeholders and networks, this isreach an understanding of the on-going debates and more not always as simple as it sounds. Throughout the market rollimportantly how your company can fit into these discussions. out, on-going interaction with the influencers and constant re-evaluation are needed – but above all, a commitment toPHASE TWO – DRIVING DEMAND participate in the conversation.Stage Three – Test and Evaluate: Once a company is With a willingness to participate in dialogue, companies canconfident of its story it needs to be tested in the market open doors to engage differently – more meaningfully – withplace. Targeting a smaller sub-set of prospects and existing their customers and influencers, resulting in excitement,customers, a company can engage these influencers to co- brand loyalty and fresh demand from unexpected quarters.create products and services. This is a consultative processand should be seen as an ideal opportunity to test proof-of- It really is good to talk.concepts so that suppliers can create a strong picture of thefeatures and functions their customers really need. Based onour experience there are some key principles to remember:i) Be brave: do not duck controversy and learn to embrace Cairbre Sugrue the chaos Managing Director Cairbre is Managing Director of the UK’s Technologyii) Be frank (and transparent): transparency and open practice and is an unashamed champion of all dialogue must be the default - eg a bank should be upfront things IT. Particularly pleasing to him is the growing about why it is handing out bonuses acknowledgement (and some envy) among his non-techie colleagues that there is nowhere moreiii) Listen and participate: but do not expect the discussion exciting than the tech industry today. to be all about you 19
  20. 20. EDELMANPUBLICENGAGEMENTIN A REGULATEDENVIRONMENTIf we accept the hypothesis that we now live in a world of democratised crossinfluence where public engagement should be the mantra for meaningfulcommunications, where does this leave highly regulated environments? How cancompanies meaningfully engage with their publics without incurring the wrath ofindustry watchdogs?These questions make it tempting to excuse heavily regulated The pharmaceutical industry may wonder if this is necessarilysectors from the new world order. “It doesn’t apply to us” a problem; after all, companies know their own treatments andwas the essence of the health industry’s early response to disease areas – so surely they know what they need tothe ascent of bloggers, tweeters and other social networkers communicate? This no longer holds true; it is not acceptableover the last few years and, on first glance, it seems easy to just tell the world what we think it wants to hear. If weto agree. As well as the restrictions set by governments don’t know what people want, we cannot respond to, or deliverand independent regulators to control communications against it. Pharmaceutical companies can produce greatby healthcare companies about their treatments, external medicines that appeal through their functional benefits to expertcommunication is restricted even further by the industry consultants and early adopters but without understanding anditself, both in terms of internal legal and regulatory experts engaging with the broader group of end-users, there is everyand competitor companies keen to use the stifling regulatory chance the brand won’t ever reach its full potential. And in anenvironment to remove any advantage. industry with a limited window of opportunity to recoup the substantial investment in getting brands to market and, moreAll of which can lead to the perception of an industry which importantly, maximise the number of patients reaping theis out of touch and unwilling to listen to its end users. But medical rewards, the stakes are considerable.we would suggest that the problem is not so much that thepharmaceutical industry is unwilling to listen, rather that due But how is the new world of democratised informationto regulation it is wary of truly engaging. The pharmaceutical relevant to health audiences specifically? There is a palpableindustry has always been a big advocate of listening to the sentiment in the industry that doctors do not participate in themarketplace; however, it can be over-reliant on listening to new world of online communication. Not only is this not true,sources, such as traditional market research, which relies it is no longer relevant; the key opinion leaders with whomon one-way expressions of opinion in a highly controlled the industry is used to having contact are only one of manyenvironment. Market research can be valuable for providing influencers which it now needs to engage with, includinga snapshot of opinion at one moment in time, but it cannot ‘rank and file’ physicians, regulators, governmental payers,meaningfully engage with stakeholders in a two way dialogue advocacy groups and, of course, patients.and, without this, one is not really listening, but rather under-taking a process designed to deliver what one wants to hear. 20
  21. 21. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2This brings us back to where we started. How can the pharmaceutical industry to truly engage with its stakeholderspharmaceutical industry realistically hope to engage with its in respectful ongoing relationships which will help companiespublics, such as patients, in the face of the strict regulatory to tell a story that is heard, believed and has resonance withlandscape? The answer partially lies in a fundamental the communities they want to reach. Public engagement inrethink of what constitutes successful messaging. In today’s a regulated industry isn’t the challenge it first appears to be;environment, separate messages for separate audiences do if the industry is prepared to look forward and understandnot work; peer-to-peer communication leaves companies that this new environment, the opportunities far outweigh thecontinue to do this looking manipulative and untrustworthy. disadvantages of engaging.All types of stakeholders have the potential to be opinionformers for brands and they will seek validation from awide range of sources before the information provided bycompanies is validated.In today’s world, the role of public engagement is to be thefacilitator and creator of a central narrative, joining the piecestogether to ensure the company and stakeholder can engagein a meaningful way which is mutually beneficial and buildstrust and ultimately equity for the brands and company. Thiscan be done without broad communication about brands;indeed, the days of being entirely reliant on carefully worded Steven Spurrbrand key messages are over. Managing Director Steve is Managing Director, Health. He read economics at the LSE and it was here that heIt is of course fine for companies to convey their point of view, became fascinated with the concept of perfectbut it should be aligned to what the market and individual information and how it influences every choice andstakeholders want, and should always be transparent. Brand decision in our lives.building still exists but the context in which it occurs has steven.spurr@edelman.comchanged; first we must understand environments and theninteract with them to convey our point of view and forward a Ross Williamsmutually advantageous proposition to advance shared interests. Associate Director – Editorial Ross leads a new editorial offer in Health, createdExternal communication will always be curtailed for the to provide dedicated editorial counsel, guidancepharmaceutical industry to a certain extent and this is and content development for Edelman’s Healthnecessary, but it does not mean the industry cannot listen to, clients.and participate in, the conversation. It is our job to help the 21
  22. 22. EDELMANLISTENING FORRESULTSAs Marshall Manson wrote at the start of this publication, in an evolving world ofcross-influence, listening is more important than ever. Genuine, compelling andtransparent engagement can drive brand awareness, customer loyalty and, ultimately,sales. Our listening, however, can be easily subsumed by the constant barrage ofmessages received. In today’s world, we need to listen to more stakeholders moreoften than ever – not just tune in to one voice. There is a whole echo chamber ofinfluencers around our brands, businesses, issues and communications to consider,such as the media, NGOs, policy makers, opinion elites, employees and consumers,all of whom have strong opinions.Surrounded by this cacophony of sounds, voices and messages, what actions companies are taking to show they are good globalhow we can properly tune into what is being said, where and citizens or employers of whom? Listening with new intelligence means focusing ourattention on three things: Public engagement is about advancing shared interests. This• what people think requires us to find new ways of observing and measuring those• what people say interests. It is imperative that, as an industry, we evolve the way• what people do that we listen to conversations and measure the impact of our communications so that they properly reflect the new world order. The age of top down, command and control messagingSome of the tools we need to use are tried and tested, while is over and the decline of advertising overthrows AVE-centricothers are evolving to reflect the fast-paced changes to the new measurements. There is still space for activity tracking, mediaecology of media and influencers: coverage or direct response but we need to go further to understand with greater reach and finesse the outcomesWhat Do They Think? – Use primary research to understand and impact that those programmes have on all stakeholders.people’s awareness, interest, attitudes and ideas. We need to Results-based measurement requires asking hard questions.engage influencers and customers on topics of their interest – Have we moved the needle on how people think, speak andnot just ours. act about the company, brand or issue? In the age of public engagement, no one person has all the answers.What Do They Say? – Go to where the dialogue is happening– online and offline. Be in the conversation to listen andunderstand, as well as talk. Use media monitoring tools andRSS feeds to cost-effectively capture conversations acrosschannels and networks, from print and trade press to socialmedia such as blogs, twitter and forums. Another route is totap into new research tools like hosted online communities.These are recruited communities of brand aficionados whohelp companies like Procter & Gamble or Unilever to co-create new products, or provide feedback on brand actions or Laurence Evanscommunications. President, StrategyOne Originally from New Zealand, Laurence has lived in 5 countries and worked in 23 countries in 27 yearsWhat Do They Do? – Be a people watcher and a trend while staying married to Rochelle. He has licenseswatcher. Observe what consumers are spending their money to drive on both left and right hand sides of theon, what their media or entertainment viewing habits are and road so now he drives down the middle.where they are going for information. For business, observe 22
  23. 23. EdelmanTrustBarometer2010• An annual global review of the state of trust in Business, Government and Media.• An analysis of the implications for leadership in addressing the big issues of our time• 10 years of trends, published in January 2010• trustbarometer
  24. 24. EDELMANONE WORLD & ONE AGENCYPUBLICENGAGEMENTMAKES YOUTHINKTwelve months ago, a number of us argued that this would be a ‘good’ recessionfor PR. Advertising monies seemed set to migrate towards the more engaging andrelevant of the two disciplines. Marketers began to realise that, to borrow from LordLever’s famous phrase, a lot more than half their monies was simply being wastedin a world of ‘continuous partial attention’, where social media had entered themainstream.What started as a re-alignment of spend in difficult times has of the peer, the employee and the customer has confirmedinadvertently accompanied a fundamental shift in the wider the shift from a shareholder to stakeholder society, there areagency landscape. The convergent agency is the necessary just certain parts that advertising and other ‘old’ disciplinesreality now. It is, at heart, a manifestation of the one world cannot reach. The urgent need to Act and Tell demands aof cross-influence which we all inhabit. As we emerge into a mix of policy and communications skills; digital outreachpost-crisis world, we would do well to heed our own advice to and content development; a new kind of intelligence andclients and re-consider where we stand in our own industry insight altogether. Communications firms today must be ablelandscape. to embrace the regulatory, government, employee and NGO agendas with equal and balanced aptitude. It is no longer aWhy? simple issue of customers, consumers and consumption (if it ever was). This, fundamentally, is where the current ad agencyFirst, because the digital revolution has driven model falls woefully short.profound and permanent behavioural change. Of course,we all know this. The new ecology sees a hard re-alignment of Third, because the myths of advertising have beeninterests and a far less stable (and less easily identifiable) set exposed by this enforced new age of austerity. Whatof influencers. Old agency models (including advertising, DM, started as an inquisition over total cost has thankfully evolvedMedia and others) historically relied on this stability to both into a more rigorous questioning of the role of advertisingtarget audiences and sell to clients. We can no longer be in itself. Sure, this is not un-connected with Point 1 abovethe audience business; we all have to learn instead to ride the – but some of the mythology around agency supremacyripples, waves and occasional tsunami of influence. has been properly laid bare. The One Agency Solution will indeed emerge in the next five years – but it will be content,Second, because only an evolved form of PR can conversation and influence-led and not by those insistent ondeliver against corporate and brand needs across producing a 30-second film at any cost and simply callingthis new sphere of influence. In a hyper-connected world themselves ‘the agency’. ‘Right’ must start with Insight,where citizen activists and/or NGOs can hold both businesses Planning and Strategy – and no one discipline or agency,and governments to account and where the continued rise properly constructed, holds the monopoly here. 24
  25. 25. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2 in Participate Listen a tion: the convers with new rea l time /all intelligence the time Cre at co-c e and re con ate tent Soci ali med se rela ia tion s Build active partnerships for common good pion Cham n ope y cac advo Em the brace cha osFourth, no client should afford the luxury of multiple mess. Too much was taken for granted; not enough questionsagency partners. In one world of cross-influence, why asked. We sleepwalked into disaster. Real reform has to starton earth are clients paying for five (advertising, PR, Media, here and now if we are to evolve with the new ecology ofCRM, Digital) agencies, five teams, five programmes etc? influence and interests. PR firms have to re-consider their own‘Holistic working’ is nothing more than a buzzword reflection structure and purpose, to re-configure as vociferous leadersof companies trying to stitch together their own silos and and champions for what we are calling Public Engagement.inefficient corporate structures. We should be giving clients This will require adding new skills and changing workingbest advice. And the best advice is that reform needs to start practices, for sure. We must do this with speed and with relish.from within the client organisation as well as from within theagency itself. It is not merely a question of reducing spend; The alternative is to sit tight, pretend the moment will passit is about finding efficiencies and building future-facing – and behave like smug dinosaurs at the centre of a rapidlycommunications teams that are multi-skilled, not expensively changing ecology. And we all know what happened to them.and silo/ discipline/ audience focussed. Planners andCreatives are available to all. Production is easily outsourced– and can be more competitively partnered and priced. The adindustry has hidden behind a certain mythology for years. We Robert Phillipsknow we can all create and co-create content. So, the model UK CEOis already there in the making. Robert is the UK CEO of Edelman. He is also the co- author of Citizen Renaissance (2008) and a frequent contributor and columnist on issues facing theThe symbolism of the global financial crisis should not be lost communications, corporate and brand worlds.on the Communications sector. Living on the luxury of Wants robert.phillips@edelman.comNot Needs was one of the reasons we all ended up in this 25
  26. 26. Proud of our people Proud of our independence Want to join the family? If you’d like to have a chat, please contactJodi McLaren for New Business: Rebecca Hall for Talent: +44 (0)20 3047 2000 Daniel J Edelman Inc. is the world’s largest independent PR agency Consultancy of The Year 2009
  27. 27. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT VOL.2CONVICTION OR CONVENIENCE:IS NOW THETIME FORBUSINESSTO LEAD?As 2009 came to a close, Simon Schama described the year as is how we interpret the data and work with clients to address‘the most grisly, powerful, monstrous moment in the history the most urgent issues of our times. Can PR really change itsof capitalism’. During the course of 2009, Charlie Mayfield, traditional mandate and, wearing the new clothes of PublicChairman of John Lewis, called for new models of business Engagement, step into the historical domain of managementownership, while economist Noreena Hertz argued that consultants and accountants – engaging, modeling andbusiness can supplant government and enjoy a mandate to lead planning, rather than just broadcasting and storytelling?in the post-crisis age. Aviva Investors UK CEO Paul Abberley,speaking at the UN, urged Global Stock Exchanges to take real In an evolved form of Public Relations, my personal beliefaction on Corporate Responsibility: his rallying cry to promote ‘a is that we can step forward and lead. But we must acquireglobal listing environment that requires companies to consider new skills; and our own industry leaders must work with thehow responsible and sustainable their business model is, and Mayfields and the Abberleys to confront change. Together,encourages them to put a forward-thinking sustainability we can shape a new business and communications ecologystrategy to the vote at their AGMs’. The FT’s Stefan Stern which, to paraphrase Danone’s CEO Franck Riboud, shouldmeanwhile asked poignantly whether companies are speaking serve as both a social and an economic project. Profit can besuch language out of ‘conviction or convenience?’ maximized and used in active partnership for common good - as we embrace Schama’s monstrous moment and step into aAlmost forty years since Milton Friedman published that more powerful and exciting future.article in the New York Times Magazine – arguing thatthe social responsibility of business is to maximize profit –communications industry leaders must today ask questions Robert Phillipsof ourselves. Are we advising clients out of conviction or robert.phillips@edelman.comconvenience? Do we have a responsibility to lead, or shouldwe merely serve as collaborators in compliance culture? Arethere cynics among us who are monetizing this moment ofresponsibility, or should we be transformative and future-shaping? Is this even our place?Edelman Trust and goodpurposeTM surveys reinforce thepre-eminence of the stakeholder society and the centrality ofMutual Social Responsibility to business. The real challenge 27
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