ISSUE ONE | SPRING ‘09
Making it through the recession.
Digital Top of the Pops.
UK takes lessons from Obama.
Change in a tough climate.
Marketing with a Chinese accent.
Changing the rules in Washington.
Taking PR back to its roots.
Green top ten.
Colin Byrne CEO, UK & Europe
Hauling out his
boxes of vinyl
As a guy whose first foray into Know about The Lipstick Index? And David Liu, Managing Director of
As we marketers wrestle with the second Weber Shandwick China and recently
media was publishing a punk downturn of the decade, can we learn named as that country’s top public
music fanzine, and who still anything from The Great Depression? relations professional, gives his insights
secretly hauls out his boxes of Check out Leo Rayman’s history lesson into marketing in the ‘Middle Kingdom’.
vinyl and arranges all those within.
Just some insights and opinions from
pretty sleeves around the floor, Our Digital Chief Creative Officer James leading communications professionals
I hope you are as taken with Warren continues the pop picking theme across our 79-country network. Enjoy.
blatant nostalgia of the cover with his digital top of the pops. ABC’s
‘The Look of Love’? Ah. Now where did I put that Buzzcocks CD?
of our new e-magazine as I was.
Our London-based Labour and
Conservative public affairs experts
Luke Akehurst and Tara Hamilton-Miller
look at the battle in British politics to
learn the digital lessons of the Obama
Leo Rayman EMEA Insight & Planning Director
The Recession Dupree’s genius was to focus on
radio, the exciting new technology
of the 1930s. His new strategy was
Survival Guide. the ‘Soap Opera’.
Times are tough. There is McKinsey&Co argue that the two biggest Dupree’s genius was to focus on radio, PIMS shows that over the length of a In a recession people change the way they
managerial mistakes in recessions are first; the exciting new technology of the 1930s. recession and most significantly during a buy. They take more time to research their 5 RULES FOR RECESSION SURVIVAL
pressure to cut communications being surprised by the severity of the His new strategy was the ‘Soap Opera’. recovery, those who maintain or increase purchase decisions. We know that people
spend. What should people downturn, and second; being caught He knew consumers still needed to wash their spend see higher returns. There is a are less and less trusting of official sources 1. Cut, but cut less than competitors.
working in Marketing and unawares by the recovery. So it seems wise their clothes, whatever the economic very strong link between share of voice and of information and increasingly reliant on
to look back for any clues on what we climate, so the first foray into branded share of market. The trick when cutting informed friends or even strangers online. 2. Design campaigns to build fame
Communications do to ensure and talkability.
should do in the present day. Problem is, content was born. ‘Ma Perkins’ sponsored budgets is to cut less than your Brands that focus their campaigns on fame
their brands survive the very few were working in the same types by Oxydol, launched in 1933. By 1939, competitors, thereby stealing market share and generating talkability enjoy the
downturn? of job in the recessions of 1974, 1980 or P&G was sponsoring 21 radio programmes, from them. biggest positive profit impact in difficult 3. Use digital technology to amplify
1991 – there’s just not that much relevant virtually doubling its radio spend every two times. the story others tell about you.
experience to draw on. years during the depression. Value and values
During tough times something called Social Advocacy 4. Insulate yourself through the power
So let me transport you for a moment to Nimble and astute ‘value’ becomes even more important. We call these fame-building strategies of emotional branding.
the American Midwest during the Great Recessions accelerate changes that are Sometimes that’s the same as price but Social Advocacy. They are designed to
Depression. Picture long lines of already taking place. We need to be very often it isn’t. ALDI and Wal-Mart are increase the number and volume of people 5. Be bold, resilient and adaptable.
unemployed men queuing at soup nimble and astute enough to spot the having a good recession and low prices do talking about your brand. The techniques
kitchens; others are wandering from town patterns amongst the chaos and take help increase their footfall. Other brands are relatively simple; first you need a good
to town searching desperately for work. advantage of them. 2009 is 150 years survive in different ways, by emphasising story well-told. Second, make use of digital
With panic on Wall Street and declining since the publication of The Origin of their emotional values. People turn to technology to allow easy sharing of your
sales it would take a brave manager to the Species. Darwin showed that species companies and organisations they trust. story. Finally, identify the important
resist pressure from shareholders to cut survive when they are robust enough to Longstanding, predictable brands that communities with which you need to make
marketing budgets and scale back on survive challenging environments but assure quality can be a recession-weary contact and reach out to them.
advertising and public relations. What also adaptable enough to evolve. This is customer’s best friend. During the
would you do? Would you do what the simple answer to recession survival: recession of the 1990s, De Beers observed In conclusion remember that whilst the
Richard Dupree, President of P&G, did? be tough but be prepared to change. that consumers were falling back on the economic environment can look pretty
He spotted a new opportunity and seized things they felt were most important; nasty, not every category suffers. People
it with bravery. In fact, P&G have been In recessions, clients are forced to cut family, friendships and love. Their famous will still need to feed their cats for
doing the same thing in every recession expenditure. I’m not arguing that this is ‘Shadows’ campaign linked De Beers with example. Things will change; the latest IMF
ever since. always the wrong course of action. The real love, family and romance. Sales rose by an forecasts predict a return to GDP growth in
question is over what you cut and by how annual average of 8% over three years. most markets by 2010. In the meantime,
much. Detailed and longstanding research just remember the Dodo.
from the Profit Impact of Market Strategy
(PIMS) study has analysed the impact on
long-term performance of cutting budgets.
James Warren Chief Creative Officer, Digital
Now That’s What Don’t fall into the
trap of developing
I Call Digital. at the expense of
assets you have to turn into relevant
Here are Weber Shandwick’s Leader of the Pack The Shangri-Las Never Gonna Give You Up Rick Astley Fake Tales Of San Francisco Groove is in the Heart Deee-Lite
Content that will appeal and add value to
Facebook is the undisputed King of the Don’t fall into the trap of developing Arctic Monkeys At the heart of every successful
top pop picks for success in social networks. Yes, yes, I know Facebook digital campaigns at the expense of The second generation of digital spam is communications campaign lies a story. The the conversations identified at stage one
the digital hit parade this is so very ‘2007’ but its continued, traditional channels. Weber Shandwick’s upon us. Unscrupulous marketers are concept of storytelling as a critical (please note in this instance ‘content’ may
just be one half of a conversation). The
summer. It’s an eclectic relentless accumulation of users and inline communications approach dictates already being social online on behalf of marketing asset is not a new one, but the
third stage is then about Connecting your
selection, mixed for your aural functionality has set it apart as the major that in order to truly influence you should their clients. The manipulation of crowd- ability within the digital realm to reach and
player in the 2009 attention stakes. Slowly deliver consistent and engaging content sourced news results, brand-sitting on interact with your audience directly clearly content with those people having the
pleasure by resident digital but surely Facebook has become an across multiple media. If your online lifestreams, ghosted blogs… the potential amplifies the effectiveness of a compelling conversations and incorporates search,
jockey James Warren. operating system in its own right, with communications do not directly reflect or channels are almost infinite. The narrative. There is both an art and a tagging, crowd-sourcing and so on. The
messaging, entertainment and self- build on your offline messages and activity authenticity of conversational marketing science to storytelling, something Weber final stage, Community, ensures that you
publishing tools all embedded. All that’s then you are passing up a significant will continue to be questioned during Shandwick understands. And of course the are amplifying the output of the previous
missing is the ability to email and instant opportunity to create a truly impactful 2009, with plenty of agencies prepared to creation of a consistent and relevant story three stages within relevant communities.
message to and from non-Facebook campaign. Media and experiential activity engage in degrees of subterfuge to win requires you to understand how your
contacts. As soon as this hotly-anticipated help drive activity online. Aligning the business. Weber Shandwick’s advice? Do it target audience is influenced, who your Holding Out For a Hero Bonnie Tyler
functionality is introduced, Facebook planning and execution of online and yourself. We can help you create an potential advocates are, where they are Finally, as a rousing finale, the Weber
becomes an entirely new and compelling offline activity into an inline programme internal structure and process that allows and what they’re talking about. Shandwick guide to successful online
proposition – and a marketer’s dream. will ensure you maximise the results you to plan and execute effectively. marketing can be condensed to three
achievable and – crucially – maximise your Easy The Commodores key elements. Be active. Be everywhere.
My Generation The Who ROI. The Look of Love ABC At first glance (and, in some instances, Be nice.
The myth that digital activity is only The role of search in directing those second and third glances) the digital
suitable for reaching young audiences still Orinoco Flow Enya individuals looking for information to relevant landscape can appear to be highly
persists, in the face of considerable Twitter has been the media’s digital poster content is clearly hugely significant as far as complex and unnavigable. In reality, a
evidence to the contrary. Online and boy in early 2009, with the resulting rush of digital marketing is concerned. What is less small amount of experience allied to some
mobile channels have the ability to reach new subscribers mirroring Facebook’s clear is the extent to which communicators powerful analytic tools makes making
everyone, irrespective of their age or social ascent into the public’s consciousness. And consider (or even understand) the role of sense of the digital world relatively
stature. All that matters is that the activity just as with Facebook, marketers are search and its successful integration into straightforward. To simplify things even
(and story) is relevant. And on the subject rushing to work out how Twitter – and communications programmes. As a starter further, Weber Shandwick has developed a
of relevance, avoid anyone who is still other lifestreaming platforms – can help for ten, Weber Shandwick recommends you four stage process (the Four Cs) to
banging relentlessly on about social media organisations reach their customers in new find out what language people are actually planning and delivering digital activity.
– all digital media is social. To deliver truly and effective ways. Weber Shandwick’s top using to search for information and replicate Briefly, this involves at stage one
effective communications campaigns we Twitter tips? Listen and respond, inform that in your online content – as a simplistic identifying who is having Conversations
need to broaden our horizons. and support. example, don’t write about an ‘engagement about your story (and who isn’t but should
scheduling application’ when people are be) and what they are talking about. The
searching for ‘diary’. second stage takes into consideration the
Luke Akehurst Director, Public Affairs, UK Tara Hamilton-Miller Non-Executive Director, UK
UK Politics Learning The Labour and Conservative
approach to technology and it’s use
has differed, though both have had
New Tricks. slightly stop and start attempts at
neon websites and podcasts.
For a small contribution could Should you not wish to give cash/add to The official Conservative Party website ‘Web Cam’, featuring Tory leader David However, as with New Labour’s craze for At local level, party candidates from all
your wardrobe you are invited to hold an has not been so successful competing Cameron chatting as he fills his all thinking Clinton in the ‘90s, Labour is sides are increasingly using social media
you be tempted by a ‘Gordon Economic Recovery House Meeting in with excellent websites like dishwasher/drinks railway coffee/changes sending party officials across the Atlantic like Facebook as a way of identifying and
Brown polo shirt’ or a ‘David your living room. An experience similar conservativehome.com, loyally read his Britta water filter, has been relatively in droves to try to harvest state-of-the-art mobilising active supporters – with online
Cameron hoodie’? Even after his to a coffee morning or a Tupperware party by party followers before they go near well received. He’s a natural in front of the techniques from the Obama campaign for networks driving ‘real world’ doorstep
victory, the welcoming page of but with less plastic. Could this work here? conservatives.com. camera. Brown will have more problems UK use. A smaller stream of Obama campaigning. And the Labour
With an election possibly just months away with this kind of message; name one advisers and digital consultants has been blogosphere has started to try to compete
Barack Obama’s website, how much influence will political parties There was a problem when the domestic chore Brown could carry out with over here speaking to Labour MPs, with the Tories with the launch of
barackobama.com is a request take from Obama’s success embracing Conservatives attempted a fundraising dignity while talking about pensions and campaign managers and activists – with labourlist.org, though it appears to have
for a donation and if you give technology? tactic based on the Obama blueprint MRSA to a nervous aide with a camcorder. some of the consultants hoping to pick up been eclipsed by former Deputy Prime
to appeal to those who did not want to Labour contracts, though they may be Minister John Prescott who has
$30 or more you will receive The Labour and Conservative approach become a full Tory member but were The Left has been slower to engage with disappointed by the small budgets in discovered to his delight a brand new
an Obama Victory T-shirt to technology and it’s use has differed, interested and could show their support. digital campaigning than the Tories, who British politics. stage.
(100% cotton). It is all very though both have had slightly stop and dominate the UK blogosphere. Even more
start attempts at neon websites and The idea was that you could become a significant is Labour’s internal culture, Not everything Obama did is transferable For all the digital furore and smarty-pants
informal, messages from the podcasts. Somehow Obama and his ‘Friend’ with a minimum donation of £1; developed in order to win back power in to a parliamentary rather than presidential computer geeks claiming “it was the net
White House start with “Hey” supporters’ internet campaigning got it the party could beef up funds with humble 1997 after years of internal divisions, of system, particularly as lots of Obama’s what won it” Obama’s message appealed
as in, “Hey, President Obama right. They were clever and they had the amounts and build a database of being ‘on message’ at all times. online ‘fan base’ was created by his appeal to the time; traditional speeches based on
submitted his first budget to all important ingredient; humour. It has supporters. It was a disaster, the campaign It’s difficult to blog spontaneously and as a charismatic, insurgent personality. Nor Jefferson’s dream of citizenship. It cannot
yet to be cracked here, the main bloggers and it’s advertising cost was not cheap, rapidly about unfolding events if you is all of it necessary as much Obama online be ignored that good old fashioned
Congress on Thursday.” get it but the parties are far behind. various figures are banded about but have been trained that you need to clear activity was about small-donor fundraising campaigning worked for Obama.
£500,000 is thought to be the loss. It is public statements with a press officer and (Labour gets large union donations and
Boris Johnson’s London Mayoral campaign suggested that the total number of to wait for the ‘line-to-take’ to be issued by the UK has strict campaign spending limits) Americans liked and craved the idea of an
was slick and different and used the ‘Friends’ who joined was in double figures party HQ. and building local grassroots campaign up-standing citizen; they were comforted
internet with style. Not a huge amount of only. A spectacular waste of money. teams. UK parties have permanent local by the feel of old frontier hustings, a
content but countless passionate Labour has yet to develop individual blog branches rather than having to build a vision, and face-to-face charm.
volunteers were recruited on-line. Arguably Paramount to viral campaigning is the face stars with the readership or public profile volunteer base afresh for each new
Boris is the exception to every rule, Boris behind it. John McCain could have had the of the Tories’ Iain Dale, or the ability to campaign.
achieves because he is Boris not because same digital infrastructure as Obama but set the mainstream media agenda of
some whizzo pre-pubescent teenager is at his age anything too radical looks like an Guido Fawkes. Nor is there a Labour site
an internet genius. old guy getting down with the kids. It’s to equal conservative.home's role in
rotten but a cruel sign of the times that hosting internal party debates.
politics is becoming a young man’s (or
Arnaud Pochebonne Managing Director, France
the Key to Successful
In today’s harsh economic Strategic corporate change is a delicate We in France have seen instances where a Our survey shows that executives rank have been minimised had there been a Tread the line between a solid
climate, corporate retrenchment undertaking. While the commercial logic lack of communication with salaried employee criticism (41%) in a tie for first more coordinated and thoughtful communications plan and being flexible,
may be laudable – for example, reducing employees has led to lost motivation, place with leaked confidential information approach to communication. depending on the situation. Don’t
and restructuring is rife. Making the burden on business of unnecessary resistance to change, and finally a as the greatest online risk to their own communicate externally without
staff redundant, shutting down cost or boosting productivity – a badly damaging rejection of the project. company’s reputation. In January, unemployment in France considering the internal impact of what
facilities or indeed implementing managed reorganisation can have a Opposition may be expressed by the increased by 90,200 to 2.2 million, a 4.3% you say. Define in advance the
major cutbacks of any kind are negative effect on both corporate leaking of negative stories to public Yet sadly many companies fail to rise over December and up 15.4% on appropriate contact person for each
highly emotive actions that reputation and the bottom line. authorities or the press, strikes and even communicate sensitively, thereby allowing January 2008. Many companies face target audience.
acts of sabotage. tricky situations to escalate into full-blown exceedingly tough market conditions and
employers should handle with Time after time we see company bosses reputational crises. Recently, when a major more corporate bad news inevitably lies Anticipate every possible reaction. Sales
great care and sensitivity. focus their attention on the legal, logistical If the company can’t effectively explain its international manufacturer closed one of ahead. teams must alert directors to reactions
or financial aspects of change without decision to reorganise, criticism from all its French plants it totally mishandled the from clients and competitors, and
taking into account the most crucial factor stakeholders will gather pace. Moreover, internal communications, pouring oil on Externally, being vague about the future of department and regional directors
for success: the human one. For many, where there is uncertainty and a lack of the flames. The closure announcement to an organisation can have negative should report what is going on in their
essential lessons about the importance of transparency, rumours will be generated the French-speaking ‘blue collar’ workforce repercussions. If jobs are being lost, the areas.
solid internal and external communications internally and externally. Competitors can was made in English, giving the impression media may focus exclusively on the social
at times of corporate change remain encourage these rumours and the media that the company didn’t care about its impact of change and a political and trade Take regulation into account and strictly
unlearned. will spread them. employees. Resentment and public union backlash could follow. Financial respect French law, which imposes a
criticism flared up, with the French markets will voice their concerns about the restriction on communicating externally
When a business goes through any kind of The emergence of Web 2.0 with its vast government even questioning whether the ability of the company to keep its during a reorganisation, particularly with
change, it’s not just those at the top who swathes of user generated content on company had followed the law in the way it promises. Analysts may even regard the the media, before discussions with
are affected. Employees wonder about the social networking sites and elsewhere has had announced the closure. company as high risk if there is a lack of employees' representatives have
future of their jobs; shareholders fear that made it easier than ever for disgruntled confidence in its strategy. started. It’s advisable to refer to a
the cost of reorganisation may itself lead to employees to denigrate corporations In a similar vein, not long ago a UK-listed ‘project’ rather than a decision, and to
lower profitability; clients may question the online. As shown by Weber Shandwick’s retailer pulled out of France, informing the When working with companies in France, speak in conditional terms if labour force
quality of the company's products or own recent Risky Business survey on stock market of its decision well ahead of there are four golden rules of consultation has not been concluded.
services; suppliers ask if the company will reputations online, developed by my telling its French workforce – in communication during a period of
continue to work with them; and local colleague Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross and contravention of French employment law, reorganisation: In our experience of helping French
councillors worry about the impact on the conducted with the Economist Intelligence which puts the onus on companies to first companies manage change, successful
local job market. Unit, the internet provides innumerable communicate with their employees. Be proactive in communicating key programme implementation depends on
platforms for current and former Needless to say, the move sparked messages through a variety of communication being seen as a core
employees to undermine, usually outrage and inflicted severe damage on mechanisms including email, briefings function within the company.
anonymously, a company’s reputation. the retailer’s brand. Damage which could and meetings.
David Liu Managing Director, China
The Middle Kingdom:
Where Global Meets Local.
Nowhere do the polar forces of As a longstanding trading hub, Asia use of cropped photos believed to It demonstrated compassion, generosity Right now, the eyes of the world are on
globalisation and localisation has always been at the forefront of inaccurately portray the situation. And and good will in equal measure. And in China. If Chinese GDP looks to show the The company
globalisation. Of the 60 ‘global cities’ more literally than metaphorically, 2.3 China, that matters enormously. slightest sign of incremental growth over
converge as clearly as they do in listed in Foreign Policy magazine’s most million Chinese added the “I (heart) and above market forecasts, international acted as a local
the ‘Middle Kingdom’, an recent Global Cities Index, 23 were in China” logo to their usernames on MSN’s Elsewhere, a local approach to the stocks surge. Put that into the context of
ancient designation for China. Asia and six in China. The combination of
an upsurge in foreign direct investment,
popular chatting application in one day.
The impact was profound.
introduction of brands can be pivotal to
commercial success. Like most consumers,
negative growth across most other
developed nations and doing business in
Thirty years after the reform and
opening-up policies of the post-
a rise in international tourism and greater
access to technologies has heralded When rumours that respected French
the Chinese want to consume on their
terms. Last year, Weber Shandwick was
China is more attractive a proposition now
than it ever has been.
Mao era, the 5,000-year-old China’s relevance to, and appetite for,
globalisation in the 21st century.
company, Carrefour, had contributed funds
to the Dalai Lama’s cause, the backlash was
involved in the local roll out of the ‘smart
fortwo’, one of the first sub-compact cars But the pitfalls of business in China are as
civilisation is more global than
ever before. But the pace of that Yet it is in this environment that
crippling. Fuelled by the fact that Tibetan
independence protestors had reportedly
to hit the market. Rather than take a global
brand and apply global launch techniques,
deep as the opportunities are wide. Which
means the rules are simple. Understand
change shrouds what we believe localisation continues to flourish.
And, in many respects, China is not alone.
disrupted the Olympic torch relay in Paris,
there was a swift call for the boycott of
we started with ‘found objects’ –
selectively choosing successful strategies
the nuances of Chinese culture and the
aspiration of its people and their
to be the critical success factor
for multinational corporations
Across the world, ethnic conflict shows
little sign of becoming extinct. In 2008,
French goods – with Carrefour quickly
becoming the number one target.
from other markets that would be locally
applicable. One such ‘found object’ – a
communities, and Western businesses will
flourish. But to simply apply the tried and
good will in
in China: localisation. the Heidelberg Institute for International
Conflict Research revealed that self- Carrefour’s response was clear and precise.
smart fortwo sized vending machine
allowed shoppers to preview and register
tested rules of other markets and assume
they will work is to not only miss the point, equal measure.
determination (the desire of a group to
gain independence for itself) was the
It issued its employees new uniforms
bearing the colours and pattern of the
for a test drive of the automobile in malls –
originated in Japan. By coupling this with
but creates the prospect of long-term
reputational damage that has far reaching And in China,
second leading cause of medium and Chinese flag and a cap labelled “Beijing viral videos that re-imagined the smart consequences at home as well as abroad.
high-intensity conflict around the world. 2008.” And when, shortly after the Olympic fortwo, we tapped into China’s burgeoning that matters
Games, western China was hit by a internet population and, as a
Today, there is a growing sense of national devastating earthquake, Carrefour consequence, generated more than a enormously.
pride among many people in China. In immediately donated 23 million yuan million online views of the new car.
Western media, for example, much of last (US$3,382,353) to relief efforts – the largest
year’s civil unrest in Tibet was reported as amount contributed by a French company
a reaction to government policy. Here in in China. In some respects, it wasn’t the
China it was quite the opposite, with some size of Carrefour’s donation that helped
Chinese beginning to wear their national re-establish its position in the market. It
pride on their sleeve. Quick-acting was the absolute lack of ambiguity with
netizens created a website, anti-cnn.com, which it did it. The company acted as a
protesting at some international media’s local company would have acted.
Lance Morgan Chief Communications Strategist, Washington D.C.
The Next Listen carefully enough and you
American can hear the echoes of the fife
and drums in the New American
Revolution now at hand.
It is a great paradox of modern The sanctified first amendment to the The day after he took office President In the past, banks – like other American This problem has been building for some Still, despite this rapidly changing and
Constitution, which guarantees freedom of Obama imposed severe restrictions on the businesses – participated vocally and time. For years, the American media kept highly charged atmosphere, many
American politics: the only speech, the press and religion, also says positions former lobbyists could hold without reservation in legislative battles reporting that the gap between the salary companies – both domestic and foreign –
profession officially recognised that Congress shall make no laws within the Administration and what kind of involving their vital business interests. But of the average American CEO and the have no choice but to do business in
and sanctioned by the U.S. abridging the right of the people to work they could do. Moreover, after they how vocal and visible can they be when the average worker was widening -- from 42 Washington and therefore must be
Constitution has become among “petition the government for a redress of left the Executive Branch, individuals faced people they want to lobby are the same times as much in 1980 to 364 times as specially careful in choosing the firms and
grievances”; which is what lobbying is. restrictions on communicating with or people who hold the financial keys not just much in 2006. (For comparison, the 2003 individuals who represent them. The rules
the most publicly vilified jobs in lobbying government officials for as long to their methods of operation but to their average was 22 times higher in Great of lobbying and public affairs, literal and
the United States. The Yet, so great has the antipathy grown that as he was President – a period that could very existence? One sign of the Britain and 11 times higher in Japan.) figurative, are changing and this is no time
profession is lobbying. the rejection of lobbying – or, more last up to five or six years in many cases. constrained position: labour organisations to be playing the game with amateurs.
precisely lobbyists – was a central theme of have asked the Obama Administration to The criticism of the escalating gap was
the campaign that elevated Barack The reasonable purpose was to prevent prohibit lobbying by TARP recipients with muted by the overall health of the The story is told that when the British army
Obama, one of the greatest underdogs in conflicts of interest and to stop the regard to labour’s number one legislative American economy. But once the economy surrendered to the American
American presidential history, to the White ‘revolving door’ through which individuals initiative. went into free fall, so, too, did attitudes revolutionaries at Yorktown in 1781, its
House. return to the private sector after their toward big paychecks and those who cash band played a tune called “The World
government service at salary levels But corporate America’s precarious them. Today, even America’s mainstream turned Upside Down.” Listen carefully
At the heart of the anti-lobbying sentiment deemed unacceptable to certain critics. position is not simply the result of new media – whose senior executives and enough and you can hear the echoes of
(some might call it hysteria and they But the Administration has been having lobbying rules or the atmosphere in broadcast personalities are not likely to the fife and drums in the New American
wouldn’t be far wrong) is the rejection of a hard time filling many sub-Cabinet Washington. The fact is that public outrage receive public welfare anytime soon – are Revolution now at hand. The economic
the role that money has increasingly come positions and the new restrictions have over the misdeeds of Wall Street has just as likely to be reporting critically on world is turning upside down and the
to play in American politics and the undoubtedly played a role in limiting the created a palpable anger at business in the earnings and expenditures of political world is not far behind.
prevalent – though incorrect – belief in attractiveness of government jobs -- and general and, in particular, at business corporate executives as on rock stars or
some circles that lobbying reflects much of therefore the number and quality of job leaders whose salaries are deemed Hollywood starlets. Doing business with the American
what is wrong with the money-driven seekers. excessive by the changing standards government is going to be harder in the
American political culture. of the day. And companies who cross the often years ahead. More transparency is going
Private corporations, as well as individuals, subjective line separating responsible to be required and more scrutiny given.
The growing importance of money in also have to adjust to the new world of marketing from disgraceful wastefulness Given the seismic events of the last year,
politics and the shrinking availability of Washington lobbying. The financial are likely to have their names and pictures that is a natural consequence and not an
money in most Americans’ pockets has institutions on the receiving end of the featured on the national news as altogether bad one. And it is surely
created a combustible mix that is having a government TARP (Troubled Asset Relief exemplars of ‘corporate royalty’, as one something to take note of, because, like
significant impact on the way the Program) have a complicated decision to prominent journalist calls it. the first American Revolution, this one is
American political system operates and, make when lobbying the government. likely to spread round the globe as well.
ironically, on President Obama’s
Jan-Dirk Kemming Director, Creative Planning, Germany
The Art of Previously consumers were passive receivers, now they
are co-creators of messages and brands. As more power
shifts to the consumer, good consumer insight becomes
Storyplanning. a fundamental need for PR.
Historically public relations was By contrast, advertising and direct In the client world there was a separation This is happening just as the way media is Moreover, PR has a capacity to develop a The following points for Storyplanning will
marketing have built serious strategic between PR and corporate consumed undergoes a fundamental more authentic voice for brands, delivered ensure PR is a valuable strategic channel
regarded as the communications planning capabilities for over thirty years. communications on the one hand and transformation. Previously consumers were via real world events, sponsorship and of communication:
discipline that provided the How did this divergence between the advertising and marketing communications passive receivers, now they are co-creators broadcasting. Contrary to advertising,
most long-term and sustainable disciplines develop? Where are the current on the other. While the latter became of messages and brands. As more power which creates an artificial world, PR must Introducing a reliable briefing
trends towards more PR planning coming increasingly data and consumer insight shifts to the consumer, good consumer ensure a story is made credible so that it procedure, with robust definitions of
perspective of all the disciplines. objectives and desired outcomes.
from? Answering these questions will shed driven, PR and corporate communications insight becomes a fundamental need for can survive contact with reality.
I believe that since then, a lack some light on why planning is vital. became more about media relationships PR. Qualitative and quantitative research Insisting on rigorous analysis of all
of strategic planning has had an and ‘gut instinct’. The current trend of and data interpretation are tools that will It is essential therefore to create a drivers relevant to a brand:
adverse effect on how PR is Strategic planning was adopted by direct appointing a chief marketing officer means enrich PR. Ideas must resonate with the marriage between traditional PR strengths understanding consumers, the company
marketers when they were exposed to a the two sides have been pushed closer target groups and must have the ability to such as storytelling, with the tools of and competitors, and considering
regarded. More recently PR has downward spiralling of profit margins in together, resulting in PR agencies having travel through word-of-mouth. Strategic strategic insight and media planning. relevant cultural, political and socio-
started to embrace the the 1980s. It became apparent that to adapt. media planning, which matches messages “Storyplanning” is the name I would like to economic contexts.
instruments of strategic planning businesses dealing in tactical execution with the relevant media consumption of suggest for a new set of skills in PR. Public
Providing the setting to develop big,
could be easily commoditised. Meanwhile Attitudes to measurement and evaluation the consumer, is invaluable when it comes relations measures must rest on a solid
but it has been slow in doing so. a boom in business consulting indicated also varied widely. While the marketing to understanding the audience. network of intelligence; otherwise the
meaningful and truly compelling
that high-level strategic advice offered disciplines developed a more precise danger is that campaigns will be irrelevant.
more substantial profit margins. This set understanding of their impact on a Yet, traditional PR has strengths that will Providing a channel for outstanding
the scene for the advertising world to business, PR was poor at measuring the prove useful in this new landscape. The creative tactics to play out big ideas.
improve the quality of its strategic advice value it created. Public relations ability to create, shape and tell stories,
to clients. departments are still too often cut-off from whether pitched to the media or infused Moving PR towards a greater
marketing data and consumer research. into social networks, can provide the understanding of measurement beyond
counting clippings or circulation,
This needs to change, as PR realises the competitive edge. Stories have to be focusing instead on relevance and value
immense value that data offers as a basis robust: panic-proof to avert further crises, of activities.
for robust strategic planning. conversation-generating to ensure they are
re-told and adaptable to potential new Storyplanning that places strategic
developments. In essence they have to be analysis at the heart of the campaign
able to withstand challenges from a development process, promises to take PR
number of angles. back to its roots. Then the discipline might
once again be regarded as providing a
very sustainable and long-term
perspective on communication
Brendan May Managing Director, Planet 2050
How to Look The work is too important for
quitters. Green marketing without
designing the politics in advance is
Good Green. like walking into a gas factory whilst
toying with a cigarette lighter.
There are few companies these So here’s a rough guide to avoiding the
3 5 7 9
Do involve your employees. Do be authentic. There’s nothing Do measure success, and use it to Do sit down with journalists and
pitfalls of peaking too early when it comes They are your greatest advocates. that raises eyebrows more in this secure ever more leadership get to know them. Build
days that don’t want to be part to communicating green prowess. Countless companies spend cynical sustainability world than a momentum behind sustainability. relationships, don’t bombard them
of the sustainability discussion. resources telling the outside world how corporate affairs suit with green ‘talking Track perceptions of all your key with email proclamations you think they’ll
They can’t afford not to be at Do check that the environmental responsible they are, without the people points’ in his pocket. Authenticity is the audiences, be they customers, NGO find interesting - they often don’t. Take
the table. Increasingly, movement is as impressed by your on the shop floor having a clue about the key. If there are challenges in going green, stakeholders, investors, employees or the them for a coffee (or something stronger if
initiative as you are. Spend (a lot of) good work going on. If you have be honest about it. If you think too much is general public. Successful green marketing you like them), and chew the fat. You’ll find
businesses are moving beyond time listening to what the key barometers thousands of employees, think about the being asked of your company, say so and reaches all of the above, and in doing so it their copy a lot more balanced in your
sitting in the right conferences of opinion, like environmental NGOs, net effect of all those people chatting in say why, and explain the gains you think increases sales. favour if they think you’re actually worth
and meeting the right NGOs expect of your business, and adjust your the pub about their job and what their you can achieve for sustainable listening to. Tell them things they haven’t
practices accordingly, within reason of
to finding the courage to get company does. You can reach millions development. Tell it like it is, not how you Don’t be nervous. Not everyone is heard before. Invite them in to see for
course. Think about the people the media through good employee engagement, as think people want to hear it. There’s going to stand up and applaud you, themselves how good you are if they don’t
out there and market will call for a counter view when you launch well as motivating a workforce that expects nothing so refreshing as a transparent, and you’ll probably take some hits believe you. Make friends, not ‘contacts’.
themselves as green champions. your big green campaign – and make sure its bosses to be engaging on issues they accessible, honest business leader. You from those who would rather your business
they’ve heard about it from you first. It’ll
In many ways that’s a positive read about every day. may even change the minds of people who didn’t exist at all. It’s all part of the rough Don’t give up. The work is too
improve the quality of what you’re trying to disagree with you. Marketing speak won’t and tumble of the environment movement. important for quitters. Green
development, but it can come at do, as well as giving you some much-
Don’t be a one-hit wonder. work, so be yourself. Don’t let one misleading attack put you off marketing without designing the
a heavy price. needed independent endorsement when One green campaign will have little – after all, if you’ve done your homework politics in advance is like walking into a
you go public. Sometimes, the best you
lasting influence on reputation if it Don’t forget the power of digital. you know you’re right, don’t you? gas factory whilst toying with a cigarette
can hope for is neutrality, but aim for more. shrivels away, dies in a drawer and has Communications have moved online. lighter. You may pull it off, but your
nothing to follow it. Building green Social media is the new currency. chances are low. Get it right, and the
Don’t over-claim. Ever. If it’s a small credentials can take years, and the best Campaigners are using it effectively; rewards are huge. Above all, be
step towards a bigger goal, say just companies become ever bolder in their companies should be too. Find compelling transparent and authentic. If you need a
that – don’t give any room for goals, and louder in their communications. content that can mobilise online training course to be those things, then
creating the impression you think you’ve communities and get traction for your ignore tip number 10!
done enough if you know you haven’t. green credentials. Ad spend and press
Check that one part of your business isn’t releases are becoming less and less
in major conflict with the good work you’re effective as the role of online search takes Published on climatechangecorp.com and
talking about in your marketing campaign. in Ethical Corporation, January 2009.
stories directly to individuals at the touch
of a button. It’s very cost effective, too.
So be a twitter, not a twit.
HTML. Spanish. Twitter.
Plain English. Jargon.
We speak your language.
Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations
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