Showing posts with label boss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boss. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three PR Lessons from San Francisco

My recent visit to San Francisco for this year's Public Relations Society of America's International Conference was an eye-opener. 

Just as the Bay City led  the 60s with its flower power movement, the convention showed it remains a powerhouse of new ideas.

When 3000 PR-types from across the globe gather, you're bound to meet interesting people and discover good ideas. It's always a buzz tapping into the energy of PRs from all over the world. Akin to having communications jumper leads (or booster cables as Americans call them) wired up to your brain.  

This particular conference  revealed insights and emphasised three themes:  

  • Social media is now baked into every significant piece of marketing and communication.  PRs must be able to strategise, deliver, integrate and evaluate a social media program.  If you can't, then you stamp a sign on your forehead which shouts you have no future in the industry. Bosses expect you to be as adept as social media as you are at writing media releases or staging events. And, there can be no excuses when we are all surrounded by free advice, tips and techniques on the web and PRs willing to share their experiences.
  • A social media crisis can hit at  tweet-speed. And just as quickly it can pass by leaving a trail of busted reputations and broken staff. The risks of doing nothing are too great in a world of instant dialogue. The PR professional is expected to respond quickly which puts a premium on crisis communications skills.  Once the province of specialist communicators, managing crisis communications has now moved to the front row of PR competencies.  
  • Social media is introducing a new era of transparency.  The citizen, customer or client is king and queen and can and will vent frequently and fully.  The social media spotlight penetrates like a miner's lamp further and faster into the back offices and factory floors of government and business. Everyone needs to adapt.  That means HR as well as PR, and also count in the folks in finance, production, distribution and R&D.
If you're not using social media and using it effectively, be confident your competitors are -  to out-organise, out-sell, out-strategise or out-think you. 

While our core business objectives may not have changed, San Fransisco shows the communications landscape around them certainly has. We are going to have to do more in less time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Get Management Support for Your PR Change

PR and marketing plans often fail because communicators do not sufficiently engage the boss in what they are doing.  Put simply:  fail to win senior management buy-in and watch your PR proposal die. Often times persuading the boss is the toughest part in the whole communications process.

Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin's new book Repositioning: marketing in an era of competition, change and crisis suggests the communications barriers between the top floor where funds are allocated and the shop floor where ideas are born often involve:
  • Cows: Never underestimate how tough it will be to get management sign-off  on  a new proposal that threatens someone else's favourite cow or worse still their cash cow. Future opportunities are often slaughtered on the altar of today's practices. 
  • Bad decisions:  People are reluctant to embrace new ideas that cause them embarrassment about decisions they have made in the past.
  • Egos:  Always factor in egos. The person in charge may regard an initiative as a threat to their authority or status.  They may either try to kill it or perhaps as bad to modify and brand it as their own.  Trout and Steve Rivkin point out this ploy can be like changing a cake recipe.  The cake may end up looking the same but it sure does not taste the same. 
Both authors have come up with strategies to help you convince the boss and the board, all no doubt won from years of dealing with senior managers.
  • The world has changed:  Include a section on how the world has changed upfront in your proposal.  This acknowledges previous decisions and past poor performance were  based on the best  information available at the time but now things are different.  It avoids directly confronting past mistakes, lack of action or earlier decisions that were just plain bad.
  • Educate  the boss:  Never, ever assume management knows about marketing, PR or communications or the latest trends.  Bring in an outside expert to advise them, give them a suitable book to read or arrange for them to meet someone from a successful (non-competing) organisation they admire.
  • Analogy:  Use the power of analogy to draw a comparison with others.  XYZ Company passed on trying something similar and look what happened to them. Given people are often motivated by loss rather than gain introduce a note of caution or alarm into the comparison.  However always end with of course they may not happen to us but...
  • Implement slowly:  Start slowly, pilot programs, use trials and always announce your victories.
Please share your ideas on persuading CEOs to support your PR or marketing initiatives.  

(Source Repositioning Pages 180 - 188)