The UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations hosted last week it’s annual Social Media conference. Focusing on how social, digital and mobile channels are changing communications and business, the #CIPRSM team brought together some leaders from the worlds of mobile, analytics, finance and international diplomacy to discuss the future of our profession.
I attended and chaired the panel on #SocialMedia across international border with Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Executive Director for Corporate Communication’s Allan Schoenberg (@allanschoenberg) and Noriyuki Shikata (@norishikata) who is the Political Minister to the Japanese Embassy to the UK.
The UK’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) this week hosted a social media and public relations conference in London. Speakers shared insight on how technology is reshaping pr, reputation management and management consulting.
Technology is reshaping the public relations and communications professions. Social networks have connected people, they have empowered them and given them a platform through which they can share their thoughts and opinions. And because of the rapid adoptions of smartphones and tablets consumers and stakeholders are sharing their views from wherever they are.
Delivering the opening keynote to this conference the Economist’s social media editor Tom Standage shared with us the real history of social media, all the way back to Roman times!
Tom (@tomstandage) didn’t waste any time in telling us that social media is not a fad. In fact, what social networking channels do is return us to communicating before the recent era of broadcast mass media.
The conference was then divided into two work streams in the morning, the first of which focused on Mobile Media and the Visual Web. Running concurrently, work stream two looked into Audience and Online Habits.
In session one we had Founder and CEO of Kred Andrew Grill (@AndrewGrill) and #CIPRSM’s own analytics expert Andrew Smith (@andismith). The conversation was all about analytics and understanding influencers and the capital that people gain through social networks.
As you all know, I am a big evangelist of mobile in communications and business development. Mobile has positioned itself to be at the heart of how businesses and services are developed and delivered. They are also at the centre of how people today share insight and information. Mobile can crunch the time it takes to build or break reputations.
The big debate came with regards to how mobile is used – an essential question that is often ignored. Ilicco Elia (@ilicco) highlighted the case of Starbucks that has started to pull people from across departments to work on solutions for their customer base. Of course, for us, the consumer, we don’t see them as solutions. I see seemless interaction as common sense!
Meanwhile 33-Digital’s Peter Sigrist (@psigrist) discussed the rise of wearable technology. Sigrist says that PR agencies need to stop recruiting art graduates or those with a PR 1.0 degrees, a point that I’ve been echoing for 3/4 years.
I’ve been arguing that our profession needs mathematicians, coders, designers, analysts, data scientists. Yes, like 20 years ago it was all about social psychology, today it is about understanding our audiences and designing experiences that resonate with how they have been conditioned.
After lunch we had two further work streams. As an International PR Social Media Consultant and Digital Strategist I brought together two leaders in their respective fields, Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Executive Director for Corporate Communication’s Allan Schoenberg (@allanschoenberg) and Noriyuki Shikata (@norishikata) who is the Political Minister to the Japanese Embassy to the UK. Up for debate was how to use social media across international borders. An essential point given that social channels today cut straight through borders and jurisdictions.
Following Allan we had Noriyuki Shikata, a leader in eDiplomacy. Nori shared with us his insight on how social networks were used by the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan following the great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. For the government of Japan it became an essential tool in engaging with the international community.
The session following ours focused on digital and social commerce. Speakers focused on using social and digital channels to support sales and how sales should be owned by everybody in an organisation, especially with the influence of social channels.
Fact is that reviewing this conference, we can see that the communications landscape has already changed. It has changed because people have adopted technology, they have turned to social networks and mobile devices to share more, to discuss and debate, all through channels that we can listen in.
Organisations though still retain their 20th Century broadcast mentality. They talk and expect you to listen. Yet the more that people talk, the more that people share the more empowered they become. The faster they expect answers and service, let it be from the private or public sectors.
As a result, business has to change, the delivery of public services have to change. Digging your heads in the sand only goes and creates opportunities for others. And those that are risk averse have more to gain.
Public relations today is more than just about reputation building and management. It is about business development. People who work in public relations need to remember that it is our skill in understanding the public that sets us apart. Let’s change how we work.
Last year, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) published a book with short essays from some of the UK’s leading communicators and digital strategists. Entitled Share This the aim of the first book was to establish social and digital as a core skill in 21st Century Public Relations. This year we are publishing it’s follow-up, Share This Too.
The books, the first of which the first of which was published to great acclaim, see contributors outline their vision on how social media, digital media and technology are changing not just how perceptions are built and protected, but how businesses are established and managed.
Share This Too aims to expand on these initial essays, to inspire and lead a way to better engage with audiences for better businesses, services and engagement.
On Thursday 11 July the CIPR hosts at Microsoft in London it’s second social media conference where influencers from PR, journalism and the business world, will share insight on how these channels have helped them improve engagement.
I’ll be charing a session on how social media can facilitate business change and using social across international borders. This is the subject of my chapter in Share This Too, which is an area that is often ignored by certain communication ‘professionals’. The assumption is wrongly made that because the majority of social networking channels originated in the US, the language of choice must therefore be English. But language is only a small part of issues that have to be considered. Cultural differences comes into play as well, which when considered can help drive up engagement. We will be debating this and so much more on the day.
Speaking on my panel will be the Political Minister and Embassy of Japan to the UK, Noriyuki Shikata and Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications Allan Schoenberg. This is a not to be missed session with leaders PR leaders from the financial and diplomatic worlds.
The report, which surveys news consumption habits in France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Japan, Brazil, and the US, as well as the UK, found that audiences increasingly want news on any device, in any format, and at any time of day.
The report identifies 25-35 year olds as the age group most willing to pay for online news across all nine countries surveyed. Yet just over one in ten (11%) of online users of all ages who participated in the survey said they had paid for news in the last year – about one third higher than the average in the 2012 survey. The report says that this rapid increase can be partly explained by the relatively low starting base, but it highlights significant growth in the percentage of consumers who have paid for digital news in countries such as the UK, France, Germany, and US.
The survey also shows surprising national differences in the rate of online participation. The Spanish (27%), Italians (26%), and Americans (21%) were more than twice as likely to comment on a news story via a social network as the British (10%). Meanwhile urban Brazilians were five times more likely to comment on a news site than the Germans or Japanese surveyed, and nearly half (44%) shared a news story on a weekly basis via a social network, with around one third (32%) doing so by email.
Of those who are not currently paying, across all the countries more than one in ten (14%), on average, said they were ‘very likely’, or ‘somewhat likely’, to pay for digital news in the future.
The way that people are consuming and commenting on news is having a defining effect on public relations. Many organisations are going to have to realign their engagement and outreach work, and spend more time listening and learning.
If you would like a copy of the report then with thanks to @NicNewman you can download a copy from my Scribd account below.
The unveiling last week of the much anticipated Nokia Lumia 920 handset was supposed to be a good news story occasion for the once dominant Finnish telecom company. Instead it turned into a case-study of HOW NOT TO launch a smartphone.
Nokia has fallen on hard times since Apple and Google came on the scene with their respective iPhone and Android operating systems. Last year in 2011 Nokia took the decision and ditched it’s Symbian OS and forged a strategic alliance with Microsoft in the hope that it could re-establish itself as a key player in the smartphone market. All that was needed was a clean marketing and communications campaign.
It all started to go wrong for the Lumia 920 handset after the impressive launch in New York with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer present when video reportedly shot by the phone’s PureView camera was reportedly faked. Nokia even withdrew the link for the promo video from it’s YouTube channel (which is below). Stills that were also supposed to have been taken by the phone’s camera, which claimed to be ‘better than most digital SLRs’, were outed as having been taken by a DSLR at a photo shoot in Helsinki. A picture of the shoot even appeared on Hacker News site.
Nokia has invested it’s future with it’s partnership with Microsoft. The hardware on the device is good. The promotion and lack of understanding of how the online community is, by the looks of it, lacking.
With so much is riding on a launch it would have been better to keep the campaign simple – focus on the quality of the hardware. Above all, when planning the promotional campaign don’t fake the quality of the device when there is no need to. The crowd is smarter than that.
Here is the video. Watch the reflection of the camera crew on the window of the stationed van at 27 seconds – boyfriend taking the view on the Lumia or truck with video camera? Ermmm.
PR, communications and advertising professionals have a battle on their hands as audiences become increasingly connected, more demanding and informed, according to research by Ipsos Mori Hong Kong.
In a report released last week, the global research firm sees innovation and creativity as essential skills to bring increasingly disloyal customers onside.
The report, which has a focus on the Asia-Pacific markets, identifies a number of key points that will affect in business in Europe, North and South America, Middle-East and Africa. These include:
Convergence of disciplines – public relations, marketing and advertising
Rise of creativity for improved audience building and engagement
Increase usage of digital data in campaign development.
Convergence of Disciplines:
Audiences do not care about how brands are presented to them. Far too often, the planning processes bring together siloed professionals that think of the integrated outreach from a singular point – advertising, marketing, public relations.
As I have argued many times, these disciplines are blending into one with the lead in campaign development being taken by communications professionals that understand the behaviour of audiences and individuals. This in turn will force organisations to break down the internal barriers to ensure that their propositions are developed to ensure that digital maximises traditional channels.
Importance of Creativity:
Creativity, even in B2B, is becoming a must for brands and companies. In the report, Ipsos Hong Kong found that , ‘Creative quality accounts for 75% of variance in campaign success‘ and that ‘strong creative can achieve higher recall in-market with less support that weak creative with a higher level of media support.’
Improving the creativity will help position messaging at the front of the audiences decision-making process.
Social networks and media have gathered together data that empowers not just the audience, but marketeers and communicators.
At numerous conferences and speaking engagements I have stated that today’s PRs have to think in a forensic manner, understanding the audience and planning the delivery of messaging to create a response that will generate engagement. Everything must be planned and accounted for. From the concept, to the launch, to the touch points. It is a journey that needs to be planned by PR, brining together disciplines to ensure that the audience engagement and journey is seamless.
Today though, PRs have data at their disposal. Data that gives the business decision-makers better insight into audience behaviour. Data that should rid us of that useless Advertising Value Equivalent.
Audiences are more disloyal than ever before, especially if they perceive that they are treated like the individual next to them. Social networks makes people into individuals, empowering them to be unique and more demanding. And it all starts with the listening and learning.