Category: Public Relations (page 2 of 17)

Brand, PR, non-profits, and responsiveness – Q&A by Phillip Casey

Armstrong Building, Newcastle University
Having put my two penn'orth out there over the years I'm occasionally approached by students at this dissertation time of year. This week, Phillip Casey and I struck up conversation on Twitter. Phillip is a post-graduate student undertaking the MA in Media and Public Relations at Newcastle University (pictured) and his dissertation is titled Brand Image: PR in the UK non-profit healthcare sector.

Phillip Casey

Phillip Casey

I enjoyed responding to Phillip's questions, so, with his permission, I thought I'd make our Q&A public here. (It migrated to email in case you were wondering about a 140 character count.)

Where a reference consists of just a page number, it refers to The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age.

1) Is a strong brand image important for a non-profit organisation? Why?

A brand used to convey ownership of livestock. Then it was an "our name's on it" quality assurance. This century, with product quality (defined as fitness-for-purpose) increasingly a given, a brand represents a nexus of values. If our values align with a brand, then I'm part of that brand. If they don't, I look to take my time, attention and money elsewhere. [Attenzi]

Organisations need to communicate their purpose and values in order to attract and assemble the right mix of people and resources to live up to its mission and pursue its vision. So brand, defined like this, lies at the heart of things. Read more

Measuring communications and reconciling models, after Amsterdam

iamsterdam
The AMEC International Summit on Measurement played out in Amsterdam last week, and I tuned in from afar. On 18th June 2013 I published my thoughts on last year's events in Madrid, and I'll do the same now exactly one year on. Gladly. Gladly because I love the direction the AMEC community is going.

I don't intend to repeat any of the substance and lengthy and valuable commentary to my post last year – which I just enjoyed rereading, thank you. But I have taken the opportunity to append here the Slideshare that accompanied my assertions and that has accrued over three thousand views would you believe.

Perhaps one of my responses to the comments on last year's post is worth noting quickly, a response to Don Bartholomew:

I don't think of myself as a member of the measurement industry for the simple reason that I'm not! Rather, my company is a management consultancy helping organisations benefit from social media and related technologies. Our purview is very much about business performance, about organisational alignment for brilliant execution.

It's not about media

I believe the focus on outcomes in recent years is getting people to look up from media. AMEC is the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, not "of Media", and I'd go further than that. Here are some of my core assertions of recent years: Read more

The Future of Organization – a video presentation on the major themes and some new provocations

Office building in New York

There's a lot to think about when it comes to the future of organization, and plenty to be optimistic about. Saying that, like any and all topics worth grappling with, it takes a bit of time to get up to speed on the depth and breadth of things. As a member of the advisory council for the Future of Work community, and part of the steering group for The Responsive Organization community, I know I'm not the only one looking to communicate these ideas effectively.

Mike Grafham and I talked about compiling a three-minute explanatory video, and I failed woefully at such brevity. This 42-minute video presentation aims to provide a relatively speedy immersion in some of the main themes, spanning human rights, complexity science, the death of heuristics, the six influence flows, personal knowledge mastery, social physics, trust, the digital nervous system, Web 3.0, performance and learning, public relations, collective intelligence, sociocracy, Holacracy, podularity, wirearchy, emergent civilzation, self-organization, organized self, socioveillance, the middleware corporate, Bread incorporated, distributed autonomous corporates, and the Mozilla manifesto.

Read more

Employee advocacy – rather uncomfortable and somewhat forced

red arrow
I described the relatively recent concept of employee advocacy in my last post as "rather uncomfortable and somewhat forced", and I've been asked to qualify this description.

Firstly, it's worth stating the obvious – the aspiration that employees might advocate the employer is hardly a new idea. But this relatively new desire to go about it more systematically is prompted by employees' increasing social media activity. While recommending an employer down the pub leaves no discernible trace, doing so online does, and that appears to have internal comms, HR professionals and social media types hot under the dollar.

But here's the rub. Genuine employee advocacy remains a consequence. That's always been the case and will always remain so.

You can't insist. You can't take control of employee social media profiles. You can't pick out people for failing to advocate, not without creating the kind of culture that's counter to employee advocacy.

There’s influence in everything an organization does, and sometimes in what it does not do.

The organization (a collection of people, mostly employees) influences the participating individuals (mostly employees) who influence those beyond the payroll. The culture and policies and behaviours that sway whether that influence is constructive or destructive play out long before Fred lets fly on Facebook and Tina trills on Twitter. Read more

Organization and personal reputation – from first principles to distributed autonomy

Singapore harbour at night
I'm no etymologist but it seems the verb organize appeared in the 15th Century a few decades before the noun organization. Sometimes we forget that the organization, in terms of the institution or firm, is merely a means to an end, and putting legal entities to one side for the moment, an organization is simply a group of people organized around a common purpose.

Reminding ourselves of such first principles is useful when considering how we might create and nurture new forms of organization and how we might improve the current dominant ones.

Jumping forward over 500 years, let's get bang up to date on so-called social business, aka Enterprise 2.0, aka Responsive Organization, aka Future of Work. The question that concludes Attenzi - a social business story exemplifies the new vista:

Do you help all the individuals associated with your organization (employees, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, etc.) build worthwhile relationships with each other and others, coalescing by need and desire, knowledge and capability and shared values, to create shared value?

The verb coalesce conveys the facility to combine, and so the facility to recombine, and re-recombine. The coalescence remains for just as long as shared value is created, and created faster than a new combination might afford. Such process appeals to free marketers for whom efficiency and utilisation are front of mind – after all why should resources be tied up in one combination when they can add greater value faster deployed in another? And there's equal appeal to those on the left of the political spectrum who champion self-management and occupational autonomy.

Relationships

Sometimes I define social business as relationships at scale, and not just in the CRM 1.0 way:

Good business is about cooperative and interdependent relationships, always has been, yet the humanity was lost when organizations scaled way up during the 20th Century. We want to make those relationships more human again, but the answer can’t be to scale it all back down. We have to scale something else up.

Read more

#PRredefined

PRredefined Vol I

In my recent post, The social business mutuality stack, I describe PR theory as the foundation for social business. (You might like to read the post if your understanding of PR is what might be described as mainstream – yes, PR has a reputation problem!) Given the import, I added that I'd joined a new initiative to kick the tyres of PR theory and make sure it's fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

The initiative, #PRredefined, launches today and has a bold ambition – to stimulate and lead the way in new thinking about the theory and practice of public relations, and the first in the corresponding series of ebooks is published today, #PRredefined Vol I. (For Kindle and Kindle apps. Otherwise.) Read more

The social business mutuality stack

Sun horizon

Can you tell by looking at a photo like this if it's of a sunrise or a sunset? Absent knowledge of the time of day or the direction in which it was taken, I think not. Just as well I'm talking about both a start and a finish here then.

Sun-setting

First, the crap that's finishing – that would be public relations as spin. That would be lying, or inauthentic manipulation at best. That would be attempting to build and maintain a façade in the vain hope that customers, employees, investors and partners, present and future, confuse the façade for the real thing. As the saying goes, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not so many for so long now that everyone packs a smartphone.

Enough has been written on this topic for me to hope that you'll agree, or at least concur the trend is well established. As one of my characters in Attenzi points out:

If ‘perception is reality’ was the saying that characterized our approach to marketing and public relations before, we now have to consider that reality is perception.

Sun-rising

When I first learned of the excellence theory of public relations I was immediately attracted to it. What's not to like? It's constructed on the basis that we use communication to negotiate with the public, resolve conflict and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organisation and its stakeholders. It describes a management function focused on this two-way communication to foster mutually beneficial relationships. Read more

Big data. Big trust.

trust

This morning, my colleague Hector Arthur pointed me to a new report from Ovum's Mark Little knowing I'd have a few comments to make. In the corresponding blog post – "Big Trust is Big Data’s missing DNA" – Mark kicks off with:

In the rush to monetize customer data, companies risk diminishing the trust people have in services and brands. Sustaining and growing people’s trust in services is not just about “doing the right thing,” but also makes commercial sense.

As I like to say in other words, big data is worth more when wielded with customers rather than at them. Ovum calls this approach Big Trust.

Big Trust strategies are designed to build “trust equity” with customers as a basis for making core services stickier, for selling new services, and for brokering personal data to commerce under a new set of trust principles.

Public relations

The outlook is informed, directly or indirectly I know not, by the excellence theory of public relations presented by James E Grunig more than twenty years ago, which champions the two-way symmetrical PR model. This model uses communication to negotiate with the public, resolve conflict and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its stakeholders. My Six Influence Flows model from 2011 extends this work for the digital / social / big data age, and you can find out more about PR models in my post here if it's your thing.

Of course, this is not how the majority of practitioners practice PR, deferring instead to publicity and 'spin', which may be associated more closely with distrust than trust. But excellent practice is championed if, as a shrewd procurer, you know where to look. Read more

Customer-centricity

Customer-centricity is an organizational point of view, not a customer point of view. It’s actually the organization-centric-view-of-the-customer.
...
Don’t you want CRM to help you and the customer mutually, allowing you both to manage the relationship? Surely the value of your understanding how influence goes around comes around is enhanced when those you interact with have similar understanding. Or would you rather propagate the status quo – CRM as a construct to manage the customer?

From Attenzi - a social business story.

Strategic Public Relations Leadership

Strategic Public Relations LeadershipI learned this week about the Cockpit-in-Court, an early London theatre that stood where we find 70 Whitehall today. Apparently, it did as the name conveys host cockfights, although they stopped as long ago as the Jacobean times. The current building includes Kent's Treasury, built 1733-37.

I attended an event in Kent's Treasury this week at the kind invitation of Professor Anne Gregory and Paul Willis of the Centre for Public Relations Studies at Leeds Business School, hosted by Alex Aitken, Executive Director of Government Communications, to celebrate the launch of Strategic Public Relations Leadership.

[Google books, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Routledge, BookDepository, Waterstone's, WHSmith, Blackwell]

The vision we have for social business at Euler Partners is built up and out from public relations in its "excellence theory" manifestation (rather than the various flavours of publicity and spin with which some readers may be more familiar). It is a fundamental, and one that has too rarely contributed all it has to give to organisational success, and Anne and Paul believe the time has come for public relations professionals to step up to the mark. They cite the increasing complexity of the modern organisation as reason enough:

This context requires public relations professionals to be able to clearly articulate and demonstrate their own contribution to organisational effectiveness. This textbook provides public relations leaders with a framework to do this, as well as a checklist of essential capabilities which they must acquire and exhibit if they are to operate at the highest levels of any organisation.

I'm delighted to have provided a "product description" in Amazon's terminology or, in the jargon of the publishing industry, a "book blurb" for the back cover:

The authors write "an organisation’s reputation is determined not by expert publicity programs, but the alignment of declared and enacted values as judged by those with whom it has a relationship." If you understand what this means, this book will help you make it happen. If you don't understand what this means, you should read this book. Given the compelling association the authors identify between public relations excellence and organisational leadership, it can only benefit your career trajectory.

Read more