Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 8)

Organization is software

Angkor Thom, Cambodia
This post is about an exciting vista for organization, one that may sound unhuman on the face of it but which, in contrast, I think could serve human dignity very well.

I first presented it in my Future of Organization video May 23rd, a presentation that appears to have been well received (and the accompanying Slideshare accrued over 2000 views in the week). Given the variety and perceptiveness of the comments the video garnered I'm particularly pleased to have excused the presentation up front as being far from comprehensive. Pete Burden picked up on building inclusiveness and sustainability, and humanity, pointing me to this webpage on concious business. And soulfulness was at the heart of a similar exchange with Frederic Laloux, author of Reinventing Organizations. (I consequently elevated the book to the top of my to-read pile and at page 36 I'm enjoying it very much so far.)

Mr. Wirearchy himself, Jon Husband, was good enough to 'tweet out' (appended here). And my dear friend Gabbi Cahane wondered what balance of my living in the future and living in the present might be best for business. Hmm, good point :-)

In this post, I'm referring to what I've named Bread incorporated – a distributed, self-regulating, incorruptible, frictionless market for organization. Here's the slide in question and the transcript: Read more

Brand Anarchy

Brand Anarchy front coverThe idea of a brand goes back to ancient times when ownership of livestock was asserted by burning one's mark onto the animal. This post is about a book called Brand Anarchy, so I thought I'd set the scene.

The mark would be applied to the animal with a burning stick known as a firebrand. That word has morphed over the years to describe passionate individuals looking to shake things up, so it is then with etymological pleasure that I note the authors of Brand Anarchy are firebrands.

I've known Stephen Waddington and Steve Earl from about the time we both started competing PR consultancies back in the day, and there's more than a few reasons why these two canny chaps managed to craft a distinctive and successful PR consultancy in a largely undifferentiated and saturated market. If you haven't had the opportunity to work with them, you can at least now read the book.

The authors are plain speaking – well, they are adept communicators after all. They have a visceral understanding of the PR and brand communications landscape in the 21st Century, one that has underpinned their personal business success. This book describes how reputations are formed today, and how transformed the process is from just a decade or so ago. This contrast is of course painted in many a book of recent times, but you'll appreciate the candour with which the authors describe how organisations must respond.

In fact, perhaps 'respond' is too reactive a word. The medicine here is to change how the organisation behaves, period. To be proactive. To drive engagement between an organisation and everyone involved in its success. To encourage participation and, without wishing to sound too liberal or post-capitalist about it, co-ownership. I mean this in the sense that an Apple fanboy feels a part-ownership of the Apple brand absent a stock trading account.

It does feel like anarchy out there, at least for those weaned on the 20th Century simple life. Actually, it's just complex. The authors strongly suggest you deal with it.

[Disclosure: the book references my work – the Six Influence Flows and the Influence Scorecard.]

Brand Anarchy on Amazon UK.

BRANDiD + Meanwhile + Seedcamp

BRANDiD + Meanwhile + Seedcamp

Here’s some rather good news to lift some of that post-Olympic blues. The BRANDiD team has won gold, literally.

Hundreds of starters were whittled down during recent Seedcamp heats to a couple of dozen top performers. Reading the track perfectly and running a very good race indeed, BRANDiD crossed the finishing line to take its rightful place on the Seedcamp podium – just one of three to make it through the London event. The Seedcamp announcement has just gone live.

It’s been six months since we first blogged about our work with BRANDiD, and we’ve been working hard in the Meanwhile gym since then refining our game. And it feels great to take things to the Seedcamp level.

Read more


Aristotle said that the three most powerful tools of persuasion are: ethos, argument by character; logos, argument by logic; and pathos, appeal to the emotions.

Because I have the superior mind of a scientist (that's sarcasm btw), I have an overwhelming natural inclination toward logos. And when it doesn't work, I try it again, despite Einstein's insistence that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity.

Trundling my way to the office on the number 94 Wednesday I read "Jay Heinrich's Powers of Persuasion" in Business Week magazine in which Mr. Heinrich is described as one of the world’s leading students of Aristotelian rhetoric. This means he's kinda expert at mixing up the ethos, logos and pathos just right. Read more

Public Relations, today and by 2020

I'm typing this post sitting on the front row at the CIPR's PR 2020 event at Russell Square HQ. To my left, Stephen Waddington. To my right, Julio Romo. On stage we have CIPR CEO, Jane Wilson, Dr. Jon White, and ComRes Marketing Manager, Simon Thwaites.

ComRes annual survey

ComRes conducts an annual review of key market stats for the UK PR industry, and Simon is running through that right now. Interestingly, in light of the PRSA's current Defining PR initiative, which the CIPR supports, only 44% of ComRes poll respondents agreed with the statement "My friends and family understand what I do for a living." Read more

Public Relations Defined – the anatomy of a candidate definition, ver 0.2

PRSA PR Defined

[Written for the CIPR Friday Roundup]

Following the momentum the PRSA's #prdefined initiative is achieving, and the CIPR's statement of support, I thought I'd take a deeper dive into current definitions, and throw one in the mix myself.

I reproduced the section of my book that addresses the definitions of marketing and PR in my last post, and since then I've been able to have some insightful conversations, on- and off-line, with Jay O'Connor, Jon White, David Phillips and Terry Flynn.

Is it worth it?

There has been some valid criticism of the PRSA initiative pivoting around the question: shouldn't we invest time and energy in improving practice to live up to current definitions than review those definitions we already have? The counter to this argument is apparent for those tracking the thousands of comments on line; it appears that more than a few practitioners indirectly criticised by those holding this point of view are actually questioning their own appreciation of public relations, if not actively revising it.

CIPR definition

PR is the discipline that looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.

My favourite definition, no word of a lie! I obviously love the reference to influence, but also the apparently unique and skilful avoidance (intended or otherwise) of communication, thereby emphasising the objective not the means. But when 'reality is perception', as is increasingly the case with the radical transparency lent by social media, reputation is built by everything an organisation does (or indeed does not do), not just what the PR team does; every one must be involved in "looking after" reputation. Read more

Your vital role in the economic recovery

[Written for the CIPR Friday Roundup]

There will be an economic recovery and best practice public relations will play its part.

Economists may not agree on the how, but they are agreed on the what – we need economic growth. And economic growth comes from organisations that are more productive, and productivity is partly driven by improving mutual understanding between the organisation and its stakeholders – ie, the excellence model of PR.

An organisation that better understands all stakeholders will be more sensitive to its market and more agile and appropriate in its response.

Last week, the UK government announced an initiative with twenty six major organisations "working together to deliver a new era of consumer empowerment". The programme, midata, "will give consumers increasing access to their personal data in a portable, electronic format."

This is a world first as far as I know, although the prospect has been discussed for several years. It's often referred to as vendor relationship management (VRM), the other side of the CRM coin if you like.

Will your organisation join this revolution in customer data? Will you play your part in the economic recovery?

Best regards, Philip and The Conversation team. Read more

Communication Director Magazine book review – The Business of Influence

Communication Director MagazineMy book, The Business of Influence, has just been reviewed in Communication Director.

The magazine is billed as the professional specialist magazine for Corporate Communications and Public Relations in Europe. It documents opinions on important strategic questions in communication, discovers transnational developments and discusses their relevance from a European perspective. The publication is associated with the European Association of Communication Directors.

The review

Page 90, Communication Director Magazine, September 2011

"If you're in business, you're in the business of influence". So begins a typically thought-provoking chapter from The Business of Influence that explores the concept of the Influence Scorecard and the non-tangible results of new communication tools. Read more

An invitation from Global Dawn

Global Dawn logo

The very nice people at Global Dawn invited me in a couple of weeks back to meet the team and speak about some of the stuff covered in The Business of Influence. They were particularly drawn to the aspects of measurement / ROI / business performance management, and the convergence of the traditional influence-related silos come to that.

I was videoed as the inaugural session of The Global Dawn Influencer Series.

Thanks to Ema Linaker for making this happen.

Neville Hobson’s interview with me at the book launch party

A big thank you to everyone who joined me last night in central London for the launch party for The Business of Influence. And for those who were still around between midnight and 2am, I can only say that I rarely get the opportunity to cut those dance moves these days; so apologies.

Special thanks to the legendary Neville Hobson (@jangles) for taking the time to record a chat with me. For those who haven't yet had the pleasure, Neville is a co-host of the FIR (For Immediate Release) podcast amongst many other things.


[UPDATE 5pm 25th April: Neville has now published this interview on the FIR podcast.]

And thanks also to everyone tweeting their pics of the book, but I'm afraid Simon Sanders (@simonsanders) takes first prize so far for his tongue-in-cheeking unboxing (what's unboxing?):