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Image & Reputation in the Age of Digital Communication

  1. Image & Reputation in the Age of Digital Communication Bob Pickard - July 22nd 2010
  2. Sweet Smell of Success (1957) A publicist pitching a journalist
  3. Pre-modern analogue public relations • Based on relationships with face-to-face key • There was attention span & focused thinking • Analogue methods were used to propagate information • Primitive technology • Deliberate and slow • Text was King • Ample time for stories • We measured media
  4. Sigmund Freud had an American nephew
  5. Bernays has been called the ‘Father of Modern PR’
  6. Bernays defined a PR professional as a is like that of the industrial engineer, the management engineer, or the investment counselor He said that to assist clients, public relations counselors use and apply their understanding of behavioral sciences such as anthropology, history, social psychology, and sociology.
  7. Modern digital public relations • PR becoming more a science • E-relationships • Digital methods • No attention span; distraction is a constant • People continuously online • Technology massively propagates pictures, videos and ephemera • • Scant time for stories • We measure impact
  8. Image building demands storytelling • The story is the most important things a company needs to tell its target audiences... so that • Those people will do and think... • ...what we want them to do or think – know of the company – feel favourable towards its brand – recommend its products to others – invest in the stock – make positive comments online – want to work there
  10. Communication is all in the mind
  11. Stories tap into the unconscious mind It is unconscious thoughts, feelings, and desires that drive purchasing decisions we make each and every day of our lives People tend to remember products when they are woven into the narrative of media content They tend not to remember brands that play an integral role in the story because people can see them as
  12. PR pros know about storytelling • PR people spend their careers trying to convince executives that they should invest more in editorial media coverage of their brands in news stories • Because people can readily identify ads when they see them and we tend to think that ads are supposed to be present during times and places we expect them to be they attach less credibility to their claims. • But if they see a product featured in a news narrative, people are less likely to be suspicious and more likely to visibly purchased.
  13. The news is a story product • The news is a product which media companies sell, and people have attached a value to it with paid subscriptions a tangible measure. • News product has been produced by standards-based journalism that is supposed to be: – motivated by the pursuit of truth – resourceful in the use of research – informed by facts – governed by standards and edited with balance • News content is still big, but journalism getting smaller.
  14. Decline of news story quality • The economic basis of the traditional news media business is crumbling, and so the quality of editorial product is declining fast. • As a result of lower quality, people trust media stories less than they did before: – there are fewer good reporters around, and not as many exacting editors – battles about editorial ethics versus just going with what a company hands you for content are less frequent – money is the only thing that seems to matter – now more than ever, speed trumps accuracy
  15. Reduction of news story quantity • Media companies have tried to make the news more entertaining and opinionated (rise of spectacle and sensation), and the result of this • Therefore, there are fewer eyeballs reading a shrinking number of trusted news media stories. • Less signal, more noise: the supply of journalism- grade news is shrinking; aggregated raw content keeps expanding.
  16. Where PR storytelling is shrinking • a story is still the best way for a product to get noticed... • ...then what do PR people do if there are fewer trusted news sources producing a reduced number of stories that will be credible enough to have commercial impact coverage successfully? • Where can PR communicate narratives if the storytelling zone is shrinking?
  17. Where PR storytelling is growing Entertainment media, through embedding brand narratives into the Social media, through creating brand- centric networks and creating
  18. The new reality Reduced trust in institutions Governments seen as out of touch and able to exercise less control - newspaper readership More demanding citizens and consumers Want to make up their own minds organisations Believe they have a voice, and more likely to use it Wider range of influencers NGOs, analysts, bloggers, etc Spreading a wider range of news and views
  19. Transparency
  20. Accountability
  21. Dialogue
  22. Trust for those with no conflict of interest
  23. Most trust in word-of-mouth in Asia
  24. Source: Millward Brown ACSR, May 2009
  26. Persuasion 1.0 Going back to Dale Carnegie in 1936, we know that making people feel important is the precursor to persuasion Once PR-driven interactions make then stories are sold as conversations Much of this is designed with the objective of getting people to commit themselves in writing to a brand online (i.e. publicly, in front of others) “Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.”
  27. Persuasion 2.0 According to Robert research, we know that when people commit themselves in public to something, they themselves -edge person which they will advocate to others within their personal networks of trust Trojan Horse-like as a credible peer People will do and say whatever is necessary to conform with their new public image PR-devised story), and to evidence This is what Cialdini
  28. Less signal, more noise News content is still big, but journalism is getting smaller Journalism as spectacle and entertainment further debases media credibility Paying bloggers is not credible Opportunity for organisations to become media owners and communicate direct with their customers & stakeholders Co-creation is key
  29. Modern means to build an image #1 Listen & learn #2 Be authentic & transparent #3 Go peer-to-peer #4 Focus on the 1% #5 Be human #6 Build relationships #7 Commit for the long-term #8 Use storytelling
  30. Listen & learn
  31. Go peer-to-peer
  32. Focus on the 1%
  33. Be human
  34. Build relationships
  35. Use digital storytelling
  36. Every company a media company? IF a declining media business can no longer generate an ample supply of compelling story content... IF, owing to its resource constraints, media is becoming an automated and uncritical B2C conveyor of pre-packaged marketing information passed to them by PR people... and communicate stories directly to the public.?
  38. Everything that famously goes wrong the BP oil spill the Toyota recall the Tiger Woods spectacle
  39. Not-so-new New, and growing Food safety Customer service Product safety Advertising claims Greenwashing Lay-offs/closures Marketing conduct Environment Smart mobs Human rights Nationalism Terrorism Pandemics
  40. Professionalism of NGOs & activists
  41. Speed
  42. A crisis starts when it hits the front page?
  43. PRotecting reputation #1 Corporate rhetoric must meet reality #2 Expect the unexpected #3 Prepare assiduously and rehearse disaster #4 Move fast first mover advantage #5 Be responsive and look to listen #6 Admit mistakes and accept responsibility #7 #8 -handed or arrogant
  44. Be prepared to apologize sincerely!
  45. Thank you! Bob Pickard Talk to B-M online: President & CEO, Asia-Pacific Tel: +65 8126-2767