The marketing might of modern public relations
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The marketing might of modern public relations

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Social media is revolutionizing the way the world communicates and it is powering the public relations industry’s global ascendancy. In Asia, PR has traditionally been a relatively minor and ...

Social media is revolutionizing the way the world communicates and it is powering the public relations industry’s global ascendancy. In Asia, PR has traditionally been a relatively minor and subordinate part of the marketing mix but now it increasingly occupies centre stage. Because public relations is at its essence a social networking business, it is well positioned to thrive in the digital domain, especially in a region where mobile communications are the new marketing battleground. Media relations and publicity will always be a key part of PR, but now creating content, building communities, understanding analytics and applying the psychology of persuasion are all part of the picture. PR will always be about the art of relationships, but increasingly it is a measurable communications science.

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    The marketing might of modern public relations The marketing might of modern public relations Presentation Transcript

    • Bob Pickard The Bangladesh Brand Forum Seminar 2013 at Dhaka
    • My thesis today Social media is revolutionizing the way the world communicates and it is powering the public relations industry’s global ascendancy In Asia, PR has traditionally been a relatively minor and subordinate part of the marketing mix, but now it increasingly occupies centre stage Because public relations is at its essence a social networking business, it is well positioned to thrive in the digital domain, especially in a region where mobile communications is the new marketing battleground Media relations and publicity will always be a key part of PR, but now creating content, building communities, understanding analytics and applying the psychology of persuasion are all part of the picture PR will always be about the art of relationships, but increasingly it is a measurable communications science
    • Sigmund Freud hadan American nephew
    • Edward Bernayshas been called the‘Father of Modern PR’
    • Public relations has ‘scientific’ roots Bernays defined a PR professional as a “practicing social scientist” whose “competence is like that of the industrial engineer, the management engineer, or the investment counselor in their respective fields” 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
    • Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
    • The PR stereotype
    • Pre-modern analogue public relations Based on relationships with face-to-face key Simple events and publicity ‘Primitive’ technology Analogue methods Text was ‘King’ Ample attention span Deliberate and slow Enough time to tell stories We measured media coverage Communication to fixed locations
    • 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, motion graphics, apps, experiences• Content is now ‘King’• Scant time for stories• Communication to people on the move via mobile• We measure business impact and outcomes
    • Then and today PR is telling an organisation’s story to 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 • engage in online conversations • want to work there
    • What are we looking at?
    • What are we thinking about?  From its earliest days, PR has always been about the psychology of persuasionPR is all in the mind…
    • ...and the unconscious mind rules Our deepest thoughts – the ones that account for our behaviour in the marketplace – are unconscious “According to most estimates, about 95 percent of thought, emotion, and learning occurs in the unconscious mind —that is, without our awareness” [Gerald Zaltman] Evidence of how the emotions of the unconscious mind drive human behaviour comes from neuroscience (using advanced new fMRI brain scans), psychology, and is being widely adopted in marketing
    • Stories tap into the unconscious mind  People tend to remember products when they are woven into the narrative of media content  They tend not to remember brands that don’t play an integral role in the story because people can see them as being ‘just ads’
    • PR pros know about storytelling PR people spend their entire careers trying to convince executives that they should invest more in ‘earning’ editorial media coverage of their brands in news stories rather than ‘buying’ paid coverage through advertising 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 trust brand messaging that isn’t visibly purchased
    • 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
    • Decline of news story quality In much of the world, the economic basis of the traditional news media business is declining, and so is the quality of editorial product As a result, people trust media stories less than they did before: • there are fewer reporters and editors • battles about editorial ethics versus just going with what a company hands over for content are less frequent • money is often the only thing that seems to matter • now more than ever, speed trumps accuracy
    • 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 debasing of journalism is a further reduction of news’ credibility Therefore, in many markets here are fewer eyeballs looking at 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
    • Where PR storytelling is shrinking OK, so if a brand’s involvement in 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 even if we ‘earn’ coverage successfully? Where can PR communicate narratives if the storytelling zone is shrinking?
    • Where PR storytelling is growing  Social media, through creating brand-centric communities and starting ‘conversations’
    • Martin Sorrell:  “Facebook to my mind is not an advertising medium.”  “I think [Twitter] is a PR medium…it’s very effective word-of-mouth.” Harvard Business Review March 2013
    • The rise of peer-to-peer communications ACTIVE CONVERSATION “They must listen and I will MONOLOGUE DIALOGUE CONTROL be heard” PRO-SUMERS “They can’t hear PASSIVE me and I feel CON-SUMERS insignificant”
    • Advertising versus PR? Advertising has dominated the ‘commanding heights’ of the old one- way controlled monologue Public relations has always been about social networking and building two-way ‘public relationships’ PR professionals come pre-equipped with humility and an engaging approach that solicits feedback [If anything, PR people have lacked ample self-confidence; “I’m just the PR person” has been a depressingly frequent refrain over the years] Knowing with whom to communicate, in the right sequence, with the compelling content to ‘earn’ thoughts, sharing and action is the province of PR, whether with traditional or new media communities
    • Daniel Edelman:  “Advertising is like the wind and public relations is like the sun. The wind blows hard and goes away and the sun is penetrating. PR builds credibility. PR is very stimulating and demanding and takes a different type of person and creativity than advertising does. PR can create the stir and attention and advertising can come in and hammer it home”
    • B2C PR 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 (which may not be a good thing!) THEN why can’t organizations fill the void themselves telling stories directly to the public?
    • Richard Edelman:  “Every company is a media company” ZDNet February 13th 2013
    • C2B Does this mean that PR will increasingly ‘go around’ journalists and bypass the traditional media? The smart targeting, proactive relationship-building, story ideation and content provision of ‘analogue PR’ are more relevant than ever in the ‘digital PR’ era The PR skills that ‘pitch and place’ coverage now build communities, earn friends, attract followers, foster sharing Publicity’s power is amplified when ‘liked’ or shared on social media platforms
    • Corporate content factories
    • Which network for what? United States data from Harris Interactive, 2012
    • Birds of a feather flock together A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship, sexual relationships, kinship, dislike, conflict or trade.
    • Trust for those with no apparent stake in the outcome of their advocacySource: TNS
    • The digital Trojan Horse
    • 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 people feel important (‘someone is listening to me’), then stories are told via conversations“Make the other person feelimportant and do it sincerely”
    • Communication starts with listening ‘You are important to us’ ‘We need your opinions to help inform our actions’ ‘We are listening to you and you will be heard’
    • Carnegie’s other astute observation “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity”
    • Emotions Whether or not there is listening, of course social media increases the demand to be heard, regardless of merit [Ironic that those demanding to be heard can often seem least interested in listening!] ‘Me’ and ‘I’ narcissism, lack of attention span, rampant impatience, toxic anger and abuse abounds Crowdsourcing intelligence versus mob rule?
    • Asian emotions are shared socially
    • The seven deadly digital sins1. Lust ‘I want this’2. Greed ‘I need this’3. Gluttony ‘I must have more’4. Sloth ‘I haven’t thought about it’5. Wrath ‘I am angry about this’6. Envy ‘I want what s/he’s got; I am worth it’7. Pride ‘I am better; I deserve this’
    • The power of metaphor  Lots of work is now being done in the area of ‘conversation communication’ and ‘trans-media storytelling’  Where the two meet allows persuasion marketers to tap into the massive PR power of metaphor  Conversation communication enables the easy application of metaphors used in everyday language for the development of marketing narrative – e.g. ‘word pictures’ – to convince consumers about a product brand with story ‘frames’ that already exist in their unconscious minds
    • Metaphor elicitation Research is key, asking people before starting a PR campaign things like: • When you think about [company], what is the first thing that comes to mind? • What do you feel when you see this [product] image? • Can you share some of your past experience in dealing with [area where product offers some benefit]?
    • Concrete words for abstract concepts Affection is warmth (“John is a warm person”) Important is big (“That’s a huge job you have”) Difficulties are burdens (“What a heavy workload”) Actions are motions (“He’s a mover and shaker”) Purposes are destinations (“Light at the end of the tunnel”) Life is a journey (“Marching to the beat of a different drummer”) “The abstract way we think is really grounded in the concrete, bodily world much more than we thought.” -- John Bargh, Yale psychology professor
    • We’re wired for stories Scientific American MindSource: Hoffman (August/September 2008)
    • The modality of storytelling Zaltman contends that while marketers tend to consciously think in terms of text, ‘real’ people unconsciously think in terms of images As eyeballs migrate to the Internet, even ‘word picture’ text will not be enough as multimedia – videos and pictures and sounds – are being programmed by PR people for persuasion
    • Persuasion 2.0  When people commit themselves in public to something, they have created a new ‘image template’ of themselves...  People will do and say whatever is necessary to conform with their new public image...
    • Digital PR applies the ‘six principals’
    • It’s ‘like’ signing a public confession
    • The death of deference
    • ‘The rebels’used to takeover theradio station!
    • Applying search insights Using tools like Google Trends, PR people can mine search results for key words, and inject compelling metaphors into online content by combining Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics with conventional PR approaches The ‘natural language’ words people are using to search can be discovered, the results of which can be used to tailor a narrative’s messaging elements. Keywords can be crafted as metaphors, which can be integrated into media messaging, news releases, speech content, ‘elevator pitch,’ etc.
    • Will attention spans sustain stories? • Continuous partial attention (multitasking) has been debunked, and we now know that people can rapidly switch between mental channels with ‘the executive mind’ deciding what we pay attention to • “The internet is there for snacking, grazing and tasting, not for the full...feast that is nourishing narrative. The consequence is an anorexic form of culture. Plot lies at the heart of great narrative: but today, we are in danger of losing the plot” -- Ben Macintyre
    • Where data meets design
    • Source: We Are Social
    • Social media is all over Asia
    • Global 80% Asia 40%Source: Global data from Burson-Marsteller Global Fortune 100 Social Media Checkup 2010 Asia data from Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Social Media Study 2010
    • 81% Global 84% 40% Asia 80% 2010 2011Source: Global data from Burson-Marsteller Global Fortune 100 Social Media Checkup 2011 Asia data from Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Social Media Study 2011
    • of the world’s top 2000 companies are headquartered in Asia Trading 83%Technology Equipment 55% Capital Goods 53% Transportation 52% Consumer Durables 47% Banking 42% Constuction 39% Materials 37% Source: Forbes Global 2000 list Chemical 36%
    • The digital opportunity for Asia1800s The rise of Britain1900s The rise of America1980s The rise of Japan2000s The rise of the Four Tigers2010s The rise of China & India2020s The rise of ?
    • Corporate Achilles’ HeelsNot-so-new New, and growing Product safety • Customer service Lay-offs/closures • Advertising claims Environment • Greenwashing Human rights • Marketing conduct Nationalism • Smart mobs Terrorism Pandemics
    • Professionalism of NGOs & activists
    • Speed to command the news cycle
    • Apology communications
    • Asia’s PR export to the West?
    • 12 months away from a digital crisis?http://www.slideshare.net/bmasia/bursonmarsteller-digital-crisis-communications-study
    • Companies unsure what to dohttp://www.slideshare.net/bmasia/bursonmarsteller-digital-crisis-communications-study
    • What about countries? “Troubles in Bangladesh are beginning to spoil its reputation among foreign companies that had flooded into the country—and are highlighting risks to investors looking for new manufacturing bases cheaper than China.”
    • 80 major problems identified
    • debt crisis • food prices • climate changeenergy supply • the digital dividenuclear security • youth unemployment
    • Governments cannot do it alone  Old systems and institutions simply cannot cope with new complexity and speed  These challenges require the engagement of an entire society of stakeholders  The role of public relations is therefore keyKlaus Schwab, World Public Relations Forum 2010
    • The relationship imperative Collaborate with stakeholders for success today and sustainability tomorrow demands: Governments need to engage corporations, NGOs and ordinary citizens in their work Corporations must show profund accountability to all stakeholders “Public relations in the public interest” – relationship brokerage to help bring about economic recovery, political freedom, technological advancement & social justice Source: Dan Tisch, Global Alliance for PR and Communications Management
    • Harold Burson:  “PR is often regarded as synonymous with communication, but communication is actually only one facet of the art of public relations”  “The task of PR is actually to improve ‘relationships with society’”  “PR’s key role is to advise top officials of companies or organizations about how to act in an ethical or socially correct manner when making a decision on a course of action. In a sense, PR acts as an organizations ‘conscience’” Asahi Shimbun January 29th 2012
    • Thank you !
    • Bob Pickard The Bangladesh Brand Forum Seminar 2013 at Dhaka