Corporate positioning towards stakeholders in Europe
An evidence-based approach
Robert Mack, CEO, Burson-Marsteller Brussels
Ukraine’s European future – obligations and opportunities
Closer ties to the EU
New rules at home
New markets in Europe
Perceptions of European
EU also a new market for Ukrainian companies
The EU is already Ukraine’s
largest trading partner
Negotiations to establish a
new Free Trade Area will
expand opportunities for
Companies interested in this
opportunity need to consider
how they will position
themselves in Europe
But how is Ukraine perceived by EU stakeholders ?
International business media coverage about Ukraine in the past six months
So what to do?
Communicate: proactively, clearly and truthfully.
Three ideas to guide you
1. Use evidence-based communications to design effective and
2. Consider your impact on society, your Purpose & Performance
from the start
3. Integrated communications including digital is essential
Build an evidence-based communications strategy
A scientific approach to communications, driven by data at the
beginning, the middle and the end.
All components of the communications
program are justified by evidence,
not by guess work.
1. Strategy (beginning)
3. Stakeholder identification
4. Tactics Measurement Monitoring
Programs are measured against
organization’s objectives (sales,
votes, transactions), not just tactics
(media hits, reach).
How we used EB to drive strategy for a major airline company
Develop a communication strategy that would address key issues faced by a major
airline and position it as preferred choice amongst competition
We used several evidence-based tools to identify key messages, key issues, key
stakeholders and key tactics
CO2 – Green audit and Media gap analysis
Force field analysis
Airline industry benchmarking
Media intelligence suite
Tools showed that we needed to increase awareness of the airline’s measures to
decrease fuel consumption
The Media gap analysis helped us develop reasonable messaging
We also extended the PR-program with green toolkit / used third party
Case: Norwegian maritime industry reputation survey
The maritime industry in Norway is a huge Strategy/ solution
part of the Norwegian economy and has • We conducted perceptions audit of the Norwegian
historically always had a big presence in maritime industry’s position/reputation among key
Norwegian and international seas. international target groups
Innovasjon Norge wanted to identify how the • Understand the target groups’ knowledge and
Norwegian maritime industry is perceived experience with regards to a number of key variables
abroad, why the industry is perceived in this • And establish a basis for further strategic decisions
manner and what the industry can do to
• Norway has a long maritime tradition and is a global
player offering premium products with excellent quality
• Is very expensive with insufficient focus on after-sale
• Not as well defined as before due to many M&As and
outsourcing to low-cost countries
The Norwegian maritime industry is sliding Impact on communications strategy
from traditional shipping into offshore The maritime sector is developing a new “brand
platform” as a basis for future stakeholder relations,
communications and marketing.
Consider Purpose & Performance
We are entering a period where
coupled with performance will be a key theme for
politicians, the media, investors, NGOs, consumers
Business reputation is driven mainly by Performance –
but Purpose is gaining ground
Source: Burson-Marsteller Proprietary Research on Purpose & Performance, 2008.
Companies that deliver on Purpose & Performance are seen as role
models and even deflect criticism
Q: Presuming a company is effective at balancing Purpose & Performance, to what extent would you...
Trust in the company even if its
Believe in the company even if
it comes under public pressure 43%
Follow the company in the
Recommend the company as a
Believe it is a company to
Believe it is a role model in
business for other companies 69%
Source: Burson-Marsteller Proprietary Research on Purpose & Performance, 2008.
Purpose & Purperformance: the Barilla case
• Question: what do stakeholders
expect of us?
• Answer from an audit: more than
just the basics – have a point of
view on sustainable agriculture
• Action: Set up Barilla Centre for
Food and Nutrition in January, 2009
• Result: Has allowed Barilla to
communicate directly on key issues
and position itself more positively
Use a Purpose & Performance Diagnostics
Benchmark the level of understanding and appreciation of a Purpose &
Performance statement amongst employees
Compare management’s expectations and desires and also benchmark
against competitors or industry standards
Provide qualitative and quantitative data which enables the corporation to
redesign Purpose & Performance content
Identify the most effective ways and mediums to communicate Purpose &
Performance for greatest impact to different stakeholders
Integrate digital in everything that you do
Business impact: influence on purchasing decisions
Source: EIAA digital families survey, 2007
Start with a Digital check-up
Increase visibility Highly influential
Protect corporate reputation Highly searchable
Considered a “recommendation”
Search Blogs | CGM
Opportunity for Social Corporate
Influential chatter Networks Website
Your side of the story
Critical for influencer audiences
Used to confirm impressions
Digital Check Up Findings example
What did you learn about me?
Search Blogs / UGM
• In contrast to Migros and Coop, Nestlé is not optimized for • Nestlé‘s perception in the blogosphere is driven by critical
relevant search terms like „gesunde Ernährung“ or „Familie bloggers focusing on critical issues. This is especially true in
und Ernährung“. Thus Nestlé is largely invisible to women connection with Water and Baby food
searching for such information • Nestlé does not have its own blog, although numerous
• To women and young mothers looking for healthy nutrition information, Nestlé is wellness exist
• Nestlé is not using sponsored search and is missing an messages and topics around nutrition, health and
opportunity to reach 39.5% of its audience looking for nutrition, which could be appropriate for blogging.
health and wellness information. • Positive coverage is mostly tied to personal experiences with
• Nestlé’s online perception in connection with water is driven Nestlé products i.e. chocolates. There is potential to encourage
• Nestlé is not part of Swiss women’s life, it ispositive product blogging. trusted advisor for
by NGO‘s, thus very critical. Also true for Nestlé and Baby not perceived as a
food. nutrition, health and wellness, but as a huge, cold room to take the machinery.
• There is and distant lead: neither Migros nor Coop are
actively engaging in the blogosphere.
• To overcome this perception and leverage the opportunity to build proximity and
Website brand loyalty, Nestlé must shift from pushing online advertising and marketing
messages to creating dialogue and engagement around nutrition, health &
• Nestlé‘s Website is perceived as an advertising platform rather • There is a lot of influential chatter around Nestlé and its products
than a source for corporate content or viewpoints. in the biggest social networks, both positive and negative.
• Brand content is overloading the website. It is not particularly • Critical boycott groups are engaging more intense than pro
interesting or helpful, is even more important as part
• This and it does nothing to portray Nestlé as of its perception are already being defined by
a leader in nutrition, health and wellness. • Opportunities to build on: Fan pages on several products such
its critics alone (water, baby food).
• The website has a very technical, cold and distant feel to it. It as Nesquik, Crunch etc and a lot of employee profiles.
does not speak to its audiences on a personal level. No faces • Opportunities to build brand engagement via social networks are
and too much text and PDFs, no possibilities for interaction not being maximized. Competitors such as Migros are actively
creeping into the social network space with targeted ads
Why does it matter?
Integrated campaign example: Bacardi responsible drinking
Global campaign to promote responsible drinking.
We created a simple video with Michael Schumacher
promoting the opportunity to win a ride with Michael
for high-speed laps at a world-class race-track.
Trained local markets to run a content-seeding
campaign through key influencer sites and social
The Digital PR campaign drove over 40% of the
microsite traffic, the viral videos received several
thousand views on YouTube and B-roll footage was
downloaded over 600 times.
Extensive global media coverage
Managing a Good Corporate Reputation Pays off
Ability to attract new business is the second key benefit of a
good corporate reputation.
Ability to attract & retain talented employees 89%
Ability to attract new business/partners/acquisitions 80
Increased loyalty from customers/clients 73
Confidence the company will do the right thing 50
Ability to quickly recover from reputation problems 44
Able to withstand economic ups & downs 39
Better relations with regulators/government 38
Higher share price than competitors 31
Ability to charge premium prices 19
*Burson-Marsteller. Building CEO capital Tier 1 Report October 2005
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