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Building the right internal team for digital

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  • 1. September 2009 OP-ED Build the right internal team to manage digital While social media has created many new opportunities the FDA regulations and the company’s guidance – as theyfor companies to connect with their audiences, it has also relate to social media engagement -- for managing things likepresented significant internal communications, legal, resource, adverse events, fair balance, privacy and beyond. In addition,and operational hurdles. In addition, there are evolving FTC every company needs to train its employees on the companyand FDA regulations that make it even more challenging for rules of engagement for transparency and copyright.PR, marketing and corporate communications professionals Establish roles and responsibilities: Because digitalto stay ahead, let alone innovate. crosses all disciplines, the roles of PR, marketing, corporate To successfully adapt to the ever changing landscape, communications, and public affairs have blurred. The councilcompanies should establish a cross-functional digital council can help align disciplines and their digital efforts by identifyingto centralize the ongoing management and deployment of its areas of overlap and strength. For example, the most commonstrategy, policies, standards, and ongoing digital training. A area of overlap is digital monitoring, while the most importantcouncil would enable the company to “digitize” the skill set is search.– and mindset – of their people while empowering them to Understand the company vision and social media strategy:effectively execute the company’s overall vision and strategy. Successful companies develop guidance so all digital effortsHere’s how a digital council can operate: ladder up to the company’s overall strategy. That’s why it’s Appoint digital leadership: To achieve consensus on key critical to have senior executives from each discipline on theareas like strategy and best practices, have each operational council who are passionate and knowledgeable of the companyfunction appoint a representative to the council. This should and its goals and culture.include representatives from PR, but also marketing, corporate Benchmark and measure: The council can also providecommunications, legal, safety, HR, and IT. Typically, there are the organization with standards for benchmarking and10 to 15 members. measuring digital efforts so that every component of every Define the landscape: For the purpose of organizational digital program is measurable, and links back to strategy andclarity, agree upon the company definition of the new landscape business objectives.and then select and consistently use one umbrella term when The ongoing collaboration of a cross-functional digitaldiscussing the combination of technology, communications, council in managing a company’s digital knowledge baseand interaction. Examples include: digital media, social media, will help ensure that the organization is on the pulse of theinteractive media, new media, and online communications. rapidly evolving social media environment, and potentially Legal guidance: The council will be responsible for ahead of the competition. Finally, all employees will have anreviewing current policies and creating new ones to legally approved framework to strategically deploy digital initiativesengage and monitor digital channel activity. For example, that successfully nurture relationships with key stakeholders.healthcare companies must be sure all disciplines understand Rachelle Spero is EVP, digital media, Cohn & Wolfe www.cohnwolfe.com Reprinted from September 2009

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