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Common Sense for the C-Suite: Relevance is the New Reputation

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In today’s social/digital reality, Relevance has become the new reputation. This means that an organization must connect consistently and authentically on multiple levels with its key audiences — in areas that are both meaningful to the business- its core purpose and strategic direction - as well as areas that are meaningful to its audiences. What makes this different is the speed at which relevance forms and dissipates and the agility necessary to harness it for sustained growth and success.

In an age where information is ubiquitous and people move from one subject to another in a blink of eye, if your brand, product, service or company isn’t on their radar you don’t exist.

It’s all about connection.

In this issue of Common Sense for the C-Suite, we explore how organizations can drive growth and remain relevant in a crowded, distracted landscape.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Common Sense for the C-Suite: Relevance is the New Reputation

  1. 1. VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE Relevance is the New Reputation… A New Way for Communicators and Marketers to Drive Growth and Sustain Efficacy in a Social/Digital Age
  2. 2. WCG | COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016 2 Relevance is the New Reputation… In today’s social/digital reality, Relevance has become the new reputation. This means that an organization must connect consistently and authentically on multiple levels with its key audiences — in areas that are both meaningful to the business— its core purpose and strategic direction — as well as areas that are meaningful to its audiences. What makes this different is the speed at which relevance forms and dissipates and the agility necessary to harness it for sustained growth and success. In an age where information is ubiquitous and people move from one subject to another in the blink of an eye, if your brand, product, service or company isn’t on their radar, you don’t exist. It’s all about connection.
  3. 3. WCG | COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016 3 In a word, Relevance is about being meaningful to the matter at hand. From an organizational perspective, it’s more about consistency of behavior vs. consistency of message or communications. Reputation is more vulnerable than at any time in history. Yet, Relevance is more valuable than at any time in history. Given the speed, veracity, and lack of controls, conversation in a digital world impacts relevance at will. Consumers and influencers now place relevance in a different position interspersing individual ideals and beliefs with that of the organization to determine value. We are living in a time where the entire balance of power has shifted and organizations no longer control the dialogue or even their own brands. Rather, consumers, customers, employees and influencers all have the capability to characterize and shape opinion and perspective on products, policies, and initiatives virtually every minute. The biggest challenge, then, for organizations who want to increase their Relevance is to move from a coverage/broadcast communications model to one that reflects the rise of influence as a means of opinion formation. The term “citizen journalism” now pervades our lives as anyone with an opinion and a web address has the ability to reach the world. In this environment, media is not only fragmented but so are their audiences. To fill the void, individuals and organizations alike are creating new content and distributing it on diverse platforms and in multiple formats to increase interactions and generate new learnings about behavior and interest. Instead of the five or six traditional media outlets who cover your industry and company, you may be looking at 50-100 (or more) influencers driving conversation about topics or areas linked to your business creating multiple ecosystems where your brand either thrives or dies. Relevance is the New Reputation… A new way for communicators and marketers to drive growth and sustain efficacy in a social/digital age ■■ A NEW MODEL FOR AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT IS NEEDED The age of transparency Customers, employees, shareholders, investor community are privy to higher levels of product information and company knowledge A new corporate ecosystem The lines between stake- holders are blurred; all are integral parts of one ecosystem Growing sense of distrust Recent events have elevated concern about corporate governance A new balance of power Power is shifting away from management to employees, suppliers, distributors, customers, business partners and other stakeholders
  4. 4. VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016 4 Relevance is the New Reputation… WCG | COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE It’s about understanding precisely: • How your organization’s priority initiatives and strategy are resonating in real time • How your communities of influencers and stakeholders are talking about relevant issues positive, negative, neutral: how their conversations are resonating and what risks and opportunities that may pose to your organization and brand • How to predict the trend of an issue: is it a “slow burn,” blowing up, or burning out and not having a plan to act and engage appropriately (vs. reacting) • The most appropriate content and channels to use with specific stakeholders at specific times • Determining new conversations and interest streams that allow you to convey your story and enhance learning ■■ A NEW MODEL FOR AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT IS NEEDED EMPLOYEES CUSTOMER/ PROSPECTS INFLUENCERS GOVERNMENT/ POLICY MAKERS FINANCIAL COMMUNITY ADVOCATES CONSUMERS/ GENERAL PUBLIC RELEVANT ISSUES STAKEHOLDER AFFINITIESDemocratized Transparent 1-9-90 Hyper-fragmented Media INFLUENCE INFORMATIONAL MODEL MEDIUMMESSAGECOMPANY INFLUENCERS CUSTOMER/ PROSPECTS EMPLOYEES ADVOCATES GOVERNMENT/ POLICY MAKERS Unidirectional Opaque One-to-Few Concentrated Media BROADCAST/COVERAGE COMMUNICATIONS MODEL
  5. 5. VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016 5 Relevance is the New Reputation… WCG | COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE It begins with a comprehensive understanding of your audience’s reality, or what we call Audience Architecture. Dissecting interests, networks, communities, topics — the entire ecosystem of belief — into a relatable data set that can be assimilated and acted upon in real time. From there, it’s about grasping your company’s core beliefs, capabilities, and business strategy and distilling them into a Narrative, or how your story melds with the marketplace. The Narrative is the foundational platform from which to dimensionalize the myriad stories that comprise your organization and provide the connection to Relevance. Segmenting your content into different story lines (aka Narrative Cubes) so you can target those who lead the conversation (influencers) in your category, those who share content (advocates), and those who prefer to “lurk and learn” (the market). The result provides audiences with the fuel to discover the organization for themselves, where and when they want it, the full picture of a company, brand, product, service, policy, subject or issue. ■■ WHAT’S NEEDED TO WIN STAY AHEAD? A NEW INTEGRATED MODEL... Why Relevance? Reality: Social/Digital Age Ushered in Awareness, Voice... 1. Consumers, customers, employees actively participate in commerce and societal discourse 2. Reputation is now defined as “what did you do for me today?” 3. If an organization is not important or meaningful to core audiences it doesn’t really exist 4. Branding that doesn’t track with relevance is on a path to nowhere 5. Relevance can lead to white space — places where organizations can make greater impact and achieve greater levels of success 6. Communicators and marketers have the tools and technology to keep ahead of the curve; comprehend influence; assimilate how communities and ecosystems learn; discern needs and benefits sought; and capture relevance CORPORATE REPUTATION WHAT’S IMPORTANT (Point in Time Dashboard KPIs) Benchmarking/ KPI driven methodology based on important, but often not actionable, stakeholder perceptions CORPORATE RELEVANCE WHAT’S URGENT ACTIONABLE (Context, Targeting, Ongoing KPIs) An approach based on understanding the full spectrum of what matters to a modern company – moving from a focus on just what stakeholder recall, to the specific, observable behaviors that are foundational to driving key business objectives AUDIENCE ARCHITECTURE Cutting-edge insights, based on actual stakeholder behavior, developed at the pace and scale of digital technology TRADITIONAL MARKET RESEARCH Traditional primary research, usually in the form of stakeholder surveys and interviews.
  6. 6. VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016 6 Relevance is the New Reputation… WCG | COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE Finding Relevance At W2O Group, we employ proprietary analytics to identify and comprehend Relevance in multiple sectors and industries. This is a crucial first step to calibrating an organization’s or brand’s efficacy and positioning against where a market is tracking. In each of the examples below you can discern where the conversation and influence is moving and begin to reconcile where you might be in terms of communications and direction. FOOD | CPG FROM: Calories and Ingredients TO: Lifestyle and Health Well-Being IMPLICATION OPPORTUNITY: SUPPLY CHAIN HOTELS/HOSPITALITY FROM: Location Amenities TO: Cultural Immersion Experiences IMPLICATION OPPORTUNITY: LOCALIZATION GEO-FENCING FROM: In-Person, Location-Based Support TO: Hyper-Personalized, Self-Service — Anytime, Anywhere IMPLICATION OPPORTUNITY: EMPLOYEES LOCAL ECONOMIES HEALTHCAREBANKING FROM: Volume Efficacy of a Pill or Procedure TO: Outcomes and Overall Health Wellness IMPLICATION OPPORTUNITY: SYSTEMIC INCENTIVES INDIVIDUAL IMPACT AUTO ENERGY FROM: Manufacturing Selling Vehicles TO: Mobility IMPLICATION OPPORTUNITY: TECH CULTURE FLEET NETWORKS FROM: Global Green TO: National / Local Secure IMPLICATION OPPORTUNITY: HYPER-LOCAL VALUES POLITICS TELECOMMUNICATIONS FROM: Network Performance TO: Delivery of Solutions Experiences IMPLICATION OPPORTUNITY: USER EXPERIENCE TECH ECOSYSTEM
  7. 7. WCG | COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016 7 Relevance is the New Reputation… WHITESPACE ADJACENCIES CONNECTING BUSINESS OBJECTIVES SOCIETAL PRESSURES AUDIENCE BEHAVIOR BUSINESS OBJECTIVES Capabilities Community Lines of Business Policy Future Growth Demographic SOCIETAL PRESSURES ■■ WHAT IS CORPORATE RELEVANCE? Relevance as your Northstar Fortunately, communicators and marketers now have an unprecedented ability to provide audiences with content they find interesting and valuable utilizing analytics to track impact – what they search, click-on, spend time on, talk about, and share. New analytics approaches now make it possible to much more precisely understand how to create the right stories and experiences, in the right places, to spark deeper audience engagement and action. Relevance is the measure that any organization, regardless of size, scope, or category, can employ to truly understand and address the reality facing its audiences in a manner that provides mutual benefit. When you wake up tomorrow it might be a good idea to ask yourself one question: Are we relevant?
  8. 8. WCG | COMMON SENSE FOR THE C-SUITE VOL. 5 | ISSUE 2 | NOVEMBER 2016 8 Relevance is the New Reputation… For more information, please contact: Rob Jekielek rjekielek@w2ogroup.com 646-503-2733 Gary Grates ggrates@w2ogroup.com 212-257-6994 WCG is a leading communications and marketing firm specializing in healthcare, technology, and global brands. The firm is a unit of W2O Group, a leading network of independent, global strategic marketing, digital, and corporate communications firms. The Corporate and Strategy practice advises and supports organizations in effectively addressing reputational risk, change management, leadership positioning, market/product supremacy, and brand relevance. The group offers distinctive expertise in culture transformation, strategy implementation, CEO transitions, leadership positioning, internal branding, MA post-merger integration, labor-management relations, advocacy and issues management, internal communications, employee engagement, investor relations, executive training and development, and research/measurement through a proprietary combination of analytics/insights that fuel distinctive models, methodologies, and approaches designed to achieve sustainable business results. wcgworld.comw2ogroup.com

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