ISSUE ONE | SPRING ‘09
Making it through the recession.
Digital Top of the Pops.
UK takes lessons from Obama.
Change in a tough climate.
Marketing with a Chinese accent.
Changing the rules in Washington.
Taking PR back to its roots.
Green top ten.
Colin Byrne CEO, UK & Europe
Hauling out his
boxes of vinyl
And David Liu, Managing Director of
As a guy whose first foray into Know about The Lipstick Index?
Weber Shandwick China and recently
As we marketers wrestle with the second
media was publishing a punk named as that country’s top public
downturn of the decade, can we learn
music fanzine, and who still relations professional, gives his insights
anything from The Great Depression?
secretly hauls out his boxes of into marketing in the ‘Middle Kingdom’.
Check out Leo Rayman’s history lesson
vinyl and arranges all those
Just some insights and opinions from
pretty sleeves around the floor, leading communications professionals
Our Digital Chief Creative Officer James
I hope you are as taken with across our 79-country network. Enjoy.
Warren continues the pop picking theme
with his digital top of the pops. ABC’s
blatant nostalgia of the cover
Now where did I put that Buzzcocks CD?
‘The Look of Love’? Ah.
of our new e-magazine as I was.
Our London-based Labour and
Conservative public affairs experts
Luke Akehurst and Tara Hamilton-Miller
look at the battle in British politics to
learn the digital lessons of the Obama
Leo Rayman EMEA Insight & Planning Director
The Recession Dupree’s genius was to focus on
radio, the exciting new technology
of the 1930s. His new strategy was
Survival Guide. the ‘Soap Opera’.
In a recession people change the way they
PIMS shows that over the length of a
Dupree’s genius was to focus on radio,
Times are tough. There is McKinsey&Co argue that the two biggest
5 RULES FOR RECESSION SURVIVAL
buy. They take more time to research their
recession and most significantly during a
the exciting new technology of the 1930s.
managerial mistakes in recessions are first;
pressure to cut communications purchase decisions. We know that people
recovery, those who maintain or increase
His new strategy was the ‘Soap Opera’.
being surprised by the severity of the
spend. What should people 1. Cut, but cut less than competitors.
are less and less trusting of official sources
their spend see higher returns. There is a
He knew consumers still needed to wash
downturn, and second; being caught
working in Marketing and of information and increasingly reliant on
very strong link between share of voice and
their clothes, whatever the economic
unawares by the recovery. So it seems wise
2. Design campaigns to build fame
informed friends or even strangers online.
share of market. The trick when cutting
climate, so the first foray into branded
to look back for any clues on what we
Communications do to ensure and talkability.
Brands that focus their campaigns on fame
budgets is to cut less than your
content was born. ‘Ma Perkins’ sponsored
should do in the present day. Problem is,
their brands survive the and generating talkability enjoy the
competitors, thereby stealing market share
by Oxydol, launched in 1933. By 1939,
very few were working in the same types
3. Use digital technology to amplify
downturn? biggest positive profit impact in difficult
P&G was sponsoring 21 radio programmes,
of job in the recessions of 1974, 1980 or
the story others tell about you.
virtually doubling its radio spend every two
1991 – there’s just not that much relevant
Value and values
years during the depression.
experience to draw on.
4. Insulate yourself through the power
During tough times something called
of emotional branding.
We call these fame-building strategies
‘value’ becomes even more important.
Nimble and astute
So let me transport you for a moment to
Social Advocacy. They are designed to
Sometimes that’s the same as price but
Recessions accelerate changes that are
the American Midwest during the Great
5. Be bold, resilient and adaptable.
increase the number and volume of people
very often it isn’t. ALDI and Wal-Mart are
already taking place. We need to be
Depression. Picture long lines of
talking about your brand. The techniques
having a good recession and low prices do
nimble and astute enough to spot the
unemployed men queuing at soup
are relatively simple; first you need a good
help increase their footfall. Other brands
patterns amongst the chaos and take
kitchens; others are wandering from town
story well-told. Second, make use of digital
survive in different ways, by emphasising
advantage of them. 2009 is 150 years
to town searching desperately for work.
technology to allow easy sharing of your
their emotional values. People turn to
since the publication of The Origin of
With panic on Wall Street and declining
story. Finally, identify the important
companies and organisations they trust.
the Species. Darwin showed that species
sales it would take a brave manager to
communities with which you need to make
Longstanding, predictable brands that
survive when they are robust enough to
resist pressure from shareholders to cut
contact and reach out to them.
assure quality can be a recession-weary
survive challenging environments but
marketing budgets and scale back on
customer’s best friend. During the
also adaptable enough to evolve. This is
advertising and public relations. What
In conclusion remember that whilst the
recession of the 1990s, De Beers observed
the simple answer to recession survival:
would you do? Would you do what
economic environment can look pretty
that consumers were falling back on the
be tough but be prepared to change.
Richard Dupree, President of P&G, did?
nasty, not every category suffers. People
things they felt were most important;
He spotted a new opportunity and seized
will still need to feed their cats for
family, friendships and love. Their famous
In recessions, clients are forced to cut
it with bravery. In fact, P&G have been
example. Things will change; the latest IMF
‘Shadows’ campaign linked De Beers with
expenditure. I’m not arguing that this is
doing the same thing in every recession
forecasts predict a return to GDP growth in
love, family and romance. Sales rose by an
always the wrong course of action. The real
most markets by 2010. In the meantime,
annual average of 8% over three years.
question is over what you cut and by how
just remember the Dodo.
much. Detailed and longstanding research
from the Profit Impact of Market Strategy
(PIMS) study has analysed the impact on
long-term performance of cutting budgets.
James Warren Chief Creative Officer, Digital
Now That’s What Don’t fall into the
trap of developing
I Call Digital. at the expense of
assets you have to turn into relevant
Here are Weber Shandwick’s Leader of the Pack The Shangri-Las Never Gonna Give You Up Rick Astley Fake Tales Of San Francisco Groove is in the Heart Deee-Lite
Content that will appeal and add value to
Facebook is the undisputed King of the Don’t fall into the trap of developing Arctic Monkeys At the heart of every successful
top pop picks for success in the conversations identified at stage one
social networks. Yes, yes, I know Facebook digital campaigns at the expense of The second generation of digital spam is communications campaign lies a story. The
(please note in this instance ‘content’ may
the digital hit parade this is so very ‘2007’ but its continued, traditional channels. Weber Shandwick’s upon us. Unscrupulous marketers are concept of storytelling as a critical
just be one half of a conversation). The
summer. It’s an eclectic relentless accumulation of users and inline communications approach dictates already being social online on behalf of marketing asset is not a new one, but the
third stage is then about Connecting your
functionality has set it apart as the major that in order to truly influence you should their clients. The manipulation of crowd- ability within the digital realm to reach and
selection, mixed for your aural content with those people having the
player in the 2009 attention stakes. Slowly deliver consistent and engaging content sourced news results, brand-sitting on interact with your audience directly clearly
pleasure by resident digital conversations and incorporates search,
but surely Facebook has become an across multiple media. If your online lifestreams, ghosted blogs… the potential amplifies the effectiveness of a compelling
tagging, crowd-sourcing and so on. The
jockey James Warren. operating system in its own right, with communications do not directly reflect or channels are almost infinite. The narrative. There is both an art and a
final stage, Community, ensures that you
messaging, entertainment and self- build on your offline messages and activity authenticity of conversational marketing science to storytelling, something Weber
are amplifying the output of the previous
publishing tools all embedded. All that’s then you are passing up a significant will continue to be questioned during Shandwick understands. And of course the
three stages within relevant communities.
missing is the ability to email and instant opportunity to create a truly impactful 2009, with plenty of agencies prepared to creation of a consistent and relevant story
message to and from non-Facebook campaign. Media and experiential activity engage in degrees of subterfuge to win requires you to understand how your
Holding Out For a Hero Bonnie Tyler
contacts. As soon as this hotly-anticipated help drive activity online. Aligning the business. Weber Shandwick’s advice? Do it target audience is influenced, who your
Finally, as a rousing finale, the Weber
functionality is introduced, Facebook planning and execution of online and yourself. We can help you create an potential advocates are, where they are
Shandwick guide to successful online
becomes an entirely new and compelling offline activity into an inline programme internal structure and process that allows and what they’re talking about.
marketing can be condensed to three
proposition – and a marketer’s dream. will ensure you maximise the results you to plan and execute effectively.
key elements. Be active. Be everywhere.
achievable and – crucially – maximise your Easy The Commodores
My Generation The Who ROI. The Look of Love ABC At first glance (and, in some instances,
The myth that digital activity is only second and third glances) the digital
The role of search in directing those
suitable for reaching young audiences still Orinoco Flow Enya individuals looking for information to relevant landscape can appear to be highly
Twitter has been the media’s digital poster
persists, in the face of considerable content is clearly hugely significant as far as complex and unnavigable. In reality, a
boy in early 2009, with the resulting rush of
evidence to the contrary. Online and digital marketing is concerned. What is less small amount of experience allied to some
mobile channels have the ability to reach new subscribers mirroring Facebook’s clear is the extent to which communicators powerful analytic tools makes making
everyone, irrespective of their age or social ascent into the public’s consciousness. And consider (or even understand) the role of sense of the digital world relatively
stature. All that matters is that the activity just as with Facebook, marketers are search and its successful integration into straightforward. To simplify things even
(and story) is relevant. And on the subject rushing to work out how Twitter – and communications programmes. As a starter further, Weber Shandwick has developed a
of relevance, avoid anyone who is still other lifestreaming platforms – can help for ten, Weber Shandwick recommends you four stage process (the Four Cs) to
banging relentlessly on about social media organisations reach their customers in new find out what language people are actually planning and delivering digital activity.
– all digital media is social. To deliver truly and effective ways. Weber Shandwick’s top using to search for information and replicate Briefly, this involves at stage one
effective communications campaigns we Twitter tips? Listen and respond, inform that in your online content – as a simplistic identifying who is having Conversations
need to broaden our horizons. and support. example, don’t write about an ‘engagement about your story (and who isn’t but should
scheduling application’ when people are be) and what they are talking about. The
searching for ‘diary’. second stage takes into consideration the
Luke Akehurst Director, Public Affairs, UK Tara Hamilton-Miller Non-Executive Director, UK
UK Politics Learning The Labour and Conservative
approach to technology and it’s use
has differed, though both have had
New Tricks. slightly stop and start attempts at
neon websites and podcasts.
At local level, party candidates from all
However, as with New Labour’s craze for
‘Web Cam’, featuring Tory leader David
The official Conservative Party website
For a small contribution could Should you not wish to give cash/add to
sides are increasingly using social media
all thinking Clinton in the ‘90s, Labour is
Cameron chatting as he fills his
has not been so successful competing
your wardrobe you are invited to hold an
you be tempted by a ‘Gordon like Facebook as a way of identifying and
sending party officials across the Atlantic
dishwasher/drinks railway coffee/changes
with excellent websites like
Economic Recovery House Meeting in
Brown polo shirt’ or a ‘David mobilising active supporters – with online
in droves to try to harvest state-of-the-art
his Britta water filter, has been relatively
conservativehome.com, loyally read
your living room. An experience similar
Cameron hoodie’? Even after his networks driving ‘real world’ doorstep
techniques from the Obama campaign for
well received. He’s a natural in front of the
by party followers before they go near
to a coffee morning or a Tupperware party
campaigning. And the Labour
UK use. A smaller stream of Obama
camera. Brown will have more problems
but with less plastic. Could this work here?
victory, the welcoming page of
blogosphere has started to try to compete
advisers and digital consultants has been
with this kind of message; name one
With an election possibly just months away
Barack Obama’s website, with the Tories with the launch of
over here speaking to Labour MPs,
domestic chore Brown could carry out with
There was a problem when the
how much influence will political parties
barackobama.com is a request labourlist.org, though it appears to have
campaign managers and activists – with
dignity while talking about pensions and
Conservatives attempted a fundraising
take from Obama’s success embracing
been eclipsed by former Deputy Prime
some of the consultants hoping to pick up
MRSA to a nervous aide with a camcorder.
tactic based on the Obama blueprint
for a donation and if you give
Minister John Prescott who has
Labour contracts, though they may be
to appeal to those who did not want to
$30 or more you will receive discovered to his delight a brand new
disappointed by the small budgets in
The Left has been slower to engage with
become a full Tory member but were
The Labour and Conservative approach
an Obama Victory T-shirt stage.
digital campaigning than the Tories, who
interested and could show their support.
to technology and it’s use has differed,
dominate the UK blogosphere. Even more
though both have had slightly stop and
(100% cotton). It is all very
For all the digital furore and smarty-pants
Not everything Obama did is transferable
significant is Labour’s internal culture,
The idea was that you could become a
start attempts at neon websites and
informal, messages from the computer geeks claiming “it was the net
to a parliamentary rather than presidential
developed in order to win back power in
‘Friend’ with a minimum donation of £1;
podcasts. Somehow Obama and his
White House start with “Hey” what won it” Obama’s message appealed
system, particularly as lots of Obama’s
1997 after years of internal divisions, of
the party could beef up funds with humble
supporters’ internet campaigning got it
as in, “Hey, President Obama to the time; traditional speeches based on
online ‘fan base’ was created by his appeal
being ‘on message’ at all times.
amounts and build a database of
right. They were clever and they had the
Jefferson’s dream of citizenship. It cannot
as a charismatic, insurgent personality. Nor
It’s difficult to blog spontaneously and
supporters. It was a disaster, the campaign
all important ingredient; humour. It has
submitted his first budget to
be ignored that good old fashioned
is all of it necessary as much Obama online
rapidly about unfolding events if you
and it’s advertising cost was not cheap,
yet to be cracked here, the main bloggers
Congress on Thursday.” campaigning worked for Obama.
activity was about small-donor fundraising
have been trained that you need to clear
various figures are banded about but
get it but the parties are far behind.
(Labour gets large union donations and
public statements with a press officer and
£500,000 is thought to be the loss. It is
Americans liked and craved the idea of an
the UK has strict campaign spending limits)
to wait for the ‘line-to-take’ to be issued by
suggested that the total number of
Boris Johnson’s London Mayoral campaign
up-standing citizen; they were comforted
and building local grassroots campaign
‘Friends’ who joined was in double figures
was slick and different and used the
by the feel of old frontier hustings, a
teams. UK parties have permanent local
only. A spectacular waste of money.
internet with style. Not a huge amount of
vision, and face-to-face charm.
branches rather than having to build a
Labour has yet to develop individual blog
content but countless passionate
volunteer base afresh for each new
stars with the readership or public profile
Paramount to viral campaigning is the face
volunteers were recruited on-line. Arguably
of the Tories’ Iain Dale, or the ability to
behind it. John McCain could have had the
Boris is the exception to every rule, Boris
set the mainstream media agenda of
same digital infrastructure as Obama but
achieves because he is Boris not because
Guido Fawkes. Nor is there a Labour site
at his age anything too radical looks like an
some whizzo pre-pubescent teenager is
to equal conservative.home's role in
old guy getting down with the kids. It’s
an internet genius.
hosting internal party debates.
rotten but a cruel sign of the times that
politics is becoming a young man’s (or
Arnaud Pochebonne Managing Director, France
the Key to Successful
have been minimised had there been a
Our survey shows that executives rank
We in France have seen instances where a
In today’s harsh economic Strategic corporate change is a delicate Tread the line between a solid
more coordinated and thoughtful
employee criticism (41%) in a tie for first
lack of communication with salaried
undertaking. While the commercial logic communications plan and being flexible,
climate, corporate retrenchment
approach to communication.
place with leaked confidential information
employees has led to lost motivation,
may be laudable – for example, reducing depending on the situation. Don’t
and restructuring is rife. Making as the greatest online risk to their own
resistance to change, and finally a
the burden on business of unnecessary communicate externally without
staff redundant, shutting down In January, unemployment in France
damaging rejection of the project.
cost or boosting productivity – a badly considering the internal impact of what
facilities or indeed implementing increased by 90,200 to 2.2 million, a 4.3%
Opposition may be expressed by the
managed reorganisation can have a you say. Define in advance the
rise over December and up 15.4% on
Yet sadly many companies fail to
leaking of negative stories to public
negative effect on both corporate appropriate contact person for each
major cutbacks of any kind are
January 2008. Many companies face
communicate sensitively, thereby allowing
authorities or the press, strikes and even
reputation and the bottom line. target audience.
highly emotive actions that
exceedingly tough market conditions and
tricky situations to escalate into full-blown
acts of sabotage.
employers should handle with more corporate bad news inevitably lies
reputational crises. Recently, when a major
Time after time we see company bosses Anticipate every possible reaction. Sales
great care and sensitivity. ahead.
international manufacturer closed one of
If the company can’t effectively explain its
focus their attention on the legal, logistical teams must alert directors to reactions
its French plants it totally mishandled the
decision to reorganise, criticism from all
or financial aspects of change without from clients and competitors, and
Externally, being vague about the future of
internal communications, pouring oil on
stakeholders will gather pace. Moreover,
taking into account the most crucial factor department and regional directors
an organisation can have negative
the flames. The closure announcement to
where there is uncertainty and a lack of
for success: the human one. For many, should report what is going on in their
repercussions. If jobs are being lost, the
the French-speaking ‘blue collar’ workforce
transparency, rumours will be generated
essential lessons about the importance of areas.
media may focus exclusively on the social
was made in English, giving the impression
internally and externally. Competitors can
solid internal and external communications
impact of change and a political and trade
that the company didn’t care about its
encourage these rumours and the media
at times of corporate change remain Take regulation into account and strictly
union backlash could follow. Financial
employees. Resentment and public
will spread them.
unlearned. respect French law, which imposes a
markets will voice their concerns about the
criticism flared up, with the French restriction on communicating externally
ability of the company to keep its
government even questioning whether the
The emergence of Web 2.0 with its vast
When a business goes through any kind of during a reorganisation, particularly with
promises. Analysts may even regard the
company had followed the law in the way it
swathes of user generated content on
change, it’s not just those at the top who the media, before discussions with
company as high risk if there is a lack of
had announced the closure.
social networking sites and elsewhere has
are affected. Employees wonder about the employees' representatives have
confidence in its strategy.
made it easier than ever for disgruntled
future of their jobs; shareholders fear that started. It’s advisable to refer to a
In a similar vein, not long ago a UK-listed
employees to denigrate corporations
the cost of reorganisation may itself lead to ‘project’ rather than a decision, and to
When working with companies in France,
retailer pulled out of France, informing the
online. As shown by Weber Shandwick’s
lower profitability; clients may question the speak in conditional terms if labour force
there are four golden rules of
stock market of its decision well ahead of
own recent Risky Business survey on
quality of the company's products or consultation has not been concluded.
communication during a period of
telling its French workforce – in
reputations online, developed by my
services; suppliers ask if the company will
contravention of French employment law,
colleague Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross and
continue to work with them; and local In our experience of helping French
which puts the onus on companies to first
conducted with the Economist Intelligence
councillors worry about the impact on the companies manage change, successful
communicate with their employees.
Unit, the internet provides innumerable
local job market. programme implementation depends on
Be proactive in communicating key
Needless to say, the move sparked
platforms for current and former communication being seen as a core
messages through a variety of
outrage and inflicted severe damage on
employees to undermine, usually function within the company.
mechanisms including email, briefings
the retailer’s brand. Damage which could
anonymously, a company’s reputation. and meetings.