Fiddling, while Byrne roams… December 11, 2008Posted by James Warren in apropos of nothing, pr, work.
So the boss got promoted to be head of the whole of Europe – which is very cool and totally deserved because he’s, well, <brownnosing>inspirationally brilliant</brownnosing>. On a far less grand scale, today it’s been announced that I’m taking on a global role, overseeing Weber Shandwick’s global digital excellence in association with the very awesome Chris Perry from the city of angels. So I’ll now be fiddling with digital problems from all over, not just Europe. Which is pretty much what I did before anyway, but it’s nice to get recognition, right? Sorry if this post comes across as self-absorbed. Truth be told I just wanted to use the pun in the title. It tickled me.
Back to school November 27, 2008Posted by James Warren in pr, work.
Here’s the original text of my PR Week Digital PR Essay, published today. In it, I talk about the concept of Inline Communications (don’t plan/execute offline and online comms separately – all your comms must be ‘inline’) and revisit the requirement to Be Nice. Comments welcome.
Beyond online. Get inline
Digital must not be an afterthought. Successful communications should be seamlessly integrated across all available channels
Is it really twelve months since the last PR Week Digital Essay supplement? How time flies! And yet, how much has changed since last we spoke. Last year, on these very pages, I advised the communications function of every organization to assign dedicated resource to managing the promotion (and indeed protection) of its digital reputation. I wonder how many followed this advice? As anticipated, 2008 has seen the marketing world continue its unceasing adoption of digital tools and techniques. This is only set to increase as we enter 2009 and we PROs are ideally placed to take full advantage – the online environment is fertile ground for creating and amplifying advocacy. But how to profit from this advantage?
I wanted to use this essay to introduce two concepts; ideas upon which we at Weber Shandwick recommend you base your strategic communications planning and execution in 2009, and beyond.
The first idea is ‘inline.’ The beauty of inline is its simplicity: inline tells us not to build a standalone offline communications campaign and bolt it on to a distinct online campaign. Rather, inline teaches us to plan, create and execute communications campaigns that make no distinction between the channels employed. Public relations needs to break out of the silos of specialist planning and tactical execution and become truly reflective of how people (the community formerly known as target audience) are influenced. At Weber Shandwick we do this by ensuring every campaign is optimized for the combination of channels that carry most influence.
As with all things, the devil is in the detail. Working with our colleagues at Universal McCann we create what we call an Inline Profile for each campaign, an integrated influence model that reflects the audience we are trying to reach and the nature of the communications objective. The Inline Profile enables us to identify which combinations of channels (and therefore tactical execution) will be most effective in driving advocacy.
To ensure all campaigns are inline, we have matched the insights gleaned from the afore-mentioned profile with rigorous and thorough training of all staff, plus the embedding of digital experts into each practice/office across the company to give every Weber Shandwick consultant the confidence that only knowledge and experience bring. This ensures that all campaigns are practically inline from conception to implementation.
Of course, inline communications is not only reflective of how the audience is influenced. Inline is a state of mind, a process and a point of view. It’s not just about media content – increasingly we are staging experiential events to help drive communications with key influencer groups. And of course it is also based on media needs – ensuring that there is layer upon layer of additional corroborative information/messaging available via internet search and elsewhere, across all communication channels, to ensure no question of perspective goes unseen.
For evidence that inline communications works, look no further than the communicator of the year, President Elect Obama. His election campaign was the living embodiment of inline thinking and execution, from the consistency of his ‘Change’ messaging to the perfectly coordinated integrated communications and engagement activities, whether via the media, online or in the field, the Obama team created a truly inline programme.
The second idea I want to talk about is again straightforward. But if followed to the letter, it will ensure that the design and tactical execution of any digital activity is optimized for success. And it is, very simply: Be Nice.
While it sounds trite, those businesses that adopt the attributes of niceness when communicating online can only succeed. A few months ago I wrote on my blog: : “…if you’re generous with your time, are courteous, listen, don’t interrupt, help people achieve what they want to achieve and make people smile – in short, if you’re nice – then people will want to hang out with you and they’ll want to introduce you to their mates.”
Any organization that demonstrates the attributes of niceness online – those that run online campaigns that are inclusive, non-judgmental, even-handed, polite, respectful, courteous, humorous, empowering, supportive, interesting and engaging – will be infinitely better placed to succeed than an organization that doesn’t. After all, it’s not not called antisocial media for nothing.
My advice to you all: get inline and be nice. It’s just like being back at school.
Simon Says Move October 17, 2008Posted by James Warren in pr, work.
So the cat is out of the bag… I’ve been dying to write about this for ages!
I’m delighted to confirm that Simon is joining WS UK’s consumer team as head of digital. This is the first step in our strategy of embedding digital experts (‘change agents’) into our European practice teams (as described, in a slightly round about fashion, in the phase two bit of this post) to bolster our ability to provide clients with appropriate multi-channel comms counsel and support.
We’re moving, rapidly, towards our goal of having digital DNA embedded throughout the agency. In last December’s post, I estimated this would take at least twelve months. The great news is we’re well ahead of schedule. Welcome, Simon. I can’t wait to have you as part of our merry virtual digiteam and look forward to helping you make a massive difference to our consumer practice (and beyond)!
EDIT: Simon’s take on the move. Simon is one of the people I’ve most respected and followed over the years in the digital comms space. In our discussions we very quickly realised we share the same views on the whats, wheres and hows of digital comms. He’s going to make a tremendous contribution to our business.
Truly, Weirdly Live June 10, 2008Posted by James Warren in pr.
Look who’s back… A permanent resurrection, perhaps?
Atishoo March 18, 2008Posted by James Warren in blog, pr, work.
Crikey, it’s dusty round here. Never mind. Nothing a squirt or two of Cillit Bang can’t sort, I fancy. The really good news is I am musing on a couple of interesting posts and – given that for the first time in about three months I don’t have a pitch this week – these ones may even see the light of day. Who knows.
In the meantime – and I’m pleased to say this is becoming a familiar refrain – we are hiring (as the boss indicated a week or so ago). I am increasingly desparate for some smart, willing, senior digibods to help service all the business mounting up next to my desk (and secure even more global/regional opps, natch). I have projects on the go in the consumer, healthcare, technology, online, government and corporate arenas (arenae?), plus lots of digital video activity bubblnig away too. Something for everyone. If you fancy broadening your horizons and joining a team at the heart of this magnificent company’s future, get in touch at jwarren [at] webershandwick [dot] com. Alternatively, direct Tweet me @jamesdotwarren. You know it makes sense (and even if you don’t, try it anyway).
BetaBC December 14, 2007Posted by James Warren in media, pr, web 2.0.
Been looking at the beta of the new BBC home page. As you’d expect, it’s all leaning towards greater personalisation, allowing each user to specify the news that’s relevant to them. And this ‘MyNews’ aspect will only get more sophisticated, I opine. Which begs the question – does that make a splash for a client on the BBC web site more or less valuable…? Discuss.