Proposed to The ABC Company
Presented on March 5, 2019
How every organisation can become its own research & media outlet Winning the arms race for influence in the attention economy
THE SHIFT RESEARCH
2021 The Shift Publishing
Andrew Thompson & Professor Victor Gekara
Accelerated market influence
Broadcast your business
viewpoints backed up by academic
Methods Industry research report Media release
Coaching key messaging Webinar production
Industry conferences Editorial blogs SEO
social media strategy
Outcomes Business lead generation
Personal company brand building Media exposure
Stakeholder partnerships Digital traction
Customer data insights
Stand out cut through
Get ready to launch
THE SHIFT Over the past 15 years, digital technologies have
New and emerging technologies are
transformed how the world disseminates and
constantly re-shaping the methods and
consumes news and information.
manner of global communication; redefining the rules of engagement for organisations
First generation social media platforms such as
and business leaders.
Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have democratised global discourse, rapidly displacing
Real time data and analytics can be rapidly
centralised newspaper publishers and TV
mobilised to enable targeted digital
engagement and influence with key stakeholders and tipping point audiences.
Multi-million dollar printing presses and TV networks are being bypassed by the
The resultant incoming customer and
‘metamedium’ of everyday smartphones. The
audience engagement data can be
intermediary is no longer necessary.
leveraged to inform future communications' strategies and business intelligence.
Global communication is now accessible, instantaneous, and unceasing; involving multidirectional conversations between businesses, governments, customers, media and the wider public.
Digital discourse - shifting dynamics Digital communication platforms
Rising distrust of media in post-truth world
In the past organisations and aspiring thought
Audiences are increasingly questioning the
leaders needed access to multi-million dollar
truth and validity of the message.
broadcasting or printing and distribution
The phenomenon of 'fake news' and
networks to disseminate to mass audiences.
'alternative facts' have undermined public
The advent of digital communication platforms
trust in traditional editorial methods and
has made mass communication accessible,
standards, particularly as tech trends such
affordable and instantaneous.
as deep fakes and algorithm bias proliferate.
Personal data privacy laws
COVID digital acceleration
As increasingly stringent data privacy laws
COVID-19 has fast-tracked digitalisation,
roll out across the globe, organisations will
having pushed both mass and
be compelled to offer informative and
interpersonal communication further into
authoritative content as a 'fair trade' in
the digital realm.
exchange for audiences willingly handing
Close geographical proximity became both
over the personal data that now drives
undesirable from a health perspective, and
customer engagement strategies.
unnecessary following the mass adoption of video conferencing and remote work
Traditional media business models disrupted The influence, market reach and value of legacy media, TV/radio networks, and newspapers is rapidly diminishing.
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A NEW IMPERATIVE
The battle for digital traction, cut-through
That’s a precarious tightrope under
and influence is intense and sometimes
customary communication strategies. A new
volatile. While unengaging content fails to
approach is required. Organisations and
connect, sensationalistic ‘click bait’ risks
aspiring thought leaders must embrace
digitally integrated, action orientated research and editorial methods to explore
Organisations and industry thought leaders
and solve pertinent issues relating to their
must pivot away from prescriptive
industry. Symbiotic digital distribution
storytelling - often stretched across reverse
strategies can then be deployed to deliver
engineered brand 'narratives', with thinly
value laden, targeted content to tipping point
veiled self promotional agendas.
audiences, who in return yield cut through, impact, analytics insight and long term
Instead they must become digitally
influence for organisations.
orientated research & media outlets. Organisations can be upfront with their
Key organisational audiences
commercial and policy standpoints, whilst
Public & Community
contributing tangible social value, by
exploring and potentially solving pertinent
and impactful issues relating to their
business, industry and wider community. New dynamic digitally integrated research Global digital discourse is rapidly shifting, so
strategies can sit between the ‘detached
too must communication strategies.
scholasticism’ of academia and the salesmanship and superficiality of ‘high-
Intensifying competition within the digital
brow management consultancy.’
attention economy is compelling aspiring thought leaders to create ‘sticky content,’
Organisations that fail to adapt to the fast
whilst trying to maintain authority, credibility
changing nature of digital discourse will be
left on the sidelines. Those that take a proactive approach now will build agency, and secure compounding capital within the digital sphere.
A CONTEST OF IDEAS
The fast shifting, overcrowded and volatile
Amateur social media traders on
nature of global digital discourse makes cut-
Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets undermine
giant hedge funds, whilst redefining target audiences for future financial
At the same time, aspiring thought leaders
must ensure their message is authentic and
A raft of companies accused of
factual, while not misunderstood, diluted,
broadcasting empty and tokenistic
maligned or malevolently co-opted. Meanwhile
social media platitudes on issues, such
the arms race for digital influence continues to
as Black Lives Matter and climate
intensify and shape global agendas.
In recent times the world has seen:
Articulate research and editorial content
Facebook reverse a sudden Australian
has the power to define winners and losers
news ban amid a contentious government
in the arms race of information - across
media bargaining code.
politics, business and broader society - and
The former US President suspended from
in turn shape pivotal local and international
Twitter and Facebook.
agendas. Whether in the global halls of
power or the local council - the fundamental dynamics are the same.
CONTENT REMAINS KING... BUT MUST EVOLVE As Bill Gates predicted all the way in back
The rapid evolution of digital discourse,
in 1996, 'Content is King". According to
means content creation must evolve, if it’s
research by Edelman and LinkedIn, out of
to gain traction and achieve purposeful
1,200 business decision maker
respondents, 58 per cent read one or more hours of thought leadership per week.
Audiences are becoming increasingly sophisticated, impatient and
Additionally, 55 per cent of respondents
judgemental. Content that's not targeted,
said they use thought leadership to vet
engaging and meaningful will fail to gain
organisations they may hire.
impact, or worse, risks reputational damage.
A NEW METHOD FOR THE NEW PARADIGM Organisations must redirect resources, to produce tangible value with evidence based research that offers constructive insights and solutions relating to issues impacting their industry and the broader community. 'Useful’ and ‘interesting’ information spreads widely, and delivers impact and influence. False news travels faster.
"The market will not clean up the bad material, but will shift focus and economic rewards toward the reliable." Digitally orientated, self contained, authoritative research can be likened to an armoured vessel transporting an organisation's expertise and values through treacherous digital terrain,
Emerging technologies are intensifying
maintaining true north, while protecting
the arms race of information between
against competing and misleading
those who want to falsify information
and those who want to produce accurate information. Despite the volatile and rapidly shifting evolution of digital discourse, organisations can not afford to opt out. A 2019 survey found 74 per cent of consumers think brands should take a stand on issues such as climate change, while a more recent study found that even if speaking up on issues like Black Lives Matter is politically divisive, most people agree it's worse to say nothing at all.
As inventor, adviser and Wall Street analyst Tom Wolzien states, "the market will not clean up the bad material, but will shift focus and economic rewards toward the reliable." "Information consumers, fed up with false narratives, will increasingly shift toward more-trusted sources, resulting in revenue flowing toward those more trusted sources and away from the junk." Therefore, organisational leaders must invest in strong digitally integrated research and editorial content, guided by analytics, so they can offer audiences in-depth and constructive insights into pivotal issues, and in turn become established industry thought leaders.
THE SHIFT RESEARCH METHOD
Digitally integrated research and editorial
In turn they will be recognised as valuable
content provides organisations with an
and authoritative leaders in their chosen
impactful, transparent and authoritative
field, reinforcing organisational integrity
platform, from which to articulate and
and core values - internally and externally.
broadcast expertise and values. Organisations can be upfront about commercial and policy standpoints, while still producing valuable insights and solutions for audiences and business objectives.
CASE STUDY A private equity firm is coming under
The hypothetical organisation has moved
increasing pressure from shareholder
from being part of the problem, to part of
activists about lack of staff diversity. The
the solution, and in doing so has earnt the
company is genuinely striving to employ
right to comment on the issue
more diversely, but is having trouble
authoritatively - becoming a true thought
attracting or finding suitable talent from
leader in the space.
diverse backgrounds. The original research and findings help By deploying digitally integreated action
contribute to broader positive change, and
orientated research, the company
ultimately contribute to the greater good -
proactively researches the issue and
in this case, more diversity in private equity
offers valuable contributions and
potential solutions. Not just for the company itself, but the broader industry at large. An authoritative, credentialled research report and its recommendations can be published, articulated through impactful editorial coverage, and targeted to key audiences through customised digital distribution strategies - effectively making the organisation its own research, media and distribution centre.
FIRST MOVER ADVANTAGE Rapidly emerging technologies will continue to transform, accelerate and extrapolate the impact of digital discourse. It’s imperative organisations utilise digitally integrated, action orientated research and editorial methods to explore and solve pertinent issues relating to their industry. This in turn will deliver audience & user growth, shape agendas, whilst harvesting key analytic insights to deliver market intelligence and business growth. Investing in digital influence and agency today will yield compounding returns, as digitalisation accelerates and competition within the attention economy intensifies.
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