Winning the arms race for influence in the attention economy.

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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



2021 The Shift Publishing

Andrew Thompson & Professor Victor Gekara

Industry knowledge



journalistic expertise

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



take off


Get ready to launch

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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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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

diminished credibility.

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

Service users/Customers

exploring and potentially solving pertinent


and impactful issues relating to their

Internal staff/Members

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

and authenticity.

left on the sidelines. Those that take a proactive approach now will build agency, and secure compounding capital within the digital sphere.

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The fast shifting, overcrowded and volatile

Amateur social media traders on

nature of global digital discourse makes cut-

Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets undermine

through difficult.

giant hedge funds, whilst redefining target audiences for future financial

At the same time, aspiring thought leaders

communication strategies.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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