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COMMUNICATION

www.communication-director.eu

DIRECTOR

Magazine for Corporate Communications and Public Relations

02/2011

Embedding the message Making your mark with brand communications

Framing the company via the most important issues

How to deďŹ ne your organisation by clarifying its social positions

RedeďŹ ning external image by rebranding from within

Why Aviva secured employee buy-in to deliver their global rebrand

Choosing the right tools for your right to respond

When communicating, tools and language should suit your brand


EDITORIAL

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oday, branding is serious business. Several recent high-prof ile rebrands have reminded us of the importance of redef ining (or reminding) the world just what your organisation is doing or wants to do, and the success of these hugely complicated and expensive projects rests on – or falls by – the strength of the organisation’s communications. And branding is everywhere. It has evolved from product advertising to branding complicated, global organisations, and now, as Professor Peggy Simcic Brønn writes in this issue, on to governments and public services. Employer branding, the idea of developing the image of your company as a valid employer, is a recent addition to the f ield, with the f irst book on the subject published in 2005. So it is a broad f ield, a fact complicated by the mixture of elements involved in building up and communicating brand. The modern expectation is that communicators in the public relations and marketing departments work together alongside their colleagues in the corporate social responsibility department in order to align the unif ied brand with corporate strategy. Then that brand must be conveyed to the diverse stakeholder groups, each of whom expects something slightly different from the promises implied by the brand. Separating product brands from the ‘umbrella’ corporate brand is another complication, requiring degrees of consistency and differentiation. Ultimately, and reassuringly, brand communications returns to one simple truth: the power of storytelling. As Rachel Davis and Alan Newland write in their article, brand communications are at their strongest when they connect the company with a compelling narrative. We hope that, among the several articles collected here, you will f ind inspiration for your own brand narratives.

Marc-Oliver Voigt Publisher marc-oliver.voigt@communication-director.eu

Photo: Moritz Vennemann

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“So where do you see yourself on the social media map? Are you a social media coward or a social media cowboy?”

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“In September 2010, 61 individuals involved in organised crime were arrested in a large-scale operation, 20 of whom were police officers charged with corruption.”

AGENDA SETTER

Communication ideas in the eyes of experts

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Creating a situation

CEOs in the eyes of the media

How to improve personnel management and your career

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Reflections on the 2011 Social Media and the Communication Profession survey

The shadow of the tree European service providers such as law firms are getting wise to reputation management

Dionisio Uría Ronsmans

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COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

“Meet regularly and often” could be the motto for employee engagement in one Austrian company

How to create a feedback culture The right to reply is a business benefit, especially for a globalised organisation

Melissa Lamson

Cowboys and cowards

BORDER CROSSER

Eliane Bucher, Christian Fieseler and Miriam Meckel

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Welding the team tightly together Franz Puchegger

The corporate and academic stand on communication

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The evolution of marketing has forged a new relationship between it and public relations

TEAM PLAYER

CEO Stockwatch by CARMA International

STRATEGIC THINKER

A different race Pascal Cerutti

Stripping corruption bare

LEADERS 14

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Experiencing the unknown

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Leading professionals working abroad Interview with Melissa Fleming, Head of Communications Service and Spokesperson for the High Commissioner, United Nations High Commission for Refugees


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“In the old world, our brand was static. In the new world, we have to invest in the brand every day, in our work with customers, in our operations and in our communications.

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“What I’m learning in this job is that there is endless human suffering in this world. And probably one of the biggest tragedies is being forced from your home”

STORY TELLER

Looking at the important questions of communication

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The sweet smell of brand success Many different ingredients go towards successful brand communications

Dafydd Phillips

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Presenting a unified front

The art of storytelling weaves connections between organisations and their values

Behind the steering wheel Daimler’s head of global communications shares his thoughts on brand communications

Branding rules from the private sphere can and should be applied to the public sphere

COMMUNICATIONS READER 88

Book Reviews

ASSOCIATION

Rachel Davis and Alan Newland

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Old rules for new talent Peggy Simcic Brønn

Employee buy-in is the first step when contemplating a global rebrand

“Suffer a sea change”

People may know your name, but do they truly understand what exactly you do?

Carina Brorman

Jan Gooding

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Shake up perceptions

European Association of Communication Directors

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European Association of Communication Directors

Interview with Jorg Höwe

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Framing the debate, framing the brand

Photos: Korupcija; UNHCR;

Guido Berens and Mignon von Halderen

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QUESTIONS TO...

Positioning the issues of the day within the context of your brand strengthens your position

How to choose the right weapon Studies prove that, when responding to a crisis, media choice matters

The personal side of Communication Directors

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Joanna Garoupa Director, Corporate Communications and Governmental Affairs, Siemens Portugal

Peter Kerkhof, Friederike Schultz and Sonja Utz

02/2011

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AGENDA SETTER

STRIPPING CORRUPTION BARE How the European Union Police Mission succeeded in directly engaging the public of Bosnia and Herzegovina in their bold anti-corruption campaign by Neil Cranswick

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ccording to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index of 2009, Bosnia and Herzegovina was the most corrupt country in Europe that year (with the exception of several members of the former Soviet Union), achieving a score of 3.0. To put this into perspective, the index ranked New Zealand as the least corrupt state with a score of 9.4, and Bosnia and Herzegovina came in joint 99th place alongside countries such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Madagascar, Senegal, Tonga and Zambia. A quote from the report makes mention of the “various corruption scandals” in the country, as well as a “lack of implementation and enforcement of anti-corruption reforms”, as factors which led to the country having such a low score. According to Killian Wahl, head of the press and public information department at the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, “corruption permeates all segments of society in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has a deep impact on the lives of its citizens, undermining the rule of law, stymieing economic and social development, and slowing down European integration.” The primary goal of EUPM is to support the country’s law enforcement agencies in the fight against organised crime and corruption, which, to some extent, many citizens have taken for granted as permanent forces in society. Noting that progress in eliminating organised crime had been limited, and spurred on by Transparency International’s report, the EUPM communications team decided to dedicate their campaign in January 2010 to the fight against corruption. 02/2011

COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

In a country where, according to Wahl, there is a “custom of giving envelopes with rather large amounts of money to doctors, clerks and other public servants”, EUPM decided that the best way to have an impact was to focus on the effect that corruption has on the individual, instead of on society as a whole. They found that Direct Media, a Sarajevo-based consultancy, had a similar idea on how to approach the issue, and moved ahead with a proposal in tandem with the agency.

DOING IT DIFFERENTLY Adnan Suljkanović, the creative director at Direct Media, explained that, “from the beginning, we wanted to do a different campaign, without ‘envelope handling’, shady characters or any of the other usual imagery for this subject”. Wahl explained how the EUPM and Direct Media decided who to target in the campaign: “Corruption affects the entire population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in one way or another. Thus, our target audience was not limited by age, education or income range, but our message was created around an average citizen in his thirties, with whom our


AGENDA SETTER

Photos: Korupcija

focus groups readily identified. With a message that was rather universal (‘corruption takes everything from you’), there was no need to adapt it to various groups.” So the main message would be a general one, encouraging citizens to report instances of corruption. However they did tailor it slightly depending on the medium used – as Wahl continued, “we simply addressed corruption issues that affect different generations through other means – for example, we talked more about ways to fight corruption in the education system in TV shows that targeted younger audiences.”

FIGHTING RELUCTANCE The main problem that EUPM and Direct Media foresaw affecting the success of the campaign was the public’s reluctance to report corruption, however they hoped that their approach would succeed in opening the eyes of the public to the vicious circle of corruption present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, encouraging them to report corruption to the helpline number which was displayed prominently on all of the advertising material. The campaign featured an ‘average’ man who gives everything, including – literally – the shirt from his back, to corrupt individuals. Further versions of the advert show him getting his clothes back when he dials the EUPM hotline. The image of a man in just his underwear paints a damning picture of the metaphorical effects of corruption, with few words needed to embellish the message. Without naming specific types of corruption, or corrupt officials, it was harder for the public to bury their head in the sand and feign ignorance, and the use of the word ‘you’ personalised the message for everyone who saw it.

A strong image backed by few words got the message across

The message translates as ‘corruption takes everything from you’

According to Suljkanović, the public had become immune to the more traditional style of anti-corruption campaigns, so they hoped that this more personal approach would have a stronger effect. As well as rolling out the image of the stripped victim of corruption on television and ‘out of home’ advertising, radio advertisements spread the message, and an envelope with a 200KM bank note was inserted in daily newspapers, attracting special attention. One side of the note featured text reminding people that bribery is a criminal offense, and asking the recipient to pass the note on to the next person who asked them for a bribe. On the back of the campaign, universities and hospitals echoed the main message, and students and NGOs launched an “Anti-Corruption Ambassadors” project in order to further spread the message that country-wide corruption strips 02/2011

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EXPERT OPINION More than just a challenge Trying to motivate citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina to report and fight corruption is more than just a challenge. In a country where corruption is omnipresent, and where there is an evident lack of trust in law enforcement agencies and government institutions, people become very passive when it comes to fighting for their rights. There have been numerous campaigns attempting to raise public awareness on the issue of corruption, however, few have been effective – at least in terms of affecting the level of corruption, which is still too high. This campaign was rare in that it focused on the effect corruption has on the average citizen. Additionally, it not only focused on billboards and TV commercials, but also tried to involve institutions and law enforcement agencies. It did not only point out the problem, but also gave people a tool they could use to fight it. However, even though billboards and TV ads showed a realistically grim picture of an individual destroyed by corruption, the image of a man taking his clothes off in front of cameras caused ambiguous reactions amongst traditional Bosnians. When it comes to campaign results, it did stir attention and gain significant coverage, however it is very hard to connect this particular campaign with prosecution of corruption figures, not only because media campaign results cannot be measured by the number of arrested officials, but also because the number of corruption cases prosecuted annually here, or more precisely those finalised by valid verdicts, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

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The campaign was generally well noticed, based in terms of the idea, but the communication is a bit stuck on the ‘delivery’ – not so much on the delivery of the overall message, but more on the ‘call to action’ segment, since this is a call to report cases of corruption. The information communication segment, or ‘what corruption is’ does not underline emotional impact. Empathy, which is needed to motivate the target population to become active and report corruption, is replaced here with irony. The informative role of the visuals took priority over the motivating role. Since there are no hard facts and arguments (numbers) to add weight to the call for action, there was an opportunity to create emotion-based call for action. The synergy of the informative and emotional segment works better on the video with its well-written copy, “You decide when it is enough.” With a little extra dedication to the production of work, the spot would be able to act much more efficiently in calling for action. In any case, this is a refreshing communication campaign that caught the attention of the audience, and it represents a departure from the boring and clichéd approach to awareness campaigns in our country. I can not but mention here that the really big promotion of the EUPM phone line, where you can make anonymous and untraceable calls to report criminals, was run under the line: “Be brave!” Why someone need be brave to use a completely safe service remains a mystery.

Ivana Korajlic

Zoran Ivančić

Spokesperson, Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina

General Manager, McCann Erickson Sarajevo

Ivana Korajlic holds an MSc in Corporate Communications, and was a PR lecturer at Banja Luka College before joining Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH) in 2008. At TI BiH, she is both a project manager and a spokesperson, in charge of running and coordinating projects aimed at fighting against corruption, and also dealing with stakeholders.

02/2011

A departure from cliché

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Zoran Ivančić is the general manager of McCann Erickson Sarajevo, a full service agency which serves global, regional and local clients in the multinational and fragmented market of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has a background in performing arts, TV news, and public relations. He is also chairman of the board at the Centre for Public Affairs Advocacy.

normal people of their dignity. Police agencies also adopted anti-corruption strategies, with 39 high-profile investigations launched as a direct result of the campaign. Since the campaign’s end in early 2010, there has been a measure of progress in reducing corruption in the country. Wahl mentioned that, “In September 2010, 61 individuals involved in organised crime were arrested in a large-scale operation, 20 of whom were police officers charged with corruption. In December 2010, six high-ranking police officers in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Una-Sana Canton were arrested, including the canton’s police commissioner.” Suljkanović explained that calls to the EUPM hotline increased by 200 per cent after the launch of the campaign, with the majority of calls being about cases of corruption, abuse of office or drug trafficking. The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index of 2010 awarded the country an improved score of 3.2, moving it up to a joint position of 91 in the rankings. While all the evidence points to the campaign having had a positive impact, the communications team at EUPM are not resting on their laurels. Everyone involved knows that the campaign is part of a much larger process: that of breaking down the walls of silence that enshrine and empower corruption in society. As Wahl admits, “The fight against corruption continues on all levels and more people are getting involved every day. We are, of course, heartened by the results achieved so far, but the fight against corruption is a long process and Bosnia and Herzegovina has a difficult road ahead. However, the snowball effect has been achieved and there is no going back for society in Bosnia and Herzegovina – only pushing forward.”

Photos: DW; Private

AGENDA SETTER


AGENDA SETTER

CREATING A SITUATION As public spectacles go, the increasingly popular flashmob delivers a short, sharp shock. By tying its energy to a serious message, the impact is doubled by Dafydd Phillips

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iodiversity is the variety of life in a given ecosystem; it is used as an indicator of the state of health of the planet. As a symbol of the interconnectedness of all living things, it presents a considerable challenge for communicators engaged with conveying its importance. This impression is confirmed by the introductory page of the European Commission’s website for its 2010 biodiversity campaign, which gives a whole new meaning to ‘flowery prose’. “It’s the foundation of life. The dance of a bee around a flower. Frogs jumping on the water. Worms writhing in the soil. And you, watching all this as you walk in a meadow.” Anyone trying to imprint the tough messages behind this language into the minds of an information-overloaded public has their work cut out for them. In July last year, the European Commission awarded the contract to handle the second phase of their biodiversity campaign, “We Are All In This Together” to Mostra, a public relations agency that, according to Mostra’s Maria Van Hemeledonck-Rodriguez, “runs about half a dozen campaigns per year on behalf of the European Commission”. To ensure that the campaign would have a pan-European scope, events were planned to take place across four European countries: Portugal, Hungary, Slovenia and Romania. In August, to plan the Portugese leg of the campaign, Mostra approached Inforpress, a fellow member of Public Relations Organisation International (PROI). Mostra and Inforpress had collaborated in the past on several special events, such as the European Commission’s Development Day in Lisbon. This time, they were asked to help with the task of bringing the online message of biodiversity onto the streets.

DRAMA IN THE SHOPPING CENTRE The concept behind the events was in three parts: to prompt recognition of the decreasing levels of biodiversity, to help peo02/2011

COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

ple understand how this implicates and affects us, and to spur realisation that we have both the power and the responsibility to combat the loss of biodiversity. So far, so predictable – but here’s where the planning takes an unusual turn: Inforpress set about organising a ‘flashmob’ to deliver this serious message. Flashmobs have been appearing on the radar for quite a few years, first as Situationist-like exercises in public surrealism (the first took place in Manhattan in 2003), and now increasingly as a com-

Registering the surprise and engagement of people...produced compelling footage for online viewing. munications tool. Ana Margarida Ximenes, country manager at Inforpress Portugal, encapsulated the ethos behind flashmobs as “creating a moment of joy in one unexpected moment”, a description confirmed by several online flashmob videos, in which shaky hand-held cameras capture looks of bemusement on the faces of passers-by turning into blissful grins at the sight of their fellow citizens bursting out into seemingly spontaneous (though in fact militarily-precise) choreography. The Lisbon flashmob took place


AGENDA SETTER

Photos: Acção Biodiversidade

Scenes from the flashmob event held at Lisbon’s Colombo shopping centre on Saturday, November 27.

on Saturday, November 27, 2010, in the Colombo shopping centre, one of Europe’s largest American-style malls. 12 actors dressed as police officers burst into the foyer of the Lusomundo cinema armed with sirens and megaphones to attract the attention of the centre’s visitors. Behind a cordon marking the perimeter of the action, the actors fired off several warning messages about biodiversity and drew chalk outlines of endangered species on the floor. At the end of the energetic crime scene performance, the Mostra-produced clip “Today it is the sparrow, Tomorrow it could be you”, was played on screens around the cinema to show how the loss of plants and animals could impact humans. The clip’s purpose was to introduce the biodiversity campaign and tie the event in the public’s mind to the European Commission.

PRODUCING SPONTANEOUS THEATRE According to Ana Margarida Ximenes, Inforpress was at hand to capture the immediate reactions of the roughly 1,000 passersby. “Registering the surprise and engagement of people in the context of biodiversity protection”, she explained, “and recording the shock on people’s faces as they discover that biodiversity protection is about the death of species produced compelling footage for online viewing, that was passed on through social media networks.” I asked Ximenes to describe the impact of the event, and she responded with the very-unscientific “surprise and joy” as metrics for evaluating the success of the event. “It makes for wonderful theatre,” she explains, “and creates a lot of impact in each person”. She also mentions more concrete measuring standards: the “spontaneous positive messages of engagement we’ve received from citizens”, as well as the fact that “the video (of) the activity helped us to spread the message into the social networks, and advertise the activity” (for example, the campaign’s Facebook page has 192,679 friends). Ximenes sums up the potency of the eccentric event with a simple metaphor: “The gift distributed – a small box with flower seeds that symbolises the importance of 02/2011

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Changing global mentalities Flashmobs constitute a new way to communicate and influence the public at two different levels: during the action’s implementation (spontaneity draws the audience’s curiosity) and subsequent viral perpetuation (posted videos mediatised through social networks). When properly prepared, this type of action is believed to bring about a good amount of innovation and to enable paramount audience interest. However, the development of flashmobs promoting a brand – in which case the sales increase is one of the main priorities – is one thing; a different matter is the development of flashmobs aiming at disseminating a message regarding global responsibility and citizenship. In this case the purpose is to change mentalities by getting people to alter habits acquired in childhood (and closely linked to their way of life). This is a real challenge. Despite the unequivocal success of these campaigns in reaching the targeted European population, as stated in the article, I believe their real impact and effectiveness will only be possible to measure within a decade, at least. They engage fellowship, global responsibility and a change in citizens’ mentalities concerning daily actions and their future impact, not immediate sales results. Therefore, within 10 years time it would be valuable and stimulating to assess if changes in European habits and mentalities did actually occur concerning biodiversity. Finally, hurrah to the European Commission’s engagement towards the implementation of new strategies to engage citizens with the issue of global responsibility.

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The mobilisation of people throughout history has been a technique often used in political demonstrations, so flashmobs, still little known in Portugal as a means of communication, are associated with this type of action. However, the flashmob has been popularised by the internet, social networking, blogs, media, viral e-mails and SMS. Flashmobs have had some impact in Portugal, although with more emphasis on the urban environment. The instantaneous mobilisation of people in places such as airports, malls, lounges and public squares to perform a certain action is the most effective way to meet, involve and interact with the audience, conveying the desired messages. These manifestations of flashmobs can be characterised as the social, citizens’ movement, political, artistic, safety and environmental type. They aim to change routines, breaking down walls and raise awareness. Regarding the “We are all in this together” campaign, I believe that this flashmob action was developed in an interesting, creative, and amazing way, and engaged with the public in such a way as to raise people‘s consciousness of biodiversity protection and the environmental impact. The option to use certain scenes from the CSI series, which is known to the public, created a greater closeness and interaction. This event concept can be defined as an alert and demonstration of how humans are involved and might be affected by their own actions in nature – so the flashmob has become main stream. It is better to implement more innovative campaigns to engage citizens and companies to carry on this crusade.

Liliana de Almeida

Lígia Várzea

Communication Director, Bloom Up

Head of Communication and Public Relations, Lundin Mining Group

Liliana de Almeida is communication director of Bloom Up, a marketing and events communications agency based in Lisbon. Prior to this position, she was account manager at JRS Pharmarketing and senior account executive at Grupo GCI. Her areas of expertise include healthcare and corporate communication.

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Breaking down the walls

COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

Lígia Várzea represents Lundin Mining Group as a spokeswoman in Portugal, where she is responsible for all press, public relations, corporate communications, research and reputation management. Prior to joining Somincor/Lundin in 1990, she was head of public relations at Transport Company.

preserving our nature. This was carried home by all of the 1,000 people that were in the mall.” Maria Van Hemeledonck-Rodriguez, Mostra’s project manager for this campaign, also reports satisfaction at the event’s outcome: “We were very satisfied with the recent work performed by Inforpress for the biodiversity campaign,” she told me, “and could envisage engaging them again for future event activities.”

FUTURE FLASHES Today, new communications tools are a near obsession of communicators and opinion leaders, but the tendency is to focus on online tools. Flashmobs represent a wholly different direction – part event, part performance art. Ana Ximenes appears to be a big fan: when I asked her whether she foresees an increase in their popularity among corporate communications, she responded in the positive. “When you’re looking for a fresh idea to liven up or kick off your next conference or corporate event, it isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel. Every day we see different companies and institutions using flash mobs”. She points to a current example as a way of illustrating the global appeal of flashmobs: “The ‘Flash Mob dance’ is Vodafone Ghana’s innovative way to create more buzz for the global football season and to share in the football passion that has engulfed the whole country. They used the occasion to inform their customers that they would be able to share the spirit of the game for longer when they join Vodafone and get up to a 75 per cent bonus on their credit.” On the basis of this evidence, it seems likely that a flashmob event may well come to your neighbourhood: consider yourselves warned!

Photo: Luciano Reis

EXPERT OPINION


Youssou N´Dour

Heike Makatsch

(c) Greg Williams & Nick Stevens

Michael Stipe (R.E.M.)

Fair trade can end poverty for millions of people in poor countries. When harmful agricultural subsidies are abolished and workers’ rights upheld.

www.maketradefair.com

www.oxfam.org


LEADERS CEOs in the eyes of the media

CEO STOCKWATCH Watching the people who run the commercial world by CARMA International

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If business leaders were hoping that the start of 2011 would usher in a period of greater stability in the global environment, they were sorely disappointed. During the period covered by CARMA’s latest survey of media coverage of business leaders, January 6 to March 11, 2011, natural disasters, political unrest across the Middle East, soaring oil prices and worries about the fragility of the global recovery stoked uncertainty. Floods brought destruction and human misery in eastern Australia in January and a huge earthquake and tsunami devastated northern Japan on March 11 – the last day covered by this CARMA survey. In this uncertain environment, many of the usual heavyweights retained prominent positions in CARMA’s latest ranking of media reporting of the world’s top business leaders. The last survey’s three most visible CEOs played seesaw, with Steve Jobs of Apple swapping places with Warren Buffett. Jobs finished in first place as news that he was again taking

medical leave spurred media comments, mainly favourable. Despite his ill health, Jobs hosted the launch event of Apple’s second generation iPad tablet computer in early March. Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, slipped from first to third place. Rupert Murdoch remained in second place as he persisted in his bid to take control of BSkyB and the phone hacking scandal at newspapers within his empire continued to gain attention. A number of bankers rose up the rankings or came in from outside the top twenty, headed by Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan who finished fourth, up from 14th last survey. Bob Diamond, the new CEO of Barclays, came eighth and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs took ninth position, while Josef Ackermann of Deutsche Bank finished 16th, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup 18th and James Gorman of Morgan Stanley 20th. None of these five names featured in the previous survey, suggesting that the period of grace of less intense media

Top 20 CEOs worldwide | Top CEOs by volume in Q4

Top 20 CEOs in Europe | Volume of coverage in Q4

Apple / Jobs News Corporation / Murdoch Berkshire Hathaway / Buffett JP Morgan / Dimon BP / Dudley Google / Schmidt Nissan-Renault / Ghosn Barclays / Diamond Goldman Sachs / Blankfein Fiat / Marchionne Facebook / Zuckerberg General Electric / Immelt Microsoft / Ballmer BHP Billiton / Kloppers General Motors / Akerson Deutsche Bank / Ackermann BOA / Moynihan Citygroup / Pandit NYSE Euronext / Niederauer Morgan Stanley / Gorman

News Corporation / Murdoch Apple / Jobs Barclays / Diamond BP / Dudley Nissan-Renault / Ghosn Berkshire Hathaway / Buffett Fiat / Marchionne Deutsche Bank / Ackermann JP Morgan / Dimon Goldman Sachs / Blankfein Google / Schmidt Daimler / Zetsche Microsoft / Ballmer Sberbank / Gref Volkswagen / Winterkorn General Electric / Immelt Facebook / Zuckerberg RBS / Hester General Motors / Akerson NYSE Euronext / Niederauer

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0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90


LEADERS

Quality of CEO coverage | Percentage of favourable, neutral and unfavourable coverage favourable

neutral

unfavourable

Jobs Murdoch Buffett Dimon Dudley Schmidt Ghosn Diamond Blankfein Marchionne Zuckerberg Immelt Ballmer Kloppers Akerson Ackermann Moynihan Pandit Niederauer Gorman

60%

70%

80%

90%

100%

CEO of NYSE Euronext, into 19th place. Just outside the top 20, Bernard Arnault of LVMH ranked 21st, reflecting media reporting of LVMH’s aggressive intentions to take over Hermes and its acquisition of Bulgari. In terms of reporting themes, finance issues remained dominant with a 45 per cent share of overall coverage of Themes most beneficial for CEOs | Favourability of topics % unfavourable

% neutral

% favourable

100% 80% 60% 40%

17

20%

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Environment

Governance

Labour

Society

0% Legal

attention granted to beleaguered bankers was at an end. Brian Moynihan of Bank of America remained 17th. With banker salaries and bumper bonuses still fuelling public anger, politicians and media commentators were again scrutinising the actions of bank CEOs. Other entrants included Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and Renault, in seventh position, who was propelled higher by an alleged spying scandal at Renault. Two other chiefs of car makers remained in the limelight: Sergio Marchionne of Fiat ranked 10th (down from ninth) and Dan Akerson of General Motors ranked 15th (up from 16th). Three chiefs of IT giants also featured within the top 20, led by Eric Schmidt of Google in sixth place (up from 11th). Google announced Schimdt would be taking up the new post of executive chairman and passing the CEO baton to one of Google’s co-founders, Larry Page, in April. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook continued to attract media attention, helped by the success of “The Social Network”, a film dramatisation based on the Facebook story, which won four Golden Globe awards. Nevertheless, Zuckerberg fell from fourth place to finish 11th, while Steve Ballmer of Microsoft slipped three places to 13th position, despite announcing an alliance with Nokia. Announcement of a merger deal between NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Borse catapulted Duncan Niederauer,

50%

Other

40%

Commercial

30%

Products & Services

20%

Management

10%

Finance

0%

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LEADERS

The best and worst presented CEOs | Top performers vs bottom performers: differences in topic Products, services

% of volume

100%

Management Legal

80%

Labour

60%

Governance

40%

Commercial

20%

Other

Society Finance Environment

0%

Murdoch

Jobs

Ghosn

Buffett

Best performers on favourability

Worst performers on favourability

CEOs, the same as in the previous survey. Reporting of management/leadership issues rose three points to 29 per cent. Products, services and solutions represented nine per cent of reporting, a fall of two points, followed by commercial issues, which retained a six per cent share. Legal/regulatory reporting fell two points to five per cent, while ‘society’ issues accounted for just one per cent of overall reporting. The themes representing the lowest shares of reporting continued to be labour issues, environment/sustainability and governance, with less than one per cent each. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Japan, the implications for the nuclear power industry of radiation leaks from the country’s

APAC

LATAM NAM

Other (4%)

100%

Society (1%)

Labour (1%)

Legal (5%)

80%

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JAMIE DIMON OF JP MORGAN Jamie Dimon is widely respected for having navigated JP Morgan safely through the financial crisis. The highest ranking banker in CARMA’s latest survey, more than 80 per cent of his coverage was favourable and just one per cent negative. Nevertheless, Dimon is perhaps the US bank CEO provoking the greatest divergence in US public opinion. Two articles published last year reflected these divisions: “Jamie Dimon: America’s least-hatThemes most associated with CEOs | Share of coverage of issues monitored in media

Top CEOs | Geographic spread of coverage

EMEA

damaged nuclear reactors are likely to spur a media debate in the coming months. CEOs may find their environmental policies more deeply scrutinised in the media in future.

Commercial (6%)

60% Products/ Services (9%)

40% 20% 0% Jobs

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Buffett

Ghosn

Management (29%)

Finance (45%)


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Dimon | Coverage by region

NAM (35%)

LATAM (1%)

APAC (25%)

EMEA (39%)

Euro

JP Morgan | A good performance in a crisis

Jan 14 “JP Morgan Rides Consumer Revival”, Wall Street Journal US (Jan 15)

49 48 47 46

44 43

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27.02.2011

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Feb 17 “Dimon to get bonus after buoyant year”, Financial Times (Feb 18)

Jan 9 “J.P. Morgan: China Is Key”, Wall Street Journal US (Jan 10) 03.01.2011

ed banker”, said the headline of an analysis of the US banker in The New York Times’ magazine of December 1, 2010. In contrast, another headline screamed: “Jamie Dimon: The most dangerous man in America” as an article, written by MIT Professor Simon Johnson, was posted on the Huffington Post website on April 3, 2010. Roger Lowenstein, writer of The New York Times article, observed that Dimon’s “strategy of maintaining a healthy cushion of capital for a rainy day” ensured the bank’s survival during the financial crisis: “when markets melted down and the economy plunged into recession, JP Morgan remained not only solvent but profitable every quarter”. JP Morgan emerged from the crisis a “vastly larger institution” after taking over Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, and some politicians were alarmed. “The country is deeply divided over the proper role, and size, of banks, and nothing epitomises these tensions quite like the narrative of Jamie Dimon”. Professor Simon Johnson sided with those who are alarmed at the prospect of banks getting bigger. In his Huffington Post article he argued that there are two types of bankers to fear. “The first is incompetent and runs a big bank”, he said, citing Chuck Prince, formerly of Citigroup, and Ken Lewis of Bank of America. However, the second type of banker is much more dangerous: “This person understands how to control risk within a massive organisation, manage relationships across the political spectrum, and generate the right kind of public relations. When all is said and done, this banker runs a big bank and – here’s the danger – makes it even bigger.” He continued: “Jamie Dimon is by far the most dangerous American banker of this or any other recent generation”. During the period covered by CARMA’s survey, Jamie Dimon bolstered his reputation for competence by announcing record annual results for JP Morgan in January 2011. He also demonstrated his adeptness at communicating with the

media. In optimistic mood, Dimon spoke of “the start of a ‘broad-based economic recovery’” as the bank unveiled its results. “Jamie Dimon’s decision to abandon his usual caution in order to underline the improving health of US consumers and companies, coupled with JP Morgan’s better-than-expected figures, sent the bank’s stock sharply higher” (“Dimon hails start of US recovery”, Financial Times, January 15). Dimon’s confident ebullience was revealed by his willingness to give CNBC a live interview three days before the release of the bank’s results. “CEOs typically keep mum in the run-up to earnings. Not so James Dimon”, noted the Wall Street Journal US on January 14. Paying tribute to Dimon’s eloquence, the newspaper observed on January 15: “Even Jamie Dimon, the silver-tongued JP Morgan Chase chief, occasionally puts his foot in his mouth”. Trying to be politically correct when referring to struggling euro-zone countries, Dimon shied away from the term Piigs for Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain: “Instead, the usually blunt Mr Dimon called them Gipsies” (WSJ US, January 15). The Wall Street Journal poked more fun at Dimon in a piece on how bank CEOs present their earnings. They tend, it said, to share the limelight with their chief financial officers, and some do it better than others. “The chief buttinsky? JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, who sometimes seemed to make it tough for CFO Douglas Braunstein to get a word in edge wise” (“Overheard: Wall Street Phone Manners”, WSJ US, January 24). Jamie Dimon is arguably the foremost example of a banker CEO, on either side of the Atlantic, who combines competence at running a bank with skill at communicating with the media. Though some observers fear his ambitions to grow JP Morgan, he is widely respected.

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LEADERS

Ghosn | Coverage by region NAM (16%) APAC (15%)

LATAM (5%)

20

EMEA (64%)

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Renault | Timeline of a scandal Euro

Jan 11 “China denies link to Renault scandal”, Financial Times (Jan 12)

50 49 48 47

March 4 “Spy hoax fallout threatens to grow”, Financial Times (March 5)

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January 24 “Espionage chez Renault: Renault’s CEO justifies its actions” (original: “Espionnage chez Renault: le patron de Renault justifie la procedure”), Les Echos (January 24) 06.01.2011

CARLOS GHOSN OF NISSAN/RENAULT Allegations of corporate espionage at Renault tarnished the star-studded reputation of Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and its Japanese affiliate, Nissan. Carlos Ghosn had long been lauded for achieving a spectacular turnaround in the fortunes of Nissan. However, the spying scandal, which ended in the company withdrawing the accusations against three of its executives, proved deeply embarrassing for Mr Ghosn and drew criticism of his management style. Consequently, Ghosn attracted the highest proportion of negative reporting of any of the top 20 names of seven per cent. European media followed the twists and turns of the saga, notably Les Echos of France and the Financial Times. News that three senior executives at Renault had been suspended broke on January 4: “Renault trio suspended in probe into electric car secrets leak”, said an FT headline of January 6. The executives were alleged to have divulged company secrets from Renault’s electric car programme in exchange for payments into their foreign bank accounts. The FT set out the timeline of the main events in the affair on March 5. In France, it said, the news sparked speculation that foreign powers were trying to steal technological information from Renault, with the Chinese mooted as the chief suspects. Eric Besson, French industry minister, spoke of “economic warfare” on January 6. Renault brought in the intelligence services on January 7 and Patrick Pelata, Renault’s chief operating officer, talked to Le Monde of an “organised international network” involved in the spying. Les Echos reported on January 24 that Carlos Ghosn had broken his silence on French TV for the first time on the spying allegations, saying that he was “surprised and shocked”

by the affair, about which he had been informed at the end of August. Though Ghosn claimed the company had “multiple” pieces of evidence against the managers, he declined to say what they were, observed the Wall Street Journal US (January 24/January 27). By end February, however, the case against the three executives did not appear to be holding up. Renault admitted that it was looking at theories other than spying (“Spy hoax fallout threatens to grow”, FT, March 5). One such theory was that “someone inside the company was trying to discredit Mr Ghosn, whose hard-driving style has alienated some staff,” said the FT. Officials in the French government – it owns 15 per cent of Renault – were highly critical of its handling of the scandal. “Renault communicated very badly on this and put itself into difficulty in this affair,” the FT quoted one senior French official as saying (“Ghosn pressed on Renault sackings”, FT, March 5). Patrick Pelata told Le Figaro, the French daily, that there would be consequences “right to the highest level of the business, that is to say, to me”. Les Echos (March 7) interpreted Pelata’s remarks as an effort to protect his CEO from any responsibility for the affair. The story was also picked up by Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico, which took a dim view of Ghosn’s role in the saga (“Renault considers acquitting the accused of spying”, March 10). An FT article of March 10 delivered a damning verdict: “Ghosn’s dual role rendered vulnerable by spy scandal”. It recalled that at the start of his tenure, Ghosn’s management, under stress to improve productivity, had led to a spate of suicides at Renault’s Guyancourt Technocentre. The company had changed its working practices after the French courts judged the pressure on employees had led to some of these suicides. Morale had seemed to be improving, especially with Renault finding a role as a green vehicle manufacturer. But the spy


LEADERS

BOB DIAMOND OF BARCLAYS Bob Diamond, the new CEO of Barclays who took over from John Varley, quickly achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the UK’s highest-profile banker. Much of media attention was focused not on his merits, plans or earlier achievements as head of Barclays investment bank, but on the size of his pay package and bonuses. Soon after taking over the top job at Barclays, Bob Diamond appeared before a Treasury select committee in Parliament to face a three-hour grilling on pay, bonuses and business practices. Diamond’s words to the committee were widely reported, particularly his assertion that the period of “remorse and apology” for banks’ role in the financial crisis needed to be over. “Time for remorse is over” echoed the FT headline of January 12. “Mr Diamond acknowledged the public anger towards bankers over pay and said he wished he could ‘make the issue of bonuses go away’. But Britain’s highDiamond | Coverage by region NAM (11%)

EMEA (76%)

APAC (13%)

Barclays | High-profile banker Euro

Feb 15 “Barclays Sees Profit Jump 36%”, Wall Street Journal US (Feb 16)

Jan 11 “Time for remorse is over”, Financial Times (Jan 12)

340 330 320 310 300 290 280 270

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March 8 “Barclays set to close 100 Spanish branches”, Financial Times (March 9) 06.01.2011

scandal showed that “deeper down the pressures of the Ghosn regime never really disappeared”. Top management appeared to have “rushed to judgment in an unseemly affair that may well have tragically destroyed the professional lives of three managers”. The company looked “paranoid and careless, hardly the best image for a national symbol”. The FT article had sharp words for Renault’s CEO: “Mr Ghosn says he is an exceptional manager and can run two companies at opposite ends of the globe at the same time. But this latest farce-like, hugely embarrassing and potentially tragic episode seems to show he can’t. Perhaps Mr Ghosn should think seriously about giving up one or other of his jobs, devoting either his entire time to Renault in its moment of need or to Nissan”.

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est-profile banker argued that it was not possible to stop paying bonuses without severe consequences for business and the broader banking sector”. British daily The Independent reflected the public mood: “Bob Diamond: No apologies. No restraint. No shame”, said the headline. “The time for bankers to show any remorse for the failings that dragged Britain into the worst recession since the Wall Street crash is ‘over’, the new boss of Barclays said yesterday, as the fury over the City’s forthcoming 7 billion pounds bonus binge grows,” said the article of January 12. Bob Diamond’s words may follow him, much as Lloyd Blankfein was haunted by his “God’s banker” remark and Tony Hayward by his gaffes over BP’s Deep Horizon disaster. However, “the comment was at worst a gaffette” argued one FT writer: “One must quote Mr Diamond out of context…to catalyse public indignation. The poker-faced Barclays boss defended banks shrewdly, signalling that the sector is poised to normalise its relationship with politicians and public this year”. Nevertheless, the association of Bob Diamond’s name with the subject of lavish bonuses seemed to have become fixed in the public consciousness. As the long-awaited agreement between the banks and the UK government, Project Merlin, was made public, Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Demoncrat peer, commented: “‘If this is robust action on bank bonuses then my name’s Bob Diamond,’” (FT, February 11). In March, Barclays announced Diamond would receive a 6.5 million pounds sterling bonus for 2010, and nearly 14 million pounds sterling in Barclays shares tied to prior years’ incentive plans, “making him the best-paid British banking boss and a likely lightning rod for criticism of such windfalls” (WSJ Europe, March 8). However, this figure was lower than the 9.5 million pounds sterling that had been mooted 02/2011

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LEADERS

DUNCAN NIEDERAUER OF NYSE EURONEXT Dun-

can Niederauer, the CEO of NYSE Euronext, was thrust into the spotlight by news that NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Borse planned to merge. The all-share deal would create the world’s biggest exchange in terms of revenue. Niederauer, described as “the basketball-playing American” by the Financial Times of February 11, would take the role of chief executive at the merged company, while Reto Francioni, “his soft-spoken Swiss-German counterpart” at Deutsche Borse, would become chairman. Niederauer, who has held the top job at NYSE Euronext since December 2007, embarked on a charm offensive to persuade stakeholders in Germany and the US of the merits of the deal. With national political interests involved on both sides, the two exchanges aimed to present the deal as achieving a balance between Germany and the US. Duncan

Niederauer | Coverage by region

APAC (35%)

22

EMEA (65%)

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Feb 15 “Deutsche Börse and NYSE set out deal terms”, Financial Times (Feb 16)

Euro

NYSE Euronext | Obstacles ahead

Feb 11 “D Börse and NYSE Euronext near tie-up”, Financial Times (Feb 12)

40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30

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Feb 18 “Deutsche BörseNYSE Euronext board faces restructuring in 2016”, Financial Times (Feb 19) 06.01.2011

a few weeks earlier (“Questions remain over pay at Barclays”, FT, March 8). Diamond was able to announce some good news, unveiling a surge in profits in February. However, reporters were mindful of the challenges facing the new CEO. “But the strong results, which propelled Barclays’ shares up 5.8%, belied the uphill climb facing the bank and its new chief executive, Robert Diamond, as they try to slim down and boost returns” (WSJ US, February 16). An article in the FT acknowledged the pressure facing Bob Diamond, but asserted that he brought “a new breath of focus, discipline and energy” to Barclays (FT, March 5). Despite becoming a target for public outrage over bankers’ lavish pay packets, Bob Diamond’s coverage in the business publications monitored in the CARMA survey was 82 per cent favourable and only two per cent negative.

Niederauer insisted the transaction was not a takeover, even though Deutsche Borse was to get 60 per cent of the new company and provide 10 out of the 17 board members. In a Wall Street Journal interview dated February 16 posted on the Financial News website, Mr Niederauer said that he had told politicians: “We have been focused on what this isn’t. It isn’t a takeover. Of course [Deutsche Borse] gets more of the equity because they have a larger market cap. The board will be balanced, but in line with the ownership structure. Don’t be too focused on the name…” The two would-be partners launched a contest to find the name for the combined exchange. Renaming any national exchange was “‘a very emotional’ issue” acknowledged Niederauer (FT, February 18). “There are big hurdles to clear”, he was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal US (“NYSE Takeover Faces Touchy Issues”, WSJ USS, February 16). Clearly, Duncan Niederauer will need all his resources of charm and persuasion to overcome the obstacles.

BERNARD ARNAULT OF LVMH Bernard Arnault is CEO of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, usually known as LVMH, which amongst other luxury brands owns Christian Dior. A hard-nosed entrepreneur, he has amassed a collection of prestigious brands managed by his many sub-companies. He ranks fourth in Forbes’ latest list of the world’s wealthiest people. Bernard Arnault’s acquisitive streak put him in the glare of the media during the period covered by CARMA’s survey, in which he ranked 21st globally. Arnault agreed the acquisition of Italian jeweller Bulgari with its family leaders Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, hailing it a “transformational deal”. He told the FT: “This is not so much an acquisition but an association between two families sharing a common vision and philosophy”, (“Bulgari is new jewel in LVMH crown”, FT,


LEADERS

SO WHAT DO WE LEARN? The latest reporting period

provides three useful challenges. How much does a CEO have to worry about his internal reputation? Put differently, do management style and staff morale matter? The Carlos Ghosn alleged espionage saga reminds us how important they are. Any CEO can make mistakes and find himself in a tough spot. Reports of excessive pressure on employees and low morale have dogged Renault since Carlos Ghosn took the top job, despite reported changes to its working practices. Favourable reporting of Ghosn’s vision for Renault as a green vehicle manufacturer had diverted attention away from these rumblings and actually generated significant, favourable mentions around Carlos Ghosn throughout 2010. However, the spying debacle – where three senior executives were judged guilty in the full glare of the media before being given the opportunity to defend themselves - once again focused media attention on a style of manArnault | Coverage by region

NAM (17%)

LATAM (15%)

APAC (24%)

EMEA (44%)

March 6 “Hermes net jumps, chief calls LVMH ‘undesirable’ holder”, Wall Street Journal Asia (March 7)

March 6 “LVMH To Buy Fabled Bulgari”, Wall Street Journal US (March 7)

Euro

Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton | “Transformational deal”

124 122 120 118 116 114 112 110

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March 6 “LVMH to take controlling stake in jeweller Bulgari”, Financial Times (March 7) 06.01.2011

March 7). But his approaches to another family-owned business, Hermes, were far from welcomed. LVMH had acquired a 20 per cent stake in Hermes last autumn. Even as Arnault was wrapping up his transaction with the Bulgari brothers, the leading members of Hermes were giving interviews saying they had no intention of selling out to the “king of luxury” (FT, March 7). The Economist reported that Hermes was unhappy about ‘the intruder’, although Arnault claimed “his intentions” were “amicable” (Economist, January 1-7). Meanwhile, Arnault sought to distance himself from any collateral damage from the self-destruction of Christian Dior’s star designer. John Galliano had been arrested on February 24 for allegedly hurling anti-Semitic abuse in a Parisian bar. Arnault was notable for his absence at the last Gallianodesigned Dior show (“Creative destruction”, FT, March 5).

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agement that appears to have failed to value and support staff. The issue at stake is always the same: how silent are the various stakeholders likely to be? If your internal reputation for being “paranoid” or “careless” persists, this will surface in the media, and cast doubt over your operational abilities. Can one CEO unilaterally change the mood? This question was raised by Bob Diamond’s words in front of a Treasury select committee in the UK Parliament: “the time for remorse is over”. For many UK citizens and small business owners, hardship is still a reality. Any communicator serious about restoring, building up, and sustaining a top-notch reputation for its institution should factor context into the equation. This seems all the more important for any corporation with a substantial part of their business facing consumers. By calling for an end to the banks’ time of “remorse and apology”, Diamond appears to have grossly underestimated the public anger over lavish banker bonuses in an era of increasing austerity for most British citizens. In the public consciousness, his comment cast him in the role of the super-rich banker in an ivory tower, far removed from the concerns of most people. This has damaged his personal standing further in the eyes of the public, and he should not underestimate the potential for further damage to Barclays’ business. A little empathy goes a long way in establishing trust. Can consumers really influence a CEO’s stance and decisions? The LVMH and John Galliano story seems to demonstrate that they can. In October 2010 LVMH had to face boycotts of his Guerlain stores after racist comments were made by its CEO Jean Paul Guerlain during a television interview. Concerned that such a problem could reoccur for Dior after Galliano’s anti-Semitic remarks, LVMH was very quick to react and decided to fire the extravagant designer on the spot and express unequivocal condemnation. Beauty yes, ugliness no! 02/2011

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STRATEGIC THINKER The corporate and academic stand on communication

COWBOYS AND COWARDS Reflections on the results of the University of St. Gallen and the EACD’s survey of social media and the communication profession, January 2011 by Eliane Bucher, Christian Fieseler and Miriam Meckel

I

magine waking up one morning and getting ready for work, just like every other day. But this time, something feels different - that’s right, your iPhone has been suspiciously quiet all morning. And when you check for incoming messages, feeds or tweets, there is nothing but a blank display. When you try turning on your iPad or your laptop, you face the same problem: total media blackout – total social media blackout, to be precise. You can’t access your favourite news site, your blogs are down and, without access to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, you have no idea what your clients and friends are up to right now. While still being perplexed about what is going on, your old landline phone starts ringing. It is your coworker, telling you that your entire office is experiencing the same mysterious blackout. What are you going to do? Will you still go to work? Ten years ago, the answer to that question would have been quite straightforward. Why wouldn’t you go to work? After all, there would still be plenty of important tasks that could just as well be done offline: calling your clients, meeting stakeholders, framing press communiqués. But today? Could you really do your job just as well without the

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help of blogs, social networking sites, community platforms or RSS feeds? Even though this blackout scenario may seem far-fetched at first, our little thought experiment is closer to reality than you might think. Consider the results of the EACD’s recent poll on social media, which was organised together with the Institute for Media and Communications Management of the University of St. Gallen, in which over 1,300 professionals throughout Europe took part. The survey shows that social media has become a given in Europe’s communication landscape. 97 per cent of communicators in Europe have at least made their first steps in social media, with blogs, Twitter or YouTube being the most commonly used applications. For most, social media have become part of virtually every task in their daily routines. A staggering 72 per cent of professionals report that they heavily depend on social media for media monitoring, while 53 per cent state that they are building relationships with their stakeholders through the social web. 57 per cent of communicators are actively maintaining a presence on one or more social media platforms. Be it media monitoring, lobbying or agenda setting, the social web is increasingly involved in every step that Europe’s communicators take. Thus, in the case of our hypothesised social media blackout, you might just as well decide to stay home and take the day off – and maybe have a nice chat with your parents, who might still cling on to their landline phone. In reality, about 25 per cent of communicators, the ‘social media enthusiasts’, may in fact find themselves exactly in that position, being totally unable to work without social media. These professionals are not only enthusiastic, but also very well-versed

in their use of social media. During their daily routines, they engage on many different platforms, communicating very frequently and intensely with their stakeholders, clients and peers. These social media enthusiasts are, on average, rather young and they are likely to hold positions in lower- and middle-management.

CONFLICTING APPROACHES But not all communication professionals are as versed and involved in the new information environment as these social media enthusiasts. The so called ‘selective users’ (27.6 per cent) make moderate use of social media. Their use is limited to few selected applications, namely social networks, YouTube and blogs, which they use in medium intensity. The ‘highly specialised users’ (11 per cent) only focus on very few applications and use them extensively. The largest user group is made up by the ‘broad users’ (33 per cent), who experiment with a very high number of social media applications in their jobs, even though they are not using them very intensely. And, with only 2.6 per cent, the ‘non-users’ are in grave danger of becoming extinct. The changes currently experienced by the communication profession are not entirely structural, but also have a profound personal impact. Let us return to our social media blackout scenario once more. To many communicators, this enforced time away from their interactive devices might come as a major annoyance; for them, social media

Don’t we all know ‘iPhone cowboys’, entering the office while automatically drawing out their iPhone, putting it on the desktop, ready to pick it up in a split second? not only shape their work routines but also constitute an integral part of their private lives. Without a means of interacting with peers, clients and friends, these professionals may fear losing their voice in the community. To younger and highly connected professionals, ‘offline’ is not so much a state of being but a lifestyle conviction, disabling them from fulfilling a vital part of their daily tasks and routines. Not all communicators would however be irritated or unnerved by the sudden blankness. Many may – secretly or openly – rejoice at the sudden, newfound peace and quiet. No tweets to follow, no Facebook crisis to respond to, and no funny YouTube clips to watch. There is a grain of truth to each of these two stereotypes: don’t we all know ‘iPhone cowboys’, entering the office while automatically drawing out their iPhone, putting it 02/2011

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STRATEGIC THINKER

on the desktop, ready to pick it up in a split second? They may be quick on the trigger with their handhelds, yet they feel naked, even incomplete without them. And who, on the other hand, hasn’t heard the lament of a coworker still somewhat stuck in the past when complaining about the shallowness of Facebook relationships and the time wasted by the exchange of seemingly insignificant comments or contributions on blogs, Twitter and YouTube. They may prefer the quietness of a secluded study to the thrills of incoming messages, tweets and comments. Ultimately, both approaches have their advantages. While the social media cowboys may have more fun during their work time, the social media cowards may be more focused and concentrated on tasks that require thorough contemplation.

communication landscape can be found in almost every organisation and in every region. While some professionals took to social media very quickly, and others are now accommodating slowly but steadily to the new situation, there are still many communicators who don’t feel at ease with social media. Therefore, despite their wide distribution and predominantly positive reception, social media have a dark side, too. More than half (54.4 per cent) of the communicators that were polled claim to experience feelings of stress and overload when working with social media. They feel that through social media, they are faced with far too much information to meaningfully process. Over 40 per cent of professionals report that, due to the social media ‘invasion’ into their profession, they not only have to work more, but they also have to work faster. In addition, they believe that their time off with their family and friends is increasingly endangered because – with their mobile devices in their pockets – work is always nearby, and ‘switching off’ gets harder. 63 per cent of communicators are convinced that they have to constantly update their social media in order to stay competitive in their field and 32 per cent are relentlessly afraid to miss important

LINES IN THE SAND So where do you see yourself on the social media map? Are you a social media coward or a social media cowboy? If we take a look at the statistics, it turns out that if you are a young, male communicator in middle-management, chances are that you are a social media cowboy, playfully experimenting with many different platforms, hardly ever taking a step that is not retraceable in the social web sphere. If you are a well-paid female top manager, you can probably also consider yourself a cowboy: although you probably focus on only a few select social media platforms, and you engage with them actively and enthusiastically. Most social media cowboys work in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, where they often manage their very own communications business. If you are male, over 40 years old and academically trained, you are likely to be more reserved in your use of social media, and even though you may be well aware of the options that come with social media, you might hesitate to make extensive use of them. The social media cowards who have not yet taken the leap and engaged in the changed Table 1 Social media typologies among Europe’s communicators

Non-Users

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Selective Users

Highly Specialized Users

Broad Users

Enthusiasts

2.6% of participants

27.6% of participants

11% of participants

33% of participants

25% of participants

42 years old

41 years old

38 years old

41 years old

39 years old

very academic

well paid

working for NGOs

very experienced

well paid

58% female

53% female

55% female

53% male

52% male

in top positions

in lower management

in top positions

middle management

lower management

Social Media Usage

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information when not participating in social media. In most workplaces it is impossible to escape social media, and communicators perceive pressure to join the online conversation coming to a large extent from within the organisation, but also from one’s own expectations. Professionals engage with social media mainly because they find them useful (64 per cent) and because they believe that the usage will enhance their job performance (36 per cent), but also because their superiors actively encourage and drive the use of social media in the office (43 per cent). Despite the organisational pressure to use and engage in social media, 40 per cent of communications professionals feel that they lack the necessary resources to use social media and 35 per cent believe that they lack control over social media communication. The organisational pressure, combined with a lack of control and resources creates a precarious breeding ground for stress and burnout syndrome.

Photos: University of St. Gallen

SOFTENING THE STEREOTYPES In this challenging environ-

ment, there seem to be some winning strategies. The survey clearly shows that practitioners who have taken the leap and now actively engage in the social web tend not only to be more confident and less afraid of the new applications and platforms, but are generally more satisfied with their jobs. Sceptical individuals, on the other hand, not only report being less satisfied with work, they also experience less fun when working within the new media environment. So once again, we are encountering our two stereotypes: the social media cowboy, who feels totally at ease in the new media landscape, and the social media coward, who still longs for the peaceful cosiness of an offline work-

place. In the future we might experience that these two typologies might smoothly and successively integrate. While the social media cowboys are expected to rediscover some need for, and benefit from, an occasional halt, a period of being unreachable in favour of focus and recreation, the social media cowards may discover that social media can be inspirational, as well as fun to try out.

Prof. Dr. Miriam Meckel Director Miriam Meckel is professor for corporate communication and director of the Institute for Media and Communication Management at the University of St. Gallen.

FROM OLD NORM TO NEW So what happens after

the blackout, when blogs, social networks and community platforms are back on your handhelds and notebooks? As social media may become a lifestyle in the first step, and then evolve to become life itself in a second step, we may stop consciously experiencing social media and stop talk about them as a challenge or a risk. In the future, ‘social’ might become the normal status of a European communications professional. ‘Updates’ may be so frequent that we no longer see them as updates. ‘Social Media’ will become an anachronistic term due to the fact that all media will have turned social by then. Is that an intimidating vision? It doesn’t have to be. As the social web develops, there will be ways to challenge the cowboys and to integrate the cowards at the same time. Right now, social media seem to be the new norm. It may be the old norm in just a few years. 02/2011

Prof. Dr. Christian Fieseler Senior Lecturer Christian Fieseler lectures in media and communications management at the University of St. Gallen. An economist by training, he researches organisational identity, internal communications and new media.

Eliane Bucher Researcher Eliane Bucher is a PhD candidate at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She studied marketing, services and communication management in St.Gallen, Lausanne and Oslo.

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THE SHADOW OF THE TREE Service providers such as law firms are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to reputation management by Dionisio Uría Ronsmans

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t takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”. This famous quote by investment guru Warren Buffet is one of the best explanations we have today of the importance of reputation. As far back as the Roman Empire, Latin writer Publilius Syrus wrote that “a good reputation is more valuable than money”. Nowadays, reputation is a well-worn concept, used in both a corporate (corporate reputation) and a personal (personal branding) context. In the case of manufacturing companies, both their brand and reputation allow them to create an experience for those stakeholders, connecting them to the company and its values. But reputation becomes more important, if possible, when it comes to service companies which cannot rely on the tangibility of a physical, manufactured, product. Service providers have to deal with the subtleties of the ethereal service they provide, which increases the importance of reputation as a strategic asset and complicates, as a result, its management. When the intangible is based on talent and knowledge, as is the case for big law firms, the importance and complexity of managing reputation is even greater.

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LEGAL REPUTATIONS The role of big law firms in the economies of most developed countries has grown in recent decades. They advise on the most important business transactions that take place in these markets (corporate deals, litigation, etc.), and as such are at the heart of their economic engines. On many occasions, these firms also play an important role in the legislative machinery of their countries. Given the growing importance of these firms,

they must manage relationships with more and more stakeholders (clients, prospects, employees, providers, bar associations, public authorities, universities, journalists, competitors, etc.), all of whom are capable of influencing (positively or negatively) the firm’s reputation. This demonstrates the quintessence of reputation for these firms, not only as a sales tool, but above all as a matter of survival. As most readers no doubt already know, corporate reputation is defined, within a company, by a wide variety of elements that includes the services that are provided, the financial performance of the company, the working environment for the employees, the social responsibility actions that are undertaken, the emotional appeal the company awakens and the vision and leadership it deploys (source: Reputation Institute). Reputation is closely linked to the overall strategy


Photo: www.dreamstime.com

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of the company and, as such, it has to be considered as a responsibility of the company as a whole, not only of a few people at management level. From top to bottom, from the CEO to the most junior workers, everybody in the organisation has an active role to play when it comes to conveying the messages that will create the most positive reputation. In the case of law firms, this situation is magnified by the fact that lawyers, as the firms’ core resource, have to act, at once and amongst others, as technicians (providing legal advice to clients), as sales representatives (developing business and prospecting new clients), as after-sales managers (solving issues with the service provided), as communicators (by attending events, dealing with the media or simply conveying messages to external stakeholders) and as group leaders and coaches, in addition to their role as managers, taking care

of many internal managerial functions. Reputation plays a very important role in every aspect of a law firm and in every person in the firm. In recent decades, the legal sector, pioneered by English and American firms, has professionalised most of these areas by providing vital support to the

Service providers deal with the subtleties of their ethereal service, increasing the importance of reputation. lawyers and making these tasks easier. Now it is not only up to the associates and partners to protect the firm’s reputation, but also to the professionals from the marketing and communications departments, who provide the most precise tools for efficient reputation management. It could be said that communications departments at big law firms have stood out over time for managing what I like to call “the shadow of the tree” – the ‘tree’ being the law firm.

THE SHADOW OF THE TREE The shadow is what we first see of the tree: it is its reputation. Consequently it is vitally important for a firm to make sure that the image that is cast by the shadow faithfully represents the real thing, the real tree. Law firms have moved on from a very conservative and traditional model, in which reputation was based purely on the quality of the services delivered, to a more modern perspective, in which reputation encompasses many other factors (as we will see later) and involves many people, other than just clients. We, in the communications departments of law firms, have to excel at both an external and an internal level to make sure that the expectations generated by the shadow are met by the tree. At the end of the day, no company can control reputation since it is created in the eyes and ears of others, but organisations can listen, learn and generate behaviour that has an influence on reputation. At Uría Menéndez, we have worked hard to create a solid reputation during more than 30 years of innovative professional practice, evolving from a 10-lawyer law firm in the mid-1970s, to the modern firm of today with over 500 lawyers and 16 offices across Europe, America and Asia. Lawyers are sought after to solve the most complex problems in the most complex circumstances. Therefore, the relationship created from the very beginning between the client and the lawyer has to be based entirely on trust and credibility. This explains why law firms, as well as other professional 02/2011

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service providers, must learn to manage, with precision, an intangible within an intangible. There is no better marketing strategy than reputation itself. From our experience, we believe that the following aspects are crucial to the development of a positive reputation within a law firm:

• Talent and training: we make great efforts to recruit the best talent, with which we can attract the best clients. • Quality: only with the deepest understanding of clients’ environments, needs and problems can law firms provide legal services of the utmost quality. • Corporate values: given the intangibility of the service provided, it is critical that the firm has a well-defined set of principles and values (mission and vision), and that they are faithfully conveyed generation after generation. • Organic growth: talent retention is the key to building longlasting, trusting and credible internal relations. It should not be forgotten that the internal reputation of the firm is probably of greater importance than the external one. Only those who believe in the project and feel that they are a part of it can contribute to building a positive image, both inside and outside the firm’s walls. • Differentiation: in an extremely competitive market such as the legal sector, differentiation is not only important as a business development tool, but also as a reputation tool. Differentiation creates exclusivity, and exclusivity feeds reputation. Law firms are being compelled more and more to deliver ground breaking legal services while adding value to the experience. • Satisfaction and word of mouth: what better way is there to consolidate reputation than the positive feedback of those who were satisfied with our services? Law firms generate business though various means, but one of the main channels is client or fellow law firm referrals. Feedback may also be negative, but when it is dealt with in the correct way, it will also benefit reputation. • Social presence: a law firm must have a nurtured social presence so as to cater for the needs of all the stakeholders with which it interacts. This includes the social responsibility actions that are taken by firms.

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In general terms, the factors we have listed above allow law firms to close their reputational circle: talent and training bring out the best quality in the delivery of the services. If we add some well defined and conveyed values and principles, we can opt for an organic growth scheme and create a strong sense of belonging among our employees, which will – mixed with the correct amount of 02/2011

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differentiation and the exact dose of social presence – inevitably create client satisfaction and positive client feedback. All of this will help, back at the beginning of the circle, to attract new talent, more training, new clients, and so forth. Keep in mind that this mixture must be properly seasoned with a coherent communications strategy, which in our case has always been very low profile: a significant presence in the media does not necessarily mean a better reputation. The communications strategy has to be on a close par with the business strategy, which is why it is extremely important to evaluate when, how and why the firm appears in the media, and of course, in which media those appearances are made.

AND FROM NOW ON? We have briefly looked at the importance that reputation has for any company, but especially for legal services providers. Bear in mind that this is not rocket science. Every law firm needs to have its own, well-defined, recipe book when it comes to reputation, based on its values, its mission and its vision. This has never been truer than in the ever-changing world in which we live today, where new tools such as social media are exerting greater pressure on both corporate and personal reputations. Today, a reputation is not only built in 20 years and ruined in five minutes, as we noted earlier, but it can be built in 20 days and ruined in just a few seconds due to the infinite possibilities provided by the internet. Added to the importance of corporate reputation, we must take into account the importance of the personal reputation of each member of the firm. As we have seen, law firms are built on talent and therefore are built by many


Photo: Urfa Menéndez

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talented people. In many cases, these people have created their personal reputations within the walls of the company and by their own means. This explains why firms should not only manage their own institutional reputation, but also consider and provide best practices for the management of the personal reputations of their lawyers and members. Nobody, not even big brother-ish communications departments, can control what is said by all the firm’s employees or what is said about them. Therefore, everybody in the firm must control their own personal reputation, respecting the wider group of people that is the firm to which they belong. The world has changed at an incred-

ible pace, levelling communications both in time and in space. The shadow of the tree is at this point more vulnerable than ever, being exposed to millions of loudspeakers that can shape and distort the tree, that bring with them enormous challenges for communications departments across the globe, which have to tune their ears, open their eyes and be ready to undertake some of the most complicated but passionate challenges the profession has faced for years.

Dionisio Uría Ronsmans Communications and Institutional Relations Director, Uría Menéndez Prior to his current role at Uría Menéndez, where he manages all communications and institutional relations, Dionisio Uría Ronsmans worked as an international trade fair organiser and consultant in an agency based in Madrid.

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A DIFFERENT RACE: MARKETING S NEW GAME The jostling for budgets between marketing communications, public relations, and now social media, is yesterday’s spectator sport; today, marketing embeds itself into every function of the organisation by Pascal Cerruti

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t is often the case in larger organisations that it is the public relations department and not the marketing team that leads the over-all communications activities. Let us review what is happening: is there really a takeover of marketing communications by public relations professionals, or is there a deeper reason why the public face of many corporations is less about marketing and more about public relations? The truth is that marketing eorts are no longer restricted to the marketing 02/2011

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department. Traditionally, marketing professionals reported that customers wanted higher quality, more reliability, trendier looks, lower fat levels, etc. But today, introducing the research and development department directly to the customer turns those comments into action faster and more accurately. Good listeners in the product design team


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turns. So is there no need for marketing in this directconnect future? In my opinion, not at all.

MARKETING OSMOSIS Freeing the marketing func-

relate to what customers need and want, and are eager to quickly solve pressing problems. Giving product designers the benefit of direct customer contact and interaction unlocks the real value that buyers and users seek. An added bonus is that the customer becomes an active partner in the creative process.

Photo: www.wikimedia.org

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In service businesses, operations management are often in direct contact with customers at the most critical time: delivery. So there is no need for marketing to serve as an interpreter. And if general management, such as personnel and finance, is able to gain access to real-time market and customer information, they are ideally positioned to respond to changing markets using their special skills, and put the company in the best position to gain efficiencies, develop expertise, and maximise re-

tion of some of its traditional activities does not diminish the value of marketing. In fact, this osmosis of marketing activities to other functions has expanded the role of marketing and made it more strategic. Today’s organisation has absorbed marketing into its DNA, influencing every action and every plan. It is proof of the half-century-old adage of Peter Drucker that a company has just two functions – innovation and marketing. With other functions being customer-focused and market-oriented, marketing not only becomes the repository of knowledge about customers and markets, but also – like finance and distribution – reaches into every corner of the organisation. And any confusion between marketing and marketing communications is gone forever. This leaves public relations to manage the public image of the company, working to agreed marketing strategies, and developing a two-way dialogue with customers, distributors, and the media. In this scenario, the public relations team translates the strategy into cost-effective tactics that are sensitive to the needs of media and audiences. Added to online and traditional marketing communications, an integrated mix of messages not only pinpoints specific users with relevant information, but provides tools and platforms for those users to react with, and partner with, the organisation, its knowledge, and its products and services.

SERVING THE CUSTOMER Analog Devices is a multinational semiconductor company specialising in data conversion and signal conditioning technology. We have moved from product-centred marketing, through solution selling, on to customer services. Marketing is embedded in all aspects of our business, creating a brand that shows it is responsive not just to the needs of the customer, but one that reflects their experiences. Our press and public relations activities develop this theme, suggesting and reporting on what customers are achieving, in detail, and including our industry partners in those stories. In some cases, our channel partners group us and our competitors together in messaging when there is a demonstrable advantage to our customers. Of course, it is a win-win situation for all. In the past, the marketing department might have been unable to take this friendly competition. But when marketing is running through the very veins of the entire organisation, a new reality, based on 02/2011

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the customers’ views, allows us to grab opportunities like this. And by constructing an easy-to-use two-way channel between prospect and supplier, a customer relationship is not only quickly formed, but it is also fully functional from the beginning. Public relations add a degree of testimony to the brand, marketing communications provides the content and the media provide the channels.

HOW TO SPOT THE OLD SCHOOL Often in those

companies where marketing is still in its own separate silo, senior management pits marketing against public relations, usually in order to stretch budgets even further. To these managers, public relations seems like an affordable way to get messages across, and invariably features the involvement of those head honchos themselves. Whereas marketing, on the other hand, is seen as a cost, rather than an investment. This thinking, based on 1980s management techniques, quickly sets the marketing department – or more accurately, the marketing communications department – against their public relations colleagues. Cost justifications are pushed by both sides, with metrics such as ‘column-inch equivalent spend’ and ‘opportunities to see’ stretched beyond credibility.

TOUGH COMPETITION This equivalent of chariot rac-

ing in Ancient Rome provides management with an afternoon’s diversion, yet there is little positive result from this curious exercise in justification. The marketing director tries to control both the marketing communications and public relations chariots, with the unwanted result of

Freeing the marketing function of some of its traditional activities does not diminish its value. In fact, this osmosis of marketing activities to other functions has expanded the role of marketing and made it more strategic.

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an even more spectacular race. Social media pioneers now add a further complication, claiming that they are truly cost-effective and the only way to embrace the future. Their high tech race team, complete with Google-liveried horses, receives a lot of attention. After the exhausted participants have managed to show that the only thing that marketing can do well is entertain the other serious departments, everyone is wounded: marketing has been reduced to a menu of tactics, not a core competency. Comparing tactics without discussing strategy is pointless and divisive: the management equivalent 02/2011

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The new reality of marketing Public relations tends to take the communications lead, and a lot of the traditional tasks of marketing have been taken on by other departments This frees the marketing department up to take on a more strategic role, with its influence being felt throughout the whole organisation Marketing’s focus on the customer brings additional expertise to the table, allowing for a greater degree of customer awareness to be factored into decisions, allowing the company to thrive This also opens up career prospects for marketing professionals, as their skills are needed in other functions within the orhanisation

of the politician’s debate of whether we should favour the Navy or the Army.

FIRST, GET THE STRATEGY RIGHT Many public relations prac-

titioners would claim that their skills are strategic, but it is the overall marketing function that must provide the strategy: the direction and objectives for all the communications activities. Otherwise, public relations become a fire-fighting exercise. When a marketing communications plan is being followed without consideration of market trends and customer demands, then responses tail off, customers get confused, and salespeople break away and do their own thing. The only certain thing about a long-term strategy is that it will be wrong. The speed and size of change in markets, in attitudes, and in relationships, means that strategies


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must be flexible. Having marketing represented across the organisation aids this ability to change. If one department seeks to change even one part of the business, it will take time, cunning and planning. But if all departments recognise the need to change, then change happens. If departments are sensitised to the customer, then recognition is continual – it is like radar. Early warnings, and understanding of the size of the challenge, help to create strategies that lead the market, and keep that lead.

THEN, DEPLOY THE RIGHT TACTICS With all the many mar-

keting communications tools, media and approaches available to even the most modestly-budgeted organisation, there are no longer any excuses

Photo: Europe Analog Devices

For the marketing team, personal career development is not restricted to the department – rather, all functions are open. to create and execute great campaigns. If the budget really is too little, then go niche and ensure that your product or service truly offers more, or offers something different. In many cases, marketing itself adds that differentiation. By developing additional support or context for the product, marketing serves to enrich the offer. At Analog Devices, we use marketing expertise to develop virtual products which amalgamate our design tool software, our parts validation services, and our contact centre and communications channels to deliver an electronic design service throughout Europe. This service can be expanded, changed, and re-pur-

posed quickly to meet new or emerging needs. But it is targeted solely at engineers, our core specified audience. It is branded, positioned, and supported like any of our semiconductors, yet it is a product put together by marketing, aided by product development – a very interesting reversal of traditional roles. Marketing does not restrict itself to customers, either. Marketers also work on developing effective relationships with members of the value delivery system. Now we routinely analyse our propositions and our partners in delivering and supporting those offerings, and manage appropriately. Again, the objective is to create and develop excellent and profitable relationships. Marketing is wellplaced to provide an understanding of how these relationships work with specific markets and types of customers. It is a strategic function, and it can be critical to the longterm success of the business.

MARKETING IS INESCAPABLE When an organi-

sation has marketing expertise embedded throughout every function, customer responsiveness becomes equally entrenched. Previously, in a traditional arrangement, training and monitoring were essential to ensure each external touch point could be relied upon to recognise, react and follow-up on customer contact. Now, marketing is endemic, and customers are understood to be the focus and the foundation of the business. Maybe the marketing department is smaller, but marketing is pervasive. For the marketing team, personal career development is not restricted to the department – rather, all functions are open. No other function in the firm is as well suited to address strategic issues as is marketing. 02/2011

Pascal Cerruti Director of Marketing Communications and PR, Europe Analog Devices Pascal Cerruti has been managing international marketing and public relations programmes to increase awareness and generate demand for world-class technology brands for nearly 20 years. His career in Europe and the US includes spells at Raychem Corp, Texas Instruments Europe, Digital Equipment, and B-to-B and B-to-C consultancies such as Text 100 Public Relations. Today, he is in charge of all MarCom tactics, regional public relations, infrastructure marketing and e-marketing, as well as employee communications, in Europe for Analog Devices, the high-performance signal processing solutions provider.

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WELDING THE TEAM TIGHTLY TOGETHER In the interest of a stronger approach towards leadership and internal communications, one Austrian company has developed its very own system of regular – and sociable – meetings by Franz Puchegger

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ased in Kienberg, Austria, Worthington Cylinders is a leading global manufacturer of pressure vessels. The seamless steel cylinders of Kienberg are known for their unique quality in more than 70 countries around the world. As a result of their light weight and unmatched safety, our steel cylinders continue to set worldwide standards, and have revolutionised the market. More than 11 million cylinders delivered from the Kienberg location speak for themselves. Beyond this, we pride ourselves on our achievements in employee engagement, which have resulted in several awards, including Great Place To Work Austria for four years running, as well as such awards as Great Place to Work Europe and Austria’s Leading Company (both twice). We use many creative communication channels and programmes in order to keep the workforce up to date. In fact, all employees have access to nearly the same information as the leadership team. Here are a few examples of the programmes that we currently use:

360° EMPLOYEE EVALUATION – TWICE A YEAR

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Twice a year, all employees from across the company are evaluated according to defined behavioural (attitude) criteria, based on the KIENBERG behaviour concept (named after our company’s home town), consisting mostly of soft facts. The criteria are:

K: Kommunikation (communication) I: Initiative E: Eigenverantwortung (self-responsibility) N: Null Fehler (zero defects) 02/2011

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B: Bildung (education) E: Erfüllung von Anforderungen (meeting requirements) R: Richtungsweisend (trend setting) G: Gemeinsam (togetherness) Each employee gets an individual report showing strength and improvement potential in each category. This report is discussed with the direct leader during one of the monthly employee development talks.

EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT TALKS – 12 TIMES A YEAR At

Worthington Cylinders Austria, approximately 40 persons are entrusted with personnel responsibility functions as leaders. The “briefing” of the leaders is carried out in monthly meetings that take about two hours. The employee development talks discuss current topics, which are organised for group discussion by the human resources department. Each month, the meetings begin with a presentation on the current topic. Afterwards, the leaders work together in small groups and subsequently present examples of the current topic in the


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context of their daily work. The results of the group work are noted and a protocol is drawn up. The treatment of the topic and the subsequent protocol enable the leaders to go into the monthly development talks with each of their employees fully prepared. Of course,

these monthly meetings are also an ideal opportunity to communicate in an open way with the leaders, to pass on information, to exchange views and experiences and to work on the joint leadership culture. Nearly 100 per cent of all employees participate each month in the scheduled employee development talks. The time set aside for this approach is insigniďŹ cant in comparison with the results it brings in regards to more open com02/2011

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munication, leadership development, and transferral of operating knowledge. Additionally, according to our experience it constitutes a nearly ideal opportunity to convey important information to employees.

360° LEADERSHIP EVALUATION – TWICE A YEAR The behaviour of each leader is assessed on the basis of the KIENBERG behaviour concept within the framework of a 360 degree leadership feedback survey. Each leader gets an individual report showing strength and improvement potential. This report is discussed with the direct leader and also with all subordinates during one of the monthly employee development talks.

KIENBERG TV This video communication tool, with

11 large flat screen displays distributed through the offices and factory, is focused on the concept of ‘infotainment’ – that is, to inform all employees in an entertaining manner about visitors, job openings, relevant news and events, and even the latest weather forecast. It is also used – along with other tools – to transfer the KIENBERG behavioural concept.

THANK GOODNESS IT’S MONDAY At least once a month, a “Thank Goodness It’s Monday” meeting is hosted by the managing director and the human resources director. 12 to 15 office and production employees are invited for afternoon coffee or tea and cake and to talk about work, health, and life-related matters in an informal setting. The target of this meeting is that employees recognise that managers are also only normal people and have the same interests as other people. This helps to talk about strategy and difficult topics in a more relaxed atmosphere.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Communicating like clockwork A mixed approach, using meetings, internal channels and groups are scheduled throughout the year Never underestimate the importance of clear and pointed praise This serves to strengthen the leadership position by reaffirming ties between management and staff

ployee four times a year. Important business issues and extensive employee stories and interviews (featuring lots of employee pictures) are the main focus.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS As appropriate, the managing director and one or more operating director will meet with groups of 10 to 12 employees to discuss in detail business issues confronting the company. An example is the introduction of the KIENBERG behaviour concept. A series of 33 (!) hour-long meeting were held within four weeks. This was exhausting and very time inefficient, but in the end

MONTHLY INFORMATION MEETING In groups of between 80 and 100 employees, a monthly information meeting is hosted by the managing director and is repeated up to five times over a one-day period. This ‘state of the business’ meeting is held in order for top management to personally inform all employees and to answer any questions of a broader nature.

These monthly meetings are also an ideal way to communicate in an open way with the leaders, to pass on information, to exchange views and experiences and to work on the joint leadership culture.

EMPLOYEE COUNCIL In addition, the human resources director hosts monthly meetings with 20 representatives from each process team and work group to discuss any employee concerns and other areas for improvement.

the process proved to be extremely effective. We have learned to, as we like to say, “be effective with people, but efficient with everything else”

EMPLOYEE NEWSPAPER A full-colour, twenty page, A4 newspaper is published and sent via post to each em-

INFOTAINMENT One can find inspirational examples in all walks

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of life. In the summer of 2009, Worthington Cylinders Austria introduced its “Miracle” training programme. The movie Miracle is a true story about the 1980 Olympic US Ice hockey team and how they grew from a collection of individu-

Excellent and exceedingly bad performances are rare, and most of life happens between the two extremes.

Photo: Alois Spandl

als into a high performing team that ultimately … (well, you’ll have to see the movie to learn how it ends!). The film was shown to groups of 20 to 30 employees in a cinema setting with popcorn, drinks, and so on. At a number of key scenes the film was interrupted and a moderated discussion was held to make the connection between the movie’s story and Worthington Cylinders Austria. The film was shown 15 times, with the movie day beginning at 5:00 am in the morning and ending at 11:00 pm at night. In order to emphasise the importance of this initiative, the managing director participated in the introduction and employee discussion of each of the 15 showings. In the months following, KIENBERG television ran slides with key messages from the movie to remind employees to think again about the lessons from the training period.

PRAISE CLICKER One potential negative effect of “Management by Objectives” (MBO), a standard management method, is that of “managing by exception”. Why? Human beings thrive best on positive feedback, as young children continue teach each new generation of parents. But when we are at work, we seem to forget this fun-

damental truth. One’s performance must be extreme in order to draw attention. In many organisations, performance must be either outstandingly good or bad in order to be acknowledged. The problem with applying ‘management by exception’ to people is twofold: 1) excellent and exceedingly bad performances are rare, and 2) most of life happens between these two extremes. So, how many opportunities does that leave a conventionally trained business leader to acknowledge and reinforce positive employee performance and behaviour? Far too few!

IN PRAISE OF PRAISE The German word for “praise” is “Lob”. At Worthington Cylinders Austria, LOB stands for L: Leistung (performance) O: Ordnung (order) B: Besonderes (beyond average), Taken together, all three provide worthy reasons to acknowledge and praise employee actions. In order to increase the level of praise, every leader is issued a “praise clicker” (as often seen on airplanes when the stewardess counts the number of passengers on board before departure). Using the praise clicker helps to increase the awareness of giving praise throughout the day. At the end of the day, leaders make notes as to how often they succeeded in practicing positive reinforcement. This unusual approach is helping to strengthen effective employee leadership habits at Worthington Cylinders Austria. Finally, it is very important to understand the difference between “information” and “communication”. The difFranz Puchegger ference is that if you comDirector Human Resources municate, you should do it and IT, Worthington until you are sure that the Cylinders GmbH others have understood what Educated at the University you want to get across. There of Economy in Vienna, Franz is no need for everyone to Puchegger began his career in have the same opinion but it 1998 at Stora Enso Timber as a human resources manager,. is important that all parties He then moved to Worthingare talking about the same ton Cylinders GMbH in 2005, things. Leadership is comwhere he is now director of munication and communihuman resources and inforcation is leadership. mation technology. 02/2011

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HOW TO CREATE A FEEDBACK CULTURE Employee engagement and business success benefit from a culture of feedback in the workplace. Five steps can foster this environment, and are especially useful in today’s large, global organisation by Melissa Lamson

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don’t hear anything from their side” is the number one complaint that individuals express when working in cross-cultural, virtual and global teams. There are three forms of feedback that this article will deal with: that of general responsiveness (or lack thereof), accolades or praise, and criticism (hopefully constructive). Feedback is a necessary component to doing business successfully, particularly when working globally. Studies have shown that employee engagement soars when a culture of feedback exists in their company. It has also been proven that employees are more satisfied at work when they receive regular feedback. It is one of the number one issues that comes up in employee surveys (in and of itself a feedback tool), and when asked about their opinions, individuals regularly ask the question whether their feedback will be integrated into actions taken by the organisation. Companies have unique, and not so unique, methods of responding, delivering accolades and offering criticism. Responsiveness is easy to remedy: tell people you expect a response. Mandate it, request it, state it, etc. Accolades are also relatively unproblematic: everyone appreciates them if they are sincere and well-meant. However there are cultures that feel too much praise is a nuisance, they assume there must be an exaggeration, or wonder if the source is trustworthy if real content or action is not referenced. But for the most part, people can live with praise in its various forms. Where most organisations could use assistance in delivering feedback is in the area of criticism, or as it is sometimes more diplomatically called, “constructive criticism”. Thus, this article provides five steps that your global, cross-cultural, and diverse organisation can use to create 02/2011

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a culture of feedback – a culture in which you learn to give and receive constructive criticism and translate it into success, efficiency and productivity.

FIVE STEPS TO CREATING A CULTURE OF FEEDBACK – 1: DEFINE THE CULTURE OF YOUR ORGANISATION In order to

understand what needs to change, it is important to reflect on the current situation. One technical definition of culture is that it is a shared, learned, symbolic system of values, beliefs and attitudes that shapes and influences perception and behaviour. One’s culture becomes the norm, as systems are shared and therefore reinforced. A team creates or establishes its own unconscious and conscious ways of behaving, operating and communicating in ways that may or may not have been explicitly discussed. More often than not, teams rely on inexplicit cues to orient members to the desired behaviour. Additionally, the team leader or project manager usually sets the standard for such cues. It is critical to become conscious of expectations and then to define the team culture. Once the existing culture of your or-


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Photo: www.dreamstime.com

ganisation, team or group is defined, it is only then possible to develop a plan of action for creating a culture of feedback. In order to define your organisation’s culture, ask the following questions of team members:

• What are the keywords that best describe your team? • How do individuals dress? Behave? Structure themselves? • How do people express pleasure or displeasure? • What is the meeting culture? • How would you describe team members’ work-styles? • What are the preferred communication tools (email, IM, etc)? • How are individuals oriented towards time, space, or relationships to co-workers? After collecting the answers to these questions, strengths as well as weaknesses in team efficiency will become clear. Focusing on organisational culture provides an appropri-

ate channel for individuals to express their needs, while diffusing any potential frustration. It also allows team leads to modify and set alternate cues that provide a more inclusive and flexible teamwork environment.

2: AGREE ON COMMUNICATION STYLES From a young age, people learn a culturally “appropriate” way to express their opinions, agreement or disagreement, as well as a willingness to respond to a request. There are two principle styles of communication which most individuals use: direct and indirect. Which one is preferred is primarily rooted in national cultural traits. For example, according to research, Israelis and Germans are the most direct communicators in the world, whereas Japanese and Indians are two of the most indirect. Of course there are exceptions within a country; however in general you will find that being direct in Germany is an acceptable and preferred practice, whereas in Japan, being more indirect is the norm. There is a simple way to measure where one falls on the scale between direct and indirect. Direct cultures will use the word “No” when they disagree or haven’t been convinced yet, but this doesn’t mean they’re upset or that the conversation is over. In fact, quite the opposite – it means they are ready for a discussion to see if they can see another point of view. By contrast, indirect cultures will use the phrase, “Yes, and…” to share another opinion or idea if they don’t agree or are not yet convinced. For example, 02/2011

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“That’s a good idea – however, we might want to look at other options, too.” When someone from an indirect culture says, “No”, it might mean they are upset and that they would like to end the conversation.

Direct Cultures: “No” Indirect Cultures: “Yes, and” or “Yes, but” Giving feedback is very different between direct and indirect cultures. A direct culture won’t hesitate to be critical and constructive criticism is seen as necessary and good. For an indirect culture, criticism must be delivered carefully. For example, a direct culture might state, “I don’t find the approach to that procedure sensible.” An indirect culture would say, “There are many possible approaches to that procedure, perhaps we should discuss a few of them.” Direct cultures find the perceived vagueness of indirect cultures frustrating, and in contrast, indirect cultures can become easily offended by a direct approach. It is nearly impossible for emotions not to rise. However, it is possible for your team to agree on a style of message delivery that suits everyone.

3: USE A SYSTEMIC COMMUNICATION METHOD

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Fostering feedback in five steps Define the culture Agree on communication styles Use a systemic method of communication Optimise communication tools Foster continuous improvement

With a systemic communication method, it makes it easier for people to make themselves understood as well as to give and receive critical feedback.

4: OPTIMISE THE TOOLS OF COMMUNICATION The most un-

One way to successfully meet the needs of all team members is to use a systemic communication method to manage message delivery. First, ask if you can give another person feedback before you just jump in and tell them what you think. Second, focus on the positive first, avoid judgment, stick with the facts, and neutralise any negative emotions. Share with them what you think could be changed or improved. Third, once you have delivered your comments, allow them to summarise and reflect what they think they heard you say. This gives you a chance to clarify any misunderstandings and make sure the constructive feedback is not taken too personally. Consider this sample dialogue:

In order to foster and accelerate constant improvement, the process of developing a culture of feedback in your global team must be continuous.

Person 1: Would you like to hear some feedback about your presentation? Person 2: I would, thank you. Person 1: The audience was engaged and the message was clearly presented. Person 2: Thank you. Person 1: More content regarding our future goals would be beneficial next time. The company is going through so much change right now, it’s helpful to give people a roadmap into the future. Person 2: So, if I understand you correctly, I could include more details about future objectives for the company? Person 1: Exactly.

calls, or especially today, how to send an instant message (IM). Most teams use all forms of communication. However, there is quite a bit of virtual miscommunication and misunderstanding in global teamwork, particularly when negative topics are discussed or critical feedback is delivered. Take time in your organisation or group to talk about and decide explicitly how and when the team will use all available com-

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der-discussed topic in teams is how individuals should communicate with each other. Communication tools and the way they are used are taken for granted. Everyone knows how to write emails, to make phone


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munication tools. Set guidelines, rules, best practices, or standards for email, IM, phone, and video conference usage and stick to them. To do this, refer to the team culture, what your standards are in communication generally, and particularly how feedback is given and received. It is important to understand that even with all the advantages of virtual communication, one of the drawbacks is that virtual communication methods eliminate visual cues, such as facial expressions and gestures, which convey meaning and emotion. Verbal or written feedback is the only indicator of mutual understanding. Studies have shown that the phone is 10 times more effective and efficient than email, and face-to-face is 10 times more effective and efficient than phone. For example: one client, a team leader, made a rule that emails could not be longer than three sentences. If more information was to be relayed, then the person writing the email had to schedule a call. Additionally, there was another client who decided that “Houston” would be their code word for “Stop the email trail; it’s starting to get too complicated!” And whoever wrote “Houston” would be responsible for calling a meeting by phone or video conference to clarify and discuss the situation.

Photo: Private

5: FOSTER CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Team accountability is critically important if tools are not working or there is a breakdown in communication, otherwise initiallyagreed upon procedures, standards or rules will not stick. Make time for regular feedback sessions to discuss how the team’s feedback culture is working. Find out how people feel

and what is working or not working well. Most importantly, find out how criticism is being relayed appropriately and if team members are given a chance to improve and progress. In order to foster continuous improvement, ask individuals (separately) in your team the following questions:

• What is your feeling about the feedback culture in the team? • Do you give and get regular feedback? • Do you feel others respect the guidelines we’ve agreed upon? • What could be improved? Keep the questions open and practice listening using the systemic communication method. Those global team members who are from more indirect cultures will then have a chance to express their thoughts freely and feel as though they are being heard. In order to foster and accelerate constant improvement, the process of developing a culture of feedback in your global team must be continuous. Discuss, set standards, hold people accountable, review and reflect on the results. In time, your organisation will operate seamlessly and team members will exhibit a strong Melissa Lamson sense of trust in the team lead Cultural Transformation and members. Expert, Executive Coach, Author, Speaker

CONCLUSION By practising these five steps to creating a culture of feedback, the phrase, “I don’t hear anything from their side” should turn into “I’m in regular communication with…”. Accolades or praise, as well as constructive criticism, will be more common amongst your highly motivated and more productive cross cultural team members. This is your key to creating high-performing global teams for world-class business results. 02/2011

For over 15 years, Melissa Lamson has helped individuals, governmental organisations and Fortune 500 companies located all over the world respond to global business needs, leveraging innovation and outpacing the competition. Founder and president at Lamson Consulting, LLC, she is also frequently engaged as a speaker, has a master‘s in intercultural relations, and is the author of No Such Thing As Small Talk: 7 Keys to Understanding German Business Culture. Her clients include 3M, Bombardier, Commerzbank, Cisco, MTV, SAP and Siemens.

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BORDER CROSSER Experiencing the unknown – PR professionals working abroad

MELISSA FLEMING Head, Communications Service/Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Interview: Dafydd Phillips

So even early on in your career, you were working in the eye of the storm in terms of recent history. To go back to your time at Radio Free Europe, that conjures up in my mind a kind of Third Man-esque, cloak-and-dagger experience. What was it like to work there? Well, when I arrived, the motto was “We’re in the busi02/2011

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ness of going out of business”, which meant exactly what was supposed to be happening. But nobody ever thought it was going to happen there. So it came as a big shock and surprise when the whole system came tumbling down and all of a sudden all of these individual countries were declaring themselves democracies. I joined the OSCE in 1994, and that was just at the beginning of the conflict in Bosnia, and I think it’s when the world started

The glueing together with an authoritarian hand of all kinds of ethnic groups and just lifting that hand suddenly resulted in evil on a scale that no one could imagine. to realise that the collapse of communism brought with it enormous potential for conflict due to ethnic tensions. The glueing together with an authoritarian hand of all kinds of ethnic groups and just lifting that hand suddenly resulted in evil on a scale that no one could imagine, and organisations like the OSCE would find itself with a new role. There was no EU foreign policy then, and so it was really the OSCE in that moment in time that was in charge. So some people joke that the conflicts and the news follow me, but I

Photo: UNHCR

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These interviews focus on communications professionals who are leading international careers, hence the title. But for this issue, ‘Border Crosser’ seems particularly apt, given your role as head of the communications service at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. We’ll move on to your work in this field, but could you first describe why and how you moved to Europe? Well, I was always attracted to foreign affairs and what was going on in the world. It wasn’t necessarily Europe, but it was working for organisations that work internationally, and they happen to be based in Europe. Also, I was always interested in organisations that deal with political issues, and my first job at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, broadcasting over the Iron Curtain, had a political role as well. This was fascinating - it was just before the fall of the Iron Curtain, and it was a front seat on history. Moving on to the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) – it was still the CSE Conference on Security and cooperation in Europe when I joined – a secretariat of 30 that quickly became an organisation of thousands as its role in dealing with crisis management and post-conflict resolution expanded with the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the Caucuses, and then all kinds of issues in Central Asia and other parts. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) was kind of a quiet and technical and relatively unknown organisation when I joined, and then quickly became the most sought-after UN organisation for journalists as events unfolded in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and all kinds of nuclear terrorism and proliferation issues during that period of time.


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High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and Melissa Fleming in Liberia’s Bahn refugee camp for refugees from Cote d’Ivoire, March 2011

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So why did you go down the communications route? I studied journalism – my goal was to be a foreign correspondent or a news anchor. I was in the US and I was kind of disturbed even then by the lack of emphasis placed on foreign news and the lack of space – I studied television news – in the TV broadcasts. So I thought I’d go to Europe and I had this opportunity at Radio Free Europe, which was full of substance and full of issues, so that was very interesting. The job that was then offered was a public affairs specialist, so it wasn’t journalism but it was a communications role – there is a big difference but certainly a background in journalism, and a huge interest in journalism and the job journalists perform, make you a much more successful communicator. 02/2011

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Certainly a background in journalism, and a huge interest in journalism and the job journalists perform, make you a much more successful communicator. tor, Mohamed ElBaradei won the Nobel peace prize, and I was very honoured to be able to accompany him to the ceremony, and to take the first calls when it was announced!

Did that in some way make up for IAEA’s frustrations during the buildup to the Iraq war? I’m an American too, and I was ab-

Photo: UNHCR/G. Gordon

think I just happen to be lucky because I am a person who thrives on engaging with the news media and the energy of emergencies. However, I’m also hugely disturbed by the consequences to mankind.

Why did you decide to join the UN, and why the IAEA in particular? What were your first impressions of working there? I spent eight years at the IAEA, eight very intensive years in which we witnessed the inspections in Iraq, where we were declaring that there was no evidence of a nuclear weapons programme, and despite that the Bush administration pretty much ignored what we were saying and forged into war. Our inspectors were kicked out, and you know the rest of the story. Meanwhile, Iran was pursuing a nuclear programme that was making the world nervous, IAEA was at the centre of attention, its reports really crucial. The AQ Khan network – this was a Pakistani nuclear scientist who was selling on the black market all kinds of nuclear ingredients that ended up in Libya, for example, and other places in the world – was hugely disturbing. And again, the press office and I were the centre of the news story. And then North Korea decided to throw out its inspectors and start a nuclear weapons programme. For all of this, the IAEA and its direc-


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solutely shocked. Because the IAEA is an organisation hugely respected and supported by the US government, and its top nuclear inspectors and experts were combing Iraq, a country it knew very well, and saying “it actually is not true, what you’re saying, that they’ve restarted a nuclear weapons programme – there is no sign of it whatsoever”. And so to then speak publically about mushroom clouds over Chicago – it was stunning to us, it was very shocking. Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general, was very consistent in his statements – he was also absolutely stunned that they would be ignored. However, later, certainly, it was the IAEA that was recognised and vindicated as having actually been the ones in the right.

And you were there for eight years. Was there any particular decision behind your moving on? Well, Dr ElBaradei left and went into retirement, and having been there for eight years, I was actually approached by the head of communications at the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), who was retiring, and who asked me to apply for the job. This is an organisation that’s won the Nobel peace prize twice, it is an organisation that has operations in 120 countries in the world, serving a population of over 42 million people who’ve lost their homes and almost everything they have – it was a very compelling organisation to become the head of communications for. Clearly you weren’t looking for a change of pace in terms of intensity or work demands. No. We say the UNHCR is the pulse of human suffering, and what I’m learning in this job is that there

is endless human suffering in this world. And probably one of the biggest tragedies is being forced from your home, and forced to flee from your country. And if there wasn’t the UNHCR, you’d be forced to flee into a void with nobody to help you, and at least this organisation exists to provide assistance and shelter and solutions for your future, if you had to undergo that tragedy. Right now, we’re working on the Libya Crisis, we’ve been helping tens of thousands of people, not only giving them temporary shelter but evacuating them home. And then there are those who are true refugees, who can’t go home because their country is at war, and we’re helping them in the meantime just to have a dignified and warm and safe place to stay.

How would you compare the current situation in Libya with other recent refugee crises? Well, what it’s been so far is primarily an evacuation of foreigners. There were a million and a half foreign workers in Libya – they virtually kept the country running, frankly. Huge numbers of them have wanted to flee, so

This is an organisation that’s won the Nobel peace prize twice, has operations in 120 countries in the world, serving a population of over 42 million people who’ve lost their homes and almost everything they have – it was a very compelling organisation to become the head of communications for. about half a million of them have fled. There’s still a million in the country that might want to flee, so we’re braced for that. Increasingly we’re seeing Libyans themselves who are fleeing the violence. As we know, there are two sides to this conflict, and when one side, Gaddafi’s forces, have been moving and taking over these rebel-controlled areas, these people – the civilians there and some of the fighters – are becoming targets, and they are scared and they are fleeing across borders. This is what we’re trying to help with.

You yourself have been to Libya: could you give us an impression of your role on the ground? Here in Geneva, I do regular press briefings together with the other UN chief spokespeople, to update them on the situation wherever it is in the world we’re concerned with, so on Libya we’ve been doing regular press updates. I’ve travelled to the Tunisian border with the high commissioner, we’re travelling to Egypt the week after next, next 02/2011

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week we’re going to Liberia because of the Cote d’Ivoire crisis. When we do this we try and get maximum media attention, we line up reporters. One of my jobs is also to deploy people – press officers, spokespeople, news gatherers, video producers, camera people, photographers, working for us, to these people where we’re having an emergency, because we not only try to engage with the news media directly, but we have our own platforms for pub-

lishing, so we speak ourselves, we write for our website, we engage really intensely in social media platforms. We have 1.2 million followers on Twitter, for example. We distribute our video to international broadcasters and we edit and publish video on our website and on Facebook. So we’re very active in multimedia directions, and this is something I’m responsible for as well.

What are your priorities when tweeting; what do you hope to accomplish with it? At this moment, we measure by the number of retweets; there are a tools you can look at, like klout.com, to see how influential you’ve become depending on how many retweets you have and who are the people who are retweeting you. So there are kind of online measurement tools. I think we probably could be more strategic, and if we had the time we could sit back and contemplate what really worked well and what didn’t – at the moment, we’re just saying, wow, people really responded to that personal tweet you did on that little girl you witnessed and the photo you put up, do more of that kind of thing. But that’s really the extent of it.

You are a prolific tweeter. Were you responsible for engaging with this channel, or was the strategy already in place before you joined the UNHCR? When I joined the job we already had a pretty strong Twitter and Facebook presence, but what we didn’t have were people supplying the content to the extent that we

With mainstream media fragmenting under commercial pressures, and the rise of alternative news and opinion sources flooding the market, do organisations like UNHCR become news sources themselves, a trustwor-

People on Twitter want immediacy, and they want to know you are there, that you are witnessing this.

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Photo: UNHCR/Y Hassan

Melissa Fleming and Deputy High Commissioner T. Alesander Aleinikoff with UNHCR staff at IFO refugee site, Dadaab, Kenya, April 2010

are now. What I’m doing is tweeting and encouraging my colleagues, particularly those in the field. It’s not that easy to convince people that they can publish – most people are used to writing a document, getting it cleared by about three layers, and then finally maybe seeing it on the website. What we’re asking them to do now is to shake off that, use your own judgement – what people who are on Twitter want is immediacy, and they want to know you are there, that you are witnessing this, and what your views are, and we’re giving you licence to express this. So I think we’re at the beginning of having a small army of UNHCR tweeters, but right now I’m leading by example.


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thy and authoritative voice on complex and emotive subjects? Is this a conscious aim of UNHCR? It’s a conscious aim, absolutely. Number one, we’ve witnessed, let’s say, the weakening of foreign news coverage. Not in all media: for example Al Jazeera is hugely wellresourced and is really covering the conflicts and the untold stories that we’re dealing with. But the US media and to a certain extent the European media have cut their foreign coverage, and we’ve felt this – however they haven’t cut their news output. For example, there are so many 24 hour television stations who still need news and they’re very willing to take our video, they consider us credible, we don’t try and do a salesman job, or fundraising. We are providing them with news and guidance, it’s just raw video footage loosely cut, “here, you can have it,

We want to be seen as the organisation that informs about what’s happening on the ground. we’ll give you the background and context, and if you want an interview you can have it”. We also selfpublish on our various web channels; we’re trying to improve these. Soon we’re going to be launching a new storytelling web platform where we’ll be doing something I think quite unique that is not traditional news, it’s taking individual refugee stories that are video stories, very short, three minutes, and they look at you always with the same backdrop, from all parts of the world, individual refugees, and tell you why they fled, what they went through, what their life is like now, and what their hopes and dreams

are. And then once you’ve watched that you have the opportunity to engage on social media or to donate.

Is this storytelling approach your way of bringing perspective? Yes. I think one thing that we all know as communicators is that while you have to provide statistics and you have to provide the context, people respond to stories and they respond to stories of individuals. Also, if our goal is not only to inform but also to stir and move people, and to get them to care and do something, then we need to communicate a bit differently, on different platforms. We have to be able to tell the human story – there’s so much evidence that that’s what people respond to. Because our ultimate goal is that we want to help refugees and we want to use our communications to change attitudes about refugees and to provide more support so that they can have a future. So how do you maintain the balance between this more emotive, storytelling approach and your organisation’s role as an observer and resource for hard facts and figures? That core will not change. In fact, I hope we’ll strengthen that. We want to be seen as the organisation that informs about what’s happening on the ground, that has accurate, reliable information, that also makes statements condemning violence, condemning fighting, condemning whatever’s causing people to run away from their homes. This is what the UNHCR is known for and we’re going to continue that. But, in addition, we believe people would be more interested in learning about those facts if they could get to know some of the people who are affected – who is behind the statistics? And this is one of the reasons why we’re using this approach. We’re about to launch a big campaign for World Refugee Day on the June 20 on the theme of the individual, on the theme of ‘one’, and I’m not going to reveal it now but it will be one that will have a very individual approach and it will be kind of controversial and will have a strong call for action. How has UNHCR developed its media strategy over the years? I think it’s gone through strength and weaknesses. There’s been a lot of people who’ve come in with all kinds of ideas. Before it was much more straightforward: you speak to journalists, journalists transmit your messages or they don’t. Now we have a situation where we have a multiplicity of platforms – the new media landscape, 24 hour television news, and the ability to self-publish and speak to people directly. To get that right and to be effective is 02/2011

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not that easy. So I think there have been in the past some attempts, some were great and some failed, and I think we’re slowly but surely moving in the right direction. You have to retrain staff, you have to get them interested in these new approaches, and that’s something that’s going to take some time.

Could you describe what you’d consider a failure as opposed to as successful strategy? I think an approach that does not ask the question ‘Why are we doing this’ and ‘What impact do we want to have’ and ‘Who are the people we need to reach in order to have this impact’, and then, only then to figure out what your communications are going to be – that will be effective in reaching these people. So I think before there was a tendency to start with the tactics and end with the tactics, and what we’re trying to do is have a more strategic approach to how we do our proactive communications. To what extent does the UNHCR cooperate with governments, and what is your role in facilitating this? Do you feel that the UNHCR is in a strong position to exert pressure or influence governments? Well, governments are absolutely critical, and we have a three billion dollar budget that we need to raise every year, and most of this is provided by governments, and many on a very consistent basis. So our relations with governments for funding is absolutely critical. We also solicit funds increasingly from the private sector. But governments are also critical to us because they are hosts of refugees – particularly developing countries, who host three-fourths of all refugees in the world. And then there are countries of asylum where it’s very critical for us – and this is where our advocacy role is crucial – that they open their borders, they open their procedures to allow people to seek asylum, and that people are treated in a fair and equal manner. It’s very inconsistent around the world.

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Would you want to see the UNHCR’s role or influence expanded, and how? I think there is discussion, as the world is changing, and we’re seeing as the result of climate change more and more people fleeing as the result of natural disasters, UNHCR is increasingly getting involved in that area. Does the UNHCR have operations in Japan right now? We have an office in Japan and we’ve offered help but they have so far not requested our help. But we had a huge role in helping people as a result of the Pakistani floods, all the 02/2011

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people who lost their homes, for example. So it depends – if the government asks us to do it, we help. Our traditional role has been to help people fleeing from war and persecution, but we’re finding it’s becoming much more blurred as you find floods and drought and people are leaving their homes in very vulnerable circumstances – sometimes they’ve lost everything and they don’t have a place to return home to, so increasingly the UNHCR is being called upon to step in and help these people.

I guess it’s a sign of the times that you find yourself working more and more with victims of natural disasters… It just seems like every few weeks there’s some horrendous natural disaster, the most recent being Japan – I never thought during my whole IAEA time that I would see a nuclear accident on this scale, it’s very disturbing. António Guterres, who joined UNHCR on June 15, 2005, is the UN refugee agency’s 10th High Commissioner. Could you describe to us your work-

In this sector, you have to really fight for resources, because we’re always struggling for funds ourselves. ing relationship with him? Is it similar to the way a corporate communicator works with their CEO? It’s very close. He is a former prime minister, and unlike some who come from a diplomatic background in other UN organisations, he totally understands how vital communication is to reaching your objectives, your operational objectives, your political objectives and your policy objectives. So we have a very close


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working relationship. I travel with him on all significant trips. He is someone who is a natural, a schooled communicator, probably also from his political days. He welcomes and engages with the media, and is really good at it, so he doesn’t need my help there. But he does need me to echo what he’s saying and to ensure that the big news organisations know what we’re doing and know when we have something to say and make sure that’s arranged.

Did you have a similar working relationship with Mohamed ElBaredei? At the beginning, there was no instinct to communicate whatsoever at IAEA, and slowly through the years we changed this. ElBaredei’s first words to me when he hired me were “Open this place up”. He was very shy with the media himself, and so it was quite a long process to get him to recognise that everything, every move requires, ‘Ok, so what is our media strategy here, what is our public strategy?’. This he soon embraced, and he became very media savvy and we had a hand-in-hand relationship vis-à-vis the outside world. It must have been very professionally satisfying to have been able to effect this improvement. Amazing, I don’t know I managed to! One of the reasons I came to the UNHCR was that ElBaredei told me that António Guterres is one of the best leaders in the UN system – and he’s a man of vision and a man of action and you should go work for him. Could you be as fulfilled if you were working in the corporate sector? What would you tell anyone standing at a crossroads, deciding whether to pursue a career as an in-house corporate pro-

fessional or working with an international non-profit organisation such as yours? It depends on the person. I think in this field there’s probably things that are quite frustrating as compared to the corporate sector, where in the communications arm in the corporate sector, I’m assuming, everybody understands its significance and it’s well-resourced. Whereas in this sector you tend to have to really fight for resources, because we’re always struggling for funds ourselves. You have to be very convincing internally about the importance of your existence and your budgets, so for some people that might be… It’s a constant struggle, is it? It is a struggle, I think. But being a spokesperson for a cause you believe in is hugely satisfying, and feeling like you can learn something about humanity and world affairs just by coming to work every day, and maybe even having a feeling that you’ve made a difference to some human beings is also enough to say this a career that I would never regret choosing. So finally, what are your next moves in the coming weeks/ at this busy time? Are you going back to Libya? Next week I’m going to Liberia because of the refugee crisis there – 90,000 refugees have fled in the last three months from the Cote d’Ivoire. And then the next week I’m accompanying the high commissioner to Egypt where there’s also a situation at their border with Libya, with thousand of refugees coming through every day – those are the short-term plans. 02/2011

Melissa Fleming Head, Communications Service/ Spokesperson for the High Commissioner at UNHCR A graduate of Oberlin College, Melissa Fleming began her career in Europe as a public affairs specialist with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Founded as an anti-communist source of information during the Cold War, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a broadcaster funded by the US Congress that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East “where”, according to its website, “the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed”. In 1994, Fleming became spokesperson/head of press and public information at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, before joining the International Atomic Energy Agency as spokesperson/ head of media and outreach. She took up her current position at the UNHCR (commonly known as the UN Refugee Agency) in 2008.

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STORY TELLER Looking at the important questions of communication

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STORY TELLER

EMBEDDING THE MESSAGE Making your mark with brand communications

“The sweet smell of brand success” by Dafydd Phillips page 54 - 59

“Presenting a unified front to the world” by Jan Gooding page 60 - 63 “Suffer a sea change, into something rich and strange” by Rachel Davis and Alan Newland page 64 - 67

“Behind the steering wheel of Daimler’s globalised image” Interview with Jorg Howe page 68 - 71

“Framing the debate, framing the brand” by Guido Berens and Mignon van Halderen page 72 - 75

“How to choose the right weapon” by Peter Kerkhof, Friederike Schultz and Sonja Utz page 76 - 79

“Shake up perceptions” by Carina Brorman page 80 - 83

“Old rules for new talent” by Peggy Simcic Brønn page 84 - 87

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STORY TELLER

THE SWEET SMELL OF BRAND SUCCESS 54

Several ingredients go into creating, sustaining and conveying a brand; getting the right mixture is a communications challenge

by Dafydd Phillips

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B

ack in 2002, Harper US published a book with the bombastic title, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. The authors opined that “today, great brands are built with public relations, not advertising”, and although their argument may be touched by hyperbole, the role of communications in sculpting, disseminating, and upholding an organisation’s brand is essential, and is the subject of this issue of Communication Director. To define brand communications in 2011 is a difficult proposition: is it about engaging with customers? Is it setting out the company’s position on the day’s key issues? Is it promoting the company as an attractive place to work? Corporate branding is rooted in a mixture of image and strategy, cause and effect, expectations and realities. This makes communicating brand such a complicated – and invigorating – subject to contemplate.

CORPORATE SOCIAL BRANDING These are interesting times for corporate branding. The new expectation shared by stakeholders of every description is that today’s corporate brand should be the end result of an integration of marketing, communications and corporate social responsibility. When asked to describe her company’s corporate brand, Katarina Ylikorkala, vice president of brand and marketing communications at Finnish oil and energy company Fortum, answered with a mission statement. “Fortum’s mission”, she told me, “is to create energy that improves life for present and future generations, and sustainable solutions are at the core of our operations.” In other words, she

sees Fortum’s brand as inextricable from its involvement with the drive for sustainable energy. Jesper Frederiksen, corporate brand manager at Danish bio-tech company Novozymes AS, also equates his company’s brand with its position on sustainability – they have even put a name on it: “Novozymes’ corporate brand idea is ‘Rethink Tomorrow’” he explained. “We want to be positioned as sustainability leaders, innovation champions and as offering solutions that will be an inevitable part of the future across industries.” Two examples, then, of what Guido Berens and Mignon van Halderen, in their article for this issue, refer to as “framing” – defining a corporate brand by linking to a key issue and defining the company’s stance on it. Sustainable energy is one of the defining issues of our day: Fortum and Novozymes define their brand by stating their relationship to it. Note that this relationship is more than just skin-deep: the link is integral to the companies’ operations. According to Ylikorkala, “90 per cent of our electricity production in the EU is CO2 free”. And Novozymes offer biological solutions to the harsh chemicals used by industries in their processes. That is why it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate brand from strategy or operations. In fact, successful brand management stems from an alignment between the company’s strategy (as evinced by Novozymes and Fortum), corporate culture and image. As Jasper Frederiksen puts it, “The most

All the identity components (visual identity, communication, tone of voice) must be harmonious and connected to the new brand identity. The starting point is a good brief to the involved agencies. important aspect of brand building is to make the company identity, company culture and company image support and enrich each other. The logo, typeface, copy and advertising are important aspects of strengthening the perception of a company, but everything starts with our people and how they interact across touchpoints with our stakeholders.”

EXPERIENCING THE BRAND The touchpoints Fred-

eriksen mentions are a key concept in branding literature. Touchpoints are the various ways stakeholders interact with your brand: customer service, employee engagement, product design, advertising, and even the company’s logo are just some of the ways that the brand is processed by stakeholder groups. Communications play an important 02/2011

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part in ensuring that each and every ‘brand interaction’ or touchpoint embodies the corporate brand. For example, Cornelia Floimayr is customer experience manager at Mobilkom Austria. Her job is to implement customer experience design inside the organisation, and she led the Corporate Wording programme that overhauled the all-important writing culture within the company, bringing it into step with the corporate brand. There were two pressing reasons for this: the first was the desire to achieve more clarity – “Our goal was to make every letter, all product information and even legal information easily understandable for everyone”, Floimayr explained. The second goal was internal consistency: texts used by the marketing, customer service and legal departments were written in different ways, to the extent that, according to Floimayr “it was hard to tell that all texts are from the same company.” So Mobilkom embedded their brand values into their communications to ensure that the brand would be experienced by stakeholders inside and outside of the company.

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A QUESTION OF LANGUAGE A new corporate language had to be created, one based on brand values and communicated in every interaction. Brand-based guidelines were drawn up that defined the meaning of Mobilkom’s values for use in general texts and forms. According to Floimayr, they did this by moving towards a more emotion-based communications style “that could be felt by our customers rather than on a rational basis. To show an example, we stopped using terms such as “service leader” in our customer service letters, but wanted to make our customers actually feel our service leadership when reading the text. This means that we always try to be one step ahead and to answer questions before they actually arise. We have done a good job when a reader thinks “wow – they are really good”. So a company’s brand can determine the style and tone of language used in its communications. Furthermore, Mobikom’s Corporate Wording programme also helped to bring the company’s brand into sharper focus: as Floimayr points out, “we found out new aspects of our brand while analysing it deeply. Additionally, every member of the team became a brand ambassador during the project. They consequently challenged their own texts with the brand wording guidelines and claimed for brand consistent texts when reading others. At this stage we knew our project was successful.” THE IMPORTANCE OF DESIGN IN THE OVER-ALL SCHEME Apart from texts, corporate design clearly plays 02/2011

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STARTING POINTS Eight brand communications questions Who is the relevant target or stakeholder group? What are the target group’s needs and expectations? How does the brand meet these expectations? How are the brand and brand communications aligned with corporate strategy? How are the brand and brand communications aligned with corporate culture? Do any activities need to be undertaken in order to change the corporate culture so that the brand promise is kept? How can the brand communications be differentiated from the company’s competitors? How are the company’s key values or attributes expressed through the messaging and tone of voice?

an important part in the brand experience. But again, it is important that they be aligned with what is essential about the company. Perhaps this is even more urgent in the case of a rebranding programme. Marc Cloosterman is CEO of the Visual Identity Management Group, an Amsterdam-based consultancy with expertise in rebranding. Cloosterman’s group has worked with Toyota, Holiday Inn, DHL and many more, and he confirms that “all the identity components (visual identity, communication, tone of voice) must be harmonious and connected to the new brand identity. The starting point is a good brief to the involved agencies. Therefore you need


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clarity on strategy and mission of course, but also on core values and the identity of the organisation.” He described the process of putting this into place: “The normal order of things is that you first use a branding agency (to work on identity) and an implementation partner to oversee the whole process, and thereafter other agencies for advertising, digital, engagement etcetera.” Cloosterman’s description of the visual branding process is confirmed by Dr. Thomas Portz, head of corporate communications and public affairs at pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo Europe. From his office in the Munich headquarters, he describes their approach as a mixture of internal and external support. “First of all”, he explained, “we would rely on a global advertising agency and on global brand and public relations agencies. Of course we have some in house experts also for graphical questions, but they would not be able – just based on the workload – to develop all this by themselves, but they will have a control function. So under our global brand team that develops the global brand and tools, there are of course sub-teams for IT, visual, and so on.” But Dr Portz sees the visual expression of the brand as being of secondary importance to establishing corporate identity itself; although he agrees that the visual elements must be related to the corporate identity – for him “the most important thing about a corporate brand is that it must be authentic, it must represent your company, and that what you promise to your external stakeholders in your brand must be in line with your internal corporate culture. And to be honest, the visual expression of that – logo, typeface, copy and so on – for me is secondary. Of course those visual el-

ements must express the content of your brand – that goes without saying – but the visual expression is not the most important thing”.

BRAND-NEW BRAND IDENTITY Dr Portz is in the exciting position of being responsible for helping mould his company’s brand outside its native Japan from scratch. As he explains, “There is no corporate brand for Daiichi Sankyo, there are different regional brands, and we are just about to develop a corporate brand.” Dr Portz is the global team leader in charge of this task. “We have a multinational task force that is composed of head of corporate communications Japan, head of corporate communications US, head of corporate communications India, and me as head of corporate communications Europe.” Currently, he tells me, his team are about to analyse their stakeholders’ expectations together with the internal expectations. This is an approach supported by the branding literature. Having a good grasp of who your stakeholders are is an important step towards defining and successfully communicating your corporate brand. A clear vision of to whom you are targeting your brand, in a way that supports the company’s strategy and vision, is key, and your brand idea, or ‘value proposition’, should match your particular target group’s needs. In Strategy Maps (HBS Press, 2004), Robert Kaplan and David Norton write that “Strategy is based

The most important question is to analyse who are the most relevant stakeholders; what are their expectations in order to make them behave favourably towards the company, what is the promise of the brand to those groups; and then, most importantly, how is the brand promise aligned with the corporate culture and value system. on a differentiated customer value proposition. Satisfying customers is the source of sustainable value creation.” Differentiating your communications from your competitors, therefore, will also sustain your business. Dr Portz describes the process behind deciding on the Daiichi Sankyo Europe brand in this way: “The most important question is to analyse who are the most relevant stakeholders; what are their expectations in order to make them behave favourably towards the company, what is the promise of the brand to those groups; and then, most importantly, how is the brand promise and the brand itself aligned with the corporate culture and the corporate value system; and then the fifth question of course is based on 02/2011

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this – do you have to undertake any activities to change the corporate culture in order to keep your brand promise. All these points should be aligned.” It seems a dauntingly large undertaking in such a global company - to create a brand, align it within and without, and make sure that the company sticks to delivering that brand on every level. Dr Portz, however, seems unfazed by the challenge. “Once you base the brand on your own values,” he explained, “and once you see that your stakeholders expect you to cling to those values, the question of how you can guarantee that the organisation also adheres to those values, and if the culture is the correct one for that, that comes almost automatically”

ADAPTING BRAND COMMUNICATIONS FOR GLOBAL NEEDS For Daiichi Sankyo, brand communications will have a visceral impact on the business strategy. The

The value of fresh ideas and expertise in specialised areas, or support for particularly complex developments or changes that are simply too demanding on the company’s reosurces, speaks for itself.

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company is expanding its business activities outside Japan, and the internationalisation and globalisation of the company is, according to Dr Portz, the “overarching topic” of its current management plans. But is there a tension between having several different stakeholder groups or audiences around the globe, and communicating a clear and consistent brand message? To what extent do you differentiate brand communications when engaging with different peoples around the world? Again, differentiating your brand, based on an understanding of your target group’s expectations, is the answer, and this is where brand assets come in. For Daiichi Sankyo, research has shown that the company’s Japanese origins are a major brand asset for communicating around the globe. According to Dr Portz, “In Europe, India, North America, South America, we know from empirical data that the fact the company comes from Japan gives a certain credit to the quality of the product. We are considering using this in our communications, but of course this is something that would not probably work in Japan itself.”

MIXING MARKETING WITH PUBLIC RELATIONS Jesper Frederiksen agrees that the job of communicating the corporate brand requires adjustment according to 02/2011

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REBRANDING For success, let form follow function According to rebranding expert Marc Cloosterman, successful rebrands present organisations with the opportunity to explain their new strategy in the media and to stakeholders in a cost-efficient way: as he puts it, “if they would have had to buy that media exposure, it would have been very expensive”. He points to two recent examples of rebrands that exemplify this. In March this year, DSM announced that it had undergone a rebrand to mark its transition from a chemicals supplier to a life sciences and material sciences company. The main difference between the ‘new’ DSM and the company as it was in the past, said DSM, is that the only existing DSM brand – asides from product brands – is the overall company. The company has also introduced a new trademarked statement of purpose: Bright Science. Brighter Living. According to DSM, this thinking will define how it approaches future challenges and opportunities. As Cloosterman puts it: “first a change of strategy, then a rebrand to fit that”. He also praises DHL as a recent, successful rebrand. The Deutsche Post World Net Group changed its name to Deutsche Post DHL as part of its Strategy 2015. The challenge of the rebranding process was ensuring clear identification of the company after it changed its name while making distinct reference to both service brands, DHL and Deutsche Post. According to Cloosterman, the unified name in the wake of the global rebrand is of paramount importance, as it shows to customers “that you could reliably send a package from Japan to London or anyplace else in the world.” At the opposite end of the spectrum are rebrands that fail to engage stakeholders, and can even end up being reversed at great expense. A deciding factor for failure is a disconnection between the brand and the target audience based on a lack of understanding of stakeholder expectations. As Cloosterman explains, “Emotion is a very important factor in rebranding. Mostly stakeholders ‘like’ a new logo, but sometimes they don’t – as with GAP, they had to withdraw their rebranding within a month of its launch. From my experience however, this is a big exception. Normally stakeholders react very positively, since it is almost always a refresh and/or update of their perception.”


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whichever stakeholder group you are engaging with at any given moment. He told me, “Our branding department works with the ‘stakeholderowners’ in our organisation, such as human resources, marketing or public relations, to ensure that our messages are tailor made for the stakeholder, and that, at the same time, they help build a coherent perception of who we are and what we offer.” In her article, beginning on page 60, Jan Gooding, global marketing director at Aviva, – one of the UK’s largest insurance providers – details how the company’s marketing and communications departments sit together, an important factor in their recent massive rebranding and reorganisation. Corporate branding carries underlining repercussions for the very structure of the organisation; this is more than just a question of window-dressing.

STORYTELLING Having decided on the brand’s identity, target groups and alignment with corporate strategy and culture, attention should be given to the style and tone of voice: after all, this is integral to how stakeholders experience your brand. As advertisers and marketers use imagery and mental associations to hook their products in consumers’ imaginations, the skilled corporate communicator weaves associations from the corporate brand into memorable and clear stories. Theo Hendriks is a partner at Bex*communicatie consultancy. The author of Corporate Stories (Kluwer, 2007), he has a passion for storytelling, and, in recent years, has written the corporate stories for (amongst others) ABN Amro, the Dutch Red Cross and the Port of Rotterdam, as well as the Dutch Flower Council’s brand story. He also trains board

members and management from companies such as KPN, Rabobank and Philips in telling their stories. Like Rachel Davis and Alan Newland elsewhere in this issue, Hendriks believes that compelling, strong storytelling is one of the main ingredients for successful brand communications. “Every brand tells a story”, he said. “Some just tell a better story than others. Brands that are associated with strong stories have a significant advantage over those with weak or forgettable stories. And successful brands with legendary stories stick to their story.” As a consultant, the most important points that Hendriks imparts to the inhouse communicators who engage his services are to “be very aware of your brand identity (the brand heritage); define, nurture and respect your brand-essence; never underdeliver or overpromise. With these ingredients you will able to build an unforgettable brand-story.” Brand stories gain their power to capture imaginations by mixing emo-

First we shape our stories, afterwards our stories shape us. This means that all corporate stories are based on the organisation’s brand identity But after it is written, the story becomes alive. tion with hard facts, and even uncomfortable truths that may seem to challenge or undermine the brand story can be encompassed and woven into the official narrative. As with Fortum and Novozyme’s linking their brand identities with their strategies of sustainable energy, brand communications must be rooted in tangible qualities. “Story is all about facts, wrapped in emotion”, explains Hendriks. “Even the most uncomfortable facts can be very strong drivers for the corporate story. Storytelling is choosing the right narrative to present the essence of the organisation or the brand. The essence is never only fact-based, it is always more than that.” As Carolyn Floimayr found with her Corporate Wording brand exercise, Hendriks has found that brand communications is a two-way street. The organisation’s brand identity determines the story, but the act of storytelling can also shape the corporate brand. He told me: “In general I say: ‘First we shape our stories, afterwards our stories shape us’. This means that all corporate stories are based on the organisation’s brand identity. But after it is written, the story becomes alive and that can have an effect on the organisation’s identity” But there is no need to lose the narrative thread: as Hendriks, points out, “successful brands have compelling stories which they stick to.” 02/2011

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PRESENTING A UNIFIED FRONT TO THE WORLD When the global Aviva brand was formed from several trading names, the priority was to secure employee buy-in before engaging external audiences by Jan Gooding

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s guardian of the Aviva brand, one of the things that I constantly have to remind myself is that our brand is not actually ours to own. It doesn’t belong to the marketing department, or indeed to senior management. A brand is built first and foremost by its employees, but perceptions of it belong to the people who have bought into it, including customers, shareholders and the broader general public. When we moved to a single global brand, it was important that we took into account all of these stakeholders and their relationships with us. We couldn’t ignore that our business is rooted in over 300 years of protecting almost every aspect of our customers’ lives; their homes, cars, families, health and their financial futures. We now have over 53 million customers so this carries a huge amount of responsibility. While we will always embrace the heritage of each of our previous trading names (Norwich Union, Commercial Union and Hibernian, to name just three), when we announced in 2008 that we would be moving to one global brand, the bottom line was that, as a global business, having one name that customers can recognise around the world would bring real benefits. By operating under one brand name, we can offer customers the best of our products and services, wherever they are in the world. Streamlining our operations under one brand was all part of our ‘One Aviva’ business vision aimed at bringing Aviva together as a global group, focused on meeting our customers’ needs. The rebranding exercise also gave us the opportunity, despite difficult economic conditions, to refresh our strategy and to develop a new brand promise for our customers. It allowed us to take stock and re-appraise what we wanted to be. Our research showed us that consumers had lost trust in financial services companies and they felt that they had 02/2011

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lost a sense of individual significance when dealing with financial institutions. What we heard loudest was their universal desire to be treated as individuals. As a result, we have committed to transform the way we do business so that we engage with our customers first and foremost as people, not as policies. That means responding to our customers with thought, care and understanding. We try to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. This approach is summarised by our brand promise: ‘No one recognises you like Aviva’.

REMAINING VIGILANT The implications of an ongoing rebrand go far beyond changing the name on brochures, signs, billboards and insurance certificates. We know that if we are to achieve our objective of being our customers’ most recommended brand, we will be judged by what we do, not what we say. But if what we say is consistent and proven through our work, then communications and marketing become extremely complementary. Of course, effective communication of our brand, increased consistency, and one global look, feel and tone of voice will not suppress all threats to the brand. It is critical to remember


Photo: Warsaw Intercontinental Hotels

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that once a brand name becomes the same as the name of a corporation, this can bring with it significant communication challenges. In communicating our brand we have to be constantly aware that any misgiving will always be linked back to the parent company. And this is where social media and the sheer pace at which news and messages now travel can be a particular threat. Aviva’s approach, in contrast to other financial services brands, is that we have to be brave enough to be involved in online conversations with our stakeholders. Although we recognise the lack of traditional control with social media, we know that if we engender best practice throughout our organisation, social media can help us harness the power of our brand, letting people talk together about what can sometimes seem like a complex proposition.

WORKING TOGETHER Having one shared global strategy for mar-

keting and communications is a tremendously important step in creating a culture whereby communications and marketing are given an optimum environment in which to excel as a unifying force. It is no accident that the communications department and the marketing department sit together at our global headquarters and work to deliver the same strategy. Getting this relationship in sync ultimately means we spend less money on paid-for media. The joinedup approach means we can maximise public relations activity to create a consistent narrative for the brand, and disseminate messages accordingly. We simply have to be clear and single-minded in communicating to our audience. We are about proving what we say, not about making false assertions. We want people to choose use and stay with us throughout their lives because they know we’ll genuinely be there for them, and they like dealing with us.

COMMUNICATE TO EMPLOYEES FIRST, THEN MARKET TO THE WORLD One thing we can say with certainty is that our recognition-based approach has been embraced inside our organisation thanks to extensive discussion and engagement. Getting it right inside the organisation, before communicating externally was one of the keys to giving us every chance for a successful migration towards our ‘One Aviva’ vision. A massive part of inwardly communicating the brand promise successfully was the launch of ‘Aviva World’, our global company in02/2011

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tranet. Without it, aligning employees to the change in name would have been tremendously difficult, if not impossible. Prior to the name-change the company intranet was localised, but Aviva World is truly global. It can be personalised to each employee’s preferences and has a dedicated ‘My Site’ profile page for each employee. The introduction of online employee forums at launch was a key part of Aviva World’s embodiment of our brand promise. They help bring people together, and of course continue to give us insight into what is important to our people, which is critical given that they are closest to our customers, partners and key stakeholders. The forums are particularly progressive in that they are self-moderated and the conversation is left to flow of its own accord. Our people really engage with the site and having this open and honest communication channel with employees is very useful to help improve the business as a whole and communicate the brand accordingly to the outside world. Every month employees take part in a global Twitterstyle ‘shout out’ – the homepage of the site hosts a scrolling message board of thank you messages and comments of recognition of individuals and teams across the world. Seeing this recognition living and breathing within the organisation helps to motivate us when we tell the outside world what we are doing. Aviva World is our primary information, collaboration and communication platform. It is designed to be as accessible as possible to every employee. While many senior employees from countries around the group can understand English, it

Having such strong internal buy-in has allowed us to develop, both through our communications and marketing, a consistent tone of voice, inside and out.

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was considered crucial to translate the site to make it as widely accessible as possible and to recognise the importance of catering for individuals. The site is available in English, French, French Canadian, Italian, Polish, Russian, Czech, Turkish and Lithuanian. The importance of customer centricity was also brought to life by launching the Aviva Customer Cup, an annual team-building competition where teams across the group are tasked to come up with ideas to improve the customer experience and submit a business plan. This is now an annual event and has become an effective way of motivating employees to think even more about the customer experience and encourage innovation. The culmination of the employee 02/2011

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Rebranding from within Aviva is a unified brand in the insurance field which has previously traded under several names They placed a strong focus on ensuring that the rebranding process involved employees at every step of the way, before launching externally By ensuring the complete buy-in of employees, they were confident that the Aviva’s brand promise would be fully represented when dealing with external stakeholders

engagement was a live global online event called ‘Aviva Day’. This initiative was driven by employees, and helped build advocacy among our people and unite the company globally. As well as online interactive activity, in the spirit of recognition, employees were given funding to organise their own team celebrations; for some this meant going out for a team meal, for others it meant volunteer tree planting. As well as some global human resources initiatives launched at market level, communications also played a key role in aligning employees behind our promises. For example, in the UK, we have linked our reward scheme with employee recognition through our ‘Spotlight’ scheme. This peerto-peer initiative gives employees the chance to recognise each other by sending small tokens such as ecards or larger monetary awards for a job well done. In 2010, 20,647 individual awards were given out through Spotlight, whilst 17,926 e-cards were sent, underlining the level of our people’s engagement. In short, having such strong in-


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Photo: Private

ternal buy-in has allowed us to develop, both through our communications and marketing, a consistent tone of voice, inside and out.

‘ONE AVIVA’ IN PRACTICE Our first global brand campaign since the rebrand, ‘You are the big picture’, is a fantastic example of how our recognition-based strategy allows consistent messages to filter through all of our communications and marketing activity. It reflects the huge progress we have made on our journey towards ‘One Aviva’, not only in that it exemplifies our coming together as one business under one brand promise: recognising our customers as individuals. It also symbolises the change that’s going on at Aviva and is a great reflection of our commitment to doing things differently. The campaign was extremely ambitious. It kicked off simultaneously in London, Warsaw, Paris and Singapore on October 4, 2010, and featured real stories of our customers, our employees, our business partners and our communities. It drew on some inventive public relations approaches to bring to life our brand promise of individual recognition. Elements of the campaign included wrapping landmark buildings with images of Aviva customers and employees, and high-impact projections of photographs submitted by members of the public. Social media played a huge role in the collection of these images and engagement of the public in the campaign. It was a great example of marketing and communications working together to truly engage with our customers and proved that consumers can engage with financial services brands if it is done in an appropriate and relevant way. We gained

over 57,000 Facebook ‘likes’ over the course of the first two weeks of the campaign, over 40,000 pictures were uploaded. We have benefited from having created a new community of online, engaged people who are actively involved in Aviva. We also used the campaign to communicate our corporate responsibility commitments. For each photo uploaded, we donated one pound to our global charitable programme, Street to School. Through the campaign we have fostered a deeper connection between the brand and our audience. Indeed, Facebook now use the campaign as a best practice example of how corporates can use the site to support charity partners. By launching one campaign across multiple markets, in a way which is fully integrated with both the internal and external communications functions, together with a strong emphasis on digital communications – we have made sure we maximise our investment in marketing.

DELIVERING OUR PROMISES Our move to a single global brand has given us a significant competitive advantage – our customer base is now 53 million strong internationally and growing. On the measures we know to be important to financial services customers – quality, value, reputation and satisfaction – YouGov research tells us that we are outperforming the industry average in the UK. Aviva was ranked one of the top ten most valuable brands in the UK last year and we were included in the top 100 brands in the Business Superbrands 2011 list. The brand is performing strongly and we are seeing the benefits of our investment. The success that we have been able to celebrate so far should be attributed in the most part to our employees across the world, who deliver our brand promise of recognition to each other and Jan Gooding to our customers on a daily Global Marketing Director, basis. However, Aviva’s viAviva sion to create one integrated Jan Gooding joined Aviva in business, around the promise 2009 as their global marketof recognising individuals, ing director. She has a wide is still very much a work in range of marketing experience, progress. Despite being two having previously held senior positions in this area for both years into the journey, we are British Gas and British Telecom. a long way from being able to She had been running her own relax. The job is most defimarketing consultancy before nitely not done yet... moving to Aviva. 02/2011

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SUFFER A SEA CHANGE, INTO SOMETHING RICH AND STRANGE Powerful stories, well told, possess their own communications alchemy, and can help transform perceptions of your brand by Rachel Davis and Alan Newland

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hakespeare’s The Tempest provides us with a memorable and thought-provoking quote about risk. But the play also invites us to reflect on the values, morality and redemption of its shipwrecked survivors. Watching the play recently, I did what we all do when we see a good drama or read good literature – I began to reflect on my own near shipwrecks (I am a sailor), my values and even my mortality. In short, the play was a vehicle for making meaning of my life. It was not long before I extended this to my professional life too. How I try to achieve goals, avoid disasters, manage and motivate, take risks to transform, improve and change. Communications is a fascinating process of how we structure thinking and language to create messages that achieve change – in attitudes, behaviour and perception. We know that the language of persuasion – in speech writing as much as in Shakespearian literature – relies on crafting not only words, but also structure. There are two distinctive “modes of thought” (as the American psychologist Jerome Bruner put it) to provide us with ways to structure experience and interpret reality. On the one hand, we use argument and evidence to convince us of the truth of that experience. On the other, we use narratives and stories to convince ourselves of its authenticity and verisimilitude – its ‘lifelikeness’.

BRAVE NEW WORLDS How we come to know the ‘truth’ of our experience is not just an important question 02/2011

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for philosophers and psychologists, but an important one for communication and public relations professionals. Bruner explains that one mode attempts to fulfil the formallogical system of describing and explaining the world. It tries to assure us of verifiable paradigms, tests and reference points. This “paradigmatic mode”, as Bruner calls it, enables us to use theory, argument and analysis. We use this mode to research, plan and implement. On the other hand, our “imaginative mode” attempts to generate connections before we have any verifiable proof. This way of thinking leads not to facts and figures, but instead to “ripping yarns”, gripping drama and “dramatised” accounts of historical fact. Through narrative, we psychologically construct environment, as well as action. Why can appreciation of narrative be so useful to professional communicators in corporate environments? Because narratives deal with the changing and changeable fortunes of the human condition with which we are intimately familiar. Every traditional fairy tale begins with a


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steady state of affairs that is somehow breached, bringing in a crisis to be redressed, and resulting in the restoration of legitimacy. Literature, drama and inspirational stories, render the world new and strange. They invite us to ‘fill in the gaps’ and create ‘brave, new worlds’. They enable us to draw conclusions from experience – even corporate experience. The ‘two modes’ of thought are reflexive and complementary.

TELLING STORIES At the Communicating Change conference, held in Vienna in March, our pres-

entation tried to demonstrate the ‘two modes’ idea of thinking. We told two stories: first, the case study of our ‘unloved’ organisation struggling to establish itself and survive in an environment where stakeholder perception and engagement had for a long time been both negative and hostile. We recounted simple but plain evidence: audits, research, analysis, facts and figures, and summarised conclusions that resist contradiction and discourage dialogue. Our second story – an analogous tale – is one of the 20th century’s most incredible stories of courage and endurance and a classic of leadership and communication. Yet it was the discovery of this story, once understood and appreciated, that enabled us to fully reflect on our experience. We had been trying to interpret and evaluate a long, difficult and complex campaign – of change communication and re-branding – by reference to empirical evidence 02/2011

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only. The discovery of this story changed all that.

TALE OF ENDURANCE In August 1914, the British

explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton set out on an expedition to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent. With him were 26 men, 69 sledging dogs, a ship’s cat and, unknown to him at the time, a stowaway. When they reached the south Atlantic, bad weather delayed them for months, and dense ice floes crushed and sank their ship. The mission had failed. Now Shackleton and his men faced a desperate race to survive. They trekked 600 km across the ice to the uninhabited and totally barren Elephant Island at the northern tip of the continent. Surviving that was a remarkable feat, but it was only the beginning. The lifeless land could not sustain them, so Shackleton took a critical decision. He selected those with the skills, courage and belief to mount a rescue mission. To ensure the survival of all his men, he had to leave the majority of them behind. That was Shackleton’s strategy and his dilemma – to abandon the majority and focus on a minority – to ensure survival of them all. They rebuilt a lifeboat, a mere seven metres long. Shackleton chose five, and set out on a new journey to the island of South Georgia, across 1,300km of the world’s most notorious ocean. Their journey was one of the most remarkable in the history of navigation and seamanship. With only basic tools – a paper chart, a sextant and a chronometer - they navigated their way through a hurricane and mountainous seas, overcoming unimaginable danger to reach South

Great tales of leadership, communication and moral authority can be a source of inspiration for narrating your corporate brand. But narratives can also deepen the way you reflect upon, interpret, assess and evaluate.

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Georgia’s southern shore after 17 days. But that wasn’t the end, for the whaling station was on the north of the island. By now they had run out of food, plus what little water remained was foul. So Shackleton set off again over the tops of uncharted 3,000m glacial mountains on a 38km trek reaching the Norwegian whalers in 36 hours. With only 72 hours rest, he set off once more to rescue his 22 comrades left behind on Elephant Island. But the mid winter weather now foiled all his rescue attempts. It was almost four agonising months before he finally reached Elephant Island again in August 1916 – exactly two years since leaving London. 02/2011

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY How storytelling helps your brand According to US psychologist Jerome Brunner, there are two modes of thought to interpret reality: paradigmatic (reliance on empirical data) and imaginative (storytelling) Dramatic, colourful narratives are a legitimate way to convey the truth of a situation, as powerful in their own right as referencing facts and figures Narratives also help us to reflect, interpret and assess more deeply and insightfully by making sense of the ups and down in fortunes of an individual or an organisation

DRAWING PARALLELS Why do we tell you this incredible story of endurance and survival? Because the General Teaching Council for England has one of its own. Though much less dramatic, it is for us, an analogy. The GTCE is the professional regulatory body for teaching in England, acting in the public interest to raise the status of the teaching profession. The GTCE registers all qualified teachers, regulates misconduct and incompetence and tries to engage teachers in professional development, support and advice. Our hostile environment was not the Antarctic continent – it was 500,000 teachers who did not identify with the GTCE or confer legitimacy on it. They refused to register, refused to pay the fee and refused to respond to offers of engagement. While our journey was not 17 days in an open boat across a treacherous ocean, it did last more than five years, as we struggled to collect registration data, battled to collect unpaid fees and fought to engage hostile stakeholders in a mis-


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sion that they would not endorse. Few teachers read our publications; fewer visited our website. We were failing to manage the perception of the organisation. Teachers saw it as ‘irrelevant’. Our survival was at stake. In 2008, the public relations team took a decision – not as dramatic or life-threatening as Shackleton’s, but one of significant risk and critical importance. Like him, we decided to ‘abandon’ the majority of our stakeholders (those who would not engage with our mission) and focus our efforts on a critical minority – the 30,000 new graduate teachers who enter the profession each year. Why were they different? First, they were not yet in schools and exposed to our tainted brand, well-established with older generations of teachers. Secondly, they were open to persuasion and engagement. Thirdly, their energy and enthusiasm might yet be channelled to endorse our mission.

Photos: The General Teaching Council for England

THE ULTIMATE IN REBRANDING So, like Shackleton, we took a

huge risk. We launched a campaign of potentially disastrous face-to-face presentations that engaged directly with this key stakeholder audience. Like his seemingly endless journey, we could only make painstaking progress. It would be almost 2020 by the time we engaged the majority of teachers. If this was a journey in changing brand perception, it was going to be a very long one. But like Shackleton, optimism was our courage. To succeed, our engagement had to be interactive and faceto-face. It had to create a narrative that would involve them in a critical but constructive perception of themselves. By being part of the process by which they construct professional identity, and feeling affirmed

as it emerged, they might recognise the contribution the GTCE had made to that process. By being part of that narrative, the GTCE image might itself be reconstructed and re-branded. We staged lively debates about the definitions and nature of professionalism – including frank and revealing anecdotes and stories about private and professional boundaries. We challenged them on their views, values and ethical standpoints: “How do you define a profession? How does the public perceive you? Are you a role model? If you are a good teacher, why does it matter what you do in your private life?” We engaged them in constructing a narrative of professional identity. The presentations soon won widespread approval. We achieved 75 per cent reach, Rachel Davis 98 per cent rated them “very Communications good or excellent”, 100 per Executive Assistant, The cent were “willing to recGeneral Teaching Council for England ommend”, and 95 per cent changed from “I know little or Rachel Davis is the executive nothing about the GTCE” to assistant in GTCE Communications, specialising in parliamen“I know how to describe what tary, stakeholder advocacy and the GTCE does and why”.

MORAL OF THE STORY Shackleton had abandoned the majority of his men. But he sought to rescue them all by making the critical decision to select. Four months later, when he returned to Elephant Island, he found all 22 of his men alive. Great tales of leadership, communication and moral authority – such as Shackleton’s mission and Shakespeare’s Tempest – can be a source of inspiration for narrating your corporate brand. But narratives can also deepen the way you reflect upon, interpret, assess and evaluate. A disaster story turned to triumph is after all, the ultimate in re-branding. 02/2011

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training. The General Teaching Council for England is an independent, non-government professional body.

Alan Newland Public Relations Manager, The General Teaching Council for England Alan Newland has a background in teaching and lecturing, and has been the communications and public relations manager of the GTCE since 2001. He presents workshops about the professional, personal and ethical dilemmas of entering teaching.

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BEHIND THE STEERING WHEEL OF DAIMLER S GLOBALISED IMAGE Jörg Howe explains his role in promoting, strengthening and developing Daimler’s brand communications. Interview by Dafydd Phillips

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ADVERTISEMENT Photo: Daimler AG

How has your brand adapted to this “age of responsibility”, and how do you make sure that this is clearly communicated? “Innovation from tradition” – this is our major message for our stakeholders. As Daimler is the company that invented the car, truck and bus our objective is to keep the lead in shaping their future. Sustainability and social responsibility are our corporate principles. In terms of strategic alignment, our communication strategy focuses on these issues. We are the only automotive company who has chosen a broad approach on alternative mobility concepts. We are developing the whole variety of alternative powertrains, from hybrid drives to fuel cell technologies. And, having the proof points

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Many experts argue that corporate communications, marketing and branding are moving closer together to the point of integration. Do you agree with this assessment, and how do you navigate this overlap – for example, to what extent do you cooperate with your counterparts in the marketing and brand departments? I absolutely agree. In our case, there are overlaps between product image and the company’s reputation. The product brand positioning is steered by the marketing function, whereas communications is responsible for the corporate image. Although they are separated by structure, all commu-

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Daimler AG is one of the largest car and truck manufacturers in the world, producing cars and trucks under the brands of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach, Smart, Freightliner and many others. Given your position at Daimler, to what extent have you found that corporate communications play a role in creating the organisation’s brand identity? I think our corporate brand Daimler is a unique communication asset. Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz invented the automobile, we celebrate the 125 years of innovation in their name and, right now, Daimler is Germany’s most popular corporate brand. So I am pretty convinced that corporate communications will continue to work on our brand’s reputation.

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on the product site, we can clearly claim leadership in terms of sustainable mobility.

And following on from that, how much of a role does corporate citizenship play in communicating Daimler’s brand? Daimler is a global player. We are aware of the responsibility towards our customers, employees and investors. Among our 260,000 employees, there are about 100,000 people working for Daimler all over the globe. We are involved in the domains of sustainability, environment and diversity wherever we have production in place. Thus, our thoughts and actions are guided by the principle of sustainable mobility: In this way, we want to create lasting added value – for our shareholders, customers, employees and society in general.

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How do you see the communicating of brand identity changing in the near future? Well, I am sure that communicating a brand identity will gain in relevance, generally. Especially in our case with really strong product brands like Mercedes-Benz. But let’s face it, on the company level, soft facts like customer loyalty or employee satisfaction will gain in relevance. Using all kinds of social media, stakeholder groups from every part of our society are increasingly requesting a dialogue with companies. Different issues will rise. Overall, sustainability and social responsibility will become even more important than they are now. 02/2011

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How have you adapted your brand communications to the impact of technology and social media? By using social media channels we can address other target groups compared to traditional media. We have a totally new kind of dialogue here, quickly emerging and definitely a field of opportunity. So we do not only dive into this from the marketing side. I think it’s fair to say that Daimler was among the first players who engaged in all kinds of social media channels, like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. We have established new structures and integrated the new channels into the corporate communications concept. We are also encouraging our employees to take part in social media discussions – based on our social media guidelines. What lessons can you share that contribute to communicating a successful brand identity? Most importantly, you have to spark some kind of fascination using a

Photo: Daimler Global Media Site

Mercedes-Benz at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. DTM driver Gary Paffett presents the new Mercedes-Benz SLK.


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unique positioning, maybe some kind of battle-cry which serves both externally and internally. Let me illustrate this with the message “The Best or Nothing”. Although this originally stands for our Mercedes-Benz positioning, it is obviously also part of our Daimler DNA. And if you then add fascinating products and services, the crowd will be yours.

Do the different brands under the Daimler ‘umbrella’ demand different communication strategies, or is there a centralised or broadly-consistent approach to each brand? With Mercedes-Benz, we own the most valuable brand in the automotive sector (according to Interbrand

Companies do not merely produce goods and services; they also have fascinating stories to tell. And they have to communicate values to stakeholders.

Photo: KarstadtQuelle AG

2010). But not everybody knows that Daimler is the world’s largest commercial vehicle maker with some more product brands like Freightliner, Fuso or Setra Buses. So we are targeting different groups with diverging information needs. Obviously we have to align divisional communications strategies, messages and activities. Finally, the overall Daimler communications strategy serves as the great umbrella for the individual product brands.

What are the big trends you see in brand communication, and how are these trends affecting how you approach your communications? Right now I am considering increasing stakeholder orientation as the most influential trend. As there are different stakeholder groups emerg-

ing, we have to meet their communicative demands and go beyond just pointing out our economic performance. Corporate social responsibility is already a vital domain. And we are prepared for that, too.

What was the most unpredictable factor that affected how you communicated the Daimler brand in the recent past? Well, the 2009 global economic crisis had significant effects on companies as a whole, as well as communications departments. During that time, brand communication had to adjust to a new situation. For example, in those days, not only crisis communication, but also social responsibility played a greater role. I am talking about reduced working time and job security. That’s where you need communication at its best. What advice do you have for communicators at other companies who are facing similar challenges to those you face? Companies do not merely produce goods and services. Companies also have fascinating stories to tell. And companies have to communicate values and messages to their stakeholders. We can’t go back to those days when it was just fine to send out a press release on your new vehicle. Is there a single touchpoint of your brand that you think will be more influential to your stakeholders in the next five years? This year especially we are in a very fortunate situation: like I said at the beginning, 125 years ago, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz invented the automobile. As automotive pioneers, we see it as both motivation and a duty to continue our tradition with groundbreaking technologies and superior products. And as an employer we are in a unique position to create a specific environment of fascination and tradition for all of the people who want to work on the future of automotive mobility not only over the next five, but over the next 125 years! 02/2011

Jörg Howe Head of Global Communications, Daimler AG Jörg Howe has been head of global communications at Daimler AG since 2008; prior to this, he was head of corporate communications at retail group KarstadtQuelle, later Arcandor, for four years. He has a background in journalism, starting in 1988 as a freelancer at various ARD stations and a correspondent for the German Press. From 1996 to 2004 he was editor in chief of Sat 1, as well as managing director of N24 from 2001 to 2002.

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FRAMING THE DEBATE, FRAMING THE BRAND It is increasingly important for organisations to frame their brands in terms of the key issues of our times, and thereby make their position clear to all by Guido Berens and Mignon van Halderen

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orporate branding typically involves the management of mental associations that organisational leaders want important audiences to hold about the organisation. Managing such mental associations, however, is becoming more complicated, given that companies are increasingly confronted with sensitive societal issues such as climate change, human rights in developing countries, and consumer health. In these circumstances, companies are increasingly compelled to explain to stakeholders what their brand stands for when it comes to impor02/2011

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tant societal issues. Shell, for instance, clearly started to realise this during the Brent Spar crisis in 1996. During this crisis, Greenpeace occupied one of the company’s oil platforms to plead against Shell’s decision to sink the aged, off-shore oil platform to the bottom of the North Sea. By physically occupying the oil platform and making astute use of emotional appeals via the media, Greenpeace managed to control society’s percep-


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tions about Shell. Because the company had been silent for so long with regards to its stance on important societal issues, shaping perceptions about Shell was a relatively easy job for Greenpeace. The crisis was a moment of truth for Shell’s top management: the company needed to become more voluble about who it is and its role vis-à-vis society. Besides Shell, many other companies have come to realise the importance of openly explaining the company behind the brand, instead of letting the external environment define who they are. For example, pharmaceutical companies understand that stakeholders expect them to join the global debate on rising medicinal costs and to articulate their position on this issue. Car manufacturers know that they can no longer refrain from taking a stance on climate change, or on the problem of increasing traffic density in highly populated cities. And fashion firms are increasingly compelled to have strong standpoints, values and codes of conduct when it comes to the production of their clothes in sweatshops. Companies like these have started to put a lot of effort into connecting their brand to key societal issues.

EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY Until recently, dealing with societal issues was mainly a strategic task of the public affairs or public relations departments. Companies in industries like oil and gas, tobacco and pharmaceuticals have traditionally spend huge amounts of money and other resources on lobbying, financial support for political candidates, and constituency building. These companies have been used to these types of activities, because they are historically faced with socio-politically sensitive issues which can threaten their legitimacy (social

acceptance in society). However, other types of companies have also been increasingly addressing the social and political environment in which they operate, not just to protect their legitimacy but increasingly also to gain a strong and recognisable position on a societal issue for their brand. For instance, General Electric launched its “Ecomagination” programme in 2005. The company’s expressed intention behind “Ecomagination” is “to imagine

It has become increasingly important for organisations to build a firm and consistent standpoint. and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges”. In other words, companies are increasingly being proactive instead of reactive in explaining their positions on societal issues. Given these trends, it is no longer the sole responsibility of the public affairs or public relations departments to manage societal issues in directions desirable for the company, but of all corporate communication functions, including corporate social responsibility, communications, issues management, and corporate branding. It has become increasingly important for organisations to build a firm and consistent standpoint regarding societal issues around their corporate brand. As such, corporate branding has become an important way through which companies seek to express and further discuss this standpoint with critical stakeholders. This article intends to provide insight into the managerial activities that corporate brand managers should engage in, to manage the company’s position vis-à-vis societal issues.

POSITIONING THE COMPANY’S POINT OF VIEW Several recent academic studies have focused on how organisations can not only clarify their positions on a societal issue, but also influence the public opinion on this issue in their favour (which was excellently reviewed in 2003 by C.T. Salmon, L.A. Post and R.E. Christensen in “Mobilising Public Will For Social Change”, Michigan State University). These include works related to issues management, institutional discourse, (organisational) agenda setting, and social capital. A common understanding within these research streams is that the way through which companies can create understanding and support around their social positioning is through the production and spreading of meaningful texts (e.g., corporate advocacies, corporate advertorials, speeches, social reports, opinion 02/2011

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articles and social media). An important mechanism that companies use in the production of these texts is framing. R.M. Entman has defined framing as the selection of “some aspects of a perceived reality and [making] them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described” (“Framing: Toward clarification of a fractured paradigm”, Journal of Communication 43(4), 1993). It is particularly through the act of framing that corporate brand managers can clearly position the company’s point of view on societal issues, in order to build understanding and support among important constituencies. So, how can corporate branding professionals use different types of framing?

BETWEEN THE ABSTRACT AND THE CONCRETE While various studies have focused on the important role of framing within societal debates, Salmon, Post and Christensen offer an interesting way to look at this question from a corporate branding perspective. They suggest that framing can serve several goals, such as 1) defining the scope of the issue (broad versus narrow), 2) suggesting proper ways of dealing with the issue and 3) making sure that the issue gets picked up by the media. With respect to the first goal of framing, sometimes it is to a company’s advantage when a particular issue is seen as broadly relevant to society, whereas in other cases this would be detrimental for the company. Generally, prior research has shown that issues defined in

Corporate brand managers should use a frame that is abstract enough to resonate within the societal debate, and concrete enough to build adequate understanding.

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simple but abstract terms tend to be seen as more broadly relevant than issues defined in complex, concrete terms. This is logical because simple, abstract terms are almost by definition applicable in more situations than complex, concrete ones. For instance, in the beginning of 2000, BP summarised their standpoints and different activities related to alternative energy as “Beyond Petroleum”. “Beyond Petroleum” is much more abstract than ‘solar energy’, ‘gas’, ‘wind energy’ or ‘hydrogen’. By framing their standpoint in more abstract than concrete terms, they aimed to broaden the scope toward the socially-relevant issue of alternative energy, although at that time their strongest focus with respect to alternative energy was gas and solar energy. However, the 02/2011

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Choosing the right frame Framing strengthens the brand by tying it to relevant social issues. It is increasingly important to publicise your stand A balance should be found between an abstract frame with broad appeal and more a concrete approach that clarifies the organisation’s position Framing also points to ways of understanding the cause of and dealing with an issue Then, ways of dealing with the issue can be tied in with the organisation’s business

abstractness of their communicated frame also bore a great risk: many target audiences understood the new frame as if the company was moving away from oil completely. It took the company much effort to explain to audiences that this was not the case. This example shows that carefully defining the scope of a company’s societal positioning is highly relevant to building understanding and support among stakeholders. Corporate brand managers should use a frame that is abstract enough to resonate within the broader societal debate, and concrete enough to build an adequate understanding of the company’s standpoint. In addition to defining the scope of an issue, framing can also be used to suggest the proper way of dealing with an issue. Suggesting proper ways of dealing with an issue is important because it enables companies to direct the societal debate on the issue in desirable directions. In negotiating toward such proper ways of dealing with an (undesirable) issue, framing can help to first


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Photos: RSM Erasmus University

define what the cause of the issue is (‘diagnostic framing’), how the issue can be solved (‘prognostic framing’) and what would be the best way to work toward a solution (‘motivational framing’) (see R.D. Benford and D.A. Snow, “Framing processes and social movements: An overview and assessment”, Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 2000). For example, the international express service company TNT frames poverty issues as “Solving hunger is a matter of logistics”. This way of framing suggests that the cause, and the solution, of the issue is not necessarily the availability of food, but the logistic problem of bringing food to the right places. TNT’s framing was not only clever in terms of corporate branding purposes (TNT’s core business is logistics), but also acted as a springboard for conversations with NGOs, third-world governments and other key stakeholders. Finally, framing can also be used to influence the probability that a news story will be picked up by the media. As such, companies can aim to create their own ‘protagonist’ role in dealing with important societal issues (as described by V.P. Rindova, T.G. Pollock and M.L.A. Hayward in “Celebrity firms: the social construction of market popularity”, Academy of Management Review, 31, 2006).

EMOTIONAL APPEAL Journalists are constantly on the look-out for stories with ‘news value’, and this value can sometimes be created through relatively simple aspects like emotionally appealing stories or surprising twists in a story. For instance, through a clever viral commercial, Dove (the personal care brand owned by Unilever) showed a “one-minute story” of a woman being ‘transformed’

into a conventionally-attractive billboard model through artificial techniques. The story ends with the pay off, “No wonder our perception of beauty is biased”. The idea was that by showing the artificial process behind beauty, audiences would see that the fashion models they see are far from realistic. The campaign created much media publicity, and, as such, gave Dove the opportunity to take a pro-active position in the global conversation on the issue of women’s self-esteem and issues such as anorexia. These are issues that organisations that produce personal care, fashion or cosmetic products are increasingly confronted with. Dr. Guido Berens

CONCLUSION In this ar-

ticle, we focused on framing as one central aspect of building a strong corporate brand around a specific societal issue. While corporate branding encompasses more than framing, it is a crucial aspect that corporate branding managers should take seriously. Framing should not be seen as just a textual exercise in order to build favourable associations in the mind of stakeholders. The potential of framing reaches much further, if corporate brand managers take the framing goals as earlier described in mind. While the three suggested framing tasks are by no means comprehensive, they do offer corporate brand managers valuable directions to: create attention within a specific societal debate, gain share of voice in this debate, build understanding and support around the company’s standpoint on the debated issue, and even steer the debate within desirable directions. 02/2011

RSM, Erasmus University Dr. Guido Berens is an assistant professor at the Corporate Communication Centre of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He earned his doctoral degree in Corporate Communication from RSM, Erasmus University and a Master’s in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Nijmegen.

Dr. Mignon van Halderen RSM, Erasmus University Dr. Mignon van Halderen is an assistant professor at the Corporate Communication Centre of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Her research focuses on how organisations create and maintain legitimacy, trust and a strong reputation by means of different identity expressiveness strategies.

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HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT WEAPON Social media represent both a catalyst for and weapon against brand crises. Communicators should know the right approach to take by Peter Kerkhof, Friederike Schultz and Sonja Utz

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he BP oil spill and the Toyota recall crisis once again document that organisational crises pose a major threat to brands. Crises frequently lead to negative word-of-mouth, which in turn may result in substantial financial losses for corporations. An important but challenging task of corporate communication departments is timely and adequate reaction when a crisis occurs. Different stakeholder groups such as consumers, investors, political actors or the general public have different interests in the corporation, which makes it hard to react in an adequate manner. Increasingly, organisational crises and corporate interventions take place in social media such as Twitter, Facebook or weblogs, facing brands with new choices about what to say, where to say it and how to say it.

WHAT TO SAY: SITUATIONAL CRISIS COMMUNICATION Research on crisis communication has mainly

focused on the question of what to say during an organisational crisis and has typically compared the effects of different crisis communication strategies on consumers or, more generally, the public. The most popular ap02/2011

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proach is the so called ‘situational crisis communication theory’, or SCCT (as formulated by W.T. Coombs in “Protecting Organisation Reputation During a Crisis”, Corporate Reputation Review, 10(3), 2007). SCCT distinguishes several categories of crises, such as accidental or intentional crises, and argues that the success of a crisis response strategy (e.g., apologising, showing sympathy, or providing information) depends on the type of crises and perceived crisis responsibility. For example, in case of a crisis for which the organisation has little responsibility (e.g. cancellation of flights due to the ash cloud), informing the public might be enough. The danger of brands being damaged by a crisis has increased with the recent rise of social media. Social media pose a serious challenge


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writing a press release. Whereas journalists can be expected to focus on the substance of a crisis response, for the larger audience the way a response is formulated and the medium through which the message is delivered may affect their immediate reactions. Below we present evidence from two studies that strongly suggest that the effects of ‘where’ and ‘how’ to communicate may be as powerful as the effect of ‘what’ companies say as a response to an organisational crisis.

Photo: www.flickr.com/ Thomas van de Weerd

WHERE TO SAY IT: THE CHOICE OF MEDIA CHANNEL MATTERS In “Is the medium the message?

to corporate communication departments because of the high speed of information transfer, and the interactivity and the public character of both the consumers’ and corporate responses. At the same time, social media present opportunities to corporations. In traditional media environments, corporations need to build media relations with journalists in order to inform the public and respond to critical concerns. In social media environments, organisations can communicate directly with their stakeholders. Therefore communication departments increasingly do not only issue classic press releases, but use social media such as Facebook, organisational blogs or Twitter to communicate with their stakeholders (as both BP and Toyota did recently). However, the art of communicating in social media is different from the art of

Perceptions of and reactions to crisis communication via twitter, blogs and traditional media” (Public Relations Review, 37(1), 2011), F. Schultz, S. Utz and A. Göritz examined whether or not it matters which channels are used to spread crisis responses by comparing the effects of various crisis response strategies (apology, sympathy, information) sent through different media channels (online newspaper, blog, or Twitter). Using an experimental design, respondents read a fictitious report about a major crisis of an automotive concern, and received either an online newspaper article, an organisational blog or a tweet, all of which contained a crisis response. (To deal with the problem that messages in tweets are much shorter, the tweet contained a link, and participants who clicked on the link were directed to the blog.) After being exposed to one of the three different responses in one of three different media channels, participants were asked to report the perceived organisational reputation, their behavioural intentions regarding the brand (negative word-of-mouth, boycott), and their so-called ‘secondary crisis communication’ intentions: the intentions of the respondents to share the corporate

The danger of brands being damaged by a crisis has increased with the recent rise of social media. message (forward, retweet, show to others), and to communicate in response to this message (reply, write a comment or a letter to the editor). The results showed that the medium mattered more than the message: there were almost no differences between the crisis response strategies, but there were clear medium effects. Respondents who read the tweet were less likely to boycott the organisation than respondents who read a blog or a newspaper article. For respondents 02/2011

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who received the tweet and clicked on the included link to the blog post the perceived reputation of the organisation was highest. A reason might be that Twitter is associated with open and dialogic communication, and thereby signals corporate openness to the public’s concerns and the willingness to solve the problem at hand. The communication strategy (information, apology, etc.) affected the willingness to participate in a boycott and spread negative word-of-mouth. In contrast to predictions from earlier crisis communication theories, the communication strategy to inform was much more successful than apologising or showing sympathy with the victims. This difference was most pronounced in the Twitter example, probably because the short tweets clearly summarised the main message. Interestingly, the participants (including frequent Twitter users) were more likely to communicate (share, react on) about newspaper articles than about blogs and tweets. Overall, Twitter users were more likely to share a corporate response with others. Taken together, this study shows that where to respond matters as strongly as what to say. In that sense, social media represent a promising channel to use in order to protect a brand from being damaged. In particular, reaching Twitter users appears to be beneficial in times of crisis: getting Twitter users on your side may, in the long run, lead to more positive brand evaluations in the social media landscape.

HOW TO SAY IT: THE IMPORTANCE OF A HUMAN VOICE Recently, Tom Kelleher compared the

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effects of personal forms of organisational communication, such as blogs, to more impersonal forms of communication, such as corporate websites (“Conversational voice, communicated commitment, and public relations outcomes in interactive online communication”, Journal of Communication, 59, 2009). Respondents who read messages on a corporate blog experienced the company’s communications as more human compared to consumers reading information on a corporate website. Moreover, they perceived the company to be more committed to maintaining good relationships with its customers. Both experiencing an organisation as human and as committed to its customers helped to build trust in the organisation. The work by Kelleher shows the powerful effects of using social media such as blogs to communicate to the public. However, the question is whether choosing a social medium to communicate is sufficient to be perceived as more human and as committed to customers. Also, the 02/2011

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A double-edged sword Prevalence of social media exacerbates damage to the brand in a crisis A multichannel approach to crisis communication serves the brand best Getting Twitter users on your side is a big positive in terms of reputation Newspaper articles are the most popularly-shared medium A personal tone of voice humanises your brand when responding to a crisis

question is whether the same kind of effects of using social media can be established when a brand is accused of producing faulty products or of being involved in moral transgressions. Together, we recently conducted an experiment using a recent scandal involving Swedish retail clothing company H&M as a starting point (“Crisis PR in social media: An experimental study of the effects of organisational crisis responses on Facebook”, paper to be presented at the 61st Annual ICA Conference, Boston, May 2011). In the beginning of 2010, a news article appeared in the New York Times stating that the H&M store in Manhattan discarded bags of unsold and unworn garments. The garments were destroyed by making holes in them to prevent them from being sold elsewhere. A few hours later, popular American weblog the Huffington Post followed the New York Times in reporting about the case and the H&M Facebook page soon overflowed with reactions from fans. H&M responded on its Facebook page


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in a formal and corporate manner, stating “H&M is committed to take responsibility for how our operations affect both people and the environment. Our policy is to donate any damaged usable garments to charity. We’re currently investigating an incident in a NY store that is not representative of our policy (…..)”. The aim of our experiment was to establish the effects of humanising this response on Facebook. We crafted four Facebook crisis responses by combining a personal versus an impersonal tone of voice with two different crisis communication strategies (denial versus apologies). The personal message

Photos: University Amsterdam

When challenged by a crisis, brands are increasingly faced with the question of which media channels to use and how to respond given the choice of channels at hand. was delivered by a spokesperson that mentioned her name and used her photograph as a profile picture. The message was written using the first person. The impersonal message was delivered by H&M, using the logo as a profile picture, and was written in the third person. The results showed the double-edged effect of apologising: apologies led to higher credibility and a more positive attitude towards the response, but increased the perceived responsibility of the organisation. As expected, we found that a personal tone of voice did indeed make participants perceive the brand as more human and more committed to its customers. Also, participants who wrote down their immediate thoughts after reading the news article and the

personal response reported fewer negative thoughts regarding the brand compared to participants who read the impersonal response. Interestingly, the effects of the tone of voice were strongest in the case of denial: the most positive results for the brand were obtained when H&M denied what happened using a personal tone of voice.

CONCLUSION When challenged by a crisis, brands are increasingly faced with the question of which media channels to use and how to respond given the choice of channel at hand. Media choice matters, as we saw in the first study above. Using Twitter gave the brand an advantage (in terms of reputation) over using a newspaper article or a blog. Still, the newspaper article was the medium type people were most likely to share. The results of the second study show that within social media, brands communicating in a human voice are more likely to succeed in protecting the brand from further damage. Combining the two studies strongly suggests using a multichannel approach to crisis communication around your brand, using both traditional press releases and more informal and human social media messages and interactions. This is not to say that substance does not matter anymore; it does however stress the importance of making additional choices regarding where and how to communicate. 02/2011

Prof. Peter Kerkhof VU University, Amsterdam Peter Kerkhof is associate professor and chair of the department of Communication Science at VU University Amsterdam, and holds a special chair in customer media.

Prof. Friederike Schultz VU University, Amsterdam Friederike Schultz is assistant professor of corporate communication and new media. She has worked as researcher, assistant and lecturer at several European universities.

Prof. Sonja Utz VU University, Amsterdam Sonja Utz is an assistant professor at the department of communication science, VU University Amsterdam. She co-edited the book Mediated Interpersonal Communication.

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SHAKE UP PERCEPTIONS A tough winter presented energy company E.ON with an unlikely opportunity to reevaluate and reorganise the way they communicated the reality behind the image by Carina Brorman

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round Christmas 2009 the winter turned Scandinavia into a stronghold. Record snowfall and unusually low temperatures created unprecedented demand for household energy. Electricity production was also low, due to yearly maintenance and a large industrial project of upgrading several nuclear reactors in Sweden, so prices soared. This, you would be forgiven for thinking, should be good news to an energy company like E.ON. But it also spurred debate on energy prices and production. This de02/2011

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bate did not only take place in the traditional media, but also in digital media: blogs, Facebook, Twitter and so on. The energy industry was not prepared for this debate and at E.ON we had to work around the clock to write, speak, debate and explain the situation. The deregulation of the Swedish electricity market in 1996 was still making it diďŹƒcult for consumers to understand the price


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setting mechanism. Since we came late to the debate, we had to fight an uphill battle. Internally, it was also a challenge to coordinate the messages from different business units, in different channels and to different target groups.

TURN AROUND How did we end

up like this? Like any professional communications department the one at E.ON Nordic used to put together communication plans and develop brand strategies. We had great brand manuals and a clear picture of what we wanted our brand to be. This was supported by design programmes, campaigns and other communications. But the energy sector has, through deregulation, increasing energy costs and climate debate, gone from a stable utility business working below the radar to a highly focused, challenged and scrutinised industry within a decade. Our organisation’s communications were primarily skilled in reacting to power outage and traditional communication. Incidents and events in the world outside would sometimes create a debate and media attention we were not prepared for, which led to intense ad hoc communication work with little energy left for the long-term strategy. The winter of 2009 was just one example. Deregulation had also led to the entrance of a large number of electricity retail companies, which we suddenly had to compete with in the consumer market. The reputation was low and the brand perception of E.ON became blurred: what was the difference between an energy company and an electricity retail company? And what was the difference between the major energy companies? E.ON has a worldwide initiative called One Voice aim-

ing at coordinating communications. In 2008, I was recruited to E.ON as vice president of brand and communications from the Swedish public television network SVT. My assignment was to create an organisation that would develop the image of E.ON by establishing strategic, synchronised communication for all stakeholders. For me it was natural to look upon this challenge from a media perspective. This led to two conclusions. Firstly, at television, newspaper and radio news desks, events in the world are opportunities for attention, not problems. Media companies have strategies for which kinds of messages are suited for different target groups and through which channel or medium. And they act fast. Secondly, and most importantly, successful media companies do not just react to what happens externally, they drive and lead debate, create stories and bring together different people and organisations to make news.

CLEAR IDENTITY Based on these observations, we decided to start designing a communications organisation that is more pro-active and structured, that will deal with a turbulent and information-overloaded world using welldefined processes. And by being structurally responsive, we knew we could allow ourselves to focus on being more proactive and strategically aligned with E.ON’s strategies and business goals. We basically set out on a journey to re-invent ourselves. Even within our own department, it was not clear what our scope of responsibility was. We needed to create a clear identity; therefore the programme was called Clear ID. Rather than starting with an analysis of the current situation we began putting together an ideal scenario: who are the stakeholders? What roles should they have? How should people work together? What results should be achieved? A key concern was centralisation. To communicate with one voice, it may appear necessary to centralise communication. But we found that this would remove the communications professionals from the business units they were supposed to support. While we needed the professional communicators to provide solid communications expertise, and their colleagues in the business units to provide equally important industry knowledge, we realised that only by collaborating professionally would we create a win-win situation for everyone involved. Rather than simply looking for a new organisational chart, we decided to do a gap analysis between the ideal scenario and the existing organisation applying three perspectives: people, process and technology. This model helped us think up new ideas and to review the current situation with fresh eyes. 02/2011

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PEOPLE..... E.ON employs a number of skilled, trained and experienced communications professionals. Like most communication organisations, we also work with many external partners. But our organisational structure didn’t allow them to work effectively together. The ideal scenario pointed out the necessity of several important changes: that our partners needed to be involved earlier in our concept development, and that we needed to let brand management and corporate communication work in strong consort. We should also outsource the communication department’s production capacity and concentrate on driving strategic communication. To make this work, we needed to better define roles and tasks. The existing organisation was described clearly in terms of departments and reporting lines, but it gave no guidance as to the way of working. So we created an organisational model to contrast the traditional organisational chart. The new model is in essence a governance model that describes core competencies, key roles, centres of expertise, interfaces and decision forums. This implied major changes and we understood early that our employees, business stakeholders as well as external partners needed to be included in the process. ...AND PROCESSES The new organisational model

describes who is responsible for what, when, and where. Based on this we drew a blueprint of our workflow starting with the yearly planning process, breaking it down to “a day in the life” for the individual. This allowed us to

In the old world, our brand was static. In the new world, we have to invest in the brand every day, in our work with customers, in our operations and in our communication. This will be a continous process.

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develop more specific processes in terms of roles involved, workflow, decision-making and output. As the processes also included people, roles and organisations outside our department, we brought them into the programme. This included E.ON business units, suppliers and partners. Being clear and precise on the roles and workflow of these processes made it easier to agree on interfaces between external partners and us. Today we have 19 processes from the “annual planning” down to things like “issue management” that are structured in this way. They are central in enabling us to orchestrate all areas of communication including public affairs. 02/2011

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Clearing confusion about the company E.ON’s brand has developed from a static, pre-prepared fixture to more of a responsive process Coordinating and integrating the company’s communications has resulted in a stronger brand image The communications department itself is now faster, leaner and brings more value Its new strategy is better at engaging customers and other stakeholders

TECHNOLOGY As in many organisations, work was supported by a number of independent tools such as e-mail and to-do lists, fileservers for storage and collaboration, and Excel sheets for tracking progress. But to truly support our new way of working it is clear that we need something more streamlined and closely related to our workflow.. We have decided to implement a management information system with the purpose of ensuring collaboration between employees and external partners. The technology developed so far implements an integrated technical infrastructure to support the communication department and their stakeholders throughout the communication processes. It also supplies common documents and templates for briefs, debriefs, target group segmentation, order management, key performance indexes and checklists in order to support process consistency. It would be possible to reach some of our goals without introducing new technologies, but to sustain the new behaviour, and to be able to act fast, we need to embody


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and support the structured processes in information systems.

THE OUTCOME Our transition

could be described as going from being un-structurally reactive, supporting individual needs as they arise, to being proactive, supporting the business goals and driving strategy. The effects of the programme are: 1) Integrated communication to support the One Voice strategy; 2) Creating “organisational memory” and supporting continuous improvement; 3) Enabling roles and responsibilities. The benefits for E.ON Nordic’s communication include being faster, more effective and strategic in terms of adding business value. And our image and trust has improved over time. Of course this type of programme creates a number of challenges, for instance it reorganises influence on communication and rearranges responsibilities. And a lot of energy in the programme has been devoted to managing this.

Photo: E.ON Sverige

BRAND AS PROCESS, NOT PRODUCT We have come to a

point were we are starting to take a different view of our brand and branding. In the old world, our brand was static. It was designed, in essence as a product. We had manuals describing it and plans for implementing it, and the brand was thought as a label to be put on the company. In the new world we have to invest in the brand every day, in our work with customers, in our operations and in our communication. This will be a continuous process. Only if we are coherent, responsive and engage in dialogue in the appropriate channels around the concerns of our stakeholders (customers, citizens, politicians, related businesses etc) can we become what

we aim for: a strong brand who is customer-oriented and work for cleaner and better energy. Now, the brand has become more of a process than a product.

STRENGTHENED POSITION The winter of 2010 was just as harsh as the one in 2009. But this time we were able to act differently. The organisation was now set to respond to external events and circumstances. We were actively debating in both national and local media, on Twitter and the web. Executives had online chats. We had a seminar with parliamentary members. We met with special interest groups. We even offered customers the opportunity to defer payments. And we did it as one company and we spoke with one voice. This created both significantly increased brand awareness and a drastically more positive image among customers than we otherwise would have had. The sponsorship of a racing team using biogas fuel, partnering with VW and The Federation of Swedish Farmers, is another example where our integrated communication capabilities have been put to test. It has been very successful, it promotes our strategic biogas fuel and it addresses climate issues. It even won a prestigious award for reaching customers, politicians and decision maker in a new and creative way. The tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan now generate enormous demands for communication. The ability to have clear, reassuring and coherent messages in all media and to all stakeholders is vital, not only to us but to the entire industry. We are certainly not done yet, but we have clearly started along a new road. Where will this road take us? Well, apart from being able to manage our communication in a better way, we plan to use the time and energy we saved Carina Brorman to extend our capability for Vice President Brand and adding business value. What Communication for Nordic could be better than using region, E.ON Sverige the processes, information Prior to her role at E.ON, Caand dialogue to also drive our rina Brorman was a member product innovation? To develof the management team of op new products and services? SVT, the Swedish public service television company, as well as Imagine a company that uses managing director of one of its communication to spur inthe production units. She also novation systematically and sits on several boards, including MFF football club in Malmö. on a large scale… 02/2011

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OLD RULES FOR NEW TALENT 84

Public sector communicators may be unused to thinking about brand, but it can help resources, staff and identity by Peggy Simcic Brønn 02/2011

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Photo: www.flickr.com/Norges Bank

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n employee from the public sector recently complained to me that seminars offered by an international business communication organisation were not interesting. She suggested that if the organisation wanted to attract members from the public sector, they should take care to offer seminars and workshops for those who do not work in marketing, the private sector or in public relations agencies. This is not an unusual complaint. Public sector employees often inexplicably shy away from courses or seminars where the words ‘business’, ‘corporate’, ‘marketing’ or ‘return on investment’ are mentioned. They simply do not see what these topics have to do with them. That is not to say that the public sector should be viewed the same as the private sector. There are considerable differences and they should be recognised; the primary one being profit motivation. However, there is ample evidence that many practices that have been successful in the private sector can be employed successfully in the public sector. In fact, there appears to be an increasing need for them. While still relatively ignored in academic research, more and more governmental bodies are realising the value of viewing themselves as a brand. According to brand guru David Aaker, “a brand is a distinguishing name and/or symbol (such as a logo, trademark, or package design) intended to identify the goods or services of either one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate those goods or services from those of competitors”.

BRANDING THE PUBLIC SECTOR There are examples of strong public sector brands – every country has their own highly profiled public sector brands. Some of these brands evoke strong emotional appeals, such as the military. Even national postal services can elicit strong reactions; in both Norway and the UK, there was quite an uproar when the governments attempted to modernise their visual identities. However, the public sector is not trying to sell more products or services. Most public sector organisations work with limited resources; why should they use tax monies to support branding activities in the form of fancy communication campaigns? One trend that is fuelling this interest is the increasing competition between the private and public sectors for human resources. The aging of the population in western societies, coupled with the growth of the numbers of young persons in the third-world, is putting huge pressures on all organisations to be better at enticing the best candidates and to keeping the employees they have. Some public sector organisations are meeting this challenge by applying branding principles to their human resources strategy, for example, employer branding. YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION Employer branding is essentially another name for corporate branding. Corporate branding shifts product brand thinking to the entire organisation where the organisation’s identity provides the basis for distinguishing it according to its special characteristics. In other words, that which is 1) central, 2) distinct and 3) enduring in an organisation. Organisational identity answers the question: who are we as an organisation? It provides the source for the value proposition that is the basis for the brand. Employer branding actively employs corporate branding techniques to position organisations as an employer of choice. This means managing how the organisation distinguishes itself with a unique meaning in the minds of future employees and defining how it wants to be seen and known as distinct from its competitors. Associations that distinguish the organisation are called employer value propositions. One such example is the case of the Ministry of Finance in Norway. The Ministry of Finance has the constitutional responsibility for economic policy, budget policy, tax policy, financial policy and management of the government pension fund. The ministry itself has approximately 300 employees but it also comprises selfsufficient underlying units with more than 10,000 employees. These include The National Insurance Scheme Fund, Statistics Norway, Customs and Excise Authori02/2011

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ties, Financial Supervisory Authorities, The Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management, The Norwegian National Collection Agency, and the Tax Administration. The Central Bank of Norway is also tied to the Ministry of Finance as a totally independent institution. Placed in a hierarchical scheme, the Ministry looks similar to a private sector organization with a number of subsidiaries or sub brands. They have a branded identity where each unit has their own web pages, their own logos, in many cases their own communication departments and their own human resources teams. But most critically, they compete with each other for the same highly qualified graduates, typically from finance, economics, statistics and the law. Norges Bank’s activities are also global and this gives added pressure to attract the best graduates with strong language skills and international experience. And of course there is the additional challenge of attracting these highly educated candidates away from the private sector.

IDENTITY CRISIS The Ministry of Finance has a formal

role regarding its underlying agencies but in general views them as independent. Who they are as a ministry and as separate agencies is not normally a problem if the communication goal is to inform; for example sending tax information or providing data. The challenge comes when the agencies compete for human resources. Each needs its own value proposition that somehow distinguishes it from the others yet takes advantage of the positive association with the ministry. The employer branding strategies of the min-

...the acknowledgement that the principles driving communication in the private sector can be successfully applied to the public sector.

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istry and its agencies are thus driven in part by the organisational identity of the ministry and in part by the organizational identities of each agency. Because each agency is concerned about attracting the very same employee profile, they must have a communication strategy that expresses to current and prospective employees what makes each of them individually a distinctively attractive place to work. One possible strategy would be using a sort of ‘supra’ strategy where the Ministry of Finance itself is featured. This would allow the sub-brands to benefit from the ministry’s perceived prestige while at the same time maintaining their independence. This is called a mixed brand strategy in the branding literature. 02/2011

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Brand and the public sector Principles behind brand communications can be applied to the public sector Well constructed and efficient employer branding makes it easier to attract new employees Organisations with several sub brands must balance by communicating what makes each individual section attractive as well as a ‘supra’ brand strategy It is important for public sector organisations to ascertain what exactly their publics think of them and why Employer branding campaign could be a cost-saving exercise by reducing staff turnover etc.

RESEARCH Whatever branding strategy is employed, a typical public relations process needs to be followed: research, strategy, tactics and evaluation. It must be based on thorough internal and external research. What keeps current employees from leaving and what attracts potential employees? Which messages should be sent through which channels, and by whom? Specific goals and objectives must be set. This can be a challenge to public sector communication practitioners who may be more comfortable with a role of informing, as opposed to strategising. The ministry and the agencies are currently working on going forward with their employer branding activities. They have data from a national survey by the international organisation Universum, who regularly takes the pulse of students on where they prefer to work. In 2010 only three Norwegian public sector organisations were in the top 25 preferred employers; the Finance Ministry


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was ranked 13 and the oil company Statoil was number one followed by Ernst & Young. Interestingly, law students’ top five rankings were public sector institutions, but the Finance Ministry was number 25. And none of the Ministry’s underlying ‘subbrands’ were mentioned by either student group.

Photo: Norwegian School of Management

DISCOVERING AUDIENCE PERCEPTIONS OF THE BRAND The

information from the Universum survey is adequate only to a point. While it provides a quick picture of an organisation’s standing with students, it says little about why they think the way they do. The first step for the ministry therefore will be to survey the actual perceptions of the ministry and its agencies held by students on variables that the students find important when seeking employment. One aspect of this will be judging the awareness level of the ministry itself and of its underlying sub-brands. This can tell the ministry where they need to funnel their resources. As marketing experts know, building awareness is the first step in a successful campaign. If awareness is low, then perhaps monies are better spent on increasing visibility as a first step toward increasing student interest in the ministry and its agencies as a preferred place to work. Critical in this important process is the cooperation and coordination between the ‘mother’ organisation and the ‘daughter’ units. It is difficult to see how the responsibility can be left to the human resources function alone: the communication experts must also be drawn into the process. At first glance, this coordination may be easier to accomplish in a public sector ‘branded’ entity. Each agency has the common goal of service to its citizenry. There is no profit motive

messing up their relationships, and working together can accomplish synergies that fragmentation can not.

COST-EFFICIENT APPROACH Return on investment is

another one of those business concepts that at first glance seems to have no place in the public sector. However, if there is one place where return on investment should be emphasised, it is indeed the public sector. Citizens entrust the public sector to do their jobs efficiently and effectively with the funds provided them through taxes – a fancy branding campaign could quickly draw the ire of tax payers. However, it is not unreasonable to assume a positive figure when dividing the monies saved through low turnover, lower sick leave and lower recruiting costs by the funds spent on an employer branding campaign. And this is without factoring in increased productivity from having better and more loyal employees.

CHANGING ATTITUDES, ATTRACTING CANDIDATES Research indicates that a well constructed and

effective employer branding campaign makes it easier to attract candidates. Indicators of success include, among others, the number that would recommend the organisation as an employer, satisfaction of new hires, the time it took to fill the position, acceptance rate, and retention rate (particularly of high performers). Branding provides a clear and compelling reason as to why the organisation is a great place to work. Success comes when organizations deliver on that promise, regardless of what sector they represent If the opinion of the public sector employee quoted at the beginning of this article is any indication, it seems that there are still some attitudes toward private sector practices that need to be changed. The view of the public sector as something unique requiring special seminars needs to be replaced with an acknowledgement that the principles Prof. Peggy Brønn driving communication in Norwegian School the private sector can be sucof Management cessfully applied in the public Peggy Simcic Brønn is a professector. As noted in a 2006 sor and associate dean of the Business Week article, govundergraduate public relations programme at the Norwegian ernments and public sector School of Management, Oslo. services have seen that what is She is also the director of the good for business can also be school’s Center for Corporate good for them. Communication. 02/2011

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BOOKS Communications Reader

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he neurotic angst of modernism has found expression in many movements, artistic and other, throughout the past 100 years. In the 1990s, sociologists coined the phrase ‘risk society’ to describe how society essentially deals with risk: in the opening chapter of Communicating Risks: Towards the Threat Society, Stig Arne Nohrstedt writes that we are moving towards a threat society, where existing and possible risks are seen as potential weapons in the hands of various actors – 9/11 plays a central role in three out of the book’s nine chapters. The book is the culmination of a research programme into threat assessment and identity led by the Nohrstedt, a professor at Linnaeus University, Sweden, and features contributions from researchers in the fields of journalism, rhetoric, and media and communication science. Someone, somewhere, must have the answer to why so much of Europe’s cutting-edge thinking and writing about communication and media comes from Scandinavian countries; in the meantime, readers might find special interest in Johanna Jääsaari’s and Eva-Karin Olsson’s investigation into how the media determine their crisis coverage based on their own organisational identities, as well as Joel Rasmussen’s thorough study of risk management at a chemical plant.

COMMUNICATING RISKS STIG A. NOHRSTEDT (ED.) NORDICOM MARCH 2011

FORMING EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENTS TO BRANDS Since the days of Bernays and the infancy of

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marketing and public relations, the link between advertising, communications and the workings of the mind has been mined by commentators. The Branded Mind delves deeper, and is the latest addition to the literature of neuromarketing, a field of study which author Erik Du Plessis dates back to 2002. This is a book to reckon with: neurology, gender differences, empathy circuits, ‘buy-ology’ and Plutchik’s wheel of emotions – these are ideas that invigorate (his short introduction to gestalt is exemplary, although he misses a trick by not referencing Ghostbusters). Du Plessis’ erudite style results in some epigrammatic one-liners you’ll take away from the book: “the brain in love – brand loyalty” is so beautifully simple, it hurts. Importantly, he repeatedly sounds a note of caution against an over-reliance on neuroscience, warning of the dangers of drawing premature inferences from decontextualised studies. He loses points for one too many Wikipedia references; otherwise, The Branded Brain is a great find, and a book to treasure whether or not you are involved in marketing (and in some ways, aren’t we all, whether we are willing participants or not?). 02/2011

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THE BRANDED MIND ERIK DU PLESSIS MILLWARD BROWN/ KOGAN PAGE FEBRUARY 2011


BOOKS

TOYOTA UNDER FIRE JEFFREY K. LIKER & TIMOTHY N. OGDEN KOGAN PAGE, OCTOBER 2010

THE SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK NICK SMITH & ROBERTO WOLLAN WITH CATHERINE ZHOU JOHN WILEY & SONS, JANUARY 2011

“THE SAGA OF THE STICKY PEDAL”: this chapter-heading reads like a detective story, and that, to an extent, is what is Toyota Under Fire promises us. It investigates the causes and effects of three separate but related recalls of Toyota cars after it was found that the accelerator pedal stuck to the floor. But this compact volume offers more, presenting both a nuts-and-bolts account of car mechanics and an over-arching account of the company’s corporate strategy, crisis management and media engagement. But, buyer beware! Author Dr. Jeffrey Liker has worked with Toyota since 1983, and this deep involvement compromises any objectivity. It also explains sentences such as “The Toyota board of directors began to define its approach to the crisis with its usual intensive analysis”. The language of the star-struck fan is generously sprinkled throughout, but it would be unfair to dismiss Toyota Under Fire as empty propaganda. Liker does very well in taking the reader deep inside the vast company: offices, boardrooms and factory floors are all part of a grand tour that is as much an inquiry into the working ethos of this legendary company as it is into the recall crisis. American academics seem to be blessed with an innate readability-factor – they know how to construct easy-to-follow narratives that contain a deceptively dense load of facts and figures – and Dr. Liker (albeit with a co-writing credit from Timothy N. Ogden) is no exception. BUILDING A CASE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA Promoted by the publisher as “the complete toolkit for a coherent social media strategy”, The Social Media Handbook is the latest attempt to enforce order onto web 2.0’s unruly growth. The authors – three managing directors at the management consultancy Accenture – categorise and define the necessary steps towards planning, building, integrating and measuring a social media strategy, and locate social media within the wider organisation, following up the ramifications of its use at almost every layer: employee incentives, customer support and organisational change are all dealt with clearly and concisely. In a brave move, the authors’ twitter profiles are included on the inside of the dust jacket: some online observers, such as Dan Dunlop of The Healthcare Marketer, have wondered aloud how writers with such meagre numbers of Twitter followers could live up to the book’s promotional boast. But anyone searching for arguments with which to persuade top management of the strategic important of a social media strategy would do well to consult this clearly-written guide. 02/2011

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ASSOCIATION

European Association of Communication Directors

REBUILDING REPUTATION Ralph Driever, Infineon Technologies’ vice president of communications, will be one of the expert speakers on reputation management at the European Communication Summit 2011 in Brussels, which will be co-hosted by this magazine and the EACD from the audience. At our headquarters in Munich, All Hands Meetings are usually hosted by the management board.

Reputation management is always a challenge, but is especially difficult in the wake of a crisis. What are some of the tools that Infineon has utilised to build back trust and what communications strategies have been most effective? As we don’t sell consumer goods our focus is on B2B communication. Here we have established well-defined procedures and use different kinds of media, e.g. customer letters. Moreover, we communicate face-to-face with our key customers, thus maintaining close contact.

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A good reputation is something that is important to all of those involved with an organisation, especially a company’s employees. What are some of the strategies that Infineon has utilised to build and maintain trust amongst its workforce? The basic requirement to build trust within a workforce is continuous and open communication – especially during crisis situations. Executives play an important role in this process as they represent the company towards the staff. At Infineon, top management is provided with information directly from the management board in order to spread the news within the organisation. A well established platform to inform our employees is the All Hands Meeting, which takes place regularly at all locations worldwide. On these occasions, regional executives speak about current topics and answer questions 02/2011

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With the rise in popularity of the internet, consumers are becoming more aware every day, and transparency is becoming increasingly important for successful businesses. In what ways has Infineon utilised online communications during its transformation over the past few years? Infineon has set up a very detailed website with different sections and multimedia content such as videos and podcasts. Customers find data sheets and information about our latest products and applications there. Moreover, they have access to our online customer magazine “Designlink”. The corporate section of our website gives an overview about Infineon and its focus areas, which is especially useful for investors, the media and job applicants.

ANDRE RALPHMANNING DRIEVER Ralph Driever is vice president of communications at Infineon Technologies in Munich. Prior to taking this position, he was responsible for corporate communications at Theo Müller. Driever has over 18 years of communications experience, and has held top positions at Bertelsmann, Gruner & Jahr, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Degussa.


ASSOCIATION

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE EXPECTING? Micael Dahlén’s Nextopia at the European Communication Summit 2011

Photos: Infineon AG; Private

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atching the lines that formed in several major European cities when the second edition of the iPad was launched, one cannot help but wonder: why is this so urgent? Who are these people? Could they be the same ones who bought the first edition of it just the other day? Micael Dahlén, professor of marketing and consumer behaviour at the Stockholm School of Economics, has devoted his research to explaining this drive; our thirst for the big next thing. How can an album go platinum on pre-order alone? Why do Hollywood producers pre-announce a series of movies years ahead of their actual premieres? He has collected his answers to these questions and many others in a book called Nextopia, an unorthodox description of our current society which goes well beyond what we have become accustomed to expecting from academics, gathering insights from such divergent areas of research as evolutionary biology, social psychology, epidemiology, economics and business administration. He describes Nextopia, or the ‘expectation society’, as an “evolutionary drive to always strive for the next thing, next date, next job, or next product we’re going to buy”, a movement which started as a whisper and has gradually risen in volume to a roar over the last few years, establishing itself as a defining characteristic of our society. This drive, in combination with a society of abundant opportunities, provides the perfect environment for companies which refuse to be satisfied with their accomplishments, and renders us all more creative and “awake” (see box). At the European Communication Summit 2011, Dahlén will give previews of how life, business and love will unfold in the future. What is the next big thing?

MICAEL DAHLÉN Although he is mostly known for his work on the expectation society, Micael Dahlén has also extensively researched the subject of creativity. His book Creativity Unlimited (John Wiley & Sons, 2008) encourages us to forget about thinking outside of the box (which sets unrealistic expectations and complicates the creative process by removing frames of reference), and to stick to the box, shaking it to reorganise ideas and watch as they recombine in innovative formats. The idea is to rearrange the existing skills and information, using your limitations as the starting point of creativity. If you don’t, the walls grow inwards throughout the years and you may end up with a tunnel instead of a room and way too much space occupied by common knowledge, which is “one of the most destructive concepts in existence” according to Dahlén. So never be content with what you have, don’t ignore your hidden skills or secondary knowledge (there is no useless knowledge, the author says) and stay off the beaten track. The promise? Not only professional success, but people who look for new opportunities and challenge themselves by taking the road less taken feel better and live longer.

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REGIONAL FOCUS: BELGIUM Regional coordinator Dirk De Muynck gives his views on the EACD’s activities in Belgium, and discusses the new ‘EACD At the Bar’ series which launched recently

Can you tell us about the format and topic of events that you have hosted and the feedback you have received? We put together a couple of very standard seminar-type events. Topics and speakers usually float through contact with the EACD members in Brussels. My only frustration is that, although the outcome is rather good, there is only a very short time in which attendees can socialise. On top of that, within the Brussels arena, there are numerous similar events about an incredible number of different topics, including on communications. In essence, I believe that there is an overload of such events and the focus is a lot about what one can learn during such events – which of course is important, don’t get me wrong – but I strongly believe that the EACD can add a lot more value to its members by also focusing more on the socialising part. We cannot lead the tribe in knowledge only. In the end it is about active engagement and participation!

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What plans and/or ambitions do you have for the Belgian regional group for 2011? I wanted to do something in order to increase the number of touchpoints and tighten the network within the Belgian/Brussels chapter. Through my contact with some of our Belgian members, I recognised that some of them had similar thoughts about tightening the network, so I met with a few of them one evening in a Brussels hotel bar where we explored ideas. Together with Neil Corlett and Helmut Weixler from the European Parliament and Max Obenaus from UNIFE, we brainstormed about what we now call “EACD At the Bar”. I am very thankful for their input and efforts! So now we have a monthly “EACD At the Bar” event in the last week of every month. It always takes place in a different location, so we are able to visit some of our members’ facilities. The only given fact is that we meet. We also have some activity taking place, but we do not reveal that until the evening itself. We joked a lot 02/2011

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about our anti-marketing strategy. It gives us a lot of freedom and we can get inspired through last-minute opportunities. We do not inform members of what is going to happen – I just hope we have a lot of curious members in Brussels. Our first EACD At the Bar meeting took place at BMW EU’s representation offices. We had drinks and nibbles and a huge race-track where participants could race against each other with small BMW cars. At the same time, we could test-drive the electric Mini in the streets of Brussels. It was great fun, and from the reactions I can see that this will be a winning formula. The next one? Ha! Invitations will go out soon with a location and an exact date. I cannot say more.

Sounds intriguing! What do you see as the main benefit of the EACD network with reference to the communication community in Belgium? I refer to Brussels as the “EU district” and therefore the international character here is tremendous. Also, EACD members already tend to meet each other in various other debates, seminars and workshops that are more linked to EU topics. It is always nice to recognise peers belonging to the EACD ‘family’. I guess the potential to unlock opportunities is much bigger than we currently realise, but we are working on it…

DIRK DE MUYNCK Dirk De Muynck is a communication specialist with 15 years of experience within the Volvo Group. Prior to taking his current role as global reputation management director, he was active in the Volvo Group’s Representation office in Brussels from 2003 until 2009, where his main focus was on expanding Volvo’s opinion-building activities towards the EU Institutions.


ASSOCIATION

REGIONAL EVENTS Selected highlights taken from the Association’s regional activities

Alongside the traditional Regional Debates, the EACD has begun its round of regional activities for 2011 with a series of new initiatives. These have included informal regional meetings for our members, as well as more educational events such as the first EACD Seminar, which took place in Belgrade on April 8. The EACD also hosted its first event in Dublin in early April, which was received warmly by our members in Ireland. Below you can see pictures from these events.

Regional Debate in Warsaw, held on March 23

EACD members at the informal meetings in Basel (left) and Brussels (right; hosted by BMW)

Regional Debate at the Dublin City Council

UPCOMING REGIONAL DEBATES

Photos: Private; EACD

May 6 : Tirana Bringing the EACD to Albania Venue: Tirana International Airport Speakers: Marcello Berni (EACD Board Member), Arlinda Çausholli (EACD Regional Coordinator for Albania) and Dr. Gilman Bakalli (Faculty of Public Relations, University KarlFranzens, Graz)

May 16: Helsinki Communicating with Reduced Resources

Host: Neste oil Speakers: Hanna Maula (Neste Oil), Annukka Oksanen (Helsingin Sanomat) and Lauri Peltola (Stora Enso). Moderator: Ulla PaajanenSainio (EACD Regional Coordinator for Finland)

May 19: Lisbon Communication Evaluation: What’s Beyond AVE?

Host: Sonaecom Speakers: Philippe Borremans (EACD Working Group Social Media), Louis de Schorlemer (EACD Working Group Evaluation), Paula Nascimento Nobre (Escola Superior de Comunicação Social) and Tânia de Morais Soares (Portuguese Media Regulation Authority)

June 8: Amsterdam Communications in the Financial Sector: The New Thrust Host: KPN / Dow Jones Speakers: Hans ten Brinke (APG) and Hans Ludo van Mierlo (Financial Author)

Please note that the EACD calendar is updated regularly, so for all of the latest information, visit www.eacd-online.eu 02/2011

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EVALUATION WORKSHOP The EACD Working Group Evaluation recently met at Schloss Sörgenloch for a two-day workshop on measurement in an international environment

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he Evaluation working group, under the leadership of Louis de Schorlemer, met in March to see how the group’s measurement toolbox could be further enriched to be more effective in the practice of daily communications. To do this, several problems had to be overcome:

• The differences between the various markets • Variation across media landscapes • The diverse messages needed for various cultures.

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The starting point for the workshop was the Barcelona Measurement Principles (adopted last year) which lay out guidelines for measuring and evaluating public relations. The key principles define the need to develop goals that combine both quantitative and qualitative elements. Tata Consultancy Services’ Abhinav Kumar outlined the steps his organisation have taken to establish the correct indicators for his key markets, and how his team had put in place a strong metrics-based system for tracking his company and its competitors. He argued – in line with Barcelona – that a basic clippings service was not sufficient. He saw the need to focus on issues and on the competition. Aiming at the necessary mixture of quantity and quality, Kumar outlined his organisation’s approach to measurement under four core areas: coverage (the number of articles, share of media), tonality (the degree of positive or negative news), the spread (type of media outlets) and its significance (headlines or just mentioned in passing). His team also measures the number of articles written by each journalist and calculates its company’s share of journalist or share of publication, with a clear eye to the competition including, interestingly, “editorial rival tracking”. The Barcelona Principles also state that measurement should not be limited to traditional media. ALDE’s Neil Corlett said that his activities were content and news driven. As a political organisation, his focus is on establishing a permanent dialogue with his online con02/2011

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stituency, where he can measure attitudes and the level of support. He tracks users by origin and time spent on the website, covering both traditional and new media. Buzz Content Consulting’s Timm Rotter looked at the need to develop integrated tools that could exploit the power of web 2.0 and the various social media tools. In agreement, CERN’s Dr. James Gillies presented, in his keynote address, how their measurement tools had evolved in line with his multi-year plan and how he is now integrating Web 2.0. Finally, Echo Research’s Nigel Middlemiss demonstrated the need for cultural adaptability and the requirement to develop tailor-made indexes that captured the (perhaps subtle) differences. Factors that could influence perceptions were said to be political views, language (and translations), gender, cultural settings etc. With all of these factors involved, he acknowledged that it was often difficult for organisations to develop a “corporatewide” statistical view. With such a breadth of experience, there was no shortage of lessons learnt, and the main ones were:

- Content is king - Measure the ‘right thing’ and measure it accurately - Key measurements are coverage, tone, spread and significance - Tools and metrics have to be adapted to cultural and national differences - Social media measurement is possible and required; to succeed, it must be fully integrated into the internal process - The holy grail of measurement is improved ROI

EVALUATION The EACD’s Evaluation Working Group explores the use of evaluation, research and measurement in the communications field. It regularly holds meetings, such as the one hosted by group member Jens Schuemann of Meta Communication in Soergenloch, Germany, on March 17-18. To join the discussion please contact evaluation@eacd-online.eu


ASSOCIATION

ASSOCIATION NEWS The EACD has been busy recently, with a number of events and projects taking place

EACD Seminar in Belgrade

Photos: EACD; www.flickr.com; Matthias Uhrland

The first EACD Seminar on change communication took place in Belgrade on April 8, in partnership with the University of Belgrade. The EACD Seminars - Half Day Training Sessions are a new initiative from the association, which runs in partnership with a renowned local university and alongside the regional debates. The EACD Seminar offered participants a variety of perspectives on the topic of change communication including case studies from Serbian and international companies, a keynote speech, and a closing panel discussion. The event was well attended and participants were involved in lively discussions, with a particular interest in the social media and internal communications aspects of the subject.

Working Group EU Institutions

European Communication Monitor 2011

On the afternoon of March 30, the Working Group EU Institutions held a two-hour workshop on the subject of ‘Social Media in Political Communications’. Over 30 EACD members joined event organisers Helmut Weixler and Neil Corlett in the European Parliament for a two-part discussion of how to transmit political messages to a transnational audience and how to interact with politicians in the age of digital media. Marietje Schaake MEP, Stephen Clark (website manager for the European Parliament), Ryan Heath (social media adviser to Commission vice president Neelie Kroes), Jon Worth (blogger and partner at techPolitics) and Leigh Phillips (reporter for EUobserver) enlightened the audience with their opinions and predictions for the future.

This year’s European Communication Monitor, the annual survey of the European communications industry, has now closed, attracting a record number of participants. Over 2,200 European communicators completed the survey, which is an increase of around 10 per cent on the number from last year. The results of this survey, the largest international survey of its kind in Europe, will, as always, be presented for the first time at the European Communication Summit, which is being held in Brussels on June 30 and July 1. 02/2011

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WELCOME! The following communicators have recently joined the EACD

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Anna Adriani, PR Director, ILLY CAFFE SPA Adolfo Aguilar Delagdo, Communications Director, Thales Spain Eulalia Alemany, Communication & Sales Manager, PAU Education Elizabeth Anderberg, Market Communications Manager, SWEP International Ulrike Anderwald, Marketing Communications Manager, Austriamicrosystems AG Carole Andrè-Smith, Public Relations International Manager, Cinecittà Studios S.p.A. Erlendur Arnarson, Director of Corporate Communications, Promens Christian Ball, Director of Communications, Mazars Nick Bell, Head of PR, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary UK LLP Paloma Beltrán, Manager Government Affairs & Communication, Boston Scientific Iberica S.A. David Betteridge, Group Head of Corporate Communications, British American Tobacco Emmanuel Bloch, External Communication Director, Thales Group Kirsty Bouysset, Internal Communications Director, Alstom Grid Daniela Boyanova-Koleva, Head of Corporate Communications, CIBANK Ana Maria Bravo-Angel, Director Communications, Genencor Belgium Rob Briggs, Director of Internal Communication, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Wealth Management Elizabeth Brown, Director, Corporate & Group Centre Communications, Barclays Bank PLC Mary Jo Caliandro, Public Affairs Manager, Schlumberger Limited Liana Chatzicharalampous, Communication, PR & CSR Co-ordinator, C. ROKAS SA Jonathan Ndune Chifallu, Public Relations Executive, Export Processing Zones Authority - Kenya Grue Claus, Communications Director, Church of Sweden, Diocese of Lund Simona D’Altorio, Head of Communications and Public Relations, Metro Italia Cash and Carry Spa Anna Dammert, Head of Communications, GlaxoSmithKline Finland Hazel Daniells, Communications Specialist, Clearstream International S. A. Manuela Dyulgerova-Toteva, Communications Manager, Aurubis Bulgaria María Echanove Saez, Communication Manager, Mapfre Jantien Eenhoorn, Communications Manager, Royal Dutch Shell plc Arturs Eglitis, Communications Director, SIA Latvija Statoil Julia Eichhorst, Communication Officer, EURELECTRIC Toby Ellson, Manager PR, TNT Mail Holding BV Bahar Etrati, Global Communications Manager, UCB S.A. Marilena Fatsea, Corporate Affairs Director, Cosmote Mobile Telecommunications S.A. Robert Faulkner, Head of Media Relations and Corporate PR, Union des Associations Européennes de Football Catarina Fernandes, Communication Director, Sonae Štp�pánka Filipová, Director of Marketing and Communication department, Spokeswoman, CzechInvest Paul Fincham, Head of Media, Lloyds Banking Group Dominique Fouda, Head of Communications, European Aviation Safety Agency Dominique Fourniol, Head of Media Relations, University College London Sarah Gavin, Vice President Communications, AOL Europe Irene Gedeon, Communications, PR & Environment Director, Tetra Pak Hellas S.A. James Gekiere, Communication Officer, Technum-Tractebel Engineering Séverine Gerardin, Manager Corporate Communications, Rio Tinto Alcan

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Pascale Giet, Senior Vice President, Communications and Sustainable Development, Rexel Development SAS Monica Glisenti, Head of Corporate Communications, Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund Konstantin Golovynsky, Head of Corporate Communications, Renaissance Capital LLC Martin le Grand, PR Officer, Social media responsible, Ecolabelling Sweden Tanya Greiner, Head of Strategy, Corporate Communications, Zurich Financial Services Ltd. Wim Groenendijk, Vice President International & Public Affairs, N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie Ida Gutierrez de Escofet, Head of Communications & Institutional Affairs, NH Hotels Susanne Gutjahr, Head of Communications & Marketing, European Investment Fund Laurie Guzzinati, Director Corporate Communications EU, Kraft Foods Europe GmbH Tom Hall, Head of Communications, Lonely Planet UK Aysun Hatipoglu, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Sanofi Aventis Ilaçlari Ltd Sti Xavier des Horts, Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Nokia France Carl Hoyer, Vice President Corporate Communications, Royal Wessanen nv Leena Huhtamaa, Communications Manager, Finavia Corp., Helsinki Airport Lena Ivö, Director of Communications & PR, TCO (The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees) Hans Jansen, Manager Communications & External Relations, Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. Norman Jardine, Head of Internal Communication, European Commission Radek Jaworski, Communication Manager, Eurosport Polska sp. z o.o Irma Juskenaite, Press Officer, Invest Lithuania Annika Kåla, Public Relations Manager, Finavia Corp., Helsinki Airport Milva Karadzhova, Head of Corporate Communications, Bella Bulgaria Kati Kaskeala, Director, Communications and Public Affairs, EMEA, Burger King Espana S.A. Susan Kelly, Head of Internal Communications, Syngenta International AG Ivo Kezic, Press, Publishing & Sales Promotion Manager, AUTO HRVATSKA d.d. Hugo Kidston, Global Head of Communications, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Albert Klinkhammer, Marketing and Communication Director, Mondi Europe & International Anastasia Kondratskaya, Marketing Manager, Scania Russia Natalia Kurop, Director of Communications and Marketing, Digital Europe Martina Kvašová, Marketing & Public Relations Manager, Prague Convention Bureau Annikky Lamp, Corporate Identity, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Balti Jookide AS Amina Langedijk, Senior Advisor Communications, European Industrial Minerals Association Sarita Laras, Director of Communication, ATEA Finland Holding Oy Jesper Buris Larsen, Global Communication Manager, FLSmidth & Co. A/S Julian Liew, Corporate PR & Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Nespresso SA Kristi Liiva, Deputy Head of Group Corporate Affairs & Head of Communication, Swedbank AB Sebastian Linko, Director, Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, Vacon Plc


ASSOCIATION

Johan Ljungqvist, Head of Communications, AFA Försäkring Félix Losada, Director of Marketing & Institutional Relations, Deloitte SL Brian Lott, Executive Director, Communications , Advanced Technology Investment Company Paul Lyon, Head of Communication and Marketing, Daiwa Capital Markets Europe Limited Siobhan MacDermott, Investor Relations and Policy Officer, AVG Technologies CZ, s.r.o. Alessandro Magnoni, Public affairs & Communication Director, Coca-Cola HBC Italia Viseslav Majic, Executive Director Corporate Communications, HP-HRVATSKA POSTA d.d. Violeta Makauskiene, Marketing Director, Invest Lithuania Luigi Mancuso, Group Communication Manager, DAB PUMPS SPA John McIvor, Head of International Communications, Bank of America Merrill Lunch Glenn Metselaar, Head of Corporate Communications, Dura Vermeer Groep NV Anik Michaud, Head of Communications, Anglo American plc Sara Miranda, Chief Communications Officer, Jerónimo Martins, SGPS, SA Annemette Moesgaard, Global Communication and Public Relations Manager, Georg Jensen A/S Ivan Monème, Director Marketing and Communications France / Head of Corporate Communications Central Europe, Fidelity International Florence de Montmarin, PR Manger, CNP Assurances Solomon Moriba, Outreach/Press and Public Affairs Officer, The Special Court for Sierra Leone Paula Morri, Communications Officer, Media Relations, UPM-Kymmene Corporation Niamh Murphy, Head of Corporate Communications, ICON plc Helen van Nuffelen, Corporate Communications Manager, Daimler Belgium Luxembourg n.v./s.a. Ülla-Karin Nurm, Head of Communications Section, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Amela Odobasic, Head of Public Affairs, Communications Regulatory Agency Robert O’Meara, Communications Manager, Airports Council International – Europe Jeroen Overgoor, Communication and Public Affairs Director, Eneco N.V. Vlatka Pacelt, Corporate Communications & Change Management Advisor, Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank d.d. Ronald Panis, External Communications Manager Western-Europe, Anheuser-Busch InBev nv/sa Eric Pass, Director - Corporate Planning & Communications, Nitto Europe nv Ewa Pawlowska, Internal Communication Officer, European Disability Forum Bo Pedersen, Director of Communications, Public Affairs & CSR, Naviair Damian Phillips, Head of Public Communication & Media Section, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Aziyade Poltier-Mutal, Communications Partnership Manager, The United Nations Development Programme Jort Possel, Director Marketing & Communications, Accenture Michael Präger, Communications Manager EMEA, Eaton Industries Manufacturing GmbH Corinne Raes, Communications Manager, MasterCard Europe sprl Florentina Rambas, Internal Communications Manager, JT International (Romania) S.R.L. Luis Ramos, Director Communications, Bombardier Transportation Carsten Reimann, Head of External Affairs, Nissan International SA Ulrike Reimann, Communications Director , European University Association Marthe Reinette, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Sustainalytics Per Wiggo Richardsen, Communication Director, Det Norske Veritas David Robertson, Senior Manager Corporate Communications, EMEA, Life Technologies Hannes Roither, Spokesperson, Palfinger AG Patrick Ropert, Communications Director, SNCF Katja Rosenbohm, Head of Programme and Communications, European Environment Agency

Lisa Ross-Magenty Blaettler, Head of Communications, Interpeace Global Headquarters Miles Russell, European Communications Director, ACE European Group Rolando Santos, Corporate Communications & PR Manager, Camara Municipal de Lisboa Evi Sarina, Corporate Affairs Director, AGROLAND S.A. Helmut Schäfers, Head of Corporate Communications Europe, Bayer HealthCare AG Nicole Schareck, Vice President Brand Communications, EADS Deutschland GmbH Silvia Schaub, Manager Internal Communications Europe, Alcoa Europe S.A. Solange Schlösser, Communications Officer, SABIC Europe Ulrich Sieber, Head of Division Publication & Communication, Bundesamt für Statistik Annica Sigevall, Head of Corporate Communications, Sohar Industrial Port Company, Port of Sohar Metka Šilar Šturm, Head of Corporate Communications, IEDC-Bled School of Management Karin Buhl Slæggerup, Communication Manager, Midtjysk Turisme Madelene Smith, Group Internal Communications, Rexel Ines Steffens, Head of Scientific Communication Section, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Stephanie Steinmann, Corporate Communications Manager, SV (Schweiz) AG Brigit Stokman, Director Public Relations, Tebodin Consultancy B.V Elisabeth M Støle, Senior Vice President Communication, SafeRoad AS Evangelos C. Stranis, Group PR & Corporate Affairs Director, Hellenic Petroleum SA Nina Suominen, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Tieto Corporation Tanja Tatomirovic, Corporate Communications Director, SBB Serbia Broadband Bjorn Teuwsen, Director of Communications, Philips Intellectual Property & Standards Peter Thomas, External Communications officer, European Maritime Safety Agency Antti Timonen, Responsible for Internet & New Media, Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) Annetje Van den Bergh, Head of Internal Communication & Change Management, Dexia Bank Belgium SA Jan van Veen, Corporate Communications Senior Manager, Amgen B.V. Maria Sophia Verheij, Head of Public Relations, ING Group NV Edward Verhey, Head of Advocacy & Media Relations, International Credit Insurance & Surety Association Tobias Viering, Senior Manager Corporate Communications, Amgen (Europe) GmbH Julian Walker, Head of Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, Travelport GDS Jamie Walls, Vice President UK Communications , Shell International Petroleum Ltd. Fraser Warren, Client Business Director / Communications, Design Bridge NL B.V. Florian Westphal, Deputy Director of Communication, International Federation of the Red Cross Axel Wieczorek, Director Public Affairs & Communication, Johnson & Johnson Medical GmbH Paul Williams, European Communication Director, Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe BV Helena Windisch, Manager, Corporate Communications/Deputy Department Manager, Foxconn Slovakia spol s.r.o. Mirjam van de Woerdt, PR Consultant, Tebodin Consultancy B.V Paul Wouters, Head of Communication, Nefarma Iliana Zaharieva, Head of Corporate Communications, Postbank Mark Zellenrath, Director Corporate Communications, Arcadis N.V. Hans van Zon, Head of Press & Public Relations, ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

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QUESTIONS TO... The personal side of communication directors

JOANA GAROUPA Director, Corporate Communications and Governmental Affairs, Siemens Portugal How do you explain your job to your friends? I claim that I’m a communication pioneer! You see, it is already complex in itself to explain what Siemens does: I usually explain that Siemens is a pioneer in electrical engineering, was a major force in the industrialisation period and is now moving ahead to break new ground in energy efficiency, industrial productivity, affordable and personalised healthcare, and intelligent infrastructure solutions – future-oriented fields in which every employee plays a pioneering role. After explaining this it is easy for my friends to understand what my job is and my daily challenges in the communication field in this amazing company. A masterpiece of corporate communication was…? Trondheim SmartCity, a project initiated by Siemens Norway that was designed to make Trondheim the most energy efficient city in the world by using modern, proven technology. Residents and members of the business community and industry were engaged in the project through a broad, integrated communications campaign. It was the simplest idea and most well-coordinated project I have ever come across. If Heads of Corporate Communications didn’t exist, what would be your profession? I would definitely have some job function in the advertising business - probably copywriter. Or, and this might

sound strange, I would enjoy having a nursery business (this dream is still in my mind).

Who is your favourite character in history? Cleopatra. Her story of love and death is one of my passions. Cleopatra was quite remarkable – a quick-witted woman who was fluent in nine languages, a brilliant mathematician and a very good businesswoman. She had a charismatic personality, was a born leader and an ambitious monarch who deserved better than suicide. Joana Garoupa

What do you detest most? I try to avoid laziness and a lack of personal accountability in my life. If you could swap your nationality, which would you choose? I consider myself a world citizen – I have a strong awareness that the world is a global community.

Director, Corporate Communications and Governmental Affairs, Siemens Portugal Joana Garoupa first joined Siemens as corporate and marketing communications manager in 2003. She left the company in 2008 to become corporate communications manager for retail group Sonaecom, before returning in November of that year to take on her current role.

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Editors: Dafydd Phillips, Neil Cranswick, Grit Fiedler Graphical Concept: Steffi Butter, Franziska Söhner Layout: Steffi Butter, Sarah Schlingmeyer Illustrations: Burkhard Piller Photo Editor: Stephan Baumann Advertising: Norman Wittig (norman.wittig@helios-media.com)

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Web design: Dennis Otto (dennis.otto@helios-media.com) Publisher: Rudolf Hetzel, Marc-Oliver Voigt Contact: Square de Meeûs 37 B-1000 Brussels, Belgium Tel +32 (0)2 219 22 90 Fax +32 (0)2 219 22 92 info@communication-director.eu www.communication-director.eu

Helios Media Square de Meeûs 37, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium Price: 120 euro yearly: 4 editions of the magazine, access to the website, regular newsletter For members of the EACD a yearly subscription to the magazine is included in the membership fee Print: Offsetdruckerei Holga Wende Meeraner Straße 19, 12681 Berlin

Photo: Private

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