New Year, New Job.

January 26, 2015

In 2015 social and digital are no longer specialist areas of public relations. They’re simply good day-to-day public relations practice.

Yet the question on the table remains, how do we best engage with all our clients’ audiences today? It’s a question I’m excited to answer, and to do so, I am making a move… but luckily I’m not going very far.

I’m delighted to step into the newly-created role of Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum. Our first ever. While the term has been used to describe internal communications, at Ketchum, we’re using it to describe the engagement needed to be effective online.

In the new role, I’ll be evolving how our client teams integrate digital and social across their networks, from sales to thought-leadership to marketing.

One of my goals will be to create a unified approach to more quickly scale our offerings globally so that all of our colleagues and clients have access to them as early as possible. Of course to accomplish that I’ll be engaging closely with key clients and Ketchum colleagues globally.

With that in mind, there’s no time like the present to offer up a new post sharing some of social insights that I’ll personally have top-of-mind for 2015:

1. Have those difficult conversations.
There’s a game that I play whenever I have an idle five minutes. I tweet brands that sponsor content on Twitter and ask them a question. Do it and see how often you get a response. The use of industrialized marketing tactics in social media has got to stop. Consumers are starting to fight back and this approach certainly won’t work in messaging networks.

2. Stop posting EVERYTHING on the Internet of EVERYTHING.
Brands are increasingly becoming over enthusiastic on social networks in a bid to seize the moment. This issue particularly relates to the rise of so-called content marketing. The results are polarized between the minority of campaigns that are rooted in listening and engagement, and the majority that make a lame effort to tame the zeitgeist and churn out bland content.

3. Learn… and then learn some more.
Upgrading skills to work across all forms of media is an ongoing work in progress, much like our business itself. We’re moving from being generalists to having broad knowledge of our discipline and a specialist in an area such as research, planning, strategy or content. Never stop learning.

4. Earned + Paid = Earned Pay.
The future of the media remains a work in progress. Publishers and networks are all trying to figure out how to develop sustainable business models. In order to optimize campaign investment, paid media may need to be integrated into earned campaigns and earned media into paid campaigns. Public relations practitioners need to get over the fact that sometimes you simply have to pay for it.

5. 20/2015 Vision.
Organizations without a clear vision and values will really struggle in an era of fragmented media. There’s simply too much noise. The purpose of an organization should be rooted in its values and core to every aspect of its communication. Values should define what an organization says and does as much as what it doesn’t.

 

 

Stephen is a Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University. Chairman of Future Proof policy unit and Past President, CIPR. Author of Brand Anarchy and #BrandVandals; and editor and contributor to Share This and Share This Too.

Connect with him on Twitter: @wadds