By Joanna Huss, CEO of Huss Group
How can we build a Pittsburgh community that helps institutions, nonprofit leaders, corporations and entrepreneurs ignite their organizations? Answer: bring great minds together over libations, good bites and problem-solving breakout sessions at a place synonymous with ‘next level’ – Bakery Square.
I have a problem. I run a boutique traditional + social PR firm. I’m a busy mom. But I also have amazing clients who rely on our firm’s expert advice. And I need to constantly look ahead at business development and revenue generation while staying on top of the latest communications trends. I can’t be stuck in the weeds of ‘how to do social media.’
So I committed to figuring out the best way to keep up with social media insights and trends so that I can maximize the value of our efforts because, well, it’s what we do. We’re communicators. We have to adapt to this Social Media Age. And if you’re like me, you refuse to be saddled with regrets and missed opportunities.
I’m 100% certain that most organizations have this same problem. Perhaps yours is one of them. Enter Social Media Day Pittsburgh, held June 30th on National Social Media Day.
There’s major talent right here in our region, representing every piece of the social media puzzle. Influencers such as Google’s Benjamin Weaver show nonprofits how they can leverage Google’s $10,000 free monthly AdWords. Writer Salena Zito‘s rapid rise from local political reporter to well known CNN commentator has mirrored her entrepreneurial ability to amass a social media following in the hundreds of thousands. Andi Perelman, the Pittsburgh Penguins manager of new media, has built a massive news media organization from scratch within the Pens’ social platforms.
I asked these people and others to come together, literally, with two weeks’ notice. Moving at Internet speed is not a luxury; it’s a necessity in our 24/7 world of information and innovation. This late-stage idea is a cause that I know will be worthwhile for everyone, from marketing specialists and start-up entrepreneurs to C-suite executives of established organizations.
But, as I tell my clients, let’s focus on substance, not fluff. At #SMDAYPGH, we’ll have “meaty” breakout sessions taught by proven marketers such as Felicia McKinney, who increased Point Park University’s Snapchat story views by 84% in three months and John Mahood, CEO of ImageBox, a firm that builds dynamic, SEO-driven websites for nonprofits. From the basic ‘how to’s’ and free templates for building an effective social media editorial calendar to #SocialPR – how to get reporters’ attention with a social strategy – you will walk away with knowledge that quite literally will ignite your organization. You simply have to be here.
Register by Friday at 12 noon for 25% off with discount code SMDAY25.
We can’t wait to see you!
By Andrew Blum and Robert E. Swadosh
Remember the Emotional Drivers
With the 2017 proxy season well underway, it’s important to remember that what you convey about corporate governance impacts far more than investors alone. It also has the potential to leverage the power of your corporate brand and enhance your corporate reputation. Just ask the scores of activist investors who increasingly focus on issues much broader than operating performance – and do so in real time.
Messaging is key at all times, not just at the Annual Meeting but also during proxy fights and in response to activist investors, such as the May 10 move by Whole Foods to revamp its board. Developing proper investor messages is not simply about responding to governance issues or updating the same old metrics. Ironically, perhaps the most effective way to create compelling investor messaging is to know what your client’s key audiences are thinking.
At the start, understand that up to 20% of non-algorithmic investment decision-making is affected by emotional, rather that rational, factors. So, in addition to providing strategic communications advice, you also are acting as a de facto psychologist. This is particularly relevant as you help a CEO and CFO better understand the underlying dynamics that move investors.
One way to ensure accuracy and consistency in company messaging is to use the PR quiver in your IR toolbox:
- Today that includes social media content as well as traditional media vehicles such as press releases and advisories for business and trade media relevant to all constituencies.
- And don’t think its passé to reach out to key reporters.
Approaching IR communications generally, it’s important to tell your client upfront that all companies face heightened uncertainty and increasing doubts about the best path forward – especially in an era of social media and humongous amounts of data (useful or not).
In fact, all of a company’s constituents – employees, customers, investors, and competitors alike – find themselves in the same web. Clients need to understand that now is the time to ensure they have a handle on their most important audiences – and continuing in real time.
We as IR/PR practitioners need to help clients evaluate and improve the effectiveness of their efforts by providing objective guidance that:
- Identifies the most promising directions for communications strategy
- Establishes priorities
- Sets reasonable expectations
- Implements positioning and messages that address multiples audiences and similar needs.
How To Make It Happen
We recommend using qualitative and quantitative techniques to develop a holistic view of the corporate brand – one that considers cultural as well as business and financial factors. This provides significant actionable insights into the attitudes, motivations and behavior of a company’s most important constituencies.
The first step is to establish a baseline, a rolling, qualitative research study that generates rapid-response strategic development feedback. It will quickly provide an understanding of how investors, business and trade media, a cross-section of C-suite influencers, and others assess the client’s issue or situation and its longer-term impacts.
The objectives of this study are:
- To gauge the attitudes and beliefs of key audiences about the client, and
- To identify sources of discontinuity between these perceptions and the messages the company is intending to convey.
- To determine the Company’s strengths and weaknesses and whether its messages are clear, credible, persuasive and differentiating.
How often? Quarterly at minimum, typically tied to earning reports, and then attendant to significant events, whether planned or responsive.
At minimum, this will help create opportunities. At worst, it may prevent one of those feared “jump off the cliff moments.” At best, it provides valuable insight into the psyche of your key influencers and decision makers.
*Andrew Blum is a PR consultant and media trainer and principal of AJB Communications. He has directed PR for professional services and financial services firms, NGOs, agencies and other clients. As a PR executive, and formerly as a journalist, he has been involved on both sides of the media aisle in some of the most media intensive crises of the past 25 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @ajbcomms
*Rob Swadosh is Senior Consultant – Crisis Communications and Predictive Media Training for Huss Group. He is a trusted corporate advisor who develops strategies to manage crises, enhance brand and reputation, heighten consumer awareness, support a company’s business model, and enrich valuation. He has held senior management roles at The Dilenschneider Group, Golin/Harris, MWW Group and Georgeson, and helped shape iconic brand transformations for clients including Allstate, Cutwater Asset Management, IBM Services, Johns
This story originally appeared in CommPro on May 16, 2017. https://www.commpro.biz/shaping-governance-messaging-that-builds-corporate-brand/