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When All Media is Social: Navigating the Future of Communications

When All Media is Social: Navigating the Future of Communications

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Published by Edelman
Speech by Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Worldwide at the 2012 Edelman Academic Summit on June 21, 2012
Speech by Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Worldwide at the 2012 Edelman Academic Summit on June 21, 2012

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Published by: Edelman on Sep 04, 2012
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When All Media is Social: Navigating the Future of CommunicationsSpeech by Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman Worldwide2012 Edelman Academic SummitJune 21, 2012
 
To set the tone I would like you to view a snippet of  video.It underscores the power of taking a complex idea and recasting it in a more whimsical, visual and therefore shareable style. The video was producedby George Mason University professor of economics Russ Roberts to highlight the differences betweenthe economic theories of Keynes and Hayek.The video underscores our opportunity - to take complex ideas and make them more understandable.At our Strategy Committee meeting held in San Jose a couple of weeks ago, Adobe CMO Ann Lewnessaid: "Public Relations is the number one driver of revenue for Adobe, as articles prompt searches, whichlead to visits to our website. PR is the most efficient and best way to immediate awareness."I share this because our remit in PR is larger than ever.We see great distrust in the institutions of government and business. Over the past year, there have been11 government changes throughout Europe and an abundance of corporate crises including JPMorgan,Walmart, Best Buy, Yahoo! and News Corp.Trust in a person like yourself, according to the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, is rising. This group nowranks third behind technical experts and academics. More significantly, they are also three times moretrustworthy than CEOs and government officials.This is now a multi-stakeholder world and we see tremendous changes in brand marketing. Nike is anexemplary leader here in the way they are using Nike+ to convene a community around a common bond,running and fitness. This elevates the customer relationship beyond transactions by keeping the customerin their orbit.At the same time, companies must go beyond the license to operate toward the license to lead. This callsfor moving from rules-based to principles-based leadership, addressing the key issues of our time andaddressing employees as their most important stakeholders. Unilever, with its sustainable living program,is the perfect example of this. Through the program, the company has promised to double its revenuewithout increasing its resource footprint.
With this as the backdrop, let’s hone in on the media landscape.
Sixty years ago Dan Edelman, my father and founder of our firm, came up with a simple insight - earnedmedia can significantly build brands. He used this as the basis for the creation of the media tour and usedcelebrities and experts to travel across the country touting brands such as the Toni Company, Sara Lee,Orville Redenbacher, KFC and countless others.He still believes that PR is cheaper and more effective than advertising and that it drives the conversation.In Dan's time, media was analog, local and national. And the news cycle was daily. Today it's digital andglobal, far more expansive and it operates in real-time. This is why we conceived the Media Cloverleaf and Transmedia Storytelling - a concept we introduced in 2010.
 
We believe there are now four distinct types of media: traditional mainstream players, digitally native"hybrids" that blend community and journalism, social networks and corporate/brand-owned media. Atthe center sit two prominent forces that circulate stories: search and visual content.Change in the media continues to accelerate at breakneck speed.
ABC World News Tonight
this week added a Twitter hashtag that stays on screen throughout thebroadcast. It reminds viewers where the conversation can continue.Meanwhile
The New York Times
paywall is proving effective: 500,000 digital subscribers drive 90percent of the page views.They are all moving toward convening communities
 – 
just like Nike
with Nike+. What’s more, they are
also rapidly expanding their brands to the fourth screen - tablets. This comes as global tablet shipmentsare expected to reach 106 million units this year
 – 
a significant addition to the existing three screens: TVs,computers and smartphones.
But there’s much more.
 There are five key ways that technology is changing how content is produced, distributed, consumed and,ultimately, monetized.1) New Social Giants Are EmergingWhile Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn remain juggernauts, new players such as Pinterest, Instagram andTumblr are growing rapidly. Tumblr, in fact surpassed 50 million hosted blogs in March, and Instagramwas purchased by Facebook for $1 billion less than two years after it launched.What's notable here is that the new players are visually very strong, which is helping them catch on withconsumers. This is why just last week we moved eBay's Inside Source site into Tumblr. It's easier to go tothe audience where they are, rather than trying to bring them to you.But it's not just new social networks and platforms, however. There are social startups in the newsbusiness as well. Buzzfeed is one such example. Buzzfeed started as an aggregator of shareable videocontent. Today, they are making an aggressive push into social publishing. They employ what CEO Jonah
Peretti calls “The Mullet Strategy”: A mix of serious news upfront, and a party in the back.
And themedia giants are following their lead.2) Paid Media Now Amplifies SocialIt's no longer just about display or search. There's now a huge opportunity to use paid advertising tohighlight organic social conversations and support PR.Facebook, for example, has a platform called Sponsored Stories that brands can use to turn organicadvocacy into promoted messages. Edelman Digital recently used the platform for Ben & Jerry
s newGreek Frozen Yogurt line and ran sponsored stories in
fans
newsfeeds.
 Twitter's two primary ad programs allow marketers to highlight their tweets in their existing and popularstructures - such as the list of Trending Topics.
 
We're going to see more of this in the future, particularly as mobile devices and apps become the primarygateway to social content. Display ads don't work that well on three-by-four inch screens. But paidamplification of organic content does indeed work.3) Search is Morphing with SocialAll of the major players have tweaked their algorithms in recent months. Search engines now use socialnetwork data as signals to hone in on authoritative content and sources of knowledge.Google results now spotlight brands and personalities that are using Google+. For example, a search for
“food” will spotlight people on Google+ who are engaging on the topic – 
including celebrity chef JamieOliver.Bing meanwhile has tied up with Facebook and will point you towards experts in your extendedFacebook network who might have deeper expertise in an area you're searching for.4) Amplification Now Trumps CirculationThere are now new pathways to news.Although search remains a prominent means of discovery, Facebook CCO Elliot Schrage recently said theInternet is evolving from information-centric to social-centric.This is also having a major impact on PR. It's no longer about circulation of media but amplification andreverberation. This changes the rules. Not all media however are equally skilled here.Some hybrids like
“T
he Huffington Post
and
Business Insider
are extremely adept at using "listicles,"
(i.e. “Five
Things to Do on the Stanford C
ampus” or “10
 
Hotels with Awe Inspiring Architecture”),
clever headlines, humor and visual devices that get shared because they help you boost your onlineidentity. You look like an influencer for sharing their content.Traditional
media players meanwhile, like “T
he Washington Post
and
“T
he Guardian,
are investing increating immersive news experiences inside Facebook - "Social Readers," which have led to record gainsin traffic.5) Visual Storytelling is in RenaissanceAll of the major networks are making an aggressive push to create "second screen" experiences meant toutilize two screens at once: smartphones or tablets and TVs. The goal is to create a show around the show.
Meanwhile, print media is making a big push into video. “The Wall Street Journal” runs a
streamingnetwork for tablets that airs live during the business day. Visual storytelling is no longer the domain of broadcasters.One manifestation of this is the slideshow. This simple visual device is helping them get more trafficfrom social networks.

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