Public EngagEmEnt in thE convErsation agE

Don’t Lose the Thought

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Confidence and Trust

The Currency for Recovery

Trust Me, I’m a Banker

The State of Financial Services

The Fall and Rise of the C Word
The Future of PR

Citizen Smith

The Rise of Consumer Politics

A Cloudy Future

Cloud Computing and the Future of Technology

Re-Humanising Business Crowd Surfing

Next Generation Digital Communications

10 12 14 15 16

Thriving in the Age of Consumer Empowerment

Thinking Our Way Out of the Crunch Think Bravery Before Budgets
Creativity and Brand Bravery

Edelman is the world’s largest independentlyowned PR agency, employing over 3,200 people in 54 offices around the world – 260 of whom are in London. We work across all areas of the Communications spectrum, delivering award-winning campaigns in media old and new. We are retained by some of the world’s largest multi-national companies and leading brands, some of which are mentioned in this publication – including, but not exclusively the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; Microsoft; AstraZeneca. For more information about Edelman, please visit: /

Could the Creative Industries Hold the Solution?

Engaging with Health Citizens
Health in the Conversation Age

Medical Communications in the Conversation Age Alive and Kicking

Where Next with Health Care Professionals? Trust and the Beating Heart of Media Content, Conversation and Collaboration

18 19

Without Content There is No Conversation 20 Soft Power to the People
Into 2009 and Beyond

22 23

Coming soon...
Trust Barometer 2009

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Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

Don’t losE thE thought
We live in remarkable times. We have reached a crossroads in our economic history and stand at the threshold of potentially momentous change in the global political landscape. Trust in Business and Government (of which Edelman has been an avid student for the best part of a decade) has oscillated with random fury, while the inexorable march towards universal Digital Democracy and empowerment continues apace. Communications has reached a tipping point. Increasingly confronted by calls for an Economics of Less, we are witnessing a noticeable shift away from ‘consumption’ and towards active citizenship and good purpose instead. PR now finds itself in an accelerated state of evolution – moving towards a hyper-connected model of Public Engagement that converges and transcends all existing marketing and communications disciplines. Too many organisations retreat and retrench in recessionary times. Entrepreneurial spirit and thought leadership are often sadly and falsely sacrificed on the altar of commercial imperative. Our contention is that Thinking costs nothing and yet remains a key point of competitive advantage for firms, whether they are selling ‘stuff’ or stories. None of us can afford to lose the Thought if we take our businesses (and those of our customers and clients) seriously. 2008 has been a year in which we have seen the collapse of free market models and the unexpected emergence of a new fashion for regulation; the rise of Consumer Politics and a parallel, global resurgence of interest in politics, per se; an Olympic Games that was mired first in controversy and then in tragedy – with human rights and human triumphs as occasional, if odd, bedfellows; more talk about The Cloud of Technology and all that it will bring; and, finally, a growing understanding of what it really means (and needs) to be Green – only to see this threatened by those who will use the economy to escape their environmental responsibilities. This series of essays, each written by a senior member of the Edelman team, sets out to capture what our Communications world looks like today and what it might look like tomorrow. These are not essays on the theme of Recession – yet they are each, in their own way, contextualised by today’s harsher economic reality. They are designed to provoke thought, stimulate debate and provide content. They sit within the exciting and compelling framework of multi-lateral, multi-stakeholder engagement. They speak directly to The Conversation Economy. They hopefully illustrate that PR can – and should – be at the vanguard of change. December 2008 Robert Phillips UK CEO Edelman

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Who could have imagined the changes that have turned the financial markets and the banking world upside down? Every day has seemed to have been yet another voyage into the unknown as great names crash, burn or start pleading for bail-out support. Freddie Mac, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Northern Rock, Ford, and General Motors – the list goes on and on. Ever since the spectacular crash of Lehman Brothers in September and against the looming clouds of recession, all eyes have been turned upon national banks and regulators, governments and political leaders as investors, shareholders, house owners and consumers sought leadership and reassurance. But that comfort was slow in coming, if at all. The first, knee jerk reaction of presidents, prime ministers and their banking leaders was to claim that their national strategies and budget plans had equipped their economies to withstand any recessionary shocks that might arrive. In a single day, we heard the same message from President Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Spanish Government: “We want to reaffirm the strength of our economy to overcome the current situation”.

political observers got to hear endlessly about “ordinary people”, “working families” and even “Joe the Plumber”, who became the uS equivalent of the ‘Man on the Clapham Omnibus’. Strip away the drama and the frightening speed of change of the last few months and then it can be seen that this global crisis has always been about confidence and trust. As was seen in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, these essential ingredients of business are fragile and vulnerable to the damaging and corrosive effects of negative rumour and doomsday forecasting, compounded in today’s crisis since trust is key to financial markets. Over recent months, political leaders have been perceived to be stumbling and defensive in their responses. In a brief moment of optimism, commentators claimed that history might take the view that, like New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani after 9/11, Henry Paulson would be seen to have seized the moment with his multi-billion lifeline to financial institutions. But that hope quickly oozed away as the scramble began in Congress to claim back favours, brokered for votes in various pork barrel deals.

Mike Seymour is International Director, Crisis & Issues Management, for Edelman worldwide and has extensive experience working alongside multinational commercial and government organisations, involved in complex international issues, crises and emergencies.
of these problems were beyond the scope of normal regulatory or political experience, which in part explained the silence or shallow responses that were quickly perceived as defensive and hollow. In any times of national or financial uncertainty, leadership is demanded to reassure the general public that matters are being brought under control and being managed. When problems escalate to crisis levels, such leaders need to demonstrate confidence through bold statements, backed up by far sighted and robust plans that can withstand the escalating chaos of threatening events. Now international bankers, the G8 and G20 have met and deliberated. International plans have been debated and agreed, which promise survival of a recession that has arrived and is daily biting deeper. In the uK, the government has announced a series of radical measures. Time will tell whether the impact of this array of unprecedented measures will survive to provide the injection of confidence which must underpin any slowdown in the progress of the current crisis. But true change and sustained recovery will only be possible once confidence and trust start to return.

ConfidenCe and TrusT
– the currency for recovery
Against these cataclysmic changes, it is too easy to claim now that governments acted too slowly or stayed silent for far too long. But it is difficult to see how they should or could have acted and communicated as they struggled to comprehend the scale of the changes. A defining moment was thought to come when uS Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, triggered a series of stock market roller coaster rides in announcing plans to set aside uS$700 billion to purchase the “toxic” derivative instruments. The uS Congress demonstrated their politic priorities as they haggled over the initial Bill and the debate descended into a battle between saving Wall Street and Main Street. As all these critical steps were being taken in an attempt to wrest back some kind of control over the crisis in the financial markets and the freeze-up of banking credit, the Presidential Election race played out - at times almost as a side show beside the main drama. Suddenly, against these extraordinary circumstances, electors and page 4 While the scale of the credit crunch and the banking freeze may be unprecedented, many of the contributory factors are commonplace in daily emergencies. When any crisis breaks, the first victims are always the truth and facts. No-one can be sure what has happened or the root causes. In our world of 24/7 news and constant online chatter, information is quickly shot around the world. There is never any shortage of commentators, critics and ‘experts’ that will be quick to offer their opinions or ideas. But in responding to recent events, even economists of international standing have declared themselves to be bewildered by the speed and extent of the course of events. In this global crisis, confidence has been further undermined by the dissonance and lack of consensus within the forest of theories. When financial, banking and mortgage markets came under pressure as the credit crunch took hold, the resulting effects had potential impact for every stockholder, house owner, saver and consumer. The magnitude

Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

TrusT me, i’m a banker
– the state of Financial services
No industry has felt the cold blast of the credit crunch more than the Financial Services sector. Whilst the turmoil and upheaval in the global Banking system has dominated recent newspaper headlines, the industry in general is experiencing a collective collapse in Trust and confidence which has also affected Insurance companies, Asset Managers and Hedge Funds in equal measure. Having gradually reduced to no more than a ‘hygiene factor’, suddenly Trust is once again a commodity to be cherished, protected and preserved. To some extent the ‘sudden’ collapse of Trust in the Banking system - and indeed in our established Financial Institutions generally – has been long coming. For the last decade, Edelman’s Trust Barometer has tracked the growth in credibility of peer-topeer Communications at the expense of the top-down, CEO-led programme and, what we see today, is merely a practical application of that trend. What is beyond dispute is that Trust in the Banking industry has all but melted away – not just amongst Consumers but most damagingly (and most tellingly) within the market itself. This collapse in Trust has coincided with – indeed perhaps even been caused and/or exacerbated by – the new Digital Democracy we reference elsewhere. With the internet placing power in the hands of the Citizen as never before, this is the first recession of the true Digital Age. The challenge the industry now faces is to overcome the current negative perceptions and re-build Trust. The first lesson that needs to be heeded is that life, as we have always known it for the banks, has changed forever. So far as the media is concerned, every pound the banks spend comes out of ‘our’ pockets – in the current climate the normal rules of Business no longer apply and the banks’ usual licence to operate has, effectively, been suspended. Events which were fully justifiable in the past (and can arguably still be justified now) have to be considered in the light of a new reality – that ‘our’ money is paying for them. HBoS saw this principle in action in early November when it was fiercely criticised in the media for hosting two staff events. The reality is that the banks do still need to motivate and reward their staff. But the perception of massed ranks of bankers indulging in lavish celebrations as we head into a recession, and as the taxpayer digs deep to bail them out, is one that the banks have to take great care not to foster. What of the rest of the Financial Services industry? Sitting next to the banks on the naughty step, and finding itself cast in the unwelcome role of chief scapegoat for the collapse of the Financial world as we previously knew it, is the Hedge Fund industry. Now most informed observers recognise that Hedge Funds play an important role in the Financial Markets. Furthermore, the leading participants in the industry are some of the uK’s most active philanthropists, contributing substantial sums to charities in both the uK and globally. But with a few notable exceptions, the industry has on the whole been poor at engaging with a wider group of external stakeholders. This has allowed prejudice to become accepted fact, with the result that the industry now finds itself short of friends when they are most needed. There is a clear risk of an excessive regulatory response to recent issues, borne of the ’something must be done’ school of policymaking, that could curtail the activities of one of our most

innovative financial industries. Once again, negative perceptions lead reality. Set alongside the Banking sector and the Hedge Fund industry, the insurers have - with the very notable exception of AIG in the uS - largely managed to avoid the most visible impact, and consequently the high profile fallout, of the Credit Crunch. The impact of the collapse in equities will undoubtedly feed through into the pensions sector but, again, to date this industry has managed to remain largely - though not exclusively - on the periphery of the debate. The Financial Services industry finds itself at a key point in its continuing development. There is little doubt that the next twelve months are going to present major challenges to Communicators in the sector but this is not the time to adopt a bunker mentality. It is clear that stakeholders will be asking searching questions of our banks, Insurers and those that manage the wealth of the nation. The organisations that emerge strongest from the economic downturn will be those that are most able to reach out to, and empathise with, the man or woman in the street. They will recognise the role of the internet and social media and adapt their Communications strategies to address these channels effectively. And they will embrace the changing nature of Communications and take advantage of the collapse in traditional hierarchies. The restoration of Trust between Financial Institutions and their customers is not something that can be achieved overnight. Management must be prepared to invest not only financially but in particular in devoting time to repairing relationships. It is well known that ‘nature abhors a vacuum’ and, in the absence of any engagement from the industry or individual firms, our new breed of Citizen Consumers will draw their own conclusions. Further reading • Peston’s Picks: the blog of Robert Peston, the BBC’s business editor ( thereporters/robertpeston/) • The Bank of England Financial Stability Review, October 2008 (http://www. fsr/2008/index.htm) • and the websites of the world’s two leading business newspapers

Paul Lockstone, Managing Director, has extensive experience in financial communications, both in agency and in-house. He is also a frustrated rock star. His blog – – is an attempt to combine his professional and personal life and interests.

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The future of PR belongs to the Citizen. The Consumer Age, as we know it, is coming to an end. Corporate Reputation and Brand Marketing are converging. In tomorrow’s world, constructive dialogue, engagement and a new tripartite contract between Citizens, Businesses and Government will shape and drive the Communications agenda. Radical Re-alignment: Endings and Beginnings There is a free radical somewhere deep within me that believes that we are facing the end of Consumerism as we know it. The global financial meltdown has served as a timely reminder that the death of Capitalism may be upon us also. If this was hitherto a personal, utopian fantasy, then it was equally surprising to find Newsnight and others leading on the very same subject. There are real lessons to be learned from recent events: consider the inconsistencies and the lack of responsible regulation in the Financial sector over the past decade – and think through the implications this may have if Governments and Citizens fail to actively intervene on an environmental level, to properly safeguard our planetary future. The Free Radical believes that tomorrow’s world is being shaped around Digital Democracy and the Citizen power that this brings; around the Wellbeing Imperative, and our thirst for a happier way of being; and around the Perfect Storm surrounding Climate Change – the acceptance that we cannot continue to over-consume the finite resources of the planet. Tomorrow’s world may yet prove that the Consumer – the one we all grew up to know and understand – was nothing more than a Twentieth Century blip, a bit like Marxism. Citizenship is more enduring.

You do not need to be an apocalyptic Green to recognise a changing world. We are all now learning to live within the necessary confines of a lower consumption, lower carbon economy – whether this is currently driven by heightened responsibility or by economic need. We have witnessed, first-hand, the rise of Consumer Politics – impacting which brands we buy and how we buy them; in parallel, we have seen the page 6 Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

emergence of single-issue consumerist movements and campaigns whose aims are to encourage (Government) action to address perceived business bad practice. Nowhere is this more evident than in the ‘hot’ issue areas of food, packaging, waste, fuel, energy and transport. Consumer Politics is now a very real consideration in any piece of communication. Businesses and brands are no longer in control. Fuelled by the immediacy and transparency of the web, power has passed to the people. Citizens hold businesses’ license to operate at their fingertips. The Client Community is embracing this shift. While we are not yet seeing comprehensive ‘Citizen Briefs’, the number of pure consumer plays seems to be on the wane. There is an increasing acknowledgment that consumer brands need the added protection of Public Affairs or Corporate counsel (and often in a global context). Brand marketers can no longer just sell – let alone spin – without a true appreciation of the impact this may have on their company’s license to operate. Likewise, major corporations are finding the brand link and working the same thinking in reverse. Never before have Brand Marketing and Corporate Reputation been closer bedfellows. The implications for agency structures and client org. charts are self-evident. Towards Public Engagement A new Communications model is emerging – one that we, as Edelman, are broadly calling Public Engagement. To understand the model, we need to accept five Truths: First, we should recognise that the Consumer as we knew him or her is dead. To paraphrase Python, he is no longer; he has ceased to be. The hard sell of consumerism just won’t cut it, in a more responsible, more thoughtful, more constrained world of limited resource and lower spend.

Third, Corporate Reputation must now be properly understood within the context of active citizenship and Consumer Politics. Old hierarchies have been denuded and demolished; pyramids of authority have collapsed and have been replaced by a new sphere of cross-information, in which everyone has a say – regardless of age or status, gender or experience. Just ask the Road Petitioners. Fourth, everyone means everyone. NGOs, Governments, Businesses, Brands, Employees and, yes, the Citizenship can now have an equal say. A new system of checks and balances is now in place – together with a new accountability that will clearly limit some of the more unpleasant excesses and poor practices of the past. Fifth, we are learning to live with this new equality; this new equilibrium. This is the Tripartite Contract referenced above. Within this, constructive dialogue – real engagement – will prevail. And PR agencies – appreciating the Government agenda as well as the business agenda, the needs of the NGOs as well as the demands of Citizen Consumers, are uniquely placed to deliver. Seeking Primacy. Opportunities and Challenges Our time has finally come. PR can now claim a legitimate primacy among all the marketing disciplines – properly understood within the context of the Tripartite Contract and the concept of genuine Public Engagement. Conventional advertising, already constrained by its inability to escape from a world of monologue and the 30 second spot, may well have its long-term decline accelerated, as it recognises that it is fundamentally ill-equipped to cope with the wider communications demands of Public Engagement.

Robert Phillips is the UK CEO of Edelman and the co-author of a new Wiki Book, which can be found at
has always aspired towards and promised. We will have only ourselves to blame if we cannot now make this final step. We need a culture shift of our own to match the societal shift that has, accidentally perhaps, thrust us forwards. If we can be held to account for some of the excesses and the darkness of the past, then we can now be architects of a better future. Further reading • Britain Since 1928: The Strange Career of British Democracy, David Marquand • Bring Home the Revolution, Jonathan Freedland • • •

– The Future of PR
Second, the Citizen is emergent, if not resurgent. We are all re-discovering the Citizen in ourselves – recognising our real authority and our personal ability and responsibility to effect change; to hold businesses and brands, Governments and institutions, to account. We are driving a new democracy at breakneck speed. And yet, the challenge facing PR is equally great. Agencies and practitioners need to elevate strategy and strategic thinking. Insight must be properly understood and always quantified. Spin needs to be denounced and the shallow world of celebrity rebuffed. A higher standard of ethics is needed, backed by more rigour, more discipline, more content expertise. PR stands at the threshold of achieving what it page 7

Over the past 20 years, the climate in which business operates has changed fundamentally and nowhere more so than in the uK. It is a change that has seen some of the world’s most successful companies brought to heel by a single front page article that criticises supposed corporate bad practice, or being named and shamed by a media savvy NGO, or being mentioned in Parliament by an ambitious MP out to make their name. The changing climate has its roots in the demise of traditional political discourse and the rise of what we have termed ‘Consumer Politics’ – where business and brands are placed centre-stage, facing increased scrutiny and an ever-greater burden of customer, stakeholder and media expectation. Consumer Politics has risen as the old Leftversus-Right political ideological battles of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s have given way to a new consensus over the parameters of the political debate and the fight for the precious centre ground - in which today’s political parties fight to prove their managerial competence to run the country, and the economy, slightly better than the other lot.

waged against it on the infant formula issue – a campaign that celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year – to show how a small but committed media-savvy and technology-literate consumerist campaign can make such an impact. Political parties and the media have not taken long to understand the power and influence of these groups and the issues they highlight. For the media, they provide endless copy to fill the ever expanding appetite for content. Harnessing and supporting certain campaigns gives individual papers and broadcasters the opportunity to define themselves in an increasingly crowded media market by championing their readers’/ viewers’ perceived concerns. For political parties, the rise of Consumer Politics is a way of engaging a disengaged electorate and reaching out to key electoral groups. One only needs to re-read (if anybody bothered in the first place) all three political parties’ 2005 General Election Manifestos to understand and witness the rise of Consumer Politics and their electoral importance.

Alex Bigg is Managing Director and leads Edelman’s award winning Public Affairs practice
The rise of Consumer Politics means that business and brands now live by a new set of rules, created by a new generation of closely inter-connected stakeholders, consumers and influencers, who have been energised and incentivised by the accessibility and immediacy of the web. It is a set of rules that demands accountability and a meaningful and transparent conversation. Businesses ignore these rules at their peril. Today’s Communications and consumer landscape means that a business has to be seen and heard for sure – but must, more importantly, be seen to listen, to learn and to act. Further reading • Microtrends, Mark Penn • manufacturingdissentbook

citizEn smith
– the rise of consumer Politics
Consumer Politics is the rise of consumerist movements and campaigns whose aims are to encourage Government action – which is usually code for new or increased regulation – to address what they perceive to be corporate bad practice. This usually involves seeking to curb a company’s licence to operate – be it in the manufacture and sale of foods high in fat, sugar or salt; the promotion and selling of alcohol; a company’s green (or not so green) footprint; or how a business operates around the world. With the rise of new technology and the freedom and power that the internet brings, these groups no longer just rely on a simple letter-writing campaign to the local paper. As we mention elsewhere in this publication, one locally based individual can now easily turn into an internet based global coalition containing advocates against a company and its products. One only need look at Nestlé and the campaign page 8 Other recent examples include Tony Blair’s Big Conversation initiative, which was an attempt to identify and respond to such consumerist concerns, or David Cameron’s social action and social responsibility platform that placed heavy emphasis on the corporate sector’s role in addressing widely held social concerns. Against this backdrop, no business can assume its licence to operate is safe. Consumerist groups, political parties, citizens and the media all have expectations of responsible and appropriate brand and business behaviour – and will call to account any organisation that is perceived to have fallen short. Certain industries – such as Food, Energy, Waste, Alcohol and Transport – have already witnessed the power of the consumer, but they are not the only ones. Today, an organisation’s licence to operate is affected by the behaviours and perceptions of everything it touches – including its brand, employees, supply chain, carbon footprint.

Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

a clouDy FuturE
– Cloud Computing and the Future of Technology
In Technology, a common request is to predict what’s next. Today, looking into the crystal ball, the view is definitely cloudy – or to be more precise a complete cloud obscures the view. This is not just financial meltdown angst but more importantly the future of computing - Cloud Computing. Much is already written on the subject of the Cloud and much confusion reigns as to what it is precisely, as well as the issues it raises around personal data security and privacy – hence the cloudiness of the Cloud. For the non-geek, the Cloud is essentially made from the combination of datacentres acting as computing factories that use wireless networks to connect people to software being delivered as an online service. The Economist quotes Lutz Heuser, Head of Research at SAP, who refers to it as an “Internet of services” but adds that the cloud metaphor is probably more adpt. But despite this complexity, the Cloud will pervade economies transforming behaviours, societies and most importantly the way we communicate. things, assemble real things and have real experiences and deliver real services. Go beyond sharing photos and share reality.” 3. Develop Influence: In the increasingly vast interconnected web, understanding who influences (at a global and micro level) and how influence spreads will replace the traditional need for control. It will be communicators who can work with influencers to create new ideas that will achieve powerful relationships. understanding the nodes that create influence, who then amplifies an idea and how conversations and stories spread and gain momentum will be at the heart of communications strategy – not just for traditional Public Relations approaches but truly conversational Brand strategies. 4. Use Embedded Brains: An extension of the Cloud will be the ability for embedded computing to allow objects to talk to one another. A car part will tell the garage via an ip address when it is going to breakdown. How we build strategies to support this interaction between the real and digital will become a key measure of success. How Business harnesses and exploits this transparency will be a key marketing differentiator transforming customer service and expectations. 5. Exploit Mobile Mania: In the Cloud, computing will become more and more disembodied and so be consumed where it is needed. Consumers will be able to access it at anytime through mobile devices. As a result, mobile communications will take another leap forward and become even more sophisticated. The communicators that master the immediacy and human nature of this new model will be the ones that work best in the cloudy future. Amid these headline opportunities, there is also a dark side to the Cloud. Questions are raised about how it will be made secure and, importantly, what happens to privacy and an individual’s rights to access their own information when so much personal data is held by the companies that maintain the Cloud. One obvious bug bear is who will control a person’s ability to store and access information kept within the Cloud. Does a Business have the right to turn off your personal data stored within the page 9 Cloud? As with previous generations of new Technology, the industry will need to create technologies and protocols to solve these challenges. Clearly, Businesses will need to be acutely aware of the Public Relations pitfalls of entering the cloudy future. Yet in the post credit crunch world, the need to get more out of less, communicate more efficiently and create new business models - all of which are benefits of the Cloud – will mean many firms have no choice. Further reading • The Economist, Cloud Computing Supplement, Technology Quarterly, Autumn 2008 • computing • watch?v=6PNuQHUiV3Q • Cloud computing: A catchphrase in puberty (www.theregister. • Cloud Computing: Are there dangers to having information infrastructure, software and services hosted on the internet rather than on our own personal computers?, The Times Online, 5 May 2008

Here are five headlines describing how communicators can respond to this change:
1. Understand Everything Will Connect: Through the Cloud, information will increasingly become connected to sources, related comment, opinions and disagreements in a seamless way. This will make the connectivity of Web 2.0 seem tame. Internet users will have to become navigators of connections, understanding everything has a back story, some of it spurious but all of it trackable. As professionals we will live in a digital world that we must understand in tremendous depth and detail. Context will become king and we will have to be masters of context. 2. Focus On Making It Real: The danger of this cloudy world is that everything is shaped digitally but it becomes ethereal. Consumers or Citizens will look to make it real by building tangible connections between digital and the real world. Our success will be shaped by how we make the Cloud tangible for our audiences – understanding the interface will be the key to success. To quote a comment “It should allow people to make real

Jonathan Hargreaves is European Managing Director. A committed armchair Rugby follower, he is hoping that developments in cloud computing create even greater opportunities to engage with the sport in the near future.

Blogs, social networks, online communities and the other elements that together comprise what some have defined as Web 2.0 have really only been around for a few years. But already, the term has become passé, as the always-looking-for-somethingnew crowd, with their collective gnat-like attention span, looks for the Next Big Thing. If their search focuses on a technology, they will inevitably go astray. Technology will, of course, continue to evolve and advance. Perhaps the web will grow more semantically sensitive and serve us better by anticipating our needs. The move towards Cloud Computing – as described in Jonathan Hargreaves’s article, where all of our own information is accessible to us from anywhere at anytime – will certainly change how we work, play and preserve those experiences. Improvements in mobile devices may soon eliminate the need for desktop, laptop and notebook computers. These are all interesting and impactful technological changes. However, they pale in comparison with the social change that technology has already wrought. And it is this social change that Businesses and other institutions have yet to fully grasp and incorporate into their management and Communications practices. The changes centre around new or exponentially improved capabilities:

– Next Generation Digital Communicatio

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Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

• Easy and convenient access to a massive trove of information • The ability to quickly form groups around a mutual interest, even a micro one • The solution to massive problems or the completion of previously overwhelming tasks with no management structures whatsoever • The mobilisation of disorganised, disparate individuals into an impactful movement Access to information drives scepticism and is the primary force behind falling public Trust in institutions across the board. No longer must we take anyone’s word for it. With a click or two, any claim or assertion can be confirmed or shown to be incomplete, exaggerated or even false. Too

To be sure, many of these are no longer new ideas and, even so, it will take most Businesses many years to fully grasp them. As a result, any contemplative CEO or Brand leader could be forgiven for thinking that the future looks bleak. Over the coming year, stakeholders will increasingly be the masters of their relationships with Business. Troubled times and the inevitable poor performances will make people even more skeptical and cynical of Business voices. Therefore, the imperative to embrace change and re-humanise both Communications and broader Business practices will become an even stronger imperative. At a time when Consumers are more carefully weighing purchasing decisions, shareholders are examining the implications of every trade,

relationships, Communicators become the facilitators and conscience of the Business itself. For now, this is the realm of specialist Digital Communications experts, but that will certainly change in the coming years. The move towards this new construct sets the stage for a hopeful future where Businesses are more responsible, transparent, engaged and successful, with Communications at the centre, making the dialogue happen. Further reading • Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky • Army of Davids, Glen Reynolds • TED: Ideas Worth Spreading (

manising business
often, Business has fallen short in clear and transparent Communications. As a result of that scepticism, people are reverting to instinct and, instinctively, we all have an innate ability to evaluate other people. Here again, technology plays an important role. By facilitating interactions between people of similar interest, perspective or background, technology has created an alternate information resource, and one that we find easier to evaluate, trust and rely on. Viewed from that perspective, it is unsurprising that Trust in ‘people like me’ is consistently on the rise. And it is here that Businesses have an opportunity. It starts with re-humanising: • Empowering the ‘people like me’ that make up every Business to interact more freely with internal and external stakeholders and to do so without fear • Being more honest and transparent in Business practices. Doing so requires, not coincidentally, being a better, more responsible Business • Admitting faults and failings. After all, no human being is perfect and no Business can credibly claim to be • Building relationships with stakeholders on the basis of mutual gain. This requires listening and willingness to be responsive to stakeholder input and policy-makers are deliberating who to prop up, the ramifications of whether – and how quickly – a Business moves forward could be extreme. Indeed, as more and more Businesses begin to embrace the new (old) qualities, the ones that are slower to do so aren’t simply sitting still. They are falling behind. The Businesses that are embracing change are on a journey. And for them, Digital Technology now returns to the picture in the crucial role of facilitator. Social networks, blogs, and online communities like Flickr and YouTube are now revealed as vital venues for dialogue and interaction with stakeholders rather than mere websites. Google search results for Brand-related terms provide a critical perspective on reputation and Brand standing, as well as a pathway to information. We can take heart that much of what is to come mirrors what is passed. Like the High Street shopkeeper of yore, Business will increasingly rely on Trust and relationships formed on the basis of dialogue and mutual respect. It is only the technology facilitating that dialogue that has changed. In this, Communicators have a key role to play: by understanding the technology and advising people at all levels within Business on how best it can help them facilitate essential page 11


Marshall Manson is Edelman’s Director of Digital Strategy (but he still prefers golf to Facebook).

As far as I can make out, the first Crowd Surfers in the rock and roll sense were either Iggy Pop or Jim Morrison... no one seems to know for sure. Now of course, pretty much every pop star with pretensions will at some time launch themselves off the stage in the hope and expectation that their fans will break their fall, take their weight and pass them hand over hand around the arena and eventually put them back on the stage. The metaphor for Business is a slightly crude one I admit, but today voluntarily or otherwise, more and more Brands and companies are having to get used to the idea that they are no longer in control like they used to be and that at times they are even at the mercy of their crowds. And they are discovering that that means having to do some things differently and occasionally being dumped on their head in the mosh pit (as it were). Forrester have research that shows that 80% of a Brand’s online Communication is not by the Brand itself; it is from Consumers, commentators and media. Edelman’s Trust Barometer shows that the most trusted source of information on a company is ‘people like me’ (true also in the uK, as well as globally by the way). The CEO is the seventh most trusted source. And so not only do Consumers now do much (if not most) of the communicating about Brands and companies, they are also the most trusted communicators. It seems inevitable therefore that the old command-and-control style of media (advertising, direct marketing and promotions) are going to be less effective than they were. Many companies recognise this and are indeed changing their Communication mix, but it also requires a new mindset. Some companies like Dell come to this realisation because a “raging mob with pitchforks” attacks them. In Dell’s case this was inspired by one blogger, Jeff Jarvis, but quickly became a movement that at times almost overwhelmed Dell’s online presence with negative comment in the form of the www.ihatedell.neet web site. In our book, Crowd Surfing, we (my co-author Martin Thomas and I) interviewed Dell managers on the experience of having to enter into conversation with an angry crowd and they described how they started to respond to people’s anger and frustration at bad products and service and how now they even institutionalise the sourcing of new product and service ideas from the crowd via, a kind of on-line Consumer suggestion box. Michael Dell says that giving up control by entering into the conversation that was going on anyway page 12

meant that in effect the “customer walks the halls” at Dell. And that means better products, services and a Brand that has come down from the mountain and is now much more approachable and accessible. They still advertise and use direct marketing, but they now also enter into pretty real and demanding relationships with their customers and stakeholders. Other companies like New Zealand Vodka brand 42Below do it because they are (or were) small and have little money to compete for attention in the usual marketing ways. One of their YouTube commercials, which was made for just a few hundred dollars became one of the online hits of 2006 and was passed around from blog to blog and via email links and Facebook groups. Consumers as the media channel (if you can entertain them enough for them to be willing to play with you) can very quickly get to scale and of course they carry with them the implied endorsement of the most important person to any Brand or company – the person like me.

David Brain is CEO of Edelman Europe and co-author of Crowd Surfing and finds it difficult to wipe the smile from his face at the moment because his 40 plus year obsession with Manchester City has been rewarded with Abu Dhabi millions... and he is handling their PR account for Edelman. Personally. In fact no-one else is getting much of a look-in.

The trick for managers and leaders now is to migrate their companies and Brands from the old ways of managing marketing and communications to a much messier, more difficult to quantify, trial-and-error approach where they sacrifice control for the credibility that comes with participation, conversation and dialogue. As Proximo said in the movie Gladiator, “Win the crowd and you will win your freedom”. Crowd Surfing is designed to help people with real jobs in real companies do just that. And it’s not like the phenomena of the empowered Consumer is going to go away anytime soon. As described elsewhere in this publication, the rocket fuel of Consumer empowerment is technology (social or 2.0 and mobile particularly) and it has only just started to combust. Consider this: Both my children started using a mouse to navigate web sites like Club Penguin at around the age of three, about the same time they realised they could play the games or look at the photos on my mobile phone. I have spoken to enough parents to know that we are not a family of total freaks in this. The internet became a Consumer friendly/ useful thing at about 1993-4. The first generation then that Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

– 925 words, so you don’t have to re

grew up using these technologies as soon as their grubby little fingers would allow them to were born in about 1990. They are now 18, going on 19 and are going to university and entering the workforce for the first time. They are the first true digital generation and if Brands and companies think that all this new stuff has been disruptive so far, then they better hold on to their hats, because we have only just begun. It is the companies and managers that learn to crowd surf that will survive and thrive in this new Consumer empowered age.

Further reading • • •

ead the 60,000 in the book

page 13

Newspapers make for depressing reading, with alarming headlines such as “uK faces worst of global recession” (FT); “Deep and lengthy recession takes shape as uK output figures shrink” (The Times); “Recession to hit Britain hardest among Europe’s leading economies” (The Guardian); “Employers gloomy on job creation” (BBC News)… and, it would be fair to say, worse will follow. While some pundits debate that such headlines and resultant coverage have served to exacerbate the situation, one cannot disagree that we find ourselves at the mercy of turbulent financial markets which will have a deep rooted and long lasting effect on us all. So as we attempt to plot a course back to economic stability and renewed prosperity in its truest sense, should we be looking beyond the faltering Financial sector to the Creative Industries and ask, can they provide us with a way forward and the hope of bolstering the crunch? Could they drive potential growth for the future? The impact of the Creative Industries as a key driver of GDP in the uK is rapidly emerging and transforming the perception that these businesses play a Cinderella role in the economy, sitting on the outskirts of true Business. Why? Well it is hard to argue with the facts. The Creative Industries grew by an average of 6% per annum between 1997 and 2005 (which is twice as fast as the rest of the economy) and in 2005 accounted for £60 billion or 7.3% of Gross Value Added (GVA). Total creative employment increased from 1.6 million in 1997 to 1.9 million in 2006, representing an average of 2% per annum, compared with 1% for the whole of the economy over this period. Moreover, the uK Creative Industries outperform every other European state and have moved to centre stage of the economy. Of course the Creative Industries will face the same challenges as every other industry – including securing investment, debt management and access to private equity – but could it be that they are better placed to survive the crunch and display the most promising trends for potential growth? Successful Business has always been dependent on firstly predicting market trends and in turn possessing the flexibility and confidence to respond to them. This has never been more poignant than for the world of Business today. However, it is arguably more difficult than ever to achieve. The highly innovative nature of the Creative sector would suggest they are better able to diversify their products and services. They are also more likely than the average firm to user wider innovation, which is an important page 14

driver of productivity as innovative products account for a greater share of turnover. Further, as we move towards a predominantly knowledge based economy, the fact that the Creative Industries’ workforce (the sector employs over 1.8 million people, including those working in related creative occupations) is highly qualified with over 49% of employees having at least a degree level qualification (compared with an economy wide average of 31%) surely points to a trend for growth? The Work Foundation describes the knowledge economy as the story of new technologies combining with human brain power to transform the basis of economic activity; CEO, Will Hutton, believes that the knowledge economy, the central tenet of the Creative Industries is increasingly important to the uK’s financial performance. The Birmingham Post recently ran an interesting byline article on the future of the Creative sector (Creative Industries Wellplaced to Beat Credit Crunch, 31 August 2008) by Lara Ratnaraja, Sector Development Director of Creative, Cultural and Digital at Business Link in the West Midlands, who made the point that: “Companies, which can show a strong yield on investment, will still have room to grow as long as they can evidence that their knowledge-based services are in demand from consumers and clients. In a nutshell, companies that exploit their intellectual property fully will emerge from the crunch as market leaders.”

Action Plan for the Creative Industries. The report sets out a number of new initiatives to help the uK’s Creative Industries to flourish, including 5,000 new apprenticeships to help people from all backgrounds make the most of their creative skills, and the creation of C&binet, the Creativity and Business International Network, a new forum that will bring together Creative and Business leaders. unlocking the potential of the Creative Industries cannot be ignored as we look to plot a course back to economic stability – and it will be essential for both Government and Business to work in partnership to maintain and create the most favourable conditions in order to stimulate innovation, creativity and dynamism. Further reading • Staying Ahead: The Economic Performance of the UK’s Creative Industry, Will Hutton and the Work Foundation on behalf of the Dept. for Culture, Media and Sport • From the Margins to the Mainstream – Government Unveils New Action Plan for the Creative Industries, Dept. for Culture, Media and Sport • Unlocking the Potential of the UK’s Innovators, Cass Business School and Microsoft • Creative Industries Well-placed to Beat Credit Crunch, Lara Ratnaraja, Sector Development Director of Creative, Cultural and Digital at Business Link, Birmingham Post, 31 August 2008

Thinking our Way ouT of The CrunCh
– could the creative industries hold the solution?
Innovation plays a key role and, between 1995 and 2005, start-up companies accounted for 48% of turnover growth with software and computer games contributing the most. A recent report from Cass Business School and Microsoft, unlocking the Potential of the uK’s Innovators, predicts that we could add £9 billion to the uK economy simply by unlocking the talent of the hidden entrepreneurs. Another critical factor will be investment in skills to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to meet the demand and drive growth. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is doing just that, as evidenced in a recent report, From the Margins to the Mainstream – Government unveils New Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

Pamela Fieldhouse is Managing Director of Edelman’s Corporate Reputation team. She has been passionate about understanding how the human mind works and how to influence behaviour change since studying psychology at university.

Think bravery before budgeTs
– Creativity and Brand Bravery
One of the most talked about opportunities that the changing economic climate will telegraph for Communications is a greater emphasis on innovation. Agencies will be expected to make more from less. It is anticipated that this will encourage stronger and clearer focus on creativity, and higher creative expectations from Brands. This is a good thing. Higher creative expectations are what our industry needs. Great ideas should always be the heartbeat of PR campaigns no matter what the channels or who the editors are. But is this emphasis on creative primacy going to pose a significantly changed working or business environment? Don’t we always need to be creatively outstanding and doesn’t every pound of marketing budget spent need to deliver maximum return anyway, and should this not always be the case? Marketers are used to working with limited resources and should always work on the principle that the best ideas, campaigns and stories are not always the most expensive. Take the seminal 1994 and 2008 JCPR Wonderbra campaigns as examples of huge and powerful campaigns delivered on small budgets. We do not need to invent new ways of working for these changing times. The best agencies should always relish the challenge to produce exceptional work – whatever the financial resource and whatever the financial context. We have read much about the Economics of Less, the Rise of Consumer Politics, and the Conversation Age. In the new rules of Consumer Engagement, less means more. The perceived new creative dawn should look to define itself in parallel with these principles and seize the opportunity for less to mean creatively more, not just from a spend perspective but from a thought perspective. As Brands bravely embrace the world after the 30 second spot, they should seek to consolidate with courageous, simple, uncluttered thought. But belief in the simple and the new has always required robust single minded conviction and pioneering spirit which, in turn, represents accelerated risk. It is the willingness of Brands to take risks that has always had the most significant impact in getting creative ideas off the page. The real elephant in the room is not the need for greater or consolidated creativity or the confidence in, and understanding of, new authors and new channels – but the climate and tolerance for risk, as guaranteeing KPIs and ROIs becomes increasingly pivotal in getting campaigns that vital rubber stamp. The real challenge is not Budgets, its Brand Bravery. Creativity could easily be forced to play second fiddle to ROI as Brands seek water tight solutions. As the tussle for spend morphs into a battleground between the strength and vision of an idea and the commitment and comfort of guaranteed delivery – the safe way to do things versus the risky, Brand Marketers should lead the march by showing and making Brands feel that they can have both their cake and eat it. We all know that PR is unique in its ability to stretch and engage audiences across a multitude of channels, to influence and shape culture and deliver 360Brand-owned campaigns. We truly now have the power to Think Big. But do we have the ability to responsibly and impressively convince Brands of this? Do we need to better interrogate and articulate how we demonstrate and communicate ideas to help Brands show value and ultimately give them what they need to make a great idea fly? The war on mediocre but safe solutions can only be won if Marketers can establish and develop a dynamic framework to demonstrate the Business value and stretch of an idea – beyond traditional expectations, traditional routes, traditional results and, most importantly traditional, channels. Four Ways to Better Communicate Ideas and Influence Decisions: Build Cultural Relevance - root ideas in the cultural Zeitgeist. Stay current and grow the potential of the idea by harnessing page 15 and realizing the power of a strong brand story to contribute to culture. Collaborate with cultural institutions to build brand experiences and engage new audiences. Demonstrate Power and Critical Mass – with ideas that work across a multitude of channels, avoid thinking simply of Consumer PR t, everyone is a consumer now, show and understand integrated platforms. Show Robust Business Nous – that you know how to track and demonstrate measurable results, crucially, illustrate how the idea can effect sales. Integrate and Collaborate - Consumer, Corporate, Digital, PA, the best solutions will offer every service that the Brand needs. These are all obvious considerations, and that is ultimately the point. In the age of decision by committee and fear of waste (money, time or otherwise), the onus is on us to work more effectively with Brands to deliver visionary creative campaigns that telegraph a robust success narrative from inception to completion. Further reading • Juicing the Orange: How to Turn Creativity into a Powerful Business Advantage by Pat Fallon, Fred Senn • Branding Only Works on Cattle: The New Way to Get Known by Jonathan Salem Baskin

Ruth Warder is a Director at JCPR and has been integrating brands with culture and entertainment for the past eight years.

A paradox is in play at the heart of today’s society. As individuals, we can consider ourselves more independent than ever before, yet the opinions we hold and the actions we take are increasingly driven by a sense of the wider societal context and consequence. The big issues, in politics, the environment and the economy sit at the centre of individual concerns, influencing many of our daily decisions.

placed upon their interactions with their lay and patient audiences. On the other hand, the world is moving on regardless; and not just the world at large but their world too – people, patients, doctors and advocacy groups are all becoming more engaged, demanding and democratised in their information-sharing and expectation of dialogue.

Engaging wit
– Health in the Conversation Age
As we describe earlier, the most significant catalyst for change has been the digital revolution, which has effectively democratised dialogue, debate, opinion and ultimately, actions and procedures. Individuals are invited - and are inviting themselves - to participate in conversations at all levels on issues of all magnitude. We are now active citizens, not passive consumers, and we are recognising how the digital channel gives us the authority and ability to realise the responsibility of being the change we want to see. Almost every facet of society that communicated in the traditional ‘topdown’ pyramidal system is finding success by letting the citizen in. Barack Obama’s overwhelming presidential victory, for example, was driven by a desire to “speak directly to his supporters” in the words of his chief strategist, and allow them to become involved and empowered in the campaign. Initiatives such as, the social networking site with approximately 1.5 million active users, were “the central nervous system of the campaign,” according to Julie Germany, director of the Institute for Politics Democracy at the George Washington university. The success is reflected in the contrast between Democrat and Republican levels of engagement, as evidenced by Obama supporters turning up at rallies sporting lovingly home-made tshirts and banners, while McCain supporters usually wielded the homogeneous, partymade placards and printed-out badges. So why is it that some elements of the health sector – pharmaceutical companies in particular – are struggling to countenance dialogue with the emerging Digital Democracy? In one regard, it is tempting to excuse them from the new world order due to the legal and ethical constraints page 16 According to the Health Engagement Barometer – a new study by Edelman of 5,000 people (1,000 in the uK) – more than half of adults (55%) in the uK say they are becoming more actively engaged in health issues, with conversations about health more important to them now than in the past. The Health Engagement Barometer also confirms that pharmaceutical companies must embrace the digital revolution. Seventy nine percent of uK respondents regularly turn to online sources when seeking information about a health issue, and 16% regularly turn to blogs for information. But engagement goes beyond what people want – it is what they expect and demand of companies in today’s world – and is the fundamental driver of Trust. Seventy percent of people say Trust is the most important factor with health companies, yet only 8% of people in the uK strongly trust health companies. Meanwhile, those who are more engaged in health are more trusting of health companies overall (60% vs. 53%) and more likely to be an advocate for them (68% vs. 48%). So how can the pharmaceutical industry engage its stakeholders? The digital space cannot be ignored – 51% of uK respondents in the Health Engagement Barometer said online methods are their preferred method of communication with companies and organisations involved in health. While it is a difficult step for any major corporation to ‘let go’ and cede the control they have been used to (and this is particularly true in such a regulated and potentially litigious world as health), the pharmaceutical industry must be braver and overcome perceptions of Digital Communications as something to be feared, mistrusted and that, if ignored, might just go away.

Mike Kan is Managing Director of Health for Edelman in Europe. He is also passionate about design. He is obsessed by its role in shaping physical, social and literary constructions of everyday life from the 1840s to the 1930s.

Steven Spurr is Managing Director, Health. He read Economics at the LSE and it was here that he became fascinated with the concept of perfect information and its role in resource allocation.

Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

ultimately, while the world of health is complex and multifarious, it has a simple requirement at heart: people who require healthcare want the right treatment and advice from people they trust at the right time and for the right ‘cost’ (whether in sterling or side effects). Engaging with this requirement is in the interest of all stakeholders in health, and finds its expression in conversations around access to medicine.

th hEalth citizEns
The stakes are high and the time is right for the pharmaceutical industry to be braver. While regulatory and resource constraints are very real, there is significant scope for companies to prioritise their engagement in this conversation and to build Trust with their citizen stakeholders to secure their continued licence to operate. Ensuring appropriate access to medicine is a complex and fragmented process, and often too narrowly understood. Stakeholders in health are often found working in silos and sometimes to their own detriment. Communications specialists are uniquely positioned to weave these strands together: linking health economics, medical, media relations, pricing, reimbursement, advocacy, policy and disease awareness functions within pharmaceutical companies to facilitate consistent, transparent and multi-directional dialogue with the citizen stakeholders that determine their success. The engagement is essential across all channels and we know the stakeholders are increasingly online. It’s no longer an option. To secure the future, the pharmaceutical industry must take a deep breath, embrace this new channel and enter the brave new world of Public Engagement. Further reading • Edelman Health Engagement Barometer:

Page 17

Medical Communications and Medical Education are often used as synonymous terms – and in part that is quite correct. All the efforts of a Medical Communications agency are directed at educating their audiences, who are primarily practicing Health Care Professionals (HCPs). Education takes on a different onus, however, when this is officially recognised as a Continuing Medical Education (CME) or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme. In this respect, different rules and regulations apply than in the broader Medical Communications perspective. The focus of this article is on Medical Communications. Although Medical Communications is a highly regulated environment – with the majority of the Communications targeted at HCPs and not appropriate (or permitted) for Consumer audiences – the time has come for pharmaceutical companies to embrace the same principles of engagement and conversation as other industries. This is all the more important as the pharmaceutical product development landscape is changing rapidly – with fewer blockbuster drugs, companies need to find more compelling ways to communicate the benefits of their products in real clinical practice. Conversation is now at the heart of any engaging Medical Communications programme. Enabling and driving peer-topeer dialogue is far more powerful than relying solely on the ‘old model’ of driving information from the top opinion leaders down to the broader HCP community. Trusting the source is the cornerstone of any successful Medical Communications programme and, as the Edelman Trust Barometer has shown, people are more likely to trust ‘people like me’, so having strong professional advocates to drive peer-to-peer Communications is a clear advantage for pharmaceutical companies. In the current economic climate, engaging in conversation with these advocates will be increasingly important. A fairly long term ‘scare-mongering’ headline in much of the pharmaceutical press has been focused around the lack of robust pipelines in many major pharmaceutical companies, with some high profile Phase III trial failures adding fuel to this. In the last few years, there has been a great deal of consolidation in the industry as pharmaceutical companies seek to bolster their pipelines through acquisitions, most notably of R&D driven biotechnology companies. Roche, for example, increased their stake in Genentech to take a controlling share; AstraZeneca acquired MedImmune and Cambridge Antibody Technology; and most recently, Sanofi Pasteur acquired page 18

Acambis. However, this consolidation alone is unlikely to address the need for late stage products, as most of the pipelines acquired in this way still require significant development time. This is also compounded by the fact that some of those biotechnology based drugs that have reached market will be facing patent expiry, and the spectre of so-called ‘biosimilars’ (the term used to describe generic biologics) is looming large. Pharmaceutical companies will need to ensure that their R&D pipelines are not too narrow in order to maintain the flow and momentum of getting products to market, although undoubtedly some will run the risk of cutting back on R&D during the current financial crisis. Against this background, there is no doubt that pharmaceutical companies will be guarding their relationships with their HCP advocates with great care. Strong advocates at the developmental stage of a drug’s lifecycle are critical to safeguard its long

with their stakeholders about their drugs in development. Successful Medical Communications is more business critical than ever. Those companies who embrace a more open dialogue about their drugs in development in innovative and more compelling ways with those professionals who are ultimately at the forefront of treating patients, will reap the rewards of the new terms of engagement. Further Reading • Edelman Trust Barometer: • PharmaFocus • SCRIP

mediCal CommuniCaTions in The ConversaTion age
– where next with health care Professionals?
term survival, and we should expect medical communications to play an increasingly important role in maintaining these relationships at a time when companies will be seeking to ensure that they realise their ROI on their later stage compounds in an increasingly competitive market. Transparency continues to be the watch word in developing these relationships, so taking a responsible approach and acknowledging the independence of HCPs is paramount. It is only by encouraging debate that pharmaceutical companies can achieve this with any real credibility. While the current economic turbulence will undoubtedly have an impact on R&D budgets, pharmaceutical companies cannot afford to jeopardise their long term prospects by cutting back too severely. This would both damage their commercial outlook and their relationships with their key advocates in healthcare practice. Furthermore, in an increasingly competitive market, pharmaceutical companies will need to embrace a more open dialogue Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

David Noble is Managing Director of BioScience Communications - Edelman’s specialist Medical Communications Division. He has extensive experience of the pharmaceutical industry having started out as an R&D biochemist before moving into communications.

alivE anD kicking
– trust and the beating heart of media
it is not going away. There are more and more niche publications and specialist outlets. Social networking sites and blogs are just as likely to be sources of credible information for some. It is no longer a choice between one or the other but which you chose when, and how much you believe it. Distinct groups with distinct habits of news consumption are forming and re-forming at alarming speed. We cannot just assume that a piece on the evening news or in The Times will reach our core target – a group of Millennials on blogs might wield a mightier media sword. Delivering the real media that matters is the challenge we have to meet for our clients and we have to know what they are reading, watching and listening to all the time. What is emerging out of this media chaos, however, is something rather old-fashioned – and that is Trust. As more and more media sources are spawned, trusted sources become even more important. Radio 4’s Today programme still sets the news agenda for many and chief executives still understand the value and power of getting into the FT. Trust is their most valuable asset, hence the BBC’s very public soul searching in recent months around matters of poor editorial standards and taste shown by some of their presenters and the issue of public deception over the running of competition phone lines. As people’s pensions and savings are under threat and they look for answers about global warming, flu pandemics and security of the energy supply, it is trusted sources that the public will turn to. After years of erosion of respect for the British media generally that has even opened the door to debate about privacy laws, it will be interesting to see in coming months whether the media can rebuild that Trust. Our challenge as PR professionals is to absolutely understand who those trusted sources are in the print, broadcast or digital space and ensure we use our media skills to get our messages across to the gatekeepers of those sources – journalists or otherwise. The boundaries of the media landscape have changed almost beyond recognition. As my colleagues have already described, the rise of the Digital Democracy has given every individual the power to influence the News, Political and Business agendas – it is no longer a privilege reserved for newspaper men on Fleet Street. understanding the complexities of the landscape, the drivers of Trust, and the role that traditional media can – and should – still play in managing corporate reputation are imperative for any organisation. Today, the media is no longer just a reflection of our culture, it IS our culture. We have seen the extraordinary development of blogs and the rise of the Citizen journalist, allowing everyone to enter the debate and get their voice heard. Media campaigns have moved on line; viral emails have burst out of the digital world and into the printed media; blogs are quoted in the mainstream press. Now more than ever, so much of what is said, either by individuals or by companies, is ‘published’ and can be revisited and pored over endlessly in the digital world. Even Facebook entries and off the cuff remarks caught by an enthusiastic blogger can come back to haunt the author in a way they wouldn’t have in the past. The old newspaper cuttings library, previously available to chosen journalists only, is now a limitless, digital resource and open to all, 24 hours a day. Good Communications have always had to be transparent and credible but now, at every level, they have to represent the values of the Business or Brand in order to pass the unprecedented scrutiny of a global audience. In the ‘always on’ media world, Humbug will be found out and when things go wrong companies have to move with unaccustomed speed to regain any sense of control. If the ‘what’ we communicate has changed, so has the ‘where’. For a decade or more, audiences for traditional media have declined while people getting news online has surged. Print media continues to bleed ink but, while use of mass media is declining,

Further reading • Flat Earth News, Nick Davies • Scoop, Evelyn Waugh

Jo Sheldon is Edelman’s Media Director and a former journalist. Her media roles have encompassed an eclectic mix of publications from early days on the Epsom and Ewell Advertiser to CNBC Europe via The Times, GMTV and the Mail on Sunday.

page 19

We have read elsewhere in this collection about the Economics of Less, the rise of Consumer Politics, that shouting no longer works, and that Brands are no longer in control. Against this backdrop, we turn our attention to the Content Revolution. In the Conversation Age, an inverted marketing model has led to a new set of imperatives: engage and entertain audiences, don’t interrupt them; facilitate dialogue not monologue; ‘tell’ don’t ‘sell’. In light of such fundamental shifts, those marketing brands and services, faced with addressing a newly empowered and participative Consumer, might be justified in thinking “ what on earth am I going to talk about?” Creative content is the ‘stuff’ that starts conversation and collaboration. This branded output may be commercial and informative or edgy and provocative; but above all, it has to be resonant and credible to its target, compelling in its execution and carry an intrinsic capacity for interaction (comment, rating, sharing, and adaptation). Producing collateral for social currency that is distributed beyond the commercial space and exploited across multiple channels is the key to success – creating an awardwinning ad campaign or generating media coverage is no longer enough to be heard or cut through, or crucially, to build powerful relationships and involvement. The need for Brands/Services to become producers and media channels in their own right is a significant yet unalterable paradigm shift - and of course an incredible opportunity, facilitated by the options new technologies and distribution platforms have provided for Communication and immediate interaction.

– Content, Conversation and Collaboration
In the digitally democratized world of direct-to-consumer engagement, there has been a land grab from agencies across the marketing disciplines seeking to establish primacy of this relationship. ‘Content’ page 20 Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

or ‘Branded Entertainment’ has become the new Communication buzzword but is misunderstood by marketers on many levels and often misappropriated by agencies eager to rescue plummeting spends. This is not about turning an ad into a viral, a brochure into a podcast, or news releases into a company blog, in order to ‘digitise’ and make more immediate corporate information - but rather a re-evaluation of agency thinking, propriety and silos to unlock a new creativity for audience engagement. The ‘flow’ from strategy and planning, through creative development and production, to distribution and amplification has been the domain of ad agencies and media buyers at particular and defined stages - protecting sizeable budgets in the process. Yet when a usergenerated film on YouTube can consistently reach more engaged (and self-selecting) Consumers than a bought 30-second spot, you know that the model and process needs to be reappraised. Simultaneously, the Entertainment industry has been undergoing its own radical change. Channel proliferation and the Digital Entertainment revolution have seen huge cannibalisation of audiences and loss of revenue from advertising and retail sources. Across all formats from film and music to on-line producers have begun looking to the commercial sector for collaborative opportunities – driven by a series of mutually beneficial needs and haves. The Entertainment industry has the collateral, creativity and desirability that Brands increasingly need to appropriate; whilst Brands possess those two most vital ingredients needed by the Entertainment industry: funding and eyeballs (usually from existing communities or databases).

Brands communicate and how production partners work. Brands are now able to co-operate at the development stage with film and TV companies, finding and coproducing scripts or new show formats. This is not product placement or sponsorship reinvented, rather a shared ethos and relevance. Everything can be Brand-owned. Everything can exist to hero the Brand, engage audiences, and deliver new ones for both parties. As PRs, we have always understood the need to cooperate, co-create and layer over our client’s news about a product launch or new flavour variant to give interest, relevance and credibility to a marketing story (we called them the golden rules of Sex, Fame, Humour and Controversy). The understanding of the flow, coupled with real collaborative partnership with production and entertainment properties for ultimate Brand benefit means that PR is best placed to deliver outstanding content in the new age. In an economic downturn – where advertising and media buying budgets are conventionally reduced – the need to engage audiences becomes vital as does the desire to have control and guarantee of outcome against spend. Content could finally prove itself a marketing force to be reckoned with. It is more cost effective and more immediately measurable than advertising, with the added endorsement and potency of real entertainment credentials. The real measure of success will be who brokers the relationships and how well they are exploited and amplified to ensure richer customer experiences and consumer relationships as a result. Further reading/viewing • – our own recent content based 360 campaign to digitally re-launch Wonderbra. A compelling case study in content creation, seeding interest, launching a product and driving conversation. The consumer community is now participant and led to astonishing results: immediate sell out, the most watched YouTube video on launch week, with now 600,000+ views and over 1000 websites linking to our own • php - we don’t really call this work ‘virals’ any more, but this gives an indication of the scope and reach of on-line branded entertainment films - interestingly those posted tend to be by ad agencies creating on-line edits of their atl campaigns, but this will change...

David Fine, Director of Content, has spent the last 12 years merging brands with entertainment and popular culture. A trained classical actor and early exponent on the power of content, he can be found in starring roles on YouTube – if you look hard enough…

Therefore, the real opportunity for credible and genuinely engaging content production lies in the potential for co-creation - unthinkable even five years previously - backed-up by the recent relaxation of key legislation. This marks a sea change in how

Jackie Cooper, Creative Director & Vice Chair, has spent over 25 years in brand marketing. The Edelman Content offer was born predominately from her realisation that brands today need to have a more powerful and engaging voice... And partly from her vaguely obsessive (Anglo American) love of brilliant entertainment.
• Mediated - How the Media Shape The World Around You - Thomas de Zengotita • Everything Bad is Good for You - Why Pop Culture is Making us Smarter - Steven Johnson page 21

I was recently asked “What is the relationship between ‘creativity’ and brands in 2009?” It’s one of those questions one usually gets from a graduate student when you agree to address a Marketing Studies class. This time it was from a big grown up marketing person, working for a big FMCG brand with an irretrievably-slashed 2009 budget and immovable expectations from her management, her sales team’s customers and ultimately the consumers who buy the Brand she looks after. I’m going to guess that the powerful creative ideas we’ll produce at Edelman and JCPR in the coming year will work on a principle I’ve stolen with impunity from Dr Joseph Nye, a professor of international relations at Harvard university. He coined the phrase ‘soft power’.

Distract not disrupt The ‘idea people’ in Communications have consumed (not spent) a ludicrous amount of time and vast sums of money trying to disrupt people’s lives to get attention for Brands and Causes. The industry blamed ‘clutter’ and ‘information overload’’ for the need to be boorish and intrusive. Guess what? Consumers are smart enough and now have the means to control the amount and intensity of stimuli (media and otherwise) they consume. Anyway, we created the problem in the first place. In 2009, let’s try to be a welcome distraction for which people willingly interrupt their lives to give us their attention. Let’s find opportunities in places, situations and Consumers’ lives when an encounter with our Brand is chosen – not merely tolerated. Let’s also talk to people because there is a shared Need – not just because we can.

In 2009, let’s bring to life ideas that will include us as a small part of the conversations Consumers are having with each other and, in turn, encourage Consumers to talk to us. Engage and provide value by: • Providing new ideas even if they are untested – ask collaborators to test, change or create ideas with us • Including people who we normally wouldn’t through crowd sourcing – listening is hard but rewarding • Embracing controversy, having strong opinions, defending beliefs and inviting others into debates • Graciously admitting our failures and fixing problems when they occur • Embracing pathos – storytelling with emotion – to communicate not just what we are and do, but who we are

Dr Nye reckons that the basic concept of power is the ability to influence others to get them to do what you want (so far, so good). His work proposes that there are three effective ways to do that: the first is to threaten people with sticks and the second is to pay them with carrots. The third – attract them or engage them so they want what you want – is soft power. If you can attract others to your idea or proposition, it costs you much less in carrots and sticks – even if both are collected from sustainable sources. It’s the difference between being bludgeoned with increasingly less-effective advertising sticks, bribed with a sales promotion carrot or inviting a Brand to be part of your choices. In the Edelman notion of attraction through soft power, we believe powerful ideas in 2009 should do three things: 1. Distract not disrupt 2. Engage without promiscuity 3. Help people feel good about their choices Create a Welcoming Distraction by: • Surprising consumers and juxtaposing things • Giving small but meaningful bits of extra service – physical and virtual • Creating beauty, humour, physical time and space • Providing access to truly interesting people • Removing worry • Entertaining Engage without Promiscuity Engagement with Consumers and their online and offline networks of other people is not an option, but we don’t have to be promiscuous. Clever Brand owners understand that targeting very small groups of like-minded people can move sentiments and markets by allowing and encouraging them to talk to each other – and their friends – and their friends’ friends. We don’t always have to be there but, when we are there, we must contribute Content (value) beyond Brand and Product messages. Help People Feel Good About Their Choices Great Brand ideas will either recognise people’s economic situation and the effect on their lifestyles or take them somewhere else that’s briefly better.

– Into 2009 and beyond

George Bernard Shaw wrote, “If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.” Still, in terms of our creative relationship with Consumers in 2009, we’re probably looking at them having to make new, forced choices because of the uncertain state of the world economy.

Escapism during economic downturns in our lifetimes and those of our parents has been measured by the increase in cinema box office receipts and chronicled by the truly terrible films we watched. The last time we had ‘scary’ oil prices, in the early 1970s, we retreated to “Earthquake” and “The Towering Inferno” – not so fondly remembered in Hollywood as “Shake and Bake.”

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Public Engagement in the Conversation Age

• Finding your loyal Consumer base and giving them attention and affection. We hope recessions don’t last as long as a good relationship with a Brand. Be there now and you’re both likely meet again. I always find December 31 to be a monumental non-event. Things, people and needs don’t change just because we have to remember to write a different date on cheques. I do think that delightful distraction, new ways of selective engagement and being genuinely helpful to those we want to attract will give our ideas currency, saliency, soft power and a greater chance of being around in 2010. Further reading: • • Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds • The Way We’ll Be, John Zogby • Authenticity, James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II • Portfolio Magazine, Conde Nast Publishing • Random stuff people leave in airport lounges

Coming soon...

The 2009 Trust Barometer is being fielded at an unprecedented time of uncertainty and loss. The global economy is in a free-fall; iconic businesses are collapsing; and governments are scrambling to stem the tide with more oversight and ownership of business. At the heart of the credit crunch – and now recession – is a fundamental loss of Trust that is essential for business reputations, liquidity and survival. Consequently, Trust is a ubiquitous concern for business leaders, political decision-makers and the engaged public. The 2009 Trust Barometer (now in its 10th year and launching at Davos in January 2009) will explore Trust through the lens of global issues, stakeholders and industries. Who is trusted to be at the helm to navigate us through the financial crisis and other pressing global issues? What now are expected roles for Government, Business and Advocacy Groups? How do Businesses preserve their license to operate and begin to rebuild Trust? The decisions and actions that business leaders will make in the immediate future – from how to navigate new regulatory regimes, how to weather closer scrutiny by governments and engaged publics, to how to implement the business plans required to move forward – all will depend on their ability to engage meaningfully with publics to communicate: “We can be trusted to do the right thing.” But, first, they need to know how to get there. The 2009 Trust Barometer will help provide that direction.
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Paul Haugen is Edelman’s Creative Director for Europe. Although he looks far too young, this is his fourth fullblown ‘global financial correction.’ He wishes he saved the tee-shirts from the first three.
How will Consumers seek economic and emotional solace in 2009? Edelman has just released the second Good Purpose study of Consumer sentiment toward ‘mutual social responsibility’ in nine major economies. It’s life beyond CSR where companies actively involve Consumers and other stakeholders in societal policies and engagement. Nearly seven in 10 (68%) Consumers say that during a recession they would remain loyal to a Brand if it supports a good cause. In 2009, can we show empathy and hope by being realistic and staying close to ‘real life’ (whatever that is)? Alternatively, should we give people perhaps welcome diversions by creating ideas, experiences or content that temporarily stop the worry about job security and the mortgage? Help by: • Making the attainable accessible to more people and making the unattainable accessible to a few who will talk about it to others • Providing ideas for economic and psychological value beyond the direct purchase of a product – after purchase promote reuse, responsible energy use and conservation, legal disposal, generational curation • Building small victories into buying a Brand – what does delight look and feel like for our Consumer?

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