Growth is issue #1 for business today

A Formula for Growth
How Corporate Communications departments and outside PR firms can work together more effectively

• After years of cost cuts and lay-offs, businesses today are expected to grow
Revenues Margins Market share

January 28, 2005 Gary F. Grates

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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The corporate world today
Non-stop pressure for revenue growth Globalization issues
Off-shoring, out-sourcing Manufacturing competitiveness Pricing pressures Political implications

What else is keeping businesspeople awake at night?
• Corporate governance, transparency and reputation • Brand awareness and comprehension • Focus, clarity and consistency inside the organization • Addressing nonperformance • Market valuation (stock price) • Breaking through the clutter, cutting through the noise • Knowing where the bar is in terms of quality, usability, excitement • Third-party endorsement • Credibility of corporate/ product/service performance • Margins in a climate of cost controls

Talent acquisition, development and retention Costs, health care and pensions are bigger items on the agenda

Staying ahead of the innovation curve
2/11/2005

Need for focus and clarity
Are people doing the right things?
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Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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Alignment
How are your ideas, proposals, point-of-view and metrics aligning with today’s business realities?

The PR agency business today
New competition from management consultants and other places Consolidations Reduced client budgets Staff churn

“Lack of imagination” and “fear of innovation”
More focus on billing than new ideas
2/11/2005
• Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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What are PR agencies selling?
“Arms and legs” Media contacts Methodologies “Plans” Add-on services Execution

What are clients buying?
On a tactical level:
Capability Competence Chemistry Cost

On a strategic level:
Perspective (“brains”) Insight and ideas Point-of-view Execution

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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The tactical “buy”

Capability

The tactical “buy”

Competence
• Agency track record in doing what it’s asking to do • Right experience and expertise (both agency and its people) • Point-of-view in area of competence • Depth of competence (i.e., not just the senior people)

• The right skill sets • The right people • The right areas of service

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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The tactical “buy”

Chemistry
• • • •

The tactical “buy”

Cost

Ability to work with the people On the same wave-length A feeling of comfort Similar attitudes about the business and the assignment

• Competitively priced services with measurable cost-value • No matter how smart or differentiated you are, someone else will offer the same thing cheaper • You must be able to convince your client of the value of your services in a way that they can convince others

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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The strategic “buy”

Perspective

The strategic “buy”

Insight and ideas
Think beyond the assignment • The “insight memo”
Provide some unique insights to the client Help the client connect some dots Think and write clearly

• Clients want more than arms and legs — they want brainpower, too • What’s going on outside the client’s world? • What’s happening in other industries, other companies that provide relevant examples of challenges, opportunities, ideas? • Go the extra yard

• Go beyond what the client expects • Remember…
Ideas win “Don’t sell me — show me”

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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The strategic “buy”

Point-of-view
• Agency must be there, even when…
There is no budget You don’t have a project It’s not in your realm

The strategic “buy”

Execution

• Think about the path as much as the proposition
Who are you talking to? What’s motivating them? What do they really want out of this relationship?

• Always be thinking about what’s going on
Add value, bring in new ideas and new thinking

• Make the commitment to sniff around • Be pre-emptive • Act before it becomes problem

• Answers will determine which path you take • This is a thinking business, not just a step-and-fetch-it type of business • There are dynamics in your client’s business that are standing in the way of your revenue growth
It’s up to you to identify and neutralize them

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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Agency People:

What you should do
• Immerse yourself in your client’s business, industry, markets • Know your client’s business strategy • Know who’s buying their products — and why
And who is not buying their products — and why not

Corporate People:

What you should do
• If your outside agency earns your trust, treat them as confidants • Invite constructive disagreement
No “yes-men” need apply

• Understand your client’s #1 internal issue

• Use their brains, not just their arms and legs • Value, use and learn from their external perspective

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
1. “Strategy” overused, underutilized, misunderstood 2. Noise is challenge #1 3. Sense and Respond 4. Pick your spots 5. Selling vs. solving 6. Three critical questions 7. Who’s the real audience? 8. Are you building plans, or relationships? 9. Act like a vendor, be treated like one 10.Defy convention

From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
1. “Strategy” overused, underutilized, misunderstood • Strategy supports business goals • Strategy composed of tactics
Successful completion of tactics help fulfill strategy Fulfillment of strategy helps meet business goals

• Strategy not a static thing — strategy must adapt to change
“Strategy was not a lengthy action plan. It was the evolution of a central idea through continually changing circumstances.” Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian military thinker
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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
2. Noise is challenge #1 • Volume and frequency of messages and information is overwhelming today • Our challenge is to cut through the noise with messages often critical to future livelihood and health of business • We do that by:
Crafting messages carefully Choosing most appropriate vehicle Discriminating between “push” and “pull” information Being mindful of recipients’ environment

From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
3. Sense and Respond • Become a social scientist • Discern what people are looking at, listening to, believing in • Take cues from what people do in their personal lives • Observe and interpret… then make sure that your messages are linked:
To actions that people can find and understand To the realities of their everyday world

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
4. Pick your spots • Follow CEO’s agenda and determine where strategic communications can drive business forward • Compromise is a necessity in large corporate environments
Be sure to compromise on the right things

From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
5. Selling vs. solving • Be there with the client • See competitive marketplace and working environment in ways that allow client to better address the situations • Listen and feel client’s reality • Focus on finding the solution instead of packaging the sell — profitability will follow

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
6. Three critical questions • “What does this mean?”
Understand client’s business thoroughly Don’t be afraid to ask

From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
7. Who’s the real audience? • Avoid seeing your audience as a monolith • Discern the fine details and identify the right audience for the right message
E.g., a productivity message should target managers who can actually make a difference, not the workers

• “What will our audience hear?”
Put yourself in your audience’s reality to anticipate how they will receive your messages/information

• “Now what?”
Continue to drive for results Demonstrate an unquenchable thirst for excellence

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
8. Are you building plans, or relationships? • Too much focus on “plans,” driven by client’s desire for a plan or a program • Not the plan or program that will succeed • Ability to spend more time on the relationship allows better understanding of nuances and quality of messaging, environment, history • Spend time assimilating, acting and doing what has to be done • Results achieved through a number of routes, not just plans

From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
9. Act like a vendor, be treated like one • When agencies focus mostly on their own business interests (profit margins, selling more services, etc.), they’re seen as vendors — and treated as such • Clients don’t need vendors • Clients need the advantages of an agency that offers…
New ideas Perspective Fresh thinking

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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From a former agency guy…

Lessons from the client side
10. Defy convention • Defy the banal • Beware of falling victim to the rhythm of the organization and its stale processes • Don’t fear trying new things — or dumping tired old ways of doing things • “Disruptive people are an asset” — Bob Lutz

Clients need…
• Ideas, options and recommendations relevant to where their business needs to go
Not just ideas out of thin air Not just ideas that make you look and feel smart

• Ideas that are relevant to the client’s challenges, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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So where are we, and where can we go?
• The agency must earn its way in • Clients still suffer from being too close to see
Politics and bureaucracy still prevail in corporate world Client still needs agency people to be their eyes and ears

What does it mean to you and me?
Today, we must… • Be well read • Be self-motivated • Be dissatisfied with the status quo • Move beyond the givens
Media relations, research, etc.

• Clients must define and be clear about what agency is there for
Must have a point-of-view Clients must be able to find you One-size-fits-all PR firm is out
2/11/2005
Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

• Write (a lot) to become a better writer
Commit to write a professional article each year

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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How can we grow?
You
• Know the current business situation, strategy, challenges, etc. (SWOT) • Know how communications can address those issues productively • Earn your right to be inside through your insight, perspective, point-of-view • Build your business IQ

Best Reads
Agency
• Have a point-of-view • Build a bridge so that the clients can find you • Become more aggressive in terms of encouraging new ideas inside the firm • Build depth of talent and perspective across the firm

Client
• Listen and invite new ideas • Be ready to pay for new ideas • Be more open-minded to outside ideas (overcome the “not invented here” syndrome) • Let the agency into the tent and let them participate in meetings and discussions

“Tough Calls,” by Dick Martin “Good To Great,” by Jim Collins “Re-Imagine,” by Tom Peters “What the Best CEOs Know,” by Jeffrey Krames “The McKinsey Way,” by Ethan Rasiel “Responsible Managers Get Results,” by Gerald Faust, Richard Lyles & Will Phillips • “Profitable Growth is Everyone’s Business,” by Ram Charan • “Double Digit Growth,” by Michael Treacy • • • • • •

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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“To look is one thing. To see what you look at is another. To understand what you see is a third. To learn from what you understand is still something else. But to act on what you learn is all that really matters.” Source unknown

2/11/2005

Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 • www.instituteforpr.com

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Copyright © 2005, The Institute for Public Relations PO Box 118400, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 www.instituteforpr.com

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