The first breakout session of the conference was a choice between agency and public affairs. I chose agency, hosted by Greg St. Claire,the executive vice president of corporate issues management at Edelman. A constant theme throughout the presentation was that we’ve entered a new world of communication.
Credibility has shifted dramatically over the last few years. With the growth of social media, CEOs have moved down the list and are considered less trustworthy. The credibility of consumers and employees has increased.
“We create content and conversations,” St. Claire said. Top down communication died as influence evolved. We have moved from one-way communication to dialogue. There are now more sources of information than ever before, and therefore more influencers.
There are seven behaviors that are essential for public relations in this new world.
- UNDERSTAND that everyone can be an activist now.
- LISTEN to the conversation.
- PARTICIPATE in the conversation in real time. You can’t just engage once and be done. Conversation must be ongoing.
- CREATE and co-create likeable, shareable content. Content drives everything.
- BUILD narratives to navigate the media clover (pictured below). In PR, we are story tellers.
- PRACTICE genuine transparency.
- RECOGNIZE that good business needs profit + purpose + engagement. Purpose and engagement are essential.
St. Claire then showed us the reality of the new media landscape, pictured below.
“Repetition is the mother of successful communications,” St. Claire added. Develop a message and stick to it.
Throughout his presentation, St. Claire reinforced the theme of the day with a changing media landscape. Look out for the final session of the conference coming soon.