October 12, 2011
The second CIPR Guest Lecture attracted yet another full house as Kevin Murray , CEO of the Bell Potinger Group delivered a fascinating lecture, based on his forthcoming book: The Language of Leaders.
Murray wrote the book after interviewing 54 chairmen, CEOs & Business Leaders as well as 3 military generals and 2 Police Commissioners to ascertain how leaders inspire and influence others to achieve the results the desire.
“It was my years spent as a journalist that I decided I was never going to stop learning and reporting on what it is I had learnt.”
In an era of radical transparency, leadership has also changed quite radically. The speed at which reputation can be damaged is accelerating and leaders need to build organisations that respond at the same speed. Murray illustrated this point by referencing the McLaren ‘Ferrarigate’ crisis that he was burdened with handling: “In the space of 30 minutes, the false rumour that McLaren had been kicked out the World Championship had been reported and dropped by media all over the globe.” This reiterates his notion of the ‘double edged sword of the modern digital world.’
The two fundamental concepts that Murray found imperative to effective leadership and organisational success were trust & engagement. Lack of trust in an organisation costs money, in terms of loss of sales and rebuilding a brand. With reference to Professor Gregory’s lecture and her example of Coca Cola’s valuation, Murray said “there is a shifting culture from managing tangibles, to enhancing the intangibles.”
Murray then highlighted the importance of emotional engagement with stakeholders using his interview with Sir Frank Williams, CEO of F1, as an example: all Sir Frank ever wanted to do was race, and his employees were worried that his successor would not have the same passion as he did.
“He couldn’t move himself, but he managed to move everyone in the organisation.” Murray advocates that passionate values are at the heart of reputation management. All members of the organisation must be empathetic to communicate effectively with stakeholder groups.
Another crucial part of an effective corporate communication is storytelling. Stories are powerful, and audiences co-create the story with you – they are the superglue of ‘conviction communication.’ Murray’s sentiment echoes one of Richard Bailey’s favourite quotes: “Branding is for cows, stories are for people!”
Murray concluded with the key message that professional communicators need to advise their leaders to inspire all stakeholders, as it is these people that are pivotal the success or failure of any organisation, quoting a paradoxical statement often used in modern leadership “Follow me, I’m right behind you!”
January 29, 2011
Anna Wilson graduated from Leeds Met in 2009 with 1st honours. Having started on the HND Business & PR course, Anna excelled in her initial years, switching to the BA Public Relations course in year 3. Anna is now the Digital Junior Account Manager at Tangerine PR.
Having grown up Birmingham, Anna chose Leeds Met because of its great integration of practical work experience into the course, which she found to be invaluable throughout her degree.
“I had a great time working on these projects and I learned so much, met some wonderful people and the experience was invaluable. Winning the Trimedia prize was fantastic, the late nights and all the work that went into our pitch was well worth it!”
Anna relished work experience with Ptarmigan PR (know as Bell Pottinger today) where she worked on clients such as Yorkshire Bank, Lemsip and Diageo. She was also part of a team that ran the Northern Journalist Awards where she met some great contacts and even got to meet Greg Dyke! Keen to gain journalistic experience, Anna wrote regularly for the student newspaper ‘The Met.’
Anna’s advice to current students is if you’re going to do something and do it – don’t flake out when it gets hard. Ask for help, the lecturers aren’t just available during your lectures/seminar’s –e-mail them, book appointments and ask for help, advice and guidance. But most importantly don’t say no and don’t make excuses – If you get the chance to do work experience go for it, if you’re sat stuffing letters in envelopes or writing PO forms (as she did at her first day at Ptarmigan!) then do it and do it well – that way you’ll be invited back.
January 27, 2011
The multi-media tycoon Rupert Murdoch (chairman of News Corp) will be feeling the pressure this week after a revamped investigation into allegations of phone-hacking by his paper News of the World and arguably the two most watched and trusted pundits in football being dismissed or forced to leave Sky Sports over sexist off-air comments.
These events come at a time of the looming decision on News Corp’s buyout of BskyB. This will undoubtedly cause a headache for Jeremy Hunt, Tory Culture Secretary burdened with the verdict (after Vince Cable’s dismissal following a ‘declaration of war’ on the Murdoch empire).
Despite the concerns regarding media plurality and public interest, News Corp’s proposed £8bn takeover of the 61% of BskyB they do not own will surely be undermined by the News of the World’s accusation of phone-hacking, which incidentally forced the resignation of Cameron’s chief press officer and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson last week.
Labour front-bencher Tessa Jowel* alerted the police after she discovered an attempt to hack her voicemail earlier this week, suggesting the phone-hacking may still be happening. This presents yet another spanner in the works for Murdoch’s print publications, of which all (notably the pay-walled Times and even Britain’s best selling paper The Sun) are in sales decline.
Richard Keys & Andy Gray are probably more trusted by the majority of the British male population than David Cameron & Nick Clegg. Clearly they were unaware of the seriousness of their comments in the context (which incidentally was not on air at the time), however the nature of their comments is bound to affect Sky Sports’ reputation.
News Corp’s Crisis Comms protocols has and will be in overdrive over the coming weeks, although in terms of Hunt’s big decision (which has been approved by the European Commission) one must wonder whether these misdemeanours will influence the Culture Secretary’s decision on whether News Corp should allowed to takeover BskyB, as it could be argued Murdoch should get his current house in order before seeking to expand his empire. Perhaps News Corp is growing too fast for its own good.
November 30, 2010
Justin McKeown, now Regional Director of the global public relations consultancy Grayling, graduated with a first class degree in Public Relations in 1997.
It was fascinating to listen to his view on the changes in the PR industry over the last 13 years.
He started with an icebreaker activity, his own version of ‘The Generation Game,’ asking students to identify pictures, nostalgic and current. The message was to point out how cultures change over generations and to demonstrate the need to keep up-to-date and well-informed or be left behind.
Speaking more specifically of the changing world of communication, Justin said ‘YouTube is a mere five years old and is the most watched media channel in the world.’ He then discussed the demise of traditional print media with the example of how Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Times runs at a loss and may be scrapped by his likely successor James.
Justin then reminisced about the age of the fax machine and the inevitable end of the day queues to use it, outlining the constantly changing world (and the need to keep pace with it). In contrast, in the quiet early days of Twitter, Justin convinced Jonathan Ross to make a donation for a charity auction by simply suggesting so in a tweet.
Evaluation methods are changing too, with Justin describing the decline of AVE (advertising value equivalency) in favour the number of ‘retweets’ or ‘likes’ an article or blog post has received. Measuring online consumption is much more quantifiable than consumption of print media. He also commented on the growth in platforms of ‘mass coverage’ consisting of thousands of online outlets, the key point being you cannot stop information flowing.
PR today is much more about engaging in dialogue with customers and key influencers than the old style of: ‘I have something to say, you listen.’
“How engaged would you feel with someone who only spoke in press release format?”
Justin concluded by pointing out the transformation of media and the way it is distributed, noting that information flows in every direction (a far cry from Shannon & Weaver’s model) as well as advocating that the opportunities have never been greater for the PR profession.