Back on the 26th February, I recorded show number 6 of the CIPR csuite podcast series I’m producing for the CIPR’s Social Media panel. My guests this time were Stuart Thompson, European Director of new CIPR partners TINT and immediate past president of the CIPR and Chief Engagement Office at Ketchum, Stephen Waddington (Wadds).
In the first section of the show, we discussed the benefits of Social Hubs like Tint, which as Stuart explained, is ‘a technology platform that allows organisations to display social feeds and port them to any digital device, anywhere in the world’.
Stuart talked us through a great case study of how Tint worked with the People’s Climate March in New York, which broke all sorts of records in terms of digital engagement for a charity campaign, which then led us on to a side discussion about war rooms in PR agencies. As Wadds explained, war rooms are a way to describe people working in an integrated agile way around a table for a campaign, although they call them newsrooms at Ketchum!
The interesting point for me about using technologies such as Tint though, was that by bringing all the user generated content from various platforms like Facebook and Instagram etc. into one hub, perhaps hosted on the brand’s website, it could help to bring ownership back to the brand itself, rather than lose it to the Social Networks, which I feel has been happening over the years.
Whether the likes of Tint ultimately benefit the client or not (and looking at their client base, it looks like they are doing something right!), Wadds feels that it’s beholden to anyone in the PR business to jump on any new tool and try it out and explore it as part of their continuous learning.
In the second half the show, Wadds talked through the role of a Chief Engagement Officer but first had to explain that he wasn’t after David Gallagher’s job of CEO of Ketchum Europe, as in an interview with McKinsey in April last year, Richard Edelman used the term to describe the CEO’s new role. Stephen, however, explained that Ketchum have a slightly different view to that of Edelman explained in their Trust Barometer and so his brief is to make social and digital ‘normal’ across the agency, but that’s it’s good that both agencies, and indeed other organisations are using the same language around this issue.
We then went on to discuss the findings of the CIPR’s recent State of the Profession survey, specifically around the issues related to social media and how he was ‘pissed off’ with some of the results when he discovered that as an industry, our business is still slow to move, whilst the pace of technology and pace of change is incredibly fast but behavioural change is incredibly slow. He believes that the industry is polarising between traditionalists and those at the forefront of the business, and feels strongly that members need to get to grips with digital and social media skills or face becoming irrelevant, one of a number of points he made in a recent blog post. He summarised his thoughts by saying that we need to recognise that there is a massive shift from publicity to influencer relations then branded forms of media and communities as a means of engagement, and we either embrace it, or you say “no” and stick with what you’ve done traditionally.
We did finish off the podcast on a positive though, as a lot of the issues raised in the survey are being addressed by the CIPR and that Wadds believes that it’s an exciting time for PR and so we, as practitioners, have to embrace it.