For the past 14 years giant PR company, Edelman has surveyed the levels of trust that people around the world have in government, business, media and NGOs – the institutions that provide the fabric of modern societies.
The 2015 Trust Barometer is alarming, revealing trust has hit lows not seen since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2009. In Australia trust is down for government and business and right now we are seeing the issue of trust play out in the troubles surrounding Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
This 2 minute video summarises global trust levels and what the ‘big end of town’ must do to restore reputation.
It’s very easy to let ‘groupthink’ infiltrate PR planning.
Cass Sunstein is a Professor of Law at Harvard
Statements such as I like something therefore other people must like it too (egocentric bias) can derail communications planning even before it gets properly underway. And a communications leader must be ever alert to the dangers of letting his or her team slip into repetitive patterns and not challenging assumptions.
US legal academic and former Obama official Professor Cass R Sunstein of Harvard University writes:
” People tend to ignore the long term; to be unduly afraid of losses; to display unrealistic optimism; to make self serving judgements: and to deal poorly with risks.
What happens when the Communicator-in-Chief lacks a PR or marketing background?
Some time in the new year someone will ask you to endorse your organisation’s communications plans for 2015. Which is fine. You either manage the communications team or are responsible for its PR campaigns.
The decisions you make will determine how the dollars are spent, the priorities for your staff and, most importantly, how your brand is expressed. Yet you may have no training or background in communications or be new to the job.
Communications is a top role for CEOs. I’d say along with strategic planning it’s the single most important thing you do!
Australians expect Ministers and CEOs to shoot for the positives and downplay the negatives when presenting an issue. But do we trust authority figures and could ordinary people do a better job?
Real people can be the best spokespersons. Norma, Adrian, Amber and Jules spoke during the Cocos campaign.
Who’s your spokesperson?
Most organisations choose a default setting when it comes to presenting an issue to the public. They choose the most powerful individual in their agency or company, then he or she steps forward to speak on everything for everyone. It’s fine if they succeed but if they don’t then everyone in the organisation tumbles over the metaphorical cliff.
Todd Wheatland is pioneering content marketing in Australia
This week Todd Wheatland spoke to Canberra communicators about governments and content marketing. With extensive international experience Todd is pioneering content marketing in Australia.
Todd has an understated, relaxed style and his presentation unfolded logically, and with lots of case studies. You could see many government PRs and marketers in the audience, nodding in agreement, as he smoothly built his case.
The fictional Malcolm Tucker in the UK series ‘In the Thick of It’ was masterful at manipulating communications
Overusing caveats is one reason trust in government and corporates is disappearing fast
Today so much official communications is shrouded in caveats and it’s getting harder to separate substance from spin.
Phrases like these are commonly used by spokespeople, ministers and managers to stall media, protect reputations and hide information: We can’t talk about this because the matter is:
- Before the courts
- Commercial in confidence
- Impinges on privacy
- Involves national security
- A decision has not been finalised
- Negotiations are continuing
I’m sure each probably originated for perfectly good reasons, but now they are often the response of first choice and thrown up as barriers and reasons not to communicate.
Don’t read this unless you manage a PR team or aspire to manage one.
Top communicators in any organisation have a tough job and it’s often lonely sitting astride the PR pinnacle.
Which is why you need to be surrounded by a good communications team, one that can get results, win respect and boost your profile while they build their careers. A good team lies at the heart of good PR because they’re the ones who provide the daily momentum so necessary for good communications.
Australian Public Service managers face uncertain times. Now is the time to collect, craft and communicate stories that let you lead from the front and shape the future.
Canberra is facing uncertain times – job losses, a new Senate making life difficult for the Government, dwindling budgets and shrinking agencies.
If ever there was time for good communications within, around and from government, the time is now. And it is time for Public Service managers to reach into their communication toolkits and pull out their most potent tool – storytelling.
Whether selling a policy or reassuring nervous staff, stories are a communicator’s best friend.