This post is written in collaboration with our partner Meltwater, in which Valerie Fawzi, Chief Marketing Officer for Meltwater, examines the transformation of the communications sector.
Q: What goes into the development of a communication strategy so it fits the needs of the organization?
A: The current state of the corporate communications function is very tactical. Most corporate communications teams use some technology, such as a media monitoring service, but they’re using it to it’s full potential. They may use it as an automated clipping service, but don’t realize the research and analysis a good media intelligence tool can provide.
Communications strategies should be developed out of research. Only then, once a team is armed with the research on their company and market, should a strategy be crafted. There are five steps in the development a sound communications strategy: identify your target audience or audiences, create the right message for that audience, plan media relations tactics, engage meaningfully and measure what matters.
Q: What makes the communications discipline so ripe for disruption?
A: The convergence of traditional and social media has forced the corporate communications function to think about their role in the organization differently. The function is faced with increase pressure from the business.
Corporate communications teams need to listen more broadly and deeply and show ROI that is impacting the business bottom line. The function is already doing some of that, but we must move from event-based strategies to more thoughtful and influencer based strategies.
Q: How much of a role does social data play today when it comes to crisis management?
A: Social plays a huge role. Companies should be monitoring their brand reputation on traditional and social media channels at all times. A good social team should be the first to notify a communications team of a crisis if you have all the right systems in place.
In crisis communications strategy, a social team should be there to act as a sounding alarm, informing the communications strategy, and then share and amplifying the determined message with the community.
Q: What must an organization do in order to use social media effectively once a crisis occurs?
A: Social monitoring during a PR crisis should help an organization determine the scale of the problem. Armed with that knowledge, the company can determine the best response and positioning.
The organization should ask itself the following questions during and after a crisis:
- What is the main message and tone of the conversation?
- Is the criticism widespread, or centralized to a small group?
- Who are the core detractors?
- Do you have any core influencers?
- Is it worth reaching out to them?
- Is your message being heard?
- Is conversation volume increasing or decreasing?
Q: Making data-driven decisions is critical today for marketers, how do you anticipate this extending to other aspects of a business in the next several years?
A: Today, a company’s brand reputation can shift within minutes. In order to keep pace with the market and maintain a strategic perspective of business activities, all facets of an organization should be taking advantage of data beyond their own firewall. With the whole organization participating, it will become easier to harness and use data more effectively.
We’re already seeing how the future of corporate communications is a conglomeration with social and marketing functions. With the mass adoption of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs etc., social will continue to push the larger organization to communicate, participate, harvest data, and infuse that intelligence into all decisions impacting a company’s future success.
Q: What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned about communication and crisis management?
A: For most communications teams, every crisis is a new one. Many companies don’t have a well-thought out plan and workflow in order to get ahead of a crisis, but it does not have to be that way. We should have the tools and processes in place to stay on top of any foreseeable crisis. It may be a tedious process to get set up, but with the right research and planning, it can save a company’s brand reputation from the full impact of a crisis.
What new possibilities are there for the disruption of the communications space? To learn more, join Valerie Fawri, Chief Marketing Officer, at Social Media Week New York on Thursday February 26, where we learn how communications can connect the dots across all your platforms, and become the final piece of the marketing puzzle for your business.
Social Media Week New York begins on February 23. For the full event schedule and how you can join us, visit here.