Did I write that?
It never ceases to amaze me that billion-dollar companies like Microsoft that can afford the best PR advice mess up their public relations so badly.
Much has been written already about the incoherent and insensitive letter sent to employees in the Microsoft Devices Group that meandered around until it finally got to the real message towards the bottom of the post.
The company is going to lay off 12,500 employees.
The letter came from Stephen Elop, former Nokia chief executive, and now head of Microsoft digital. Read More→
I remember the days when ad people looked down at PR types. They had the big bucks budgets while the PR people toiled away on the leftovers writing press releases, arranging company events and the like.
Advertising sells! Well, maybe not so much anymore.
A story about a company in a prestigious newspaper like The New York Times has always been more valued more than an ad in the same paper – that old third-party endorsement. The shrinking newspaper and magazine landscape is evidence that advertisers are gravitating to other communications channels, most particularly social media. And what they are doing is not called advertising. They are reaching out to their customers through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ direct feeds, webinars, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Increasingly, they want to interact with their customers at company-sponsored events, product samplings, and through community service.
Funny thing. It’s the PR people who are leading the way They are writing the blogs, articles and opinion pieces. They are the ones creating community relations programs – like they always have – but now these communities are more often than not reached online. These are the company’s primary activities and not just an adjunct to advertising.
Here’s another thought: maybe the terms advertising, public relations, publicity, promotion and direct response should be consigned to the compactor. Those words just don’t seem to work in the new online communities that are forming like runaway amoebas.
How about new terms like collaborators, community builders, prophets, enablers? Or maybe one word that summarizes everything we are: communicators.
Advertising? That’s so 20th century.
[tweetmeme]Marketing and communications executives are being challenged by their CEOs to help chart the future of their organizations. It is their skills as conceptual thinkers that enable these communicators to envision the possibilities for supporting the organization’s goals. If this is the case, then why do so many chief executives resist the recommendations of the very people they have selected to help drive change throughout the organization?
Of course, there can be many reasons, from ill-conceived ideas to lack of budget, to the indifference of line managers. But another reason may be the real culprit. While communicators may be conceptual thinkers, their CEOs are more likely ruled by logic and hard facts. They tend to approach problem solving in a linear fashion.
Sound recommendations may fail because they aren’t organized the way CEOs think. That is why it’s so important to structure recommendations for marketing and communications programs that immediately demonstrate how they will benefit the organization because that’s the chief executive’s bottom line, especially during these tough economic times.
Here are some tips for delivering a winning presentation to get approval for important recommendations:
- Opening: outline the broad subject of the presentation
- Presentation objective: this is the overall statement of how your ideas will benefit the organization. This is where a lot of presentations go wrong because the presenter leads with what he or she wants. Rather, the statement should answer top management’s question: why should I listen to this presentation; what’s in it for the company?
- Key message points: think of your message as newspaper headlines supporting the benefits outlined in your presentation objective. How will the recommendations increase sales, save money, build a brand?
- Supporting evidence: use facts, sales projections, statistics, etc., to back up your key messages.
- Recommendations: summarize your key points and then propose a course of action for approval. Know the decision you want in advance.
- Discussion: This is the most important part of your presentation. As you lead the discussion, you will build commitment for your recommendations, address any objections, and refine your proposal based on the discussion so that you get a favorable decision.
- Summary: summarize the agreed-upon desired action. Even if all your recommendations aren’t accepted, don’t leave the meeting without a commitment to some sort of action. For example, if you can’t get your entire program approved, try to come away with a pilot project.
Remember, your overall goal is to link your programs to the company’s goals. Appreciate your incremental wins and then prepare for your next presentation.