Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Internal Corporate Wars - notes from the Media Relations Summit

 It's been a good couple of days in Wellington at the Conferenz 6th Annual Media Relations Summit. I haven't attended all the sessions, but the ones I have been to - and the conversations between sessions - have been yet another glimpse into the continuing evolution in the way organisations operate.

Big picture, here are the trends I'm seeing:
  • Increased pressure from consumers/constituents for organisations to present a united experience/message/everything
  • Increased complexity and shifting boundaries as disruptive innovation... well, disrupts everything!
  • Communications departments are already stretched, just by monitoring the media environment. Social media feels like a whole other job, and even when they use something like Google alerts, communicators aren't aware of the rules of engagement ... so they hold back.
  • IT departments can either be great enablers - helping others in the organisation embrace and learn social technologies - or huge barriers, letting fear, security and privacy issues stifle innovation and collaboration.
  • The larger the organisation, the larger the potential gap between departments, for instance media relations/PR and marketing. For many smaller businesses, these two departments are usually handled by one person, but for a corporate, they can have competing biases and agendas.
This last point was clearly brought out by Westpac's media relations manager Craig Dowling, who gave a good briefing on branding to the audience of mostly communications people. Branding's normally a marketing thing, but with the first trend I've spotted (above), everyone in an organisation needs to understand what the brand is, and what it means.

Sometimes I don't realise how lucky I am, not having the deep training in any one discipline, but having a very rare glimpse into the worlds of marketing, communications, PR, technology and business development through the stories I write, conferences I attend and people I interview.

More on this later - I hate reading long blog posts, so I figure I won't write one that's too long :) 

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