The great transformation to digital that we are seeing in large companies around the world is not something exceptional. Chilean companies are immersed in this great change. The fact of having a great penetration in mobile devices (71%, leading in Latin America), will allow Chilean companies to better understand their users and customers, which will provide them with information to make high-level decisions and the design of new products. . Although now only 30% of consumers and retail brand executives are using the data for strategic purposes, according to the KPMG 2016 Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind Survey, the number is expected to double, to 59%, in the next two years; and predictive analytics doubled from 24% to 49% in the same period.
In this digital age, technology has a great impact on people’s lives, and it is increasing every day, modifying certain behaviors or behaviors, such as purchasing trends through new platforms, which also allow us to make purchases, Communicate with companies naturally and spontaneously, expressing our opinions and generating valuable information for the brands that know their customers day by day. The KPMG Outlook CEO survey revealed that CEOs in Latin America are more aware than years ago of the need for business leaders to expand their skills to face emerging technologies; Likewise, 71% consider that technological disruptions represent more of an opportunity than a threat, compared to the global average.
As another report by the aforementioned international firm “The paradox of digital disruption” explains, despite the fact that institutions and organizations in Chile are alert to the necessary adoption of digital solutions and know the high potential within them, the vast majority of companies are slow in this technological process. The results of this study indicate that, for more than 30% of the respondents, the main barrier to technological change is given by lack of strategic vision and that is associated with the culture of the company.
The development of digital strategies in companies will undoubtedly bring benefits, a clear example is seen with e-commerce, where through web platforms, without physical stores, brands can reach rural consumers for the first time. With or without a physical store, the internet has become a great platform for companies and it is there that we can help them as communication consultants, guiding them in the messages to be transmitted, in the way of doing it, with whom to do it and how.
We have to be able to capture that information, work it and know how to report it to achieve the objectives that companies want.
A few days ago, during a dinner of a corporate event I had the opportunity to listen to a humorist. Each joke was more macho than the other. And I thought, what a bad image this dinner will give this brand with the women here and how old-fashioned it is. At least I don’t want to partner with that brand anymore.
The truth is that in the face of the new decade 2020-2030 we can no longer have a space between what we preach and what we do. We must take care of what is communicated in every detail and not only to be politically correct in an era where women (along with ecology and sustainability) are on the rise, but also as an aggressive strategy of closeness and respect with the female gender.
That is why here I give some ideas:
1) Entrepreneurs: Woman today are independent, for a long time they do not want to be in their house or meet a schedule that does not allow them to be with their children. Brands should talk to that specific segment, provide effective solutions, become their accomplices.
2) Complicity: For example, for women’s week, brands can offer special discounts only to women, but I don’t mean just clothes, why not technology, notebooks, cameras, fitness and outdoor, rent of co-works, among others. Counseling firms can issue reports with statistics on women in different aspects.
3) Elegance: Take care of your words, address them differently from the masculine gender.
4) Recognition: Why not create spaces just for them — best female employee, best female owned business, and why not an internal blog only with topics that might be of her interest.
4) Creativity, Creativity and Creativity: for years women had to read about topics that interest them, written under the perspective of a man. It is time to take the pen and ideas and apply creativity from a space for women themselves.
As you can see there is still a lot to do to bring your brand closer to this segment, which certainly will be interested in consuming custom products and services and will appreciate feeling recognized and valued.
Communications Agency, Santiago Chile
Best public relations agency in Chile
Best strategic communication agency in Santiago
When clients hire us to develop a campaign they still request us to deliver all publications that appear once the campaign has finished. And many times, depending on the topic released and the right moment, they can be successful.
In other words, after two or three days of work with the media and according to the effort made, a large number of publications can be obtained, some of them with high valuations depending on the occupied spaces.
However, many times the client only comes to appreciate in which media it did or didn’t come out, if the story had errors or came out with the right message and how many times it was retweeted or shared by our relevant public. Check and well done.
But after two or three days those publications came out, does anyone remember the campaign?
Let alone if there is no further loyalty work. There must be a sustained action in time that gathers the fruit of what was sown. And many times that action requires an annual contract with the PR agency because it is also common to believe that this part can be done alone or from the company.
That’s why I think that the way to measure a PR campaign can’t continue to be based on published spaces, valuations and messages, which undoubtedly matter, but also on the contacts and relationships that were made throughout the campaign, how they served the company in the medium term and what emerges from them.
For example, building relationships of trust that eventually become durable with customers, and that are the starting point of a business relationship or future alliances with the media where we become a reliable and permanent source.
I also remember the saying about the silver bullet – one has only one chance in life, because the image we show the first time always gets marked. And that is where our consultancy and advice can also be invaluable.
But does the client pay attention to that when placing the campaign fee? The truth is that they don’t – that is why it is necessary to make further progress in educating our clients about what are the final objectives that are really worth.
A lot has been written about the basic aspects of how to solve a communication crisis.
We talk about many theoretical aspects, crisis manuals, crisis committees, coordinated work with the legal team, etc. And advisers are measured by the size of the crises they have participated in or the number of crises in the body.
And while all of the above is important, I think that little has been said about the importance of passion when supporting a client.
My first recommendation is never to take a crisis if you do not believe in the version of the person you are helping. This is key when it comes to giving the best advice. I have seen advisors of a political trend defending by contract clients that they do not believe in, and that is a guaranteed failure when telling our version of the facts to the press or to the stakeholders.
The second thing is to get involved. I mean to try to understand every last detail to gain the trust of the client, so you do not find out in the middle of a crisis of an important aspect that plays against and that your client never thought it would come to light.
Last but not least, when you believe in your client and in the arguments that both of you have chosen together to build the speech, passion begins to play. Believing in a case or in a person makes the difference. You no longer give generalist recommendations per book, but you get involved in the case and you realize that the solutions to take care of a person’s image and reputation are much more diverse. And this makes that you are not only recommend as a gimmicky agency, but also as an integral professional, a general practitioner beyond a specific case.
A typical definition of public relations is the set of actions aimed at creating and maintaining a good image of a company or person (external communications), both before the general public (consumers, clients, investors, public institutions, social organizations, groups of opinion, etc.), and before their own workers (internal communications).
However, nowadays in view of the complexity of communications, the work of a PR firm has greatly increased, due to a series of factors including digitalization, globalization, immediacy and the existence of social networks.
On the one hand, the channels are no longer the same; newspapers, magazines, radio and TV have joined social networks and influencers as an established channel of communication, which is gaining more and more ground against the conventional media, forcing to develop digital strategies with messages very different from the traditional ones.
On the other hand, today no company can abstain from communicating with transparency: from what it does, and what its income is, to how it does it (for example, if its methods are compatible with the ecosystem). The time to hide the head is over; who does not communicate disappears or goes into crisis. There are also professionals who need to position themselves with a suitable image or get closer to their audience.
And in all these tasks it is necessary to be advised by a good PR firm, since everything must have a strategy and a communication plan, starting with an analysis that includes segmenting the target audience, mapping the stakeholders that we need to react, prepare messages with the appropriate storytelling that properly reaches our audience.
In addition, you have to know the media and its journalists, know what they are looking for and in what format. That is why according to wikipedia today 80% of the content in the media comes from the actions of a public relations specialist and not from the search of the media itself.
And in case a company or person enters a public crisis, which are increasing as a result of social networks where anyone can upload content, and amplification capacity has multiplied several times, and in less time, there the work of a communications professional becomes even more essential to face the media.
A PR company will prepare a crisis plan beforehand and will set up a crisis committee to meet if necessary so that it is not the affected person who comes out to give an improvised response, making the situation even worse, and will prepare their spokespersons with an adequate media training.
Reputational damage has now become one of the main problems of companies that do not handle their crisis correctly, with some having an impact even on their stock market value.
For all of the above, the right team and the experience and closeness of a PR firm are key when choosing the right advisor. Closeness not only with the customer but also with the media through ethical, trustworthy and long-term relationships.
These teams are often led by journalists, but today they are multidisciplinary to meet the different requests that a client can entrust to a PR firm, including sociologists, designers, marketers, politicians, photographers, film makers, etc., as tasks can go from production of digital pieces to press analysis.
And the events cannot be left out as another channel of communication used by companies to have access to their clients and/or prospects to deliver content, or simply build loyalty with brand actions. Therefore, an event cannot be prepared without a goal, where speakers, duration, invited guests, etc. are correctly selected, all by a PR professional.
As you can see, nothing is left to chance when properly handling the public image of a company, organization or person.
Communications agencies, which include former media journalists and strategists capable of accompanying a company or executive in their crisis process, have learned to value their work in front of law firms.
A few years ago, when a client had to face justice, he only called his lawyer to get him to the best legal specialist to defend against charges against him.
Today he knows that this is not enough; he must also worry about the image: what the press will say about him, what image will remain in the market in which he works, and finally how to defend himself against the charges against him – whether they are false or true – so that this does not end in an economic damage of unthought-of consequences.
It is in this way that legal specialists have also learned to integrate in their weekly boards of strategy reviews partners from crisis companies or lobbyists, since they have become aware that without that part of the analysis they will not be able to win their cases.
Many lawyers have even included public disqualifications as a way to litigate. And the evidence shows that companies have been destroyed, sold and come to be worth zero after a crisis erupts. The same happens with executives: if their reputation falls they will never be able to access new jobs or even close personal deals. And nobody responds for it.
This type of specialists we are talking about are people capable of understanding the media, of anticipating the intentions behind the calls to journalists, of investigating, asking, and based on accurate data, to reconstruct the facts and explain them in a simple way so that everyone can understand them.
This specialty within communications is developed together with the creation of the term Corporate Reputation, which is so much talked about today in seminars and articles. This concept – already hackneyed- has been overcome by “fake news” and post-truth, since around conflicts many false news are created to affect the image of a person or to form a distorted appreciation of reality in public opinion.
This is not a new practice in the field of communications, but now there is awareness that there can be serious consequences in the judicial field, which can be aggravated by social networks. A prominent Chilean jurist noted in a recent article: “It is the social sanction to which it is invoked that can often be harsher than that of the courts themselves.”
When we were at the university, journalism schools taught us that the role of the media was to inform, and as such, the one who was right was the one who managed to be in the news and from there tell what was happening, describe facts.
In the recent social upheaval in Chile with serious crises of violence, including intentional fires to all types of infrastructure, looting and destruction, one of the aspects that has begun to be criticized by the citizens, and which I want to refer to, is the role of the TV channels and radio stations that have been broadcasting violence for
Is this helpful? Do we want this to be what children see? Is it healthy to turn such a serious problem into a science fiction novel? Does it contribute for the country to return to normal? Does it increase the stress levels that the population already has? It is known that violence brings violence, and the more space is given to violent groups in the media, the more they achieve their goals of gaining visibility.
Social networks have not done better, with fake, biased news and pure political extremist propaganda have flooded us with online violence. Is that inform?
I think this makes us rethink the whole functioning and purpose of the media and validates again the written press, which is capable of giving more analysis, more argumentation, more interviews, more discussion, raising positions, confronting truths and fostering debates.
More access to media spaces was what citizens asked for, breaking the traditional media guidelines that only worked based on the rating. Yes. It is true. But guidelines more citizen-oriented and less attached to the rating could also be sought in other ways. The media have also been part of the crisis and not of the solution. And they have not wanted to recognize it. They are part of the old politics. And that biased vision even reaches the international press that has been trying to explain why there is violence in Chile.
However, we can look at the glass half full. Today, Chile can give an example to the world, because without a doubt this is not a local problem, it is a global problem, which will move across the globe country by country and has to do with the world changing. From this small experiment room that is Chile, we can show the world that the media also have to rethink their role in society, and that by the way that will allow them to find a place instead of ending up in the cemetery.
What if we turned the Covid-attitude into sustainable corporate behavior?
Companies and brands have never behaved as well as they are right now. For the past few weeks, we’ve seen a level of compassion and caring from brands that is “Hall of Fame” worthy.
While this avalanche of good deeds and good intentions might be viewed as excessive by some, I’ve been impressed by the genuine way which brands have communicated during Covid-19.
Usually deemed as opportunistic, and even cynical, corporate communication has managed to avoid the pitfall of societal exploitation. In fact, the media and social networks are full of relevant initiatives. These actions are not only useful and generous, but they also legitimize the ever-so-challenged concepts of corporate purpose, social utility and CSR commitments. The total crisis induced by Covid-19 exacerbates the quest for meaning. It also reveals the desire to speak up and share, as well as the thirst for social connection. Ironically, social distancing has promoted proximity, and not in a false or disingenuous way. Rather, it has served as a litmus test between companies and their audiences which extends beyond marketing.
When the market and society reconcile around a social consensus
The urgency makes it possible to unite the market and society around a credible social consensus. This crisis, due to its unprecedented nature, gives companies and brands the opportunity to truly reveal the best of themselves. This is good news as corporate reputation is built on facts. The question is, how will this corporate behavior that restores communication credentials can be sustainably maintained? The crisis, no matter how strong, is a paroxysmal moment. This one will leave permanent marks for sure, but what will happen, once the shock has passed?
The word has replaced the message
Many bet on a pre- and a post-Covid. However, it is more likely to be “with”. So, in our new normal, will communicators be able to continue with this genuine and compassionate communication rather than returning to its old demons: self-centeredness, boasting and shamelessness?
This crisis has seen many brands return to the primary purpose of communications: educate, unite and mobilize. It works even better as the crisis has changed the posture, modifying the conditions of expression and admissibility of speeches. Businesses and brands will certainly not save the world but they can give a hand where needed. It works because they are responsible without boasting too much, show solidarity with humility, and contribute to a common project. The word has replaced the message.
We are all neighbors in the global village
By confronting society with its fragilities, the pandemic reminds us that we are all neighbors in the global village. For better or worse. The best, from companies and brands, is the solidarity they show towards their neighbors, whether local, regional or global. For example Royal Canin France, located near Montpellier, helps the Local Health Agency in Occitanie and the Nîmes Hospital, Coca Cola France is demonstrating responsibility by helping bars and restaurants get through the crisis by supporting the initiative #JaimeMonBistrot (#ILoveMyBistrot) which consists of keeping establishments’ cash flow by pre-ordering drinks. Endeavors make neighbors. These surges of generosity can only last for so long. Still, basing communication on good-neighborly relations is not only possible but also profitable. Covid-19 prevents large gatherings, of course, but relational communication formats have a future, whether physical or digital: tutorials online, pop-up stores in town, open doors at the factory, informal meetings with its community in real life… When the donation of masks is no longer necessary, it is the gift of an authentic relationship that companies and brands must continue to offer.
If communication is about creating the conditions of fruitful and long-lasting relationships and, ultimately, obtaining social acceptability, then, for a company or a brand, it comes down to being a good neighbor: close, yet not intrusive, thoughtful yet not indiscreet, helpful yet not pushy. Proximity is not promiscuity: good neighborly relations require good manners!
Neighborhood is not only geographic, it is also ecosystemic. It is now an established fact that we live in a vulnerable world where everyone – every stakeholder – must take care of each other at the risk of causing devastating disasters. Good relations between neighbors imply that all stakeholders act in the interest of the common destiny to which they all belong. Now that the concept of “community” is the way to craft more and more relational communication strategies, one shall bring the concepts of neighborhood and corporate sociability into the communicators’ vocabulary.
Neighborhood is not only ethics (who would trust a dishonest neighbor?), but also a meaningful social dynamic, a reassuring, stimulating and even joyful co-existence… as long as the neighbor has a good sense of humor and a taste for entertainment! In this global pandemic, companies and brands were able to adopt the right attitude because they behaved like good neighbors. Let’s hope it lasts!
Post lockdown what sort of world awaits? For sure it is never going to be the same again. We will all carry the scar of this extraordinary time in our lives and we will have to learn to live a new ‘normal’. Critically, crisis-buying patterns during the outbreak will inevitably speed adoption of new, permanent behaviour change.
Where once the likelihood of swapping a favourite brand for another (especially, own label) would be highly unlikely for most consumers in the key demographics of ABC1, 25-34 age group, it will not necessarily be so in the future. As we have witnessed in recent times, need for a product in a challenging retail landscape where choice has been replaced by what’s left on the shelf, has meant most shoppers have been prepared to settle for alternatives to their favourite brands.
Going forward the focus for brand owners is to recognise that an automatic return to old shopping habits should not be assumed and that patterns of consumerism may have permanently changed. Therefore brands, more than ever, need to reinforce their key messages and communicate them in a way that reflects the new world order.
The UK in parallel with the rest of Europe is reporting a doubling up of purchase on essential items during the crisis. This means brands are under further pressure as the likelihood of winning back customers will take longer as pantries remain overstocked. And the longer different, unfamiliar products remain in household circulation, the greater the potential for them to become shopping list staples.
As people start to return to work and resume their daily routines, new and different priorities may have widespread effect on their purchasing habits. Such changes will inevitably impact on their buying patterns, rates of consumption and expectation of brands. It is the latter that should be the primary business objective for companies looking to enjoy projected and familiar patterns of growth.
What should brand owners be thinking about and planning for in the run-up to the new normal? It is accepted that these unusual times have given people space to re-evaluate whole swathes of their lives. Immediately prior to the crisis there was a growing focus for businesses to demonstrate purpose and good behaviour. This is highly likely to accelerate in the aftermath.
Brands will be expected to live their purpose and help society and the economy get back on track. This can be achieved by leveraging resources to make a difference with products, services made available or more accessible to affected people and by engaging with staff, customers and eco-systems in order to maximise tangible positive impact.
The brand winners for the future will undoubtedly be those who have listened, learned and actioned behaviours that match new values and expectations from their customers.
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 already has changed the way we live, the way we shop, the way we interact with others – and, of course, the way we do business. Especially, it’s changed the way we communicate.
During this time of uncertainty, here are five tips to keep in mind when communicating:
1. Listen. Futurist Peter Shankman says the first rule is to “listen” intentionally. Ask questions. See how you can help. Truly be compassionate and be there for others.
2. Solve a Problem. Instead of just trying to “sell” someone something, offer a solution for people. One of my favorite dance companies, ODC San Francisco, is offering daily videos that either inspire you to “keep moving” or show you how their dancers “keep moving.”
3. Add value. Don’t just do the same old thing as you communicate. Think of how you can add value to the people with whom you’re communicating. Provide something extra.
4. When you reach out, be authentic. Yes, show compassion – but do it with authenticity. And be yourself.
5. Show gratitude. It goes without saying that this is a terrible time. Those that can find the silver lining – and give thanks for the new ways we’re connecting and communicating with each other – are the ones who can help provide a pathway out of this crisis.
Most of all, stay healthy, be positive, stay at home, wash your hands, wear your masks and stay six feet away from everyone.
Building a positive reputation in the midst of a crisis may seem counterintuitive. Yet, as we have seen in the Covid-19 event, the worst of times can bring out the best in people and organizations. Five tools, likely present in your professional toolbox, will improve your ability to guide organizations in enhancing their reputations during a crisis.
First, remember that the situation will come to an end.
When trouble erupts, the first step is to stop the bad things most responsible for damage. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a crisis has a beginning, middle and end. Being prepared to convey certainty and clear direction in the various phases of the crisis will go far in maintaining and expanding trust among audiences and stakeholders.
In crisis situations, transparency is not only expected, but also tested. Yet, too many people and organizations still are drawn in by the siren’s song of telling audiences what they want to hear instead of speaking truth. Demonstrating undeniable honesty and openness, whether highlighting the good or the bad, drives audience confidence in your integrity.
Stay focused on the facts.
Today, quickly capturing and assessing facts of the situation, then basing decisions on those facts, can be challenging. One could argue this is the result of biased communication channels that can hold special interests at heart. The smartphone in your pocket relies on four satellite data points to provide you with reliable location information. Taking the same approach to news provided to key stakeholders – good or bad – minimizes backtracking in a crisis and maintains a confident focus on outcomes.
Make corrections when mistakes are made or conditions change.
Even the most diligent teams can experience a shift in knowledge or make an error based on the speed of an unfolding crisis. At the first sign of a material error, make a concise – yet, definitive – correction. Brevity and clarity should be the guiding principle in revising any message or associated action. Once corrected, seek the root cause of the error – not to blame, but to understand any process errors that need to be corrected. Quickly recognizing and correcting errors reinforces key trust.
Following the crisis, include those impacted in the crisis when gathering feedback.
Just as at other points in important relationships, engaging customers, clients or key stakeholders in an appropriate way after a crisis demonstrates the value you place on their interests and needs. Being open to both positive and negative feedback on performance and outcomes sends a strong message about values, which are a key driver of reputation.
Whether connected to broad current events or triggered by a different incident in the future, the most respected organizations are those that place a premium on honesty, integrity and outcomes in a crisis situation. A well-crafted, well-rehearsed and well-implemented communication plan at a time of crisis and the ability to do the next right thing will do more to enhance reputational value than nearly any other communication tool.