Hawk - Companies can certainly prosper without top management involvement as spokespersons or even without an active PR program. I ask, how much MORE successful might they be if the value of an effective publicity campaign were brought to bear? How much faster could they have acquired important additional business? Such a company is leaving out a significant aspect of marketing by "running dark" as you describe.
Yes. There are many other ways of engaging with the market aside from the CEO chatting with journalists or research analysts. Some of these include blogging, editorial contributions, white papers as well as the use of alternative management spokespersons (Managers, Directors, VPs, CFO, CTO, etc.) Progams can accomplish quite a bit without direct CEO involvement. I've often faced that challenge.
If a company as a whole, "refuses to tap" ANY of these promotional or publicity possibilities, they're going to receive less awareness, credibility, resulting in lower percieved brand value. Perhaps "shortchanged" would be better stated as "under-marketed." Worse yet, they also run the strong risk of having their competitors re-positioning their brand. If you don't speak for yourself, others, including and particularly your strongest competitors, quite likely will and you probably won't like the results!
I get into this topic in greater depth in a few of the chapters of my forthcoming book, "Connecting the Mind and Voice of Business" which discusses the essential links between Marketing and Public Relations. More on this at: http://www.prsavvy.com/book.php - It's at the publisher now and hope having it within a month.
Ford, I appreciate the explanation and the suggestions. This is a follow-up to Bolaji's question, which I hope you'll be able and willing to tackle. Does it hurt when a company's management is unwilling to engage in the kind of activities you describe in your blog? I know one major company that has a culture of engaging minimally with the press. In fact, the CEO of the company has -- to my knowledge -- not had a single published interview with any member of the press. I first requested an interview with him in 1999 and it has not been granted. Yet the company continues to prosper. Does this mean there are numerous other ways of engaging with your publics and achieving the goals you outlined without meeting and chatting with journalists? There's, of course, the possibility that a company that refuses to tap all these outlets may be shortchanging itself.
Bolaji - Thank you for the question. The many top management people I've met with engineering backgrounds run the full gamut from superb company spokespersons to completely withdrawn and unwilling to be the public face of the company. On average they exhibit moderate abilities and willingness. The ones that make great clients are those who understand the need for that role and take advice on how to become more effective. Typical errors are around providing too much information, rather than understanding that often "less is more" when speaking in public. Sometimes getting management to open up and publicly discuss trends and issues and take a stand on something of significance to the industry can be a challenge. A lot depends on whether they've received any management training along the way, their personalities and how long they've been in upper management. When I encounter someone who's less open to spokespersonship, I help them by creating small successes that build their comfort level and grow confidence before moving on to higher level opportunities. "Crawl, walk, run" is an effective approach. Preparation, pre-briefing before media interviews and mock interview coaching all work well to smooth the transition.
Ford--great pointers. I would underline the co-marketing and co-authorship strategy as a good one for folks with too much to do (in other words, most of us.) The content development work gets balanced but both parties benefit from the result.
Hi Ford, Many industry executives, especially those in engineering, make what seems to be a smooth transition from the design desk to the executive suit. However, do they also understand and are they well equipped to take on the additional task of being spokespersons for all their corporate activities and products?
Hospice - Interesting question and I suggest dependent on the hiring manager's needs, the the employee's potential role, the marketing campaign approach and company culture to name a few factors. Certainly the ability to effectively communicate on behalf of the organization can be part of the hiring criteria. It defininately is in most sales and marketing positions. Not that only people in those areas need those skills. As to whether specifically writing for publication would be a value, is a bit more narrow and job-dependent. Would being a good writer who can produce valuable content be an advantage for someone in certain organizational roles? You bet! Could it tip the scales in your favor in a certain hiring scenario? Probably so. However, remember, employment engagement very often is quite a subjective situation, couched in rather superficially-rational prospective employee attributes. If there's a checkbox for "ability to write and publish" then you'll need it. Otherwise, it's likely just "nice to have" and may not win you the job by itself.
Content development and publication has become very important for the success of a company in this web era as many customers rely on the web to look for reliable information about the company and its credentials. My question is: Should potential employees' publishing capability be ONE of the factors that could determine whether they will be hired or not?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.