How to Manage Your Reputation in a Weaponized Communication Culture | eNews from OWC

As 2019 approaches, “business as usual” is over. Social media has been weaponized to amplify anyone who opposes your actions or opinions. The status quo is under assault from every side. And it’s worth considering that every successful business is the status quo, by definition. Our very success now guarantees we’ll be watched, tested, probed and challenged.

That’s good, since we intend to win. But it means reputation management and crisis communication planning is not just smart, but critical to a company’s very existence. We need to be prepared to respond to issues from customers, shareholders, investors, employees and the media that would otherwise take us by surprise.

The new awareness is beyond dispute. According to consulting firm Mercer, “boards are now holding executives to higher standards, looking not just at how they treat people but also how they talk to and about them.” The Wall Street Journal reported that a group of venture capitalists is pushing a standard clawback clause proposal. The clause would make it easier for big investors to extract fines from companies embattled by controversy.

A company’s reputation is its bottom line. If your company’s reputation takes a hit on social media, your very existence as a company is in mortal peril.

Hundreds of individuals and companies have been destroyed or damaged due to negative brand reputation. Over 700 high-profile executives and employees across fields and industries have been called out by the #MeToo movement in the past year. By June, 190 of those accused were fired or left their jobs. Another 122 have been put on leave, suspended or are facing investigations since December 2016.

A study from Stanford showed that the fallout from bad behavior displayed by chief executives was long-lasting. The study looked at 38 incidents, which generated an average of 250 news stories each with media attention lasting almost five years. Shares suffered and, in a third of cases, firms faced further damage, including loss of major clients, federal investigations, shareholder lawsuits or proxy battles.

Our clients are on the front line of these battles and are well prepared to answer questions about their values and how they live by them because they’ve thought through their vulnerabilities and addressed weaknesses.

We use the following reputation risk management assessment tool to identify areas of vulnerabilities and help companies develop a C-Suite level response plan that is ready to communicate to every stakeholder.

We are our reputations, in business and in life. Good risk management lets us sleep well, and not wake up to bad news.

This is the state of the media for 2018. | eNews from OWC

Fasten your media seat belt for 2018, communication of all kinds is stronger than ever. Despite warnings and howls, facts still have impact and new platforms have learned how to deal with a hostile environment. Rumors get corrected. Spin is detected. New voices are heard whether we like it or not, which is how things are supposed to be. Though America is a free-for-all and this year every business need to be among the “all,” now more than ever before, it really is “lead, follow or get out of the way.”

Download a PDF of this version here.

Here’s what every company needs to know for the New Year:

Earned media is on the rise (really). According to Forrester Research, we are living through a fundamental reassessment of the role of advertising and editorial coverage. Earned media, like news stories and features, is more measurable and effective than ever before. Consumers are increasingly wanting to connect with people and stories, which presents an opportunity for editorial coverage. Eighty-one percent of senior marketers still believe that earned media is more effective than paid media.

Mobile and online consumption has new breadth of reach. In the U.S., roughly nine-in-ten adults get news online (either via mobile or desktop). According to the Pew Research Center, there are now many different audience strategies that news outlets use, through newsletters, original podcasts and allowing comments on their articles. By 2017, 61 percent of these highest-traffic digital-native news outlets had apps for at least one of the two main mobile operating systems (iOS and Android).

The crackdown on false news proves fruitful. A recent study reported by The New York Times reveals that propaganda and outright lies have a wide reach but reduced impact. “For all the hype about fake news, it’s important to recognize that it reached only a subset of Americans, and most of the ones it was reaching already were intense partisans,” according to Dr. Brendan Nyhan from Dartmouth College, who led the study. This year, we’ll see powerhouses like Facebook and Google continue to battle false news. Facebook will use its Related Articles tool to combat misinformation in the News Feed. Meanwhile, future leaders are taking matters into their own hands — right from the classroom.

The New Year has already brought media firestorms, but the trend is toward verification and fact. As always, the most powerful tool in business is an accurate message delivered with a clear voice. That is our mission and passion. Let us know how we can help you prepare for any potential issues that may come this year. Wishing you a prosperous 2018!

February 2nd, 2018|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , , |

You Need to Know These Five Business Communications Tips

The transformation of business communications demands a transformation of marketing skills. It’s not just about press releases anymore. We’re pushing our clients to stretch their creativity and embrace multiple channels and visual mediums. Artificial intelligence? Bring it on. AI is already being used by Reuters for quarterly earnings stories. What’s next on the horizon for us and you?

Here are five critical facts to guide your 2018 strategic communications planning:

Online readership accelerates: A survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the percentage of Americans getting their news online has jumped 5 points to 43 percent—nearly the same audience as TV journalism. The trend grows as Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites increase their news coverage.

Traditional media still has muscle: Despite questions about long-term prospects, traditional news outlets remain a trusted source. Big daily newspapers have experienced a surge in digital subscriptions based on their print reputations and standards. The Washington Post surpassed one million digital subscriptions, an approximately 100 percent increase from 2015. The New York Times added 308,000 digital subscriptions in the first quarter of 2017, a more than 15 percent rise, and now has over 2.2 million digital subscribers.

Paid content is growing:  Content has skyrocketed. Facebook users alone exchange an estimated five billion items daily. In this free-for-all, paid content has built-in guarantees of message and placement. According to Tyler Stevens for the University of Southern California’s Relevance Report, “even with a modest budget, brands can use paid media to reach their desired audiences in ways that are more controlled and effective than an organic post ever could.”

Video is surging: Cisco reported that by 2019, video content will make up 80 percent of global Internet consumption. Why? Because it builds engagement. The news site MarketingLand estimates an average 157 percent increase in organic search engine traffic. You don’t need to be Stephen Spielberg to create a great video campaign. As Forbes reported, even “poor quality” video from a phone “devoid of professional lighting and audio, outperforms text and images alone.”

Mobile means power: Ad agency Zenith found that mobile devices will drive 80 percent of global interest in the coming year. A separate survey by the software and services provider Salesforce says that 68 percent of companies use integrated mobile marketing as part of their strategies. This includes Snapchat’s “geofencing” and “beaconing” to target messages more precisely to an audience when they are likely to be most receptive. That can mean the difference between an ad that translates into sales and one that disappears into a void.

Today, we must try new tactics and measure results to determine what works. It’s what we do for our clients daily.

5 Ways to Nail Your LinkedIn Long-Form Post | eNews from OWC

LinkedIn long-form posts are an important tool for positioning yourself as an industry thought leader.  Sometimes called the “Wall Street Journal” of social media, LinkedIn can be highly influential.  Using the platform to its full advantage has been shown to boost visibility on search engines by more than 25 percent including bumping up your Google PageRank.  Other reasons to take LinkedIn seriously:

  • 500 million users
  • 10 million active job posts
  • Data on more than 9 million companies
  • Among largest search engines with 5 billion annual searches
  • 71 percent of professionals cite LinkedIn as a credible source for professional content
  • Niche channels to target – Ex. LinkedIn Technology Channel has 21 million followers
  • Opportunity to be shared on LinkedIn’s own channel: editors monitor the 150,000 weekly posts to spotlight the best on one of their channels

Download PDF version of this issue: 5 Ways to Nail Your LinkedIn Long-Form Post

Building on the ideas for establishing an industry thought leader in our January 2017 newsletter, we offer the following tips to maximize the value of your LinkedIn posts.

  1. Look for hot topics: Tap into big issues, trends or regulations affecting your industry. Address the industry’s pain points and lead the conversation.  Get ideas from industry trade publications and what other leaders and influencers post.  Scroll through social media and search for keywords and popular hashtags.  Brainstorm what fresh perspective you can bring to the table.  If you’re stuck, check out this list of the most memorable articles of last year, put together by Caroline Fairchild, senior news editor at LinkedIn.
  2. Keep it concise: Writing short is the hardest thing to do, but LinkedIn Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth says 800 to 2,000-word articles are “a sweet spot for engagement.”  The ideal LinkedIn post is crisp, concise and shareable.  Articles that are broken down in numbers or list form perform better, such as Richard Branson’s first LinkedIn post from 2012, “Five top tips to starting a successful business.”  Of course his name sells but your expertise can too.
  3. Craft a provocative headline: Of all the elements of a good post, an impossible-to-ignore headline has six to eight words and teases the article.  Using numbers like “Five tips…” or “how-to” style headlines let the reader know it will be a quick and easy read.  Once you have your post drafted, re-read it.  Try several possible headlines and select the one that best suits the post.  Vary headlines when promoting across other platforms to test which your readers prefer.  Invest the time to create a great headline.
  4. Increase engagement 90 percent with a photo: As LinkedIn contributor Joshua Miller cites this fact in his piece on how to find the best images for LinkedIn, “the ability of visual stimuli to communicate and influence is undeniable and inescapable.”  A powerful header image will lead to more clicks on the actual article.
  5. Share: Success is in engagement: clicks, likes, shares and comments.  That’s the goal when being “social.”  Cross-promote your posts on other social media channels and make sure there are links on your website and in the company newsletter.  Go through the comments and see how other people react to your article.  Be open to feedback – there may be tips that will improve your next article.  For a better chance to have your post featured in one of LinkedIn’s channels, share it on Twitter and tag @LinkedInEditors.

LinkedIn articles can take your thought leadership to millions of people, and you can do it from your desk.  Your LinkedIn commentaries can be re-purposed for speaking, webinars and bylines in industry trades.  Start posting.

August 8th, 2017|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , , |