More and more companies are looking to their management team for direction in preparing for an increasingly digital future. Under the label "Chief Digital Officer", they are supposed to help overcome the hurdles of digital transformation. In other companies, a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Technology Officer (CTO) takes the role. In these cases, the profile is highly technical. In the case of a CDO, the position’s skill set is already ambiguous. The industry association bitkom describes this position as a symbiosis of commercial and IT know-how.
Sounds great. But it’s not enough of a job description!
What is the desired effect: These digital “Merlins” are supposed to initiate change and push the organization toward digitization. The target of these digital advancements is the customer and success in a changing market!
In order to bring speed and agility, two prerequisites for a successful digital transformation, to the company, we have to talk about changing information flows and fields of action. Information and direction doesn’t have to always be passed down by superiors.
All these are "discursive" tasks. Primarily, the CDO must take the employees from all departments and listen to create a willingness to change from the (by all means justified) fears. Then, in the next step, they can draw on the opportunities for change — with the knowledge and ideas of the employees. In other words, in exchange with the available resources and their expertise.
What skills should such a CDO have?
Following these guidelines, a strategy for digitalization can be developed that is accepted and supported by the company.
There is one insight already derived from the short existence of the CDO, proven by several studies: The most important stumbling block for the CDO's successful operation are — in addition to his/ her lack of decision-making authority — the company's values and working culture.
From the leading Danish industry magazine Danish Marketing, June 2017
Digital transformation has led to a blurring of many industries, causing an overlap between traditional business areas. But who will win the race? We spoke to Kirsten Dinesen, a leading Danish PR and marketing specialist and the first person to publish a Danish book on digital strategy and who introduced the concept of digital PR in Denmark in 2008.
Looking at digital marketing, is PR currently in a tail wind or the opposite?
In general, PR and strategic communication are in the tailwind. Digital PR and communication is expanding and becoming a bigger part of the business, but it depends on who you ask and what part of ‘digital’ we are talking about.
Kirsten Dinesen points out that some PR agencies have been quick to understand digital communication and consider it as an integral part of their services, but there are still quite a few that are sticking to classic PR - primarily in the shape of media pitching, public affairs and stakeholder contact.
For most agencies, social media is a fully integrated service and that's good. We see too many shitstorms occurring because of a hot tempered internal employee or an advertising campaign where the people behind it failed to consider the entire stakeholder universe or neglected to assess the campaign in a larger societal context. This is what PR people are trained to do - both in their worklife and before that during their education which is often political, human or social science or journalism. That's why PR professionals excel in planning and executing an overall and long-term digital strategy.
Some PR agencies are evolving towards becoming ‘communication houses’ with graphic designers and media professionals among the staff. Are PR agencies turning into both advertising and media agencies?
Postgraduate courses within software and interfaces for the PR industry remain a big challenge. Other types of agencies are more technically advanced, but not necessarily on content. That is why we now see a blurring of industries, where media agencies experiment with content, advertising agencies experiment with…. well I wouldn’t call it PR, but media coverage and social media agencies experiment with sponsored content in media.
Is this the reason why the PR agencies and not advertising agencies in the future will be ‘lead agencies’?
I think that is over simplifying it. If we look more structurally on this matter, more and more branding will be driven by international clients, where local execution often becomes pure adaptation and the rest is left to marketing automation in its many shapes and forms. PR is still a discipline that requires deep insight and the ability to handle stakeholder relationships and it requires knowledge of the local market. Just like event agencies, who know local conditions. Advertising agencies have a unique creativity, and this is their core competence. I’m not saying PR professionals aren’t creative, they are. It’s just in a more understated fashion.
The fight has been canceled
But who will own the customer and where will the money go?
PR agencies now enjoy a much more central position among their clients, which is also due to the fact that they have more direct access to top management. Furthermore, clients often have well-educated and skilled employees who are also able to work their way around all the internal politics in large organisations. Therefore, the unworthy fights we saw in the past between agencies have been cancelled. Today, focus is on the ability to collaborate and provide space for the competencies on the team.
You did not answer where the money will end?
The business models are somewhat different. The budgets seem bigger among advertising agencies because they require more production. But because PR agencies have different analytical capabilities, they are stronger on the long-term strategy. Also, they focus more on the client’s business development. I have no doubt that the big battle over the long-term strategy has already been won by the PR agencies. But the creative development and campaigns…. here the advertising agencies are simply much stronger. But they have, except for a few agencies, lost the large analytical work relating to strategy. Now that is carried out by the strategically strong PR agencies, and the more elaborate analyzes continue to be carried out by the ever-stronger business consultants, for example. Danish Qvartz, Boston Consulting, Monitor Deloitte etc.
All industries are challenged
It was Kirsten Dinesen who introduced the concept of Web PR and Digital PR in Denmark in connection with her book, ‘Consumers in the Driver's Seat’ from 2008. Digital strategy is very much about tearing down the silos between specialised skills and let the client's goals guide the choice of channels and tools - such as SEO, SEM, 121 etc. I have always in my work combined public relations with direct marketing tools. Several of my good colleagues in the PR industry have begun working with different types of marketing automation software. It is a completely natural development for services which before were specialities among the large agencies, or among a few dedicated direct marketing agencies. Today, it's a piece of software we're all expected to know inside out. PR professionals have always been kind of geeks when it comes to reaching audiences with ultra-precise messages using new technology, and, best of all, to start a dialogue.
The Regime of Experts
Kirsten Dinesen points out that historically, Denmark is one of the countries with most self-proclaimed digital experts and this has created some uncertainty among clients. During her many years as a PR executive for Google Denmark, she followed the evolution of SEO and marketing automation.
“The expert culture has created some uncertainty among clients who think that even small issues must be solved by the “expert”. But in everyday life there are skilled - and less skilled - craftsmen and many issues may not be so difficult to handle after all. Therefore, it is a constant race for all agencies to embrace the many new technologies which are still relatively immature. We are living in a challenging but very exciting time. But it requires constant focus on postgraduate courses”, Kirsten Dinesen emphasises.
Therefore, Frontpage PR has for many years been supporting employees to take certified courses and online courses found within AdWords, Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn advertising, marketing automation etc.
"In our processes, everything starts with words: What words are related to the company, what are the client’s customers looking for, and how can we influence that through PR, social media etc? And so we use these points and way of thinking all the way through the overall communication. It's all about analysis and words and this is exactly where PR professionals are incredibly sharp. I always avoid saying we are experts, but we know a thing or two about digital marketing!", Kirsten Dinesen concludes with a laugh.
Kirsten Dinesen is the founding CEO of Frontpage PR & Communication and has previously worked with integrated campaigns for large international agencies. In 2016, Frontpage won the Danish PR Tiger Award in the category of Strategy for their Ericsson campaign, which explored major Danish companies and their attitude and readiness towards IoT in their production. The campaign was a combined major survey and analysis carried out by Monitor Deloitte on behalf of Frontpage, and a national PR/communications campaign.
Social media strategies using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – where do I place my corporation reasonably?
Social networks bear an enormous potential to strengthen corporations and brands. Therefore applies: Better inform than ignore. An online study by ARD and ZDF (two of the major TV channels in Germany) held in 2015 shows that the usage of the internet orients more and more towards mobile applications. Users do not surf from website to website – they keep informed through social networks. Facebook, Twitter and co. dictate the digital everyday life. Precisely on these social networks a company should be present. But not every social media platform matches every corporation and its business objectives. To orient oneself in the social media jungle, it pays off for every company to design a social media strategy. Keeping in mind the following aspects, a precise and preferably all-embracing strategy can be developed.
Taking these aspects into account, the proper network for each company can be found. Thus, one should not avoid investments which are worthwhile. You don’t have the confidence to take these steps alone? Then you might want to invest in us! We support you on your way to find the proper network as well as to oversee your social media appearance.
By OXYGEN USA
The industry is moving. Media are changing. And PR agencies have adapted their methods and processes. We all saw it at CES in general and of course with our clients.
We've seen a lot of articles about the death of the press release and we should always be wary of announced deaths. In any case, we deal with it. The challenge is not to publish content anymore but to create the narrative and engage the audience from the beginning. By positioning social media as an essential part of public relations, PR agencies are able to be more impactful.
How to make headlines in 2016?
Social media is more than just search engines. It is the largest source of traffic for breaking news. They represent 30% of all organic traffic to websites (including 24% for Facebook).
The effectiveness of editorial is important: today any subject can make the headlines, but engagement comes from the conversation surrounding it. What is certain is that any PR strategy must take into account this change – and a large part of strategy is to be devoted to the creation of the online conversation.
This is important because we have long believed that social media was a sounding board for media. But data shows us the exact opposite: it is because we are engaged, we speak about it on social media, thus allowing the news to maintains its positions as a headlines. Otherwise, attention and online conversation create media coverage and not the reverse.
For example, it is our reaction to events such as (e.g. political campaigns, Kayne West or SXSW ) that make the news constantly – news is not something that we are actively taking note of ("reading the paper") but something we choose to notice: and before you know it your Twitter feed is harbouring some of the most creative and entertaining hashtags in the world.
How much content is produced each day?
There are over 211 million pieces of content produced per minute.
How many blog posts have been published today?
How many searches are done on Google each year ?
How many tweets have been sent today?
See the infographic: "Every minute of the day"
Now, you’re Monday ready. Enjoy your day!
Apparently, everything went on wheels at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year. Or maybe not so much... The MWC is the most important congress in the world within the telecommunications and technologies sector that support mobility, as reflected especially the massive flow of information generated during the four days it lasts, in infinitude media, from all over the world.
Even so, something does not work in its communication. We have known that some of the journalists, from several of the most relevant media in the technology sector in Spain show, off the record, their palpable annoyance with the organization of the event.
That's because, the bureaucratic obstacles that must be saved to obtain a press accreditation. And is that many of the most influential journalists in Spain, media directors, editorials, etc. direct the editorial line of their media, but do not sign articles with their name, an indispensable requirement for the MWC to provide them with an accreditation.
That means that directors of technology magazines, lifestyle or powerful blogs find too difficult to be able to enter the MWC.
The brands, but also the Press Association, should take up the issue in order to prevent this problem from happening again next year.