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The future of communications: How are you doing?

I was delighted to attend ICCOs international PR conference in Helsinki a couple of weeks back. I've never been a huge fan of conference reviews type articles so I'll spare you and I that!

That said, one of the standout sessions for me at ICCO was from Ketchum’s Rob Flaherty. Rob has asked a couple of his biggest PR firm competitors how they were doing on their road to integrated communications and he presented the results of this research.

One of the outputs from this research was what I thought was a really useful and brief tick box questionnaire for all PR agencies and in-house teams. This is shown here. I thought this was a simple and honest way of assessing how all of us are doing on our integrated journey.

Here is Rob's thinking behind why he created this scorecard:

At this moment in the communications industry we either have the opportunity of a lifetime to be more relevant and valuable than ever or to be marginalised by other expanding marketing communications disciplines. The deciding factor will be how fast you transform your in-house function or your agency to deliver results in a vastly changed world. 

News isn’t a destination that people seek out anymore.  The new definition of news is “something important enough to find me.”  A company’s supply of news isn’t nearly as interesting to readers as the demand side of news: what everyone is already talking about. The most credible source of information isn’t in an agenda-setting media outlet, it’s a recommendation from a friend or content shared by someone I know. 

Add to this that expectations of companies and leaders are changing. People expect companies to be purpose-driven and their polices to ensure sustainability. Leaders are increasingly expected to speak out on social and political issues. 

For brands to engage effectively in the jet stream of conversations already happening, they need great social listening and data analytics, better creativity, incredible original content creation abilities, algorithm-savvy paid media strategies, AI-enabled influencer outreach and global measurement of ROI. They also need counselors who can advise on purpose-driven strategy, public policies and social issues.  

This scorecard is a simple tool to assess your progress in the transformation.  I hope it helps spark a dialogue about your journey.  We need all of us in communications to drive change and seize this opportunity. 

Rob Flaherty, Chairman and CEO, Ketchum


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