Philip Sheldrake

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Q&A with CIPR Influence magazine

CIPR Influence magazine

I was interviewed by Rob Smith, Editor, Influence magazine. Published in two parts, May 2016.


What does Influence mean to the public relations business currently? Is it more important since the rise of digital or has it always been at the heart of what it is to be a public relations professional?

You have been influenced when you think in a way you wouldn’t otherwise have thought or do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done. Unfortunately, the English language also has us using the word ‘influence’ in terms of something someone might possess.

I always prefer to work with the first meaning here for two reasons: first, the changing of hearts, minds and deeds is the actual object of interest to public relations professionals (reciprocally of course, more on which later); second, we might quantify the former better than the latter, and indeed many of the better attempts to score influence as something someone might possess rely to a certain extent on that capacity being demonstrated (ie, the former again).

What does this mean to PR practice right now? Well that depends on your flavour of practice, characterised rather usefully at this juncture by Andy Green as simply old school and new school. Read more

“A New Balanced Scorecard for Communications” – a critique

The Business of Influence, Sheldrake, Wiley, 2011

I've just been pointed to a recent post by Tim Marklein on The Measurement Standard, A New Balanced Scorecard for Communications. I can't endorse it as it stands, as I understand it, and this post explains why.

For a bit of background, this summary of the Balanced Scorecard and associated Strategy Maps is based on the one in my book, The Business of Influence, and is one of my post popular webpages attracting thousands of visitors every month ;-) Do check it out if the Scorecard is new to you.

Having been frustrated by the very narrow practice of public relations, by the plain wrong approaches to alignment and performance measurement, and by the seeming isolation of the PR function from the rest of the business at a time when its best qualities are more vital than ever, I sought in 2009 to crystallise my ideas to help organisations transition to a more relevant and mutually valuable model. Knowing that organisational change is hard, I focused on the dominant way some of the world's largest and most successful businesses seek to articulate and guide performance – the Balanced Scorecard – in order to tap into the monster's own strengths, jujitsu style.

I called the resultant framework the Influence Scorecard, and I was delighted that Robert Howie, then the Director of the Kaplan Norton Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy, penned the foreword. Read more

The quantified self, the quantified organization, and the organized self

quantified org self

The diagram here portrays where I'm going with this post, so let's dive in.

The quantified self

The current Wikipedia entry for quantified self (QS) describes it as "a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical)."

And it doesn't stop at mere data acquisition of course; as the strapline for a major QS community puts it, we're looking at self knowledge through numbers. Adriana Lukas, founder and organiser at London Quantified Self Group, proselytizes self-managed QS, a future in which “expertise is supplied rather than outsourced”, where each of us acquires “agency as sense-maker”.

That's certainly a powerful and possibly quite natural vision, and one I wholeheartedly embrace. Yet it's also counter to the branded data siloes many a purveyor of QS gadgetry would, it seems, have one locked into. Adriana employs a turn of phrase, which may well be riffing off Doc Searls:

We can’t treat individuals as data cows to be milked for the data bucket.

The quantified organization

Lee Bryant, founder of PostShift, describes their take on 'quantified organization':

... a framework of organisational health measures, informed by theory and company goals, that can guide ongoing change in an agile, iterative way and assess the success or failure of change actions against a desired future operating state.

Read more

How is PR changing and who’s going to do it?

Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Tagus River, Lisbon
I've had a number of questions thrown at me by students in their dissertation deliberations these past weeks. I'm not going to post them all here as there is overlap as you can imagine, but this one complements nicely the Q&A with Phillip Casey (and here) at Newcastle University.

Silvana Paules

Silvana Paules

Silvana Paules is a post-graduate student undertaking a Masters in Strategic Management of Public Relations at the Higher School of Social Communication, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa. (I took the main photo here on a trip to the Instituto Politécnico in 2011.)

Here are the answers I offered to some of her questions, and I start with a relevant extract from Chapter 10 of The Business of Influence.


The Chief Influence Officer (CInflO)

The incumbent [of this role] is charged with making the art and science of influencing and being influenced a core organizational discipline – charged with executing the Influence Scorecard. They will be keen to network with peers in other organizations, to share best practice, to identify, refine and codify proven techniques, and to flag up unseen or unanticipated flaws in the processes described in this book [and others].

In my opinion, the role of Chief Influence Officer will be regarded as being on a par with the COO, as CEO-in-waiting.

The Business of Influence, Sheldrake, Wiley, 2011Ideally, the Chief Influence Officer will have a varied background covering marketing, PR, customer service, HR, product development and operations – just the kind of trajectory frequently mapped out for ‘future leader’ types. They will probably have more experience in one or more of these over others of course, but will set out as a matter of urgency to orient themselves in the areas of the organization with which they have least experience, working hard to establish a thorough and lasting rapport with functional heads and all stakeholder groups. They will excel at interpersonal communication, inspire confidence and a can-do attitude, and know instinctively when to crack resistance one-on-one and when to draft in support from the CEO.

Given the not inconsiderable change management, collaboration and coordination challenges, boards will look in-house for candidates with extant strong organization-wide interpersonal relationships and a reputation for making change happen from both the hard and the soft side of things. Appropriate candidates will recognize that the task is not achievable alone, particularly without unanimous and unequivocal board support – which they will be intent on working hard to secure, if not already manifest by his or her appointment.

The candidates will be highly numerate, probably having taken a statistics or research methodologies component to their university degree.

They will be ‘digitally native’. They will be curious and indefatigable by nature, and able to identify and exploit opportunities as rapidly as they identify and learn from failure.

They will be comfortable living simultaneously in both the extreme, unrelenting real-time, and the future two to four quarters hence.

[...] They will particularly relish the harsh, unflattering light thrown on previously opaque and unconnected aspects of the organization, and the boardroom accountability this allows them to enjoy and demands they live up to. Read more

Measuring communications and reconciling models, after Amsterdam

iamsterdam
The AMEC International Summit on Measurement played out in Amsterdam last week, and I tuned in from afar. On 18th June 2013 I published my thoughts on last year's events in Madrid, and I'll do the same now exactly one year on. Gladly. Gladly because I love the direction the AMEC community is going.

I don't intend to repeat any of the substance and lengthy and valuable commentary to my post last year – which I just enjoyed rereading, thank you. But I have taken the opportunity to append here the Slideshare that accompanied my assertions and that has accrued over three thousand views would you believe.

Perhaps one of my responses to the comments on last year's post is worth noting quickly, a response to Don Bartholomew:

I don't think of myself as a member of the measurement industry for the simple reason that I'm not! Rather, my company is a management consultancy helping organisations benefit from social media and related technologies. Our purview is very much about business performance, about organisational alignment for brilliant execution.

It's not about media

I believe the focus on outcomes in recent years is getting people to look up from media. AMEC is the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, not "of Media", and I'd go further than that. Here are some of my core assertions of recent years: Read more

Social media measurement, after Madrid

What, exactly, is the value of social? This was the question I sought to help answer in my slidestack ahead of the AMEC European Summit in Madrid earlier this month. And it was the overarching question that informed much of the three days of debate, discussion and deliberation.

This post is about two related developments – the latest from "The Conclave" (aka the #SMMStandards Coalition), and "A New Framework for Social Media Metrics and Measurement".

Measurement standards

"Perhaps the most important Social Media launch of the year" is how Katie Delahaye Paine portrays it. This is so-Katie that I can actually hear her saying it right now (as she might hear me cry "the most exciting development in PR since the Cluetrain"!)

Katie refers to a suite of social media measurement standards that represents the work of a collection of organisations (including AMEC, a full list is appended here) informally referred to as The Conclave. Following 18 months of long conference-calls, meetings, slidestacks and email threads, we have posted standards for: Read more

Q&A with Influencer Marketing Review

Influencer Marketing Review

[Originally published by Influencer Marketing Review.]

This is the third installment of our ‘Q&A with the Review’ series in which we talk with prominent members of the influencer marketing community about their work and thoughts on the industry. Amanda Maksymiw and Duncan Brown helped us get the series started, and now we’re grateful that Philip Sheldrake, author of The Business of Influence, is joining us for our third Q&A. 

IMR: Thanks so much for joining us, Philip. And congratulations on the book. We know that’s no easy feat.

Philip: Thanks for the invitation to chat here. And thanks for having my book cover on IMR’s homepage :-)

IMR: Oh yeah. It’s probably about time we change the image, huh.  

You’ve stated in the book and elsewhere that “the business of influence is broken.” What do you mean by that exactly? Some might think there wasn’t much of a “business of influence” in the first place. 

Philip: A definition of influence: you have been influenced when you do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done, or think something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought. There’s influence in everything an organization does, and sometimes in what it doesn’t do, and yet despite this we often apportion responsibility for influence to marketing and PR departments. The 2012 organization looks incredibly similar to the 1992 organization, which is crazy when you consider the impact of social media and related information technologies.

Read more

The Business of Influence for REALLY BIG Digital Impact

Here's my slidestack for PRSA Digital Impact Conference (#PRSADiConf) today.

I hope it goes without saying that I'm happy to answer any questions this stack or my presentation today may raise, or just have a chat in general. Always my pleasure. My contact details are always easy to find on philipsheldrake.com.

Thanks of course to the PRSA team for the opportunity.

 

The PR agency is dead. Long live the PR consultancy.

[Originally written for the CIPR Friday Roundup.]

I delivered the inaugural CIPR Strategic Management Series presentation this week on the Influence Scorecard. We explored the future developments of social media, related information technologies and business strategy development and execution, all three of which are massively transformed in the past decade and a half, and continue to change rapidly.

And we discussed what's encompassed exactly by the increasingly heard phrase, "socializing the enterprise".

The following question, asked during the Q&A part of the evening, is perfectly formed to offer up a slice through the future as I see it: "What does all this mean for PR agencies?". Let's set the scene... Read more

ESOMAR 3D Presentation – The Business of Influence

I'm in Miami today at the ESOMAR 3D Digital Dimensions conference. For those of you unfamiliar with ESOMAR, it's "the essential organisation for encouraging, advancing and elevating market research worldwide. With more than 4,800 members from over 120 countries, ESOMAR’s aim is to promote the value of market and opinion research in illuminating real issues and bringing about effective decision-making."

I'm kicking off the conference despite probably being the least expert in market research in the room! But that's not why I was invited. Rather, I'm expert in the shifting landscape in which market research is situated, and my role is to act as tour guide and possibly polemicist, to lend context to the opportunities and challenges for market research going forward.

Regular readers will recognise some slides, but there are three new ones you should take a look at in particular, all bar charts taken from IBM's recent CMO report.