Philip Sheldrake

Menu Close

Tag: influence (page 1 of 4)

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

Workfront and the future of work

 

I'm in Orlando Florida this week with the Workfront team and their partners and customers for their annual Leap conference. It's my privilege to participate in a panel session on the future of work, and to deliver a session with the more grounded title – making work suck less!

As you can see from the stack here, the first too common affront I identify and tackle is what I generally call the 'X steps to heaven' crowd. Those authors and companies proffering clickbait that teases with some relatively short sequence of steps needed to take you from zero to hero – in this context, going from a dysfunctional to awesome organization.

Bullshit. Life is complex and society is complex and all organization is complex, and authors of this sort of crap are either ignorant at best or disingenuous at worst. Complexity is a natural product that cannot be simplified – we can only aspire in this digital age to navigate it more simply.

I then go on to identify the lessons we might learn from Mother Nature, the necessity to sustain mutual value for all stakeholders, and some of the hazards we must avoid along the way, not least corporate surveillance.

Last night we were at the Magic Kingdom, and this evening we're dining at Epcot. Who said work has to suck?! :-)

Thanks for having me Workfront.

An open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever – from Enterprise 2.0 Summit, London

Enterprise 2 Summit - British Academy London

I'm at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit at the British Academy in London today, courtesy of Kongress Media and Agile Elephant. In conversation with Lee Bryant, Matt Partovi, David Terrar, Damian CorbetCéline Schillinger, Johan Lange, Janet Parkinson and Anne McCrossan, a common theme is emerging – we need such events as this, and the deep and wide potential of Enterprise 2.0, to extend beyond the inevitable echo chamber of today's eager community.

With this in mind, I have penned an open letter to Paul Polman and everyone with an interest in Unilever's success, if only because I love the company's vision, believe it is important in our world, and feel that the stuff we champion in the e2.0 / socbiz / futureofwork communities will be critical in its pursuit.

The letter is embedded below and it's also available as a PDF: Open letter to Paul Polman, Unilever.

[Photo credit: British Academy Facebook page.]

Influence measurement – a contribution to AMEC Measurement Week 2014

In my last post on the topic of AMEC and measurement, I noted:

AMEC is the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, not "of Media"

I have taken that as the theme for my contribution to AMEC Measurement Week 2014, which kicks off Monday. Dr. Jon White is another influence who, in a recent exchange, pointed out that the problems of measurement in public relations are largely the result of the approach taken to management in public relations work.

This topic was one of the motivations for my writing The Business of Influence, although I can assure you Dr. White and others understood the problem way before me. I hope that the recommendations in the book contribute in some small way to putting this right.

For today and for Measurement Week, here are a dozen slides in substitute for the book.

“We called it influencing the influencers.” Adobe. Late-80s.

Adobe influencing the influencersYou have been influenced when you think something you wouldn't otherwise have thought, or do something you wouldn't otherwise have done.

In the 20th Century, the marketing department did marketing, the PR people did PR, and no job title included the word influence. To this day, no role or team or department in the typical organization incorporates the word, which is why I pivot my client workshops around the topic of influencing and being influenced – not only does it address the actual thing we're all interested in, it helps lower ego defence and removes functional blinkers.

Only very recently are organisations looking up from the typically too-narrow focus of PR, which for some reason appears to have restricted itself to media and analyst relations of recent times, and looking away from the pay-to-spray-and-pray domain traditionally occupied by the bods in advertising, to investigate the effectiveness of so-called influencer marketing.

While this is just a sub-domain itself of the deeper and wider influence system, I thought, given this trend, you might find the following 30 seconds of video interesting. It documents the efforts Adobe Systems went to towards the end of the 1980s to get its Illustrator software accepted.

We called it influencing the influencers.

Brand, PR, non-profits, and responsiveness – Q&A by Phillip Casey

Armstrong Building, Newcastle University
Having put my two penn'orth out there over the years I'm occasionally approached by students at this dissertation time of year. This week, Phillip Casey and I struck up conversation on Twitter. Phillip is a post-graduate student undertaking the MA in Media and Public Relations at Newcastle University (pictured) and his dissertation is titled Brand Image: PR in the UK non-profit healthcare sector.

Phillip Casey

Phillip Casey

I enjoyed responding to Phillip's questions, so, with his permission, I thought I'd make our Q&A public here. (It migrated to email in case you were wondering about a 140 character count.)

Where a reference consists of just a page number, it refers to The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age.

1) Is a strong brand image important for a non-profit organisation? Why?

A brand used to convey ownership of livestock. Then it was an "our name's on it" quality assurance. This century, with product quality (defined as fitness-for-purpose) increasingly a given, a brand represents a nexus of values. If our values align with a brand, then I'm part of that brand. If they don't, I look to take my time, attention and money elsewhere. [Attenzi]

Organisations need to communicate their purpose and values in order to attract and assemble the right mix of people and resources to live up to its mission and pursue its vision. So brand, defined like this, lies at the heart of things. Read more

Employee advocacy – rather uncomfortable and somewhat forced

red arrow
I described the relatively recent concept of employee advocacy in my last post as "rather uncomfortable and somewhat forced", and I've been asked to qualify this description.

Firstly, it's worth stating the obvious – the aspiration that employees might advocate the employer is hardly a new idea. But this relatively new desire to go about it more systematically is prompted by employees' increasing social media activity. While recommending an employer down the pub leaves no discernible trace, doing so online does, and that appears to have internal comms, HR professionals and social media types hot under the dollar.

But here's the rub. Genuine employee advocacy remains a consequence. That's always been the case and will always remain so.

You can't insist. You can't take control of employee social media profiles. You can't pick out people for failing to advocate, not without creating the kind of culture that's counter to employee advocacy.

There’s influence in everything an organization does, and sometimes in what it does not do.

The organization (a collection of people, mostly employees) influences the participating individuals (mostly employees) who influence those beyond the payroll. The culture and policies and behaviours that sway whether that influence is constructive or destructive play out long before Fred lets fly on Facebook and Tina trills on Twitter. Read more

Organizational performance – a private conversation that should have been public and is now

Adam Pisoni and Stowe Boyd

This is a conversation between Adam Pisoni, Stowe Boyd and me relating to a guest post I made to Brian Solis' blog, Impatience is a Virtue – What's Next for Social Business.

The conversation played out on email, which is ironic given that all three of us advocate "working out loud" unless confidentiality precludes it. I take the blame for emailing in the first place and hope to make up for the transgression by publishing it now. I have removed those conversational niceties that pepper emails, inserted some helpful hyperlinks and comments in square brackets by way of explaining some of the terms used and topics raised, and tweaked a few things to improve readability here.

[Photo of Adam by Intel Free Press. Photo of Stowe by Paul J Corney.]


Adam

Honestly, one of the most enlightening aspects of finally working within a real, big enterprise [Microsoft acquired Yammer in 2012] is the affect of performance management and budgets. Yammer loved to yell at our large customers to just change how they worked. That anyone at any level could affect change. But what you see inside large companies is that really good people will do all the wrong things either because they eventually feel pressured to optimize for what they are incentivised to do, or because their scope of power is too narrow to affect any change. This happens with budgets all the time. Two people in different parts of the org may have an idea that could make the company lots of money, but since the budgets were set up a year in advance, they can't shift the money between them. Read more

“Our goal is to become a social business but how do we get the revolution started?”

revolution Ukraine demonstrators

During a deep and meaningful conversation recently, my interlocutor declared:

Our goal is to become a social business but how do we get the revolution started?

This post addresses two problems integral to this statement.

A means not an end

Social business is a fairly fuzzy concept at the best of times. Some consider it synonymous with terms such as Enterprise 2.0, Agile Business, Responsive Organization, and Future Work, whereas others more deeply invested in any one may argue the differences. For the record, I describe social business by way of the following challenge:

Do you help all the individuals associated with your organization (employees, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, etc.) build worthwhile relationships with each other and others, coalescing by need and desire, knowledge and capability and shared values, to create shared value?

Shared values

Some pundits prefer to talk about shared purpose rather than shared values, and I think this may well be akin to Stowe Boyd differentiating between collaboration and cooperation with shared purpose relating to collaboration and shared values relating to cooperation. In his words: Read more

Influencing Influencer Marketing

WOMMA Influencer Guidebook 2013

WOMMA's new guidance on influencer marketing begins with the assertion: "This is not an update to the 2008 WOMMA Influencer Handbook - this is a complete rewrite ..."

I'm not a WOMMA member but I am a special adviser to AMEC and The Conclave, and it was in this capacity that Brad Fay and I invested more than a few hours with WOMMA's Neil Beam to lend our insight and points of view and, we hope, help make this guidebook the complete rewrite it's turned out to be.

I've expressed Euler Partners' approach to influence in recent posts, notably "Influence - request for comments" (slidestack included below for your convenience), and we were delighted to have the opportunity to present these to the WOMMA team. In particular: Read more