Campaign Middle East doesn't have a website yet. So I'm going to take to posting my columns up here as and when they happen. That means you'll get a slice of PR advice once every two weeks or so, but I think you'll probably survive.
It’s amazing how fast the climate in which we operate can change: that rich mixture of social, political, financial and moral influences on our opinions. Get it wrong, and you could find yourself in serious trouble.
Regardless of where you think you are communicating, your audience is global. That change in opinion could be taking place, and being influenced, anywhere – and so fast that you’ve got to be fleet of foot to spot what’s relevant, what’s new and what’s being talked about. And then you need to share that information with the right people, fast.
Gauging public opinion is in many ways easier than it ever has been before because of the ‘consumer voice’ out there. Blogs and other social media mean that people find expression more easily than ever before – in fact, a recent Universal McCann survey of some 17,000 global consumers found respondents more ready than ever before to comment on and recommend companies and their products: over 44% of respondents had used messenger or email applications to share information about consumer experiences, 29% had used blogs, 27% social networks. Almost 80% of respondents read blogs, up from 50% two years ago. Something like 82% of consumers are researching products through search.
An article in New York could be impacting your operations in Dubai on the day it breaks: the reaction, information sharing and comment will be starting within minutes. The opinion of your public is often being influenced a good 48 hours before the, usually less than helpful ‘escalate to us’ email comes from corporate communications. An organisation’s communicators need to be using the same tools as consumers to communicate with each other so they can stay up to speed.
Communications has become a discipline where a truly global context needs to be established and constantly refreshed, where the tide and tone of public opinion needs to guide virtually every decision and where constantly listening to the ebb and flow of consumer voice must become a vital part of the marketing communications mix, because the consumer has become empowered with a global voice and a global audience.
Which is good news, no?