A big firm that just gets it.
Every now and then you walk away from a business meeting invigorated and encouraged for just having been part of it – I had one such meeting last week with a colleague. The meeting was special, not because we won the business or that there was something in it for us particularly, but because we left with the knowledge that there are businesses that just get it. They get the contemporary communications environment, in that media doesn’t want to talk to brands they want to talk to real people and top-flight experts – those who are on the frontline of the business and their industry. Many businesses, particularly top tier firms across all sectors, are unfortunately restricted by an outdated mindset and a pyramidal hierarchy that excludes the very assets that sit within their business, their people.
“…media doesn’t want to talk to brands, they want to talk to real people and top-flight experts – those who are on the frontline of the business and their industry.”
The firm we met with is challenging the way things have traditionally been done in their industry. They see real value in building the media profiles of their staff, not holding them back or keeping them hidden behind the scenes. They’re looking to reward their staff with a profile on a platform that will allow them to communicate as industry experts, with the clear understanding that the business brand will benefit, as will the personal and professional brands of their staff. It has always been fascinating to me that we spend a lot of time and money finding the right people to join our organisations and yet once we have them onboard, we treat them like they are cattle and do-not invest in their development. We get them to comply with company protocols and methods and kill the spirit and creativity that we hired them for in the first place. “
“…allow them to communicate as industry experts, with the clear understanding that the business brand will benefit, as will the personal and professional brands of their staff”.
This mid-tier firm with an international footprint, wanted to celebrate its people – its youth, its expertise and the vast knowledge within its walls. The theory was supported by the fact that the brand was going to benefit from the media exposure and engagement, and it would also result in greater staff morale. This attitude is refreshing as it’s at odds with the barriers and walls that many firms put up around their communications, often resulting in being so brand focused that the human element is almost snuffed out. You might as well roll out robots to deliver messages.
Having identified numerous people within the firm to develop, support and build a personal profile within media, this firm is actively encouraging their people to be spokespeople and industry experts, leading to rewards for all involved. The individual is going to feel appreciated, wanted and acknowledged for their skills and expertise. The firm is going to benefit from the media engagements with all roads leading back to brand. The media will benefit from more diverse and knowledge-based experts providing opinions and views on relevant and timely topics. And most importantly, the media’s audience will be informed, educated and sometimes even entertained by the individuals who are representing the businesses brand. Everyone is a winner.
When you walk out of a meet like that, you and your colleague look at each other and say “They just get it”.
Nic Hayes is the Managing Director of Media Stable.