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By The Pollack Group

The looming global recession, the Great Resignation, the war in Ukraine, and global warming are among many factors changing the way people think and the way businesses operate.

Based on their in-depth analysis of these impactful trends, events, and the results of the latest Worldcom Confidence Index (WCI), PR and Communications leaders in the Worldcom Public Relations Group have advice on how to overcome communications challenges that are top-of-mind for CEOs and CMOs. The full report can be viewed here.

Here are tips from Stefan Pollack, President of The Pollack Group:

Make Delivering Real Value A Priority In A Tough Economic Environment

As the price of products and assets continues to rise, we are left wondering how to sustain growth in a high inflation environment. When speaking about this with our clients, our first questions are always: How much price flexibility you have in your products? How rigid are your vendor contracts on the cost side and can you lower them to create some cushion? Further, are there ways to modify your supply chain to help reduce inflationary effects on your cost structure.
Building customer and brand loyalty often boils down to communication. The first step is to provide real value to your customers continuously. But ensure you are communicating that with consumers. Further, you must be communicating often and authentically. When things happen in the news, don’t remain on the sidelines. Your customers want you to take a stand and hear from you. Finally, focus on providing excellent and responsive customer service.

Focus On The Desired Results First

The impact and role of media and social media can’t be overstated. There is no universal standard or a boilerplate for any communications program, even among competitors within the same industry. 

Outthinking the competition is vital to bolstering your competitive advantage. You must work closely with your CMO to package stories designed to inform and trigger conversations. These stories need to steer, influence, and persuade—and win, based on authentic, relationship-based influence. 

In addition, programs must lead to a gain of market share, e.g., the share of referrals, the share of industry profits, the share of dislodged competitors, the share of new audiences, share of quality relationships and partnerships. So, focus first on the desired results—and then back into formulating strategies and implementing communication campaigns geared toward eliciting the desired responses.

Use AI For Competitive Advantage

As technology and AI continues to evolve and commercialize, there will be applications — both in the supply chain and in your product offerings — that can give you a competitive advantage. In addition, there are numerous ways that artificial intelligence can help improve your business. For example, AI can help you mine your customer data for valuable insights, incremental sales, and customer satisfaction. Leveraging AI can also help improve your ROI for your various marketing campaigns.

From other experts in the Worldcom Public Relations Group:

Make Yourself Known As An Expert In The Matter

Media relations remain crucial for corporate communication. You can increase your media impact yourself, by following the 1-24-7 principle that journalists typically work with.

1: A news fact occurs at a certain moment in time (hour 1) – The journalist only has time to log the facts.

24: The journalist spends the next 24 hours exploring and answering the question “how can this have happened?”

7: The following 7 days can be spent on a background story

After 7 days, the news fact has become old news. You can build part of your proactive communication on the 1-24-7 principle by showing your expertise. After all, if you know that journalists delve deeper into the matter after ‘hour 1’, and they will need outside experts’ views and opinions to interpret the facts, it won’t hurt to make yourself known as an expert in the matter.

– Serge Beckers, Managing Partner, Wisse Kommunikatie

Make ESG A Fundamental Part Of Your Business Strategy

In the future, it will be members of generations Y and Z  who will have increasing influence and power over how organisations behave because they see sustainability, diversity, equity & inclusion, and ESG, as important values. Modern technology will bring solutions to environmental and other issues that are difficult to imagine today. What will we be saying about sustainability in 20 years? The easy part of the prediction is that sustainability will become a fundamental part of every business, service, initiative and product.

While governments will demand increasingly sustainable processes, customers and employees will turn away from companies that fail to integrate them into their operations. Moreover, investors have come to understand that a company that is not managed responsibly for all its stakeholders, will not deliver sustainable value for its investors. The growing influence of ESG on investment capital will thus ensure that accountability, not just profitability, will determine who deserves to be winners and losers.

– Patrik Schober, Managing Partner, PRAM Consulting 

Be Prepared To Handle A Possible Crisis Situation

Any organization must be able to handle crisis situations, regardless of the time, location, nature and reason for the incident. That is why a communication crisis plan is a crucial asset. Obviously, not all crisis preparations can take place at a detailed level; unexpected factors will always play a role.

80% of the likely scenarios and the information needed for crisis communication can be logged in advance, allowing you to save valuable time when a crisis occurs. A crisis plan contains, among other things:

1. Intake – key information about the organization: locations and activities, contact details of the board and management team, overview of social media channels and presence, media coverage.

2. Possible crisis scenarios

3. Composition of crisis team, per scenario

4. Responsibilities and spokespeople

5. Internal and external communication target groups 

6. Communication timetable

7. Q&As in preparation for various cases.

– Serge Beckers, Managing Partner, Wisse Kommunikatie