Trust is Becoming a New Currency for Business and Life
Anna Shevchenko Regional Director at Noblet Media.
What is it necessary to hold successful communication with public?
I would highlight three important components in this regard. Setting up clear goals and objectives is the basic cornerstone on which successful communication campaign should be built. This is usually the first line in any communication strategy of the organization or in the PR brief that comes to PR agency.
The other two cornerstones would be good planning of the campaign and ‘big idea’ that stands behind.
And there is a very important ‘link’ in between, without which success may not come despite clear understanding of goals, big idea and great planning. I would refer this link as ‘understanding the target audience’. Before planning the communication campaign, any PR pro should dedicate some time to listening to the representatives of the target groups. It is ‘a must’ and can be done in different ways – via research, media or social media monitoring or simply holding face-to-face meetings with stakeholders. When you know explicitly what your organization wants to communicate and what your audience expects to hear, when you find the crossing point between these two and plan the communication campaign around it, it is highly likely that your message will be heard, and goal and expected results will be successfully achieved.
Tell us about your most successful campaigns, and what was the key to success?
I’m really proud of many campaigns that I have implemented with my team during 16 years of career in PR and Communication. I would underline several of the success stories.
When I worked in headquarters of Noblet Media in Kyiv, one of my clients was Procter&Gamble (P&G). They had a global launch of their new Gillette razor for men called Gillette Phenom – a revolutionary product for that moment with different innovations. The client wanted to build a communication campaign around phenomena features of new Gillette and to connect their product in minds of consumers to something really phenomenal. The month of the launching coincided with natural phenomenal event – total solar eclipse which was ideally and fully visible from Barnaul. As a result, for the launch of Gillette Phenom we organized a press trip for journalists from leading media to this destination to see the phenomenal solar eclipse. During several hours of the flight ‘Kyiv-Barnaul’ journalists got information about new product features and the technology that stands behind the new Gillette Phenom. And apogee of the trip became the solar eclipse which they observed right from runway of airport. This was unique and unforgettable experience for every participant and this was key to success! We received amazing and diverse media coverage as a result of this press trip with the story of Gillette Phenom, supplemented by remarkable photo material of total solar eclipse. The communication goal of the launch campaign was successfully reached.
7 years ago, I moved to Tbilisi to represent Noblet Media in the South Caucasus. This was a new challenge but with this amazing new period in my career started. During these years we implemented a great number of memorable and meaningful communication projects with my local team. For example, the one I would like to mention – ‘Digital village’ – was conducted for satellite operator SES and its partner in Georgia DTH platform ‘MagtiSat’.
One of the biggest advantages of ‘MagtiSat’ is obviously the possibility to get a TV signal in every corner of the country, even in the most remote areas, as TV signal comes directly from satellite to home equipped with dish and doesn’t require any cable or other infrastructure. To demonstrate this advantage, we suggested to fully digitalize Ushguli village in Eastern Georgia, which is the highest inhabited place not only in the country but also in the whole Europe.
Just in 3 days, MagtiSat satellite dish was installed on every house of Ushguli (up to 60 households) and village turned into the most “digitally connected» place in terms of TV broadcasting. To communicate this news to wider public, we brought journalists from national media to Svaneti. First, they attended a press conference in Mestia where SES, MagtiSat and municipality representatives announced the project. Then we took journalists to Ushguli where they could see the fully digitalized village, take video and photo. They also interviewed happy customers who lived at the altitude of 2200 m and enjoyed same superior quality TV signal as we did in Tbilisi or in other big cities. This project was a mixture of CSR and PR, and a unique flavor of Ushguli made it really special.
What three tips would you offer someone just starting out.
That’s an important question as industry is growing and developing, and demand for young PR pros is growing too.
First, I would like to quote Dan Edelman, who is often called ‘a father of PR’. He started his PR company in the early 1950s, which stills bears his name and today became the world’s largest privately held public relations firm. Noblet Media is Edelman’s affiliate and represents today firm in 6 markets including Georgia.
The advices he used to give to young PR professionals many years ago are as relevant today as they were at those times. First 5 advices are:
- Every Day. Devour important books. Newspapers, magazines, and blogs
- Learn to write. Well.
- Remember the importance of networking.
- Do work for a hospital, art or music institution, or nonprofit organization.
- Continue your education throughout your life. Take classes at night.
If you are interested in others, you can explore them in the book ‘Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations’ by
Franz Wisner or you can visit the Noblet Media Georgia office as we have his recommendations demonstrated on the wall.
From my side, I would say the following to those who just start their path in communication field:
- Open widely your eyes and ears, absorb and analyze information around you, it will help greatly when your time to communicate on behalf of company or brand will come.
- Be very open-minded – only this way you will see the chances around you and will be able to turn challenges into opportunities.
- Be flexible – industry is changing constantly and so do communication tools, methods and platforms; what works today may not work tomorrow, so flexibility and ability to follow this rapidly changing field is crucial.
What has changed in the PR industry over the last five years?
Apart from shift to the digital era, which is absolutely obvious, I would say that one of the biggest changes comes from diversity of types of content. Today PR pros can pitch their messages to target audience with far more diverse contents than 5 years ago – various audiovisual materials, podcasts, animations, infographics, stories, gifs, etc. – this all makes communication process interesting and exciting as ever before!
This variety of content and instruments brings another change – content provided by PR professionals becomes more and more customized. You can’t cover anymore a wide range of media means with distribution of single press release. Instead, you should develop a very precise message practically for every media and pitch your story (or story of your client) in an individual and unique manner using most appropriate PR tool in each concrete case. In other words, communication process becomes much more personalized.
What are your prediction on PR industry, what challenges will this field face in 5-10 years?
I believe that technological progress will keep affecting PR industry and will bring even more diverse instruments and tools for PR pros. Although it might sound unimaginable several years ago, it is highly expected that AI will be used widely in PR industry soon.
Another change will come from the changing needs of audience. By 2025 the millennials will make up 75 per cent of the world’s working population. They are a new generation, having started work in the age of social media and used to using their voice. They already have different views on companies and brands, and they don’t just want to know about what your company/organization/brand does, but they want to know more where you stand on important issues. Addressing these needs and communication with this core group will influence the industry.
As for the challenges, I believe that in the world of fake news and propaganda, getting trust to your information will become the main challenge. At the same time, for communication people it is crucial to understand what sources of information their TA trusts and believes and this is changing every year. For example Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 study revealed that trust has changed profoundly in the past year—people have shifted their trust to the relationships within their control, most notably their employers. Globally, 75 percent of people trust “my employer” to do what is right, significantly more than NGOs (57 percent), business (56 percent) and media (47 percent). This is interesting to compare with the same study of 2018 which revealed a world of seemingly stagnant distrust. Trust is becoming a new currency for business and life. Trust drives who we do business with, how we make important decisions and who we allow into our lives. This is challenging but it is compelling to find the way to provide well-trusted content to your audience.