Two way communication — a company that gets it
Ok, a bit off topic. But, i often think and read about how old media such as newspapers, magazines and marketing are dealing with the 21st century.
It might come from my experiences as a Communications major that focused upon PR. The ideal of PR that I was taught was that you do what is best for the organization's image. Often, that means being honest and upfront. Focus upon solutions not upon excuses. But…how often does (and did) that happen?
However, the new paradigm of the 21st centure is a culture that has stood things on it's head. The web has provided an easy, quick way for people to share information and experiences. How often have we seen executives and politicians swear "I didn't say that"? They are still doing it…and obviously keep forgetting that our tools now allow us to not only store old footage — but to better find and retrieve what we want. I guess I'm not so far off topic — information retrieval is one of my passions after all!
An empowered public has become weary of one way ads that talk at them and increasingly cynical of claims made by those who want money and power. They are tuning out, turned off.
One major marketing co. seems to really get it — and they are helping a their clients along the way. In this particular case, Dunkin Donuts I came across the Hill Holiday blog via Slate's ongoing series of Ad Report Card. Brilliant! They really get it. Here is their blurb about the blog:
About the blog
Yep, we've read all the headlines, digested all the stats. The foundations of mid-20th century marketing are eroding all around us.
So what are we going to do about it?
Yup, it's about two way communication and a willignness to be open. There are other brands that have been quite remarkable in their willingness to embrace the two way web world. This just caught my eye because not only does the marketing company have a real blog — they get the 21st century culture. These are the media people that will survive and thrive.
What can other organizations learn from them?
Ad and marketing agencies are certainly not the only ones lagging behind! How often does your organization permit real two way communication? I don't count suggestion boxes or policies that say employees can talk to the executives. Nor do I count those "open to the public" meetings. These are not forums that real people can express their ideas and concerns. How often can your patrons, clients, and customers truly communicate with your organization?
Again, if you look at the traditional methods — there is nothing empowering about them. You can let them fill out surveys, write letters, even speak to the manager to praise an employee, complain or make suggestions. But, what kind of feed back do they get? Can they see these ideas implemented? Can they see what other people have to say about services? Its a world running on connections and conversations but too many organizations are clinging to their control of the conversation.
In that world several things are bound to happen. Your clients or patrons that want to be active will give up. You will lose out on some possibly great ideas that can help your organization grow and stay relavant. Employees that have initiative and creativity become beaten down and give up trying or leave. When this happens, it becomes harder and harder to change and respond to the environment. How often have you heard an executive or manager say "we have be more agile, more responsive", implement some new automation, reorganize their employees maybe even change some processes and utterly fail to address the culture?
All too often.
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