Agency Innovator Interview with Skyword
Written by: Scott Baradell
I recently was honored with inclusion in Skyword’s Agency Innovator series, which has previously featured the likes of Edelman’s Chris Paul and Michael Brito, MWW’s Mike Scheiner, Scott Schneider of Ruder Finn and Kiersten Lawson of Waggener Edstrom.
Since I tend to ramble, some of my comments in the email interview wound up on the cutting room floor. There was one exchange that might be of value to corporate communications executives, so I thought I’d share that below.
Thanks again, Skyword, for the opportunity.
Q: You were a corporate communications executive for Fortune 1000 companies before starting your agency. What are some of the blind spots that corporate marketing and communications executives tend to have and why?
That’s an interesting question, because I think the job of chief communications officer or vice president of corporate communications has gotten a lot more difficult in the 10 years since I was in that role. One of my biggest challenges then was that the communications officer often has three masters — the CFO, whose priority is to reach the investor audience; the HR executive, who needs internal communications support; and the CMO, who needs to reach customers, along with channel partners and others. In many cases, the communications officer ends up reporting to the CFO, and corporate reputation management and other activities take priority over leveraging PR to drive sales. Additionally, back then, the PR agency relationship typically reported to the CCO, and the advertising agency relationship to the CMO. So creating integrated PR and marketing programs where everyone was on the same page and had the same priorities could be a challenge.
Fast forward to 2014, and now we’ve got earned media, paid media, and owned media converging in ways that they never have in the past. Which means those old organizational structures are not only inefficient, but often flat-out broken.
Q: Now that you are on the outside looking in what’s the number one piece of advice that you would offer to corporate executives grappling with the challenges of digital marketing?
Where possible, organize around your audiences, not your functions. For example, I think companies are smart to formally separate brand PR (marketing-driven) from corporate PR (investor-driven). Personally, I have a background managing investor relations, employee communications and the like, but at Idea Grove we don’t offer all those things. Our PR efforts are specifically focused on supporting marketing objectives for B2B technology companies.
If you’re a corporate communications exec working through the challenges of integrated communications programs, how are you managing things differently today than your organization has in the past? What issues are you still grappling with?
Leave your thoughts in comments or contact me directly. I’d love to hear from you.