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Meet the People: Why Businesses Must Engage with Public Opinion to Manage and Enhance Their Reputations

Book Description

The power of the public A revolution has taken place in corporate communications in recent years. Democracy has arrived. The ongoing expansion of the web - and above all social media - means the public have the power to shape the image and reputation of businesses in giant public conversations. On social media platforms, blogs, consumer websites, web forums and comment threads, ordinary people are taking the lead in defining how businesses are seen by the outside world. The entire corporate communications model has been turned on its head. Since its inception as a recognised industry in the 1920s, corporate communications has relied on major advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as traditional media relations and public affairs, to create the desired images of businesses. In short, corporate communications was conducted by elites, amongst elites, at arms length from consumers. Now this approach lies redundant. The challenges posed by the new power of the public mean corporate communications increasingly resembles political campaigning. In this world, as in politics, businesses must put the public first. They must engage the public in fast-moving, emotional, two-way conversations. Businesses have to be the most influential and credible voice amongst many; they must become experts in public persuasion. Communications consultant James Frayne explains what businesses can learn from political campaigns to help them deal with these new challenges. Drawing on interviews with respected political consultants and case studies of successful campaigns, Frayne reveals how the best campaigns engage public audiences and shape their views, and shows how businesses can implement these techniques and strategies in their corporate communications. 'Meet the People' is required reading for modern businesses that want to know how to lead the public conversation that surrounds them.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. PUBLISHING DETAILS
  3. PRAISE FOR MEET THE PEOPLE
  4. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  6. AUTHOR’S NOTE
  7. INTRODUCTION: MEET THE PEOPLE
    1. The explosion of public opinion
    2. The end of elite communications
    3. An opinion issue, not a web issue
    4. Why politics provides the answers
    5. About this book
  8. CHAPTER ONE: THE RISE OF PEOPLE POWER
    1. How the web changed communications
    2. The public conversation on modern businesses
    3. The power of the public voice
    4. Opinion in the mainstream media
    5. What the explosion of opinion means in practice
  9. CHAPTER TWO: HOW POLITICS RESEMBLES BUSINESS
    1. The new similarities between business and politics
    2. Campaign skills that matter
    3. Applying campaign skills in business
  10. CHAPTER THREE: TARGETING AND TESTING
    1. The science of campaigns
    2. The importance of research in campaigns
    3. Targeting messages
    4. Measuring progress through metrics
    5. The benefits of the scientific approach
  11. CHAPTER FOUR: MESSAGES THAT MOVE PEOPLE
    1. Winning hearts and minds
    2. The developing uses of emotional power
    3. The implications for businesses
    4. General rules for messaging
  12. CHAPTER FIVE: GENERATING ENDORSEMENTS
    1. Endorsements in campaigns
    2. The British anti-euro campaign
    3. Other British endorsement campaigns
    4. The need for corporate endorsements
    5. How businesses are getting into endorsements
    6. The future of endorsements
  13. CHAPTER SIX: TAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS
    1. The hidden skill of decision-taking
    2. The war room
    3. Implementing these lessons
  14. CHAPTER SEVEN: CREATING EFFECTIVE STRATEGY
    1. What is strategy and why does it matter?
    2. The effective use of strategy in campaigns
    3. Overcoming scepticism in the corporate world
    4. How to create strategy
  15. CHAPTER EIGHT: SHAPING REPUTATION ONLINE
    1. From theory to implementation
    2. The principles of effective online engagement
    3. Take the decision to engage
    4. Research your conversation properly
    5. Be clever, but not too clever
    6. Create your perfect home
    7. Take content seriously
    8. Communicate on different fronts
    9. Deal with unfair criticism
    10. Develop a voice of authenticity
    11. Worry about visuals
    12. Mobilise people wherever possible
  16. CHAPTER NINE: SHAPING REPUTATION IN THE MEDIA
    1. The changing role of the modern media
    2. Create news or face the consequences
    3. Provide more colour
    4. Be creative in driving the message
    5. Worry about today, not tomorrow
    6. Media opinion is not public opinion
    7. Remember the media’s different and diverging interests
    8. Focus on TV
  17. CHAPTER TEN: SHAPING REPUTATION IN A CRISIS
    1. How crises became ordinary
    2. Communications is crisis management
    3. Working out what a crisis is about
    4. Developing an emotional response
    5. Create a steady information flow
    6. Keep up a sense of momentum
    7. Effective decision-taking
    8. Do what you can to prepare
  18. CONCLUSION: INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS
    1. Corporate communications transformed
    2. The implications of change
    3. The future of corporate communications
    4. A world of opportunity
  19. APPENDIX: AN ADVANCED COURSE IN COMMUNICATIONS
    1. Why we need an advanced course
    2. A sketch curriculum
  20. Business books from Harriman House