“The Benefit of the Doubt” on NSA Spying Versus Germany’s “Private Dignity” Narrative

The public side of a private conversation between President Obama and Chancellor Merkel  Often when we want to understand attitudes, beliefs and assumptions we rely on intuition, instinct or we make quick guesses, but that’s unsatisfactory and unfulfilling.  What happens is we try to dominate a narrative without paying too much attention to how people are hearing us.  The question is, do we really understand our audiences before we market to them, before we try to shape their thinking, before we try to move them to action?  We spend a lot of energy understanding what we want.  Do we...

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China as a Diplomatic Actor

“If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu” There may not be a single, clear-cut definition of public diplomacy; however, one could say that diplomacy is a political dance where two partners, or in this case countries, struggle to lead and sway the opinions of foreign publics. China may be perfecting the intricate footwork of this political dance better than other nations. With a diplomatic past shrouded in ineffectiveness and grandstanding, China now is emerging as a powerful presence and potential partner in global diplomatic relations, says Ambassador Charles W. Freeman,...

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Faith, Hate and Fake: Understanding Three Stakeholder Relationships

We all know that engagement is essential and is what truly helps to build loyalty and trust in a brand, business or organization. With the gaining use and popularity of social media it is imperative to maintain positive communication and monitor negative interactions in online engagements with customers or stakeholders. Social media gives an organization’s stakeholders outlets for expressing their views to large audiences. By using social media as an avenue for communication, stakeholders increase their power and value as long-term assets. Finnish Professor Vilma Luoma-aho, Ph.D....

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Strategic Communications: A Business Perspective

These are excerpts from remarks by Robert T. Hastings, Senior Vice President, Communications & Government Affairs and Chief of Staff, Bell Helicopter, at the 4th National Summit on Strategic Communications on April 23, 2013 in Washington DC.  I had the opportunity for about a year and a half to serve in the Pentagon as the head of Public Affairs (Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, 2008-2009). That experience was informative; in fact, it was transformational for me.  I was hired because of what I had done as a corporate communications executive, but I was able to...

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4 Battle-Tested Principles for Responding to PR ‘Meteor Strikes’

The moments of greatest anxiety in my career as a strategic communicator always have come when I couldn’t respond fast enough.  I’m not alone, am I?  Television images of US Airways Flight 1549 are vivid in nearly everyone’s mind. I also remember a response that US Airways CEO Doug Parker gave when asked if he had any regrets about how he communicated following the miraculous incident. Pausing and clearly becoming introspective, Mr. Parker said he wished he had been faster¾despite cautions by lawyers¾to acknowledge the heroic actions of the crew and passengers early on¾even before...

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Insider View: How President Obama’s Campaign Used Data and Analytics to Rally Individual Voters

Today, communications professionals and public affairs officers must be masters of data and analytics. This capability goes beyond measuring the impact of an orga­nization’s communications and public relations—as useful as that is. Communications professionals need to build expertise and capabilities in data analytics into communications planning and programs as well as capabilities to un­derstand data in order to take effective action—and do so in real time. These excerpts are from Rayid Ghani’s presentation to the 4th National Summit on Strategic Communications...

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Building Advocacy at Scale

Never have word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer influence been more ubiquitous or powerful. Billions of individuals now have the means to share their experiences, opinions and ideas – and to organize for action – at scale. They are revealing and gen­erating unprecedented amounts of data about themselves. This has profound implications for Chief Communications Officers and their teams. They must become adept at extracting actionable insights from what many are calling the “Big Data” era.[1] How does an enterprise best engage individuals, in addition to audiences, publics or segments of...

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Bringing a global brand to life

As the third-largest defense and security company in the world, BAE Systems is continually adapting and responding to changing market conditions. Core to the company’s strategy is a new brand narrative that is helping the organization tell its story in a way that is relevantly localized and business-sustaining in key geographic markets where BAE Systems expects to expand. John Suttle leads communications for BAE Systems’ U.S.-based business that employs more than 46,000 employees across 130 sites around the world. On Tuesday, April 23, at the 4th National Summit on Strategic...

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“GE Works” — Communicating Brand Value & Impact

“We are realizing that times have changed, and we want to reflect that we are operating in a new, changing environment,” said Gary Sheffer, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at The General Electric Company. Gary presented at the National Summit on Strategic Communciations in April 2012. “Today, it’s more about rolling up our sleeves, focusing on the serious, complicated times that we live in, and that’s why we have shifted our focus – our brand theme – to ‘GE Works,’ which we think is a great way to talk about the impact of The...

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The STRATCOM Mindset

The mindset required for effective Strategic Communications is “to put information strategy at all levels of policy, planning and implementation, and then, as a fully integrated part of the overall effort, ensure the development of practical and effective strategies that make a real contribution to success,” according to Mark Laity. Laity is the Chief Strategic Communications at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe), the headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO), which commands all NATO military operations. He is in charge of developing and coordinating the...

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Disruptive Thinking: Does the US Military Social Media Policy Differ From Business?

No one doubts that social media is an important tool, and there’s certainly much we can learn from the private sector.  However, in this column, author Captain Crispin J. Burke suggests that goverment agencies are vastly different enterprises than corporations, so they will undoubtedly have seperate social media strategies. Do you agree?  

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Time, Tide and the Net Wait for No One

Leadership in the New Media Environment Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead (ret) at the 2nd National Summit on Strategic Communications It’s a pleasure for me to be here to spend a little bit of time with you and talk a bit about the Navy’s view toward communication. [Acknowledged introduction by Mr. Bob Grupp, President, Strategic Communications Leadership Initiative]. What I’d really like to do and I’m very pleased to be able to do is spend some time talking about how the Navy – a global organization that has been in business for over 230 years, an organization of...

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