For everyone involved in organizational communication – be that PR, marketing communication, investor relations, employee communication or public affairs – one of the luxuries I see so many continuing to delude themselves with is that they have plenty of time to strategize, formulate, execute and measure as they progress their work in the traditional way on behalf of their organization or clients.
The feeling of time luxury is especially delusional in times of rapid organization or marketplace change and when the means exist for the rapid flow of news and information that’s beyond the control of organizational communicators with their traditional approaches to communication.
The reason why time is a delusional luxury is because by the time you’ve strategized, formulated and executed, you’re too late – other, more nimble, people will have got the news or information you’re carefully controlling already out there, free and uncontrolled.
I had a conversation recently with the CEO of a medium-size publicly-held international company here in Amsterdam. He was wondering why it is that he seems to have more insight than his company’s PR or marketing people on how technology tools can help his company better communicate and develop interactive relationships with his audiences, and do it faster. We talked about blogs, wikis, RSS, instant messaging, you name it – all among the channels that might be right for his company as the communication means unto the business end. He commented that he seems to be the one coming up with new ideas and thinking all the time, and faster.
Here’s what’s going to happen in that company. By the time the communicators (I’m including the marketing people in this broad label) come up with their traditional plans, there will be no one to listen to them. Pretty soon, it should be clear to them that their relevance to their company’s strategic objectives is, well, irrelevant. It will certainly be clear to the CEO.
Why is it, then, that so many people in the communication profession still don’t get it? Still operate in message control mode? Still don’t take the little time they have to get up to speed? They blithely press on with their traditional planning models with no apparent clue that they are working in a non-traditional business world with new rules and new goals, and with people who do get it.
Wake up, everyone. You really are out of time.