The new global conversation gives organizations unique opportunities to share a point of view. Employees of those organizations are perfectly poised to deliver messages in fresh ways. Nearly every speaker at the PRSA International Conference in San Diego urged participants to “get in the conversation,” but Alan Scott, of Dow Jones and Co., had a slightly different message. Get your employees in the conversation.
While companies are experiencing all-time lows in trust factors, employee experts still remain high as trusted sources of information. But, urged Scott, it’s not about building another community.
“Unleash your experts into existing blogs instead of trying to create a new space,” Scott said. “Participate in the existing conversations, which are the best opportunity over time.”
Jones did not offer a highly developed plan, but suggested that the Dow Jones organization created a simple messaging architecture and key messages for all who would be commenting publicly and noted that they “stumbled” into the model they started using a few years ago.
Additional guidelines for drawing employees into the conversation included cautionary advice about making employees too scripted; rather they should be allowed to represent the company with authenticity. Adding value to the conversation was also a key point, as well as a higher need for transparency in lieu of perfection.
Jones believes that thought leadership communication is the new model for marketing and public relations professionals; a directive which may cause the two disciplines to merge missions in the near future.
By Fran Stephenson, director, corporate communications, Rackspace Hosting, and the communications chair for the PRSA San Antonio Chapter. Connect with Fran on LinkedIn.
For coverage of the PRSA 2009 International Conference: Delivering Value, visit our Conference blog or follow the conversation on Twitter at hashtag #prsa09.