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Sharpening Communications Leadership Russell Grossman ABC

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Sharpening Communications Leadership Russell Grossman ABC

Russell is responsible for communications strategy and standards across its 48 agencies, and non-departmental public bodies in the UK government. He administers and manages an annual communications spend of £30M with an overall 625 strong staff, covering campaigns, media relations, internal communications, digital communication, stakeholder engagement and corporate communications. Actively involved in IABC since 2002, holding various board positions, he is currently the global chair for the 13,000 member strong global association of business communicators.

In his talk at IABC France, he shared how his communications management model was achieving results and saving thousands for the UK government! Currently in the second phase, extending to the Civil Service, he has set about defining the way government practises organizational communications and leadership communications to have real impact.

Russell is responsible for communications strategy and standards across its 48 agencies, and non-departmental public bodies in the UK government. He administers and manages an annual communications spend of £30M with an overall 625 strong staff, covering campaigns, media relations, internal communications, digital communication, stakeholder engagement and corporate communications. Actively involved in IABC since 2002, holding various board positions, he is currently the global chair for the 13,000 member strong global association of business communicators.

In his talk at IABC France, he shared how his communications management model was achieving results and saving thousands for the UK government! Currently in the second phase, extending to the Civil Service, he has set about defining the way government practises organizational communications and leadership communications to have real impact.

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Sharpening Communications Leadership Russell Grossman ABC

  1. 1. Sharpening Communications Leadership A Case Study From UK Government Communications @IABC @ukgovcomms Russell Grossman, ABC, DipPR, FRSA, FCIPR, FCIM russell.grossman@bis.gsi.gov.uk Group Director of Communications, UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills www.gov.uk/bis International Chair, IABC www.iabc.com Director, Engage for Success www.engageforsuccess.org
  2. 2. Today – in a Tweet
  3. 3. Legislation Taxation Regulation Communication Government Does Four Things
  4. 4. 1. Cultural disconnect 2. Group think 3. Policy/Customer disconnect 4. Panic in response to crisis 5. Weak corporate centre 6. Lack of accountability 7. Not enough expertise 8. Too little consultation But we haven’t always done Communication well… What the Minister said he was after How the Communicator understood the need How the Agency proposed the creative The Budget originally allocated to the project What the Team came up with What the Citizens imagined they would get
  5. 5. 2010 : New UK Government - Four Catalysts Austerity Politics People Digital
  6. 6. 2010 : Four Catalysts Austerity Politics People Digital Opportunity
  7. 7. 1. Austerity  Challenging financial context and savings targets for public spending  Continued pressure to deliver better communication activity with less money  Introduction of spending controls  Ongoing need to achieve more with less, and greater output from fewer people : greater efficiency *and* engagement
  8. 8. Austerity  UK Government expenditure on communications and marketing 2009 - 2015  In this period, numbers of communicators employed reduced by 40% from 6,600 to 4000 today
  9. 9. 2. Politics
  10. 10. Decreasing trust in the EU, national government, and political parties Source: Eurobarometer
  11. 11. Leaders Elders Experts People on the street Celebrities Friends and family Leaders Elders Experts People on the street Celebrities Friends and family Deference to Reference Then Now
  12. 12. Source: TNS digital life 58 47 55 55 43 50 56 51 46 45 40 41 33 41 35 36 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Poland Italy Spain UK Germany France Netherlands Romania Friends Strangers % internet users who trust comments people write about brands Trust in online comment is high – especially in friends’
  13. 13. The bird also has a lot to answer for…..
  14. 14. And internally… • Employees reading and contribute to information online • What and/or whom do employees trust? • Public wants to hear from employees on the integrity, quality and relevance of the organisation’s products or services; leadership’s true strength
  15. 15. 3. People “People will possibly be at least as good, but will rarely act any better, than what you credit them with. So credit people with what they could achieve….and you may be surprised”
  16. 16. Our GCS Leadership framework • Provide visible leadership: Strategy, Leadership, Professionalism • Set communication objectives and direct business delivery • Champion personal development • Improve performance management
  17. 17. Stretching and building our staff • We have over 4,000 staff in the Government Communications Service • A responsibility to maximise quality, minimise waste, build careers • To the organisation and to the profession. • Stretching targets and courses, designed to break down silos and broaden skills • Minimum five days learning each year, recorded and audited Broaden Skills Agree it Do it Record it Share it
  18. 18. 4. Digital
  19. 19. #Trending in Communications today…… “Facilitators of the conversation” Whatever the conversation is, wherever it is Blurring of internal/external specialties Integrated communicators Making sense of the world around us Maximizing digital, especially mobile Using social media effectively Maximising capabilities of mobile devices Delivering personalised communication
  20. 20. Multiple engagement points online This is a post-email world Multiple engagement points with internal and external audiences No one channel commands attention The more you master, the better your touchpoints Running comms departments is like a never-ending political campaign Sustaining engagement and culture internally Managing conversations externally Transparency and engagement wins every time vs command & control
  21. 21. IT’S THE AUDIENCE STUPID! The starting question is, “who and where are your audiences?”. Emily Turner, CommsCamp LISTEN,SPEAK,ACT “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George BernardShaw NUDGE,DON’TJUDGE “It is not information per se that leads people to make decisions but the context in which that communication is presented” Robert Cialdini CONTENT NEEDS TO BE CONCISE AND TRANSMISSABLE “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” Albert Einstein DIGITAL CHALLENGE “I never had any structure, I never thought this is where I want to go. It was literally my little space on the internet where I used to go to write about things…my generation, at least the ones I know, are like 70-30 YouTube (TV)” Zoella THE FUTURE MEANS WE HAVE TO PRIORITISE,FASTER, “Technology will never be as slow as it is today” Alex, Nikolay-KellGoogle
  22. 22. Non Oui UK Government’s Response
  23. 23. Purpose of government communications 1. Fulfil a specific legal or statutory requirement 2. Help the public understand the Government’s programme 3. Influence attitudes and behaviours for the benefit of individuals or the wider public 4. Enable the effective operation of services to the citizen 5. Inform the public in times of crisis 6. Enhance the reputation of the country We have defined what Communications does
  24. 24. Our premise A stronger and exemplary profession Better careers, career paths and career management Better governance Strong, bold leadership Greater accountability Higher and shared standards More collaboration Secondments and mentoring More respect, inside and outside of government Makethebest,standard More skilledLess bureaucraticMore unified
  25. 25. Resources Google “Government Communication Service”
  26. 26. OASIS Objective Audience/Insight, Strategy, Implementation, Scoring/Evaluation A Campaign Basis To What We Do
  27. 27. Spiritual Material Personal Why How Benefit Campaign Design Principles
  28. 28. ABC of communications 1. It’s about the Audience not the organisation 2. Brevity and impact in the moments that matter are necessary to be heard in the conversation 3. Content and Conversation is king. It is no longer good enough to ‘broadcast’ material. You want stuff people will actively talk about Campaign Design Principles
  29. 29. Government Digital Service - Design Principles More at https://www.gov.uk/design-principles 1 Start with needs* 2 Do less 3 Design with data 4 Do the hard work to make it simple 5 Iterate. Then iterate again 6 Build for inclusion 7 Understand context 8 Build digital services, not websites 9 Be consistent, not uniform 10 Make things open: it makes things better Campaign Design Principles
  30. 30. Make it Easy for people to do something (right channel and short process) Make it an Attractive decision to make (Make it personalised from “a source I trust”) Make it a Social thing to do (“other people do this”) Make the communications intervention is Timely (priming, framing, key moments) 33 EAST Campaign Design Principles
  31. 31. Great campaigns - They all use EAST
  32. 32. Rigour 1. Basing campaigns more than ever on research and evidence 2. Being clear about the story we’re trying to tell, and in a way it makes sense to the audience 3. Gaining and constantly retaining the confidence of our leaders and clients 4. Using project management techniques for multiple but integrated media channels, and especially being masters of digital 5. De rigueur evaluating and measuring our impact and knowing the change in awareness, understanding and behaviour 6. Actively collaborating and partnering Insight Ideas Implementation Impact
  33. 33. What skills are needed the communications practitioner of the future? Data Analyst Content Editor Behavioural Scientist Movement Builder Teller of Truth (to power) …and still be able to write!
  34. 34. Our journey Press officer Rapid rebuttal, policy launch, email, web writer Integrated Communicator Data analyst, content designer, movement builder Media Handler Campaign delivery, blogger, tweeter 2009 2014 2019 The Death Of The Press Officer
  35. 35. Rigour Jointly agreed plans and co-ordinated cross govt work A collective approach to Spending and challenge on to set the highest standards Mandatory Professional Development And a requirement to learn Clear Ministerial oversight and authority to act Assessed through Leadership assessment Training days done (min 5 per year) Quarterly Competitive Monitoring Recognition
  36. 36. 2020 Vision : Seven Principles 1. Apply big data. 2. Build our understanding of behavioural science. 3. Develop a new relationship with our audiences. 4. Create a structure and content of messages that builds trust. 5. Build responsive media centres. Make algorithms your friend. 6. Prioritise new technology, but be wary of fads. 7. Identify, develop and retain talent.
  37. 37. Conclusion Aristotle’s 3 truths about communications are as true today as they were 2,400 years ago, irrespective of today’s digital world 1. the character and quality of speaker (ethos). 2. the nature and structure and content of the message (logos). 3. the feeling, thoughts and attitudes of the audience (pathos).
  38. 38. russell.grossman@bis.gsi.gov.uk Further Reading Small B!G Robert Cialdini Communicate to Inspire, Kevin Murray contentmarketinginstitute.com BBC Future of News Report

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