IT‘S ALL ABOUT PULLING TOGETHER, ISN’T IT?

It’s perfectly simple. Convergence communications is the only way forward in the modern era.

When someone, somewhere, in your organisation unilaterally goes off-message or involves themselves in sensitive debate on any one of a bird’s-nest of platforms, what to do? Is it the PR department that does the dirty work and pulls their (probably) senior colleague into line because they’ve just had a call from a journalist? Or is it the marketing department that has to say; ‘sorry, but you’re compromising brand values and the sponsors are getting embarrassed.’ (sir)?

Social media is now an unavoidable and permanent method of communication and there is now a crucial corporate need for PR and marketing to be involved in joined-up thinking. In an instant, one could destroy the other thanks to the wonderful opportunities that Twitter, Facebook et-al provide for general comment and brand visibility in equal measure.

So surely the penny must drop soon that convergence communications is the only way forward for a modern-day strategy?  Well, you’d think so, but the channels continue to be choc-full of illustrations of how not to do it.

Recently, a CEO of a highly-respected English league football club retweeted a joke about the politician Diane Abbott and her recent and very public issues with mathematics. Whether it was funny and whether people agreed with it is irrelevant. Dabbling with political themes is a turn off for corporate partners.

Then on the same day, a CEO of a highly-respected English league football club (it might have been the same one, but I’m not saying) retweeted a supporter message suggesting a decision in a game proved referees were ‘disabled’.  It was swiftly deleted and an apology issued for a ‘genuine mistake’ but the damage had been done.  Diversity is a popular topic with the media.

The point is that both the PR and marketing people at that club (or clubs) should have been pulling their hair out because instant messaging, instant communication and the basic instinct of knee-jerk human response will always impact on both disciplines.

So why don’t organisations accept the fact and adopt an integrated communications strategy, instead of keeping PR and marketing in separate houses and hoping one doesn’t mess things up for the other? A recent Global Communications Report from the U.S. supports the view that convergence is now the prudent option.

Consistency

A convergence strategy is a one-stop shop for providing consistency of policy across the whole business for ALL stakeholders. And yes, I DO mean the bosses as well. It might be a tough conversation, but the public doesn’t make allowances for seniority.

‘Owned’ media space is available like never before and PR and marketing should be operated as complimentary elements, not uncomfortable bedfellows. Businesses – particularly in sport – must start to accept the need for a controlled, inclusive convergence policy.  If they don’t, their many moving parts will continue to be an accident waiting to happen.

Board members, CEOs and even owners can no longer be left alone to paddle their own comms canoe across increasingly choppy water. Not only is it corporately naïve, its bloody difficult to sort out when one of them falls in.

Phil Mepham

Partner at Lyndcroft Media

Dealing directly with FIFA and its most senior administrators, operating amidst the media frenzy of Premier League football and presenting live television are all experiences which illustrate Phil’s ability to identify communications opportunities and recognise potential issues, traps and consequences.

Phil provides executive counsel and practical guidance on areas such personal profiling and crisis management to both individuals and commercial organisations and also works with consumer brands to produce product and service campaigns on both B2B and B2.