You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘reputation’ tag.

Organizations invest in training mainly to develop the skills of their staff and ensure better productivity and profitability.

But as far as communications training is concerned, the advantages go beyond development and productivity. This kind of training equips the organization with the necessary tools to build and manage its reputation.

By simply reading a newspaper every morning or watching television or surfing the internet, people develop perceptions on certain organizations. Whether it is a business announcement, an interview or a response to some issue, this piece of publicity tells a story about the organization, in fact.

What your employees tell their families, friends, colleagues and the wider communities about the organization also contributes to its overall perception.

Your ‘story tellers’ are the communicators, spokespeople and staff. Understanding why to communicate, what to communicate, and how to communicate improves the quality of content communicated to the different audience group.

Equipping the ‘story tellers’ with the knowledge and experience is important and if ‘practice makes perfect’, then training for sure is the starting point!

– Tania Atallah, Account Director, H+K Strategies Dubai

H+K Strategies offer a range of training courses for executives and management involved in communications – from media relations to crisis management; executive spokesperson training to delivering presentations with impact.

Visit H+K Strategies Dubai on LinkedIn for more information on specific courses.


When thinking of communications, the focus can rest on flashy PR campaigns that generate a sizeable amount of coverage. And when the impact of the first campaign withers away another campaign is formulated create another wave of recognition!

Effective communications is about sustaining a momentum that builds, elevates or maintains the organization’s profile and help it achieve its business goals. Here is an ABCD (and E!) approach to make it happen:

Step 1: Align– understand what is your organization trying to achieve (business goals), where did communications fail or succeed in the past and what could be done better.

Step 2: Build– develop your plan to take you where you want to be and set metrics. Prepare the messages, content and formalize your processes.

Step 3: Communicate– engage with your audience and convey your message in their own language using tactics that they can relate to and channels they trust!

Step 4: Discover– did your message resonate! Did it manage to shape or change perceptions? Research in the form of audits, surveys or focus groups can tell you!

Step 5: Evaluate– revisit your plan, messages and tactics to bridge any gaps identified in the previous stage and engage again.

Communication is an ongoing dialogue between an organization and its stakeholders and never a stand-alone monologue!

It should be looked at as an organic function that adapts to the organisation’s evolution, market change, stakeholders’ perceptions and community needs.

– Tania Atallah, Account Director at H+K Strategies, Dubai

It’s widely recognised that the PR industry has long suffered a reputation challenge of its own. After all, it’s not rocket science, right? Anyone can do it! And we see this reflected at times when we go to meet a prospective client only to find that the receptionist or office administrator has been tasked with managing the agency with a brief to get the company into the press.

Aside from the appreciation for what a solid communications strategy can do for a company, this sets alarm bells ringing over the perception of how important the company takes its reputation, regardless of industry and scale. It’s not just the big brands that need to think about their stakeholders’ perception of the business. The potential commercial opportunities brought to any organization that attracts a fresh injection of capital, opens up new markets or strengthens partnerships, can open the door to new level of growth.

This begs the question, how many organizations that we work with truly position communications – or more importantly, reputation management – as a priority at the boardroom table?

Around this table the C-level executives may be more concerned with shareholders, profit and loss, and market performance than what the PR team is doing. But at the end of the day, success in these areas of business stem from the strength of reputation and relationships that a company holds with its groups of stakeholders, or ‘publics’. These are segmented and defined groups, with specific motivations, drivers and opinions that “big PR” is less likely to have influence over. It requires an approach that strategically considers the priorities of individuals and the actions it aims to inspire.

Influencer engagement that reaches beyond media to analysts, bloggers, investors and industry leaders too often represents a missed opportunity in the Middle East market. However, this is how investment in reputation and communication can extend beyond traditional media to reach new influential heights with the company’s proposition and message.

This more targeted approach is highly effective in engaging specific publics in a less crowded and noisy environment than that offered through the media. Engagement strategies and specialist forums that provide an opportunity for connecting to partners, investors and advisors more directly can elevate the ‘issue’ of communications to garner boardroom support and more closely relate impact to business success.

As with any boardroom discussion, however, the proof lies in the bottom line. Being taken seriously in this forum means application of business-led measurement criteria that shows a clear return on investment for the organization. Measurement on the ‘thud factor’ no longer applies and message resonance is hard to pin down to a dollar value. The C-suite discussion needs to capture influence, investment and profit in hard currency through business growth and opportunity such as new sales leads, value from alliances and the results of investing in reputation campaigns.

So, think again about the value that reputation management has in the boardroom of the organizations that engage your counsel. Adding real business value is the only way to shift our own reputation in this inner circle, and the best way for communications to earn its place at the table.

– Katy Branson, Head of Technology UAE at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Dubai

You didn’t possibly think we’d have said advertising, did you? Well we do have some interesting statistics to back it up, so read on.

It is third-party endorsement that makes PR the most persuasive tool in building reputation and protecting it. Put in simple terms, if advertising is what you say about yourself, PR is what others say about you.

Let’s take corporate reputation as an example. There are several sources to find out information about a company and its products or services. For apart from the company’s marketing collateral and advertisements, there is what its customers say, what other people say, and what the media says. If it is a public company, then its shareholders and the market analysts’ opinions come to the picture as well.

Research by Siegel + Gale shows a major difference between the significance of information sources about a company and the extent to which people are convinced by them. For instance, 42 percent of those surveyed believe people in general are the best source of news about a company, yet only 33 percent of them consider that source as the most credible one.

Likewise, 43 percent consider articles published by specialist media to be the most credible source of information about the company, but only 37 percent believe those articles are the best source overall.

No wonder, then, that while 30 percent of the participants see a company’s collateral as a prime reference of information, the percentage goes down to 13 when it comes to how much they believe what is written in that collateral.

These results demonstrate that PR – or the third-party endorsement – is what makes a campaign legitimate. Perhaps marketing guru Jack Trout was inspired by this when he wrote in his book titled The New Positioning: “PR plants the seeds. Advertising harvests the crop.”

In a landscape of varying attentiveness to media, increasing clutter and dwindling attention span among consumers, evidence shows that PR-led communication channels generally rate higher than paid-for advertising, both in terms of source and trust. And we cannot ignore the fact that marketing literacy, particularly among the young, has led to increasing ad avoidance – a communications gap which PR can effectively help fill.

– Marwan Abu-Ghanem, Regional Media Director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies

العلاقات العامّة مقابل الإعلان: من الفائز؟

إن كنت قد استغربت ذكرنا لكلمة “إعلان”، فما عليك إلا أن تقرأ الإحصاءات المهمّة أدناه لتتبيّن صحّة وجهة نظرنا.

فالاستحصال على مصادقة الجهات المحايدة هو ما يجعل العلاقات العامة الوسيلة الأكثر إقناعاً في بناء السمعة وحمايتها. وفي تعريف عملي للأمر، أنّه إذا كان “الإعلان هو ما تقوله أنت عن نفسك … فالعلاقات العامّة هي ما يقوله الناس عنك”.

لنأخذ السمعة المؤسسية على سبيل المثال. هناك مصادر عدّة لمعرفة معلومات حول شركة ما ومنتجاتها أو خدماتها. فإضافة إلى المنشورات التسويقية والإعلانات، هناك ما يقوله زبائن هذه الشركة، وما يقوله الأناس الآخرون، وهناك ما ينشر في الصحافة أو ما يبث على وسائل الإعلام المرئي والمسموع. وإن كانت أسهم الشركة مدرجة في أسواق البورصة، يصبح لحملة الأسهم ومحلّلي الأسواق المالية رأي قيّم أيضاً.

وكما أشار بحث أجرته مؤسسة “سيغل آند غايل”، هناك تمايز واضح بين أهمّية مصادر المعلومات حول شركة ما وبين مدى اقتناع الناس بهذه المصادر. فثمة 42 في المئة من الذين شملهم البحث يعتقدون أنّ ما يقوله الناس عامّةً يعتبر من أفضل المصادر بالنسبة للمعلومات حول الشركة، لكنّ 33 في المئة فقط من هؤلاء يعتبرون أنّ ما يقوله عامّة الناس هو الأكثر تصديقاً.

في المقابل، يرى 43 في المئة من الذين تم استطلاع آرائهم أنّ المقالات التي تنشر في المطبوعات المتخصصة هي الأكثر تصديقاً، من حيث المعلومات التي تتناولها عن الشركة، لكنّ 37 في المئة فقط من هؤلاء يعتبرون أنّ تلك المقالات هي من أفضل مصادر جمع المعلومات.

ولا عجب بالتالي أنّه في الوقت الذي ينظر فيه 30 في المئة إلى منشورات الشركة على أنّها أفضل مصدر للمعلومات، تنخفض نسبة هؤلاء إلى 13 في المئة فقط عندما يتعلّق الأمر بمدى تصديق ما يرد في هذه المنشورات.

هذه النتائج تثبت إذاً أنّ العلاقات العامّة – أو مصادقة الجهات المحايدة – هي التي تؤتي الشرعيّة اللازمة لأية حملة تسويقية. وبالتالي فإنّ “العلاقات العامّة هي التي تزرع البذور، بينما يأتي الإعلان بعدها ليجني المحصول”، على حدّ تعبير جاك تراوت، الخبير المعروف في مجال التسويق ومؤلف كتاب “التموضع الجديد”.

وفي بيئة يتفاوت فيها الإنتباه إلى وسائل الإعلام، ويتضاءل فيها نطاق اهتمام المستهلكين وسط “الضجيج التسويقي”، تشير كل الدلائل إلى أنّ قنوات الاتصال التي تقودها العلاقات العامّة تتفوّق عموماً على الإعلانات المدفوعة، إن من حيث أهمّية مصادرها أو من حيث الثقة فيها. ومع انتشار المعرفة التسويقية يوماً بعد يوم، وخصوصاً في أوساط الشباب، نجد تجنّباً متزايداً للإعلانات – والعلاقات العامّة هي التي تستطيع سدّ هذه “الثغرة الاتصالية” بفعّالية.

When the stars are aligned for a business, it gets on what I call a “messaging run.” It happens when the business model is working almost perfectly, and the company itself is on a high.

But it does not happen all that much. How often can any company executive tell you with crystal clarity and confidence just what it is the company is there to do? Consumer preferences can change overnight. Today’s favorite is quickly forgotten. Business models are always evolving and because of this a company needs to evolve its messaging in line with those changing models.

Having a winning business model makes getting the messaging right a lot easier. But what we all need to keep in mind is that a business model firing on all cylinders is a rare thing indeed. For a select few companies, success seems to always be there, lasting decades if not longer. Most corporate successes, however (where those stars are all aligned), come and go.

But regardless of whether things are black or white or grey, it is sticking to the basics that will help us get the messaging as right as it can be. Dig deep to understand the company’s business objectives – whether crystal clear or not – and do understand how the customer thinks.

Ultimately, comms needs to work closely with the senior executives. While typically the feeling was that this was not happening enough, things are changing. Public relations and marketing departments are coordinating more and more with the top brass, and fair to say that the best comms professionals are themselves now considered part of the senior executive team, selected for their roles because they understand and appreciate the complexities and challenges of the business world.

We should regularly remind ourselves that getting the messaging just right is no easy task. It is a highly strategic undertaking that needs to be viewed as an ongoing one – part of the workflow. It is a mix of both art and science, and it is the foundation on which all successful campaigns are built.

– Alex Ionides, General Manager at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Dubai

وضع الرسائل الصحيحة

عندما تجتمع كافة العناصر اللازمة لأي عمل، نحصل حينها على ما نسمّيه “إنتشار الرسائل”، ويتمّ ذلك عندما يقارب نموذج العمل المثالية والشركة على مستوى عال من الفعالية.

لكنّ هذا لا يحدث غالباً. فكم مرة قام أحد المسؤولين في الشركة بالتحدث اليك بكل وضوح وثقة عن أعمال الشركة؟ وماذا ستقدم لك بالضبط؟ يجب توقع تغيير أذواق المستهلكين في كل لحظة، وما يفضلونه اليوم قد يتغير غداً. فنماذج الأعمال تتطور بشكل دائم، لذلك يجب على الشركة أن تقوم بتطوير رسائلها كي تتماشى مع هذه النماذج المتغيرة.

انّ وجود نموذج عمل ناجح يجعل من السهل علينا صياغة رسائل الشركة. ولكن يجب أن ندرك أن وجود نموذج عمل يتماشى مع مختلف الظروف أمر نادر جداً. وبالنسبة للشركات، فإن عدداً قليلاً منها يحظى بفترات نجاح طويلة تستمر لعقود، وربما لفترات أطول، ولكن السؤال هنا: هل قامت الشركات الناجحة بجمع جميع عناصر العمل معاً، أم انها كانت تظهر وتختفي؟

الالتزام بالأساسيات سوف يساعدنا على الحصول على الرسائل الصحيحة قدر الإمكان، سواء كانت النتائج والأوضاع سوداء أو بيضاء أو رمادية. إبحث كثيراً لتفهم أهداف الشركة – أكانت واضحة أم لا – كما يجب عليك أن تفهم طريقة تفكير المستهلك.

في النهاية، يجب على المسؤولين الإعلاميين العمل عن كثب مع كبار المسؤولين التنفيذيين، وعادة لا يحدث هذا بشكل كاف. الأمور تتغير مع مرور الزمن، حيث يقوم مسؤولو العلاقات العامة والتسويق بتنسيق أعمالهم بشكل أكبر وأسرع مع كبار المسؤولين، ويجب القول أن افضل مسؤولي العلاقات العامة هم الذين يعتبرون الآن جزءً من فريق كبار المسؤولين التنفيذيين في الشركة، والذين اختيروا لمعرفتهم وتقديرهم لتعقيدات وتحديات عالم الأعمال.

يجب أن ندرك أنّ عملية وضع رسائل الشركة ليست مهمّة سهلة. فهي انجاز استراتيجي للغاية وبحاجة الى المتابعة بشكل دوري كعملية مستمرة – لتصبح بذلك جزءً من سير العمل. فهي مزيج من الفن والعلم معاً، وهذا هو الأساس الذي بنيت عليه كل الحملات الناجحة.

 Translated into Arabic by Lona Ayoub, Account Executive at H+K Strategies Dubai

H+K on Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 530 other followers

%d bloggers like this: