“The future of technology is the future of communications,” said IBM Research senior vice president and director Dr. John Kelly on day two of the 2012 Arthur W. Page Society Annual Conference. Indeed, the discipline of public relations that began in the early 20th century has and continues to evolve substantially with the advent of new technologies and platforms ranging from portable devices to social media. The communications industry is experiencing an unprecedented level of convergence. New communications functions such as internal communication, HR and customer relationships have been brought together with PR, marketing and social media, which means the CCOs seat at the table has never been more relevant. That said, as the communications field grows and transforms, there’s one aspect that remains the same: the importance of trust and credibility.
Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers spoke about this very topic yesterday in an engaging and powerful presentation about building trust globally. Trust and the cultivation of relationships has been core to Cisco’s success, and he discussed the importance of having a senior communications consultant involved in every faucet of Cisco’s business and enabling every element of the CEO strategy.
As corporations become increasingly social and digital, it’s more important than ever to build trust. Everything and anything communicated – both externally and internally – ultimately impacts your organization’s corporate reputation and brand. Not to mention, trust enables us to develop stronger and lasting relationships. Whether you’re consulting your CEO in the midst of a crisis, phoning a reporter at CNBC to shape a story being written, or responding to a negative blog post on behalf of your organization, trust is critical.
Furthermore, it’s so much easier to track people in this day and age of technology and social media, and time and time again, we’ve seen the ramifications of companies attempting to edit their own Wikipedia pages, paying people to write positive AppStore reviews or refuting a negative story about their own company but not acknowledging their affiliation.
As we engage, interact and learn at the conference about the challenges and evolving needs of social enterprises and the role of the CCO, communications is still about building trust, and it’s our job to ensure our organizations stand true to that. After all, there’s a reason this is the very first of our seven Page Principles:
Tell the truth. Let the public know what’s happening and provide an accurate picture of the company’s character, ideals and practices.
By Aedhmar Hynes
Chair, Arthur W. Page Society 29th Annual Conference
CEO, Text 100