The integration philosophy is born from seven concurrent trends (for more on this, stay tuned), but the challenge is that each "one" tends to function in its own differing ways. In effect, true integration often stalls very quickly because we look for limited bridges between one or two areas in our organization, versus looking for customer-led moments where we can test, prove and broadcast the value of integration across a much wider gamut.


Seven drivers of integration:

1. Wastage: Marketing is increasingly under pressure to show ROI. Integration portrays much less of a “waste-oriented mantra” than channel-only or share of voice (driven by awareness activities).

2. C-suite lexographic shift: Increasingly c-suites talk about customer journeys and pathways. These views need a more customer-based lens. Integration offers a logical step towards achieving this by talking about combining elements through the journey.

3. Online makes it much easier to track and act faster: Social and digital allow you to track activities in near real-time. This means it is a touch easier to monitor, or at least correlate with simple regressions. For example, what happens when activity A and activity B happen together or in sequence? It is about measurable baby steps to some (apologies for misquoting Bill Murray in the film What About Bob).

4. Budget shortsightedness: SOX forces a lot of late-in-the-quarter investment models and it rarely gives marketers time to roll out large, complex programs. Integration offers a simple process that feels closed-looped enough to quickly justify a change in short-term available funds by the next quarterly scramble. It feels a little like trench warfare (a few inches at a time), but it is the reality of where we are, especially in U.S.-led organizations.


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Originally Published PR Week, January 28, 2011 (subscription access only)

Research among CEOs and line-of-business executives reveals that the single-most common criticism of communications professionals is that below the CCO level the function is primarily occupied by tacticians.

A common result: when divisional or business unit leadership meet to discuss strategy, the PR person -- perhaps other than the CCO -- is often left out.

Are most PR pros really not capable of engaging at that level?

Unlikely, but here are a few thoughts.

First, every CCO needs to be honest with his or her evaluation of talent.  The most critical time is when hiring is done. If we're candid, we often do hire tacticians. After all, we need to get things done.

We also tend to hire from a common pool, that is, people from within our profession.

The consequence often means a talent pool that doesn't have the same academic qualifications and /or serious business experience as other staff functions.

Bottom line: Hire smart. Raise the bar. And, as the business we're in gets increasingly sophisticated, there are plenty of high-ranking B-school grads, for example, who would welcome a career in our profession.

Second, and this is a tricky one, it just may be difficult to be both a tactician and a strategist at the same time.

Let's be clear: We need to do a lot more than provide counsel. We need to get stuff done. The greater the demands and the higher volume of output, the more communications staffers get buried in the day-to-day.  That may be reality.

But getting stuff done is a given. Flawless execution is a table-stake. No one earns a reputation for just doing what's expected of them.

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Charlie Perkins, public relations director of the Americas for Ernst & Young, on the current communications landscape and how we impact our organizations.

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Originally Published PR Week, August 6, 2010 (subscription access only)

What’s your World Series?

As we continue a slog through a tough economy, I’ve noticed a dilemma facing many companies vis-à-vis motivating their employees. Whereas the sports world affords the clarity of a tangible, meaningful goal (e.g. World Series, Super Bowl, etc.) in which every member of the team is in complete alignment to pursue, business doesn’t have it that easy.

And, in a down environment, it’s that much more common for employees to feel that their work is just that: work.

It’s hard to imagine each Major League baseball team playing 162 games during the year and everyone then going home. It sounds absurd because what’s the purpose of playing all those games if it doesn’t really matter.

There has to be a purpose.

What is your purpose?

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We regularly connect with people online. We keep in touch. We make new friends. But can we actually learn anything that’s professionally useful? Is it possible for our online networks, professional or personal, to help us become smarter people and more effective professionals with some level of certain regularity? Instead of stumbling across the occasional jewel, is there a way to come close to a guarantee?

Consider this. Subject matter experts around the world are already using social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious to gather, screen, categorize and share relevant, insightful content. Prominent bloggers and Twitterers, like Guy Kawasaki, spend hours each day scouring the internet and linking to remarkably valuable content on their blogs and twitter feeds. And some companies are using Yammer to stream relevant news and other materials to employees on their closed internal networks. And let’s not forget powerful news aggregators like Google Reader that can put thousands of information sources at our fingertips and let us search all that content for even the most obscure word or phrase.

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