The Florentine philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli once said, “war cannot be avoided, just postponed to the advancement of others.” Whilst I am by no means proposing a Machiavellian approach to comms, the quote certainly serves to highlight why avoidance is rarely a sound strategy.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses can make in a post-pandemic world is to believe that what has worked before, will continue to work in future.
The world has changed immensely over the past 16 months. Risks are intensifying. While businesses around the world have had to navigate the unique challenges posed by Covid-19, the world did not come to a halt: political upheaval, the climate crisis, social justice conflicts and technological advancement continue to force companies to consider how they can evolve to become more agile. One of the biggest mistakes that businesses can make in a post-pandemic world is to believe that what has worked before, will continue to work in future. Evolution cannot be avoided, just postponed to the advantage of others – and in this case, your competitors. Businesses that do not rewire to deliver a greater degree of resilience risk reputational crisis or business failure.
Businesses must review their commercial, cultural, technological and value strategies to turn risk into opportunity in this ever-changing world. Hanover offers both strategic insight and practical solutions to these systemic challenges. We use a laser-like focus, using insight-driven diagnostic tools to provide tailored communications solutions that deliver real impact and help businesses to tell their stories in more meaningful ways. And this is especially important with a shrinking and highly competitive media landscape.
The media industry was already experiencing challenges pre-Covid and the pandemic has only served to heighten concerns. Many publications have been forced to close or downsize during the past year; and, with advertising budgets continuing to shrink, the full effects on the industry are still yet to be determined. Relying on the traditional methods to obtain coverage is unlikely to work going forward, and corporates need to think of more innovative ways to share their news than the age-old press release. While PR is by no means obsolete, it should form a very small part of a multi-faceted, integrated storytelling strategy.
More than ever, companies must think like a newsroom by finding innovative ways to enable a single narrative thread to thrive across multiple fully owned platforms. They must inform rather than sell, while always considering which mode and format will best enable audiences to engage with, and process, the information. In the Gulf, companies like our client, S&P Global Ratings, have excelled at collaborating with journalists to provide unique, highly relevant commentary and insights that add immense value to the region’s business community at this unpredictable time. Their ability to break down complex issues into concise and compelling content, combined with their capacity to provide journalists with easy access to a range of experts, has proven to be a winning strategy. The firm is now leading the narrative around macroeconomics in a post-covid world and the green economy.
The pandemic has proved that agility and pragmatism are the key to success. Now is a time of immense opportunity; it is a time to be daring, and a time to be bold. Companies that retreat to the safety of successful strategies and approaches of bygone times are setting themselves up to fail – to the advancement of others. While traditional tactics may still have a place in a post-covid integrated comms plan, it is important to interrogate whether such activities command inclusion, or whether they are being relied upon simply to avoid change.