The day after Pfizer announced it would ensure free medicines to laid-off and non insured workers for one year, Ray Kerins, head of global pr for the big pharma company (‘we are 50 bl. dollar start up company’ he says…) told an attentive audience of colleagues representing agencies from all over the world, that the idea had not come from top management nor from him, but directly from employees who gathered around internal social networks.
The occasion was the annual Iprex meeting and Ray spoke on Friday May 15 in New York in the context of a lunch debate also featuring other global public relations directors: Harvey Greisman of Mastercard, Gary Sheffer of General Electric, Barbara Pierce of Kodak, Karl Folta of Viacom, Michael Mcdougal of Bausch and Lomb and Stephen Dishurst of Swiss RE.
Here are my major takeaways from that meeting:
°the world is resetting and we should reset our profession, which has become inherently global in its nature;
°employees are today our topical and priority stakeholder; followed by government and then by customers;
°good governance and ethical performance are today the top drivers of our reputation;
°the forgiveness cycle for corporate mistakes driven by the accelerating information cycle is shrinking;
°following the collapses of London and New York, Washington DC has now become the financial capital of the world;
°social media is an increasingly important tactical tool (about 75% of the international audience of agency professionals raised their hand when asked if they twittered) and public relations directors cannot afford to remain on the sidelines.
Yet they very much need to be aware of the disintermediation process affecting all traditional professions and categories which, in itself is an effect of the digitalization of society, and make damn sure these are always specifically looked after as such…. also on social media;
°our direct relationships with Ceo’s have greatly intensified since the crisis began (when they see us they expect to receive bad news; they ask us to give them an independent read of employee, shareholder, public policy maker and customer expectations, and not only of the media (social and mainstream, no distinction..);
°the amount of time we spend on reacting is outrageous! We must get out of this mode and we expect agencies and consultants to help us be proactive.
Interesting thoughts…for your perusal.