Jennifer Risi Curated
Founder of The Sway effect
CURATED BY :
Talk about importance of gender diversity?
Once a brand creates a content, then what?
How important is being authentic?
When a brand becomes a content creator, what kind of message does the consumer get?
Why is creating a network all around the country necessary?
What advice would you give young professionals who are coming into the industry?
You have to really love this job. This is not a job, it’s a career. People who manage communications for brands have to really love it. You must have a passion and a desire to learn, be a team member and must go the extra mile, but the rewards are great if you help to successfully launch and manage a brand. One of the proudest moments I’ve had is being a part of the rebranding of an iconic 70-year-old company like Ogilvy. Lauren Crampsie, Ogilvy CMO came up with the new logo with our senior leaders and my job was to communicate that story, and that was a big job to do. We all felt that we wanted to do it right for this brand which we believed in.
How do you tackle this on a daily basis?
I look at my job as reactive and proactive. I think many people in communications roles are reactive, and you have to be, to manage and down-play crisis issues or manage issues that may come up for a brand. But I also believe you must be proactive. You must be able to navigate and find your own story; the best communications professional today is someone who is going to define their own story before someone else defines it for them, as well as be reactive to make sure that the news you want to be out there, is there and the news you don’t want to be out there, is not. Sometimes people might say I’m a control freak, but people who have my type of job are control freaks, because it is our job to manage the press of our brand, so we must make sure that all the things which are in the press is what we want to see. If you’re not proactive enough, or not watching the news and social channels close enough, you’ll miss something. If you miss something, it could be in a matter of seconds, because something is happening all the time. Years ago, if there were stories breaking in a newspaper, you would wait to have the story break overnight and then you’d have the day to manage it. Now, with social media, we just have an added layer of complication, because it can spread even quicker, good, or bad.
In this ‘forever on’ world of digital communication, how has the job of being in the communication industry become more challenging?
It is 24x7. In some way it has always been 24x7, but with the advent of social media means anybody can be a journalist. Anybody with a phone anywhere can make a new story, because there are stories which start in the Wall Street Journal and goes to someone’s personal Twitter handle, to a story which starts on someone’s personal Facebook page and can get on CNN. A story can happen anywhere now, and everything is news, so everywhere, someone who has a phone can be creating a new story. That is what has made it challenging, but also opportunistic, because we now have more opportunities to share stories than ever before. We just have to realise that there are more channels and it is not just about any one group of people now who are communicating; anyone can be a journalist. That is what makes it different and exciting.
You have been a part of the industry for 20 years, how has it changed over the years?
I’ve seen that the level of skill which is needed to navigate this market is very different. Historically, our business was built on advertising. Now you need diversified skills based on technology and disruption which have changed the market. I come from a Communications and PR background; Communications and PR is more important than ever. Communications, PR, customer engagement, social media engagement, influencer work, experiential work, advertising, digital transformation; all these different tactics and strategies are needed now to build brands today. There is no one size fits all, there is no one way of working which is going to drive a business, you need all of it. We need to partner together. We can have our skills, but a key part of our business model moving forward is partnership, because we want to work with the consultancies which are coming into the business. We want to work with the companies that do things that we don’t, because we don’t know everything. Ogilvy is known as a creative network that make brands matter. Our creativity is our differentiator, but we don’t have everything under the hood, and that’s fine. We must partner with the brands which are going to help us best serve our clients.
The Executive Chairman and Creative Director of Ogilvy South Asia, Piyush Pandey, is receiving the Lion of St. Mark award this year...
Piyush and our leaders in India are amazing, and it shows the level of creativity of our network. It is our creativity and differentiator which makes Ogilvy, Ogilvy. Piyush is one of those great examples of creative talent which has helped bring our company to where it is and helped build our business in India. What makes us so different in such a competitive world today is this creativity and differentiator, and this will help build our future. Which is why, as part of our rebranding we are focussed on being a creative network that Makes Brands Matter.
Why was the ‘Mather’ dropped from the name during the re-founding?
Because we are just Ogilvy now. Ogilvy became a holding company within a holding company. We are part of WPP (our holding company), but Ogilvy had become a holding company almost by itself because there were more than a 100 brands under Ogilvy, such as Ogilvy and Mather, Ogilvy Public Relations and OgilvyOne. We are keeping some of the specialty brands, but most of our business is now going to be Ogilvy. We need to make it simpler for our clients to work with us, because it is what they are demanding. Our strategy to take the company forward is: simplify, unify and clarify. Simplify our name - Ogilvy, clarify our purpose, which is to make brands matter and unify our people to better serve our clients.
What was the need for Ogilvy’s re-founding and how did clients respond to it?
The response has been amazing. We rebranded and re-founded the company to get to what David Ogilvy had created over 70 years ago: entrepreneurial spirit, bold action and creating an environment that is very collaborative. Our re-founding was simply done for two reasons: firstly, for our clients and secondly, for our employees. The feedback has been great, and because there is so much disruption in the industry right now, we had to do this to help set our company up for the next 70 years.
How do you define today's modern media relations?
If ad-equivalency is obsolete, how can you prove earned media relations work?
How can we be smart building our careers as inspiring communicators?
How can more qualifies women sit on business and arts boards?
What are the biggest issues impacting women and girls around the word?
What are some of the challenges you've faced collaborating on a campaign?
What campaign visibility or awareness are you proud of creating?
How can media influencers empower women over the next 10 years?
How can young women use social media to effectively share their story?
How can media and technology impact social responsibility around the world?
What trends in media and technology can create more gender equality?
Are you actually taking some steps to formalize the process of reaching out to media patners
According to you, who is an influencer? Is it the time of citizen influencers?
Where do you see CSR going? What is going to be important 3 years from now?
The battle in the coming years for company’s CSR will be around authenticity. Most brands know they should be doing something, but if you cannot convince your customers you are truly committed to the cause and it is no more than just ‘window-dressing’, it will fail. Given the number of CSR programs out there competing for share-of-voice and recognition, only the most credible will cut-through.
What tips can you share with companies who would like to increase the impact of their CSR programs?
Public-Private Partnerships: Align your brand and cause with a reputable public sector organization that fits with your values. · Influencer Engagement: Find credible third-party thought leaders who can support your cause. · Employee Engagement: Engage employees in the c-suite and beyond. · Paid/Owned Channels: Create and distribute content on owned, paid and social channels to tell your story in your own words. · Earned Media: This is the key channel of influence to increase the impact of CSR. Earned media increases word of mouth – the highest converter of action.
How can companies truly differentiate themselves in how they communicate their CSR initiatives and results?
While most companies have CSR initiatives, the details and results are often only disclosed in annual corporate reports. These companies are missing out on the rewards that earned media can bring to amplify their CSR efforts. The key is for brands to devise an earned media strategy at the beginning of the program planning. Today, every media campaign today should focus on a strategic mix of traditional media, social media engagements and content (video, infographics) to drive, decisions and desired outcomes. Earned media will not only help tell your brand’s story, it will also lend it credibility.
What is the most important way companies should measure success and how does that lead to value in the business?
There is no one-size-fits all model for measuring the success of a CSR program, but you should always start with your objectives. From there, you can track various data points to see how/if you are meeting them. Start with the basics, what are you putting in? Track hours, dollars spent, and the conversation generated. etc. Then look at the behavior or attitudinal change you wanted based on objectives. E.g. Greater sales, brand perception, or employee retention. Only after this can you start to assess the ROI of your program.
What are some of your favorite CSR brands and what makes their programs so effective?
Estee Lauder is another company implementing a unique CSR approach by doubling down on corporate giving. The company is leading the way in providing consumers with options to buy products in which proceeds go to causes such as AIDS research and breast cancer research. · REI’s #OptOutside campaign won big among brand loyalists, and even branding experts at the recent 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The company’s #OptOutside won the Grand Prix prize in the festival’s final Titanium Lions category for the campaign which hinged on the retailers decision to close all locations on Black Friday and pay all employees so they can spend time with family outside. The feel good decision not only made its employees happy but sparked a movement to abandon the Black Friday tradition and to disconnect.
What are the unexpected benefits or outcomes that you have seen for companies that have implemented CSR Programs successfully?
CSR programs do not just benefit a company’s external image, they often form powerful employee engagement platforms, as people want to work for companies that play a positive role in the world. Programs around sustainability can also have long-term cost savings, despite the initial investment involved.
What advice do you have for brand marketers who are trying to make CSR or sustainability an essential part of the business?
It is not enough for brands to have a CSR department anymore. In order for a brand to be successful, it must have CSR integrated into its core business goals and values. This must be led from the top, and should be a key focus for management and the C-suite.
What brand and marketing value can CSR and Sustainability Initiatives bring?
Customers, especially millennials, are attracted to brands with strong values – brands that stand for something. CSR brings these values to life and makes sure a brand’s positioning is more than just talk. We also live in an age of hyper-transparency, driven by easier sharing of content on social media. So companies following unsustainable businesses practices are under more scrutiny than ever, and can very quickly find their reputation and profits damaged if they do not take CSR seriously.
Why should companies invest in Coorporate Social Responsibility(CSR)?
Because doing good is good business. Done right, properly designed and implemented CSR programs correlate to stronger growth and profitability.