Tuesday, October 10, 2006

People power 2.0 not technology

The perception that technology is driving change in communications is wrong – it is the audience that is changing, says Aedhmar Hynes CEO of independent PR firm Text 100 International.

Hynes was in Singapore for a one-day stopover and spoke to a select group of 13 CEOs and senior marketers at an event sponsored by Text 100 and hosted by Marketing magazine last evening. The event was held to give a small group of Singapore’s marketing elite (think Nike, BMW, Google, Jetstar, Bang and Olufsen and Philips just for starters) the opportunity to meet a genuine global leader in business communications.

“We’re living in the world of change – our people are changing and technology is enabling that change, and more tools are emerging in response to change,” Hynes says.

In line with her observation, Hynes started blogging earlier this year to be able to “understand what it feels like, what the considerations are”, so she can better advise clients on it. She feels anyone born before 1975 can be termed “digital immigrants”, while those born after are “digital natives” and thus the immigrants need to work harder to understand new communications tools.

She says no company should start by saying “we need a blog”; instead, it has to ask itself what it wants to achieve and if having a blog will be beneficial.

“With blogging, you’re going to attract attention and it may not all be welcome so you’ve got to understand it,” she says.

According to her, there are three issues surrounding the changing audience. The first is trust, ie. the erosion of institutional trust – people more likely to trust info coming from their peer groups.

Secondly, there’s media fragmentation – previously, we watched prime time TV and read the same newspapers; now, we get news from different places and we want news at our own time, in the format we prefer.

Lastly, people nowadays are empowered to create content and respond to views from others and so proximity between brand and customer is one to one – “the right of reply is immediate”, which leads to crisis management issues.

Under Hynes’s leadership, Text 100 has grown its position as a leader in global communications and is a thought partner for almost 300 clients across the world. She oversees annual revenues of US$60 million, a staff of over 500, and 30 offices spanning North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. She is based in New York City and works directly with many of the company’s key accounts such as IBM, Xerox, Philips, and Fujifilm.

She recently over saw Text 100’s entry into Second Life, making it the first global PR firm to establish a presence inside the rapidly growing virtual world.

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