Scott Monty

 

Richard Edelman comments on some excerpts from his an excellent piece for the annual Edelman Trust Barometer brochure.

In it he notes the movement away from the pyramid approach of the highly scripted message starting with the CEO and moving to investors, then on to other mass audiences. The future is in adding peer spokespeople to that model:
Smart companies must reinvent their communications thinking, moving away from a sole reliance on top-down messages delivered through mass advertising. This is the Me2 Revolution.
Edelman tracks the sphere of influence in the recent past:
In the US, for example, the "person like yourself or your peer" was only trusted by 22% of respondents as recently as 2003, while in this year's study, 68% of respondents said they trusted a peer.
How to take advantage of this?
How can companies embrace this future of empowered stakeholders? Speak from the inside out, telling your employees and customers what is happening so they can spread the word for you. Be transparent, revealing what you know when you know it while committing to updating as you learn more. Be willing to yield control of the message in favor of a rich dialogue, in which you learn by listening. Recognize the importance of repetition of the story in multiple venues, because nobody believes something he or she hears or sees for the first time. Embrace new technologies, from employee blogs to podcasts, because audiences are becoming ever more segmented.

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