Digital pebbles

Clarke Mulder Purdie on PR, media and other random topics

A new world order?

Posted by Chris Clarke on April 3, 2009

A view from the front row at the Obama and Brown G20 briefings

Spending 15 hours in ExCel isn’t something I would wish on anyone.  However, spending 15 hours in ExCel at the London Summit of the G20 yesterday was an incredible experience.

Agree with the communiqué or not, the Summit was historic. Historic because of the sheer size of measures announced. Historic because of the extent of co-operation across countries with divergent agendas. Historic because there was an unmistakable sense that yesterday really was a day that would be remembered – and judged – by history.

Despite the columns of copy, hours of footage, number of tweets dedicated to the event, its success cannot be judged until a few months down the line. It may come to be seen as the world’s costliest mistake, or the day the world identified and acted upon the realities posed by a new world order.

Sitting in the front row at the Brown and Obama briefings, it became clear to me that we are all, like it or not, operating in a new era. And, whilst rhetoric was not absent from either briefing, there was a clear sense that we are genuinely entering a changed environment. One in which the role of government, through regulation and intervention, is going to be more dominant, and one where businesses and their leaders are to be questioned more, scrutinised more and, perhaps, restrained more.

The implications for all businesses – global or UK – will emerge over the coming weeks.  But, what is certain is that, in this new era, government intervention will be commonplace, scrutiny over the actions of corporations more intense than ever; and the shifts of power between the East and the West, developed and developing, will become current and dominant trends – not just speculations.

chris_gordonThe new challenge for communicators

All of this has huge implications for communicators. It makes the stakeholder map more complex as the concept of ‘shareholder value’ becomes blurred. It calls into question the role that business plays in society, as politicians start to believe that it is them who can (and must) ‘manage globalisation’.

It calls for the reassessment of not just commercial strategies, but for the re-evaluation of communications strategies, as well.  How businesses communicate and interact with employees, customers and the wider network of stakeholders, is about to undergo a fundamental transformation.

Change may have been the slogan of the successful Obama campaign. But, for communicators, change must become a guiding principle as we help businesses navigate this new era, connect with new and more demanding audiences, and establish authentic and credible reputations that work in the interests of shareholders – and not against them.

All of us in communications should relish the challenge that this new world presents. In many ways, it is us who are best placed to help business adapt and respond to this new reality.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: