Posts

Keys to understand how digital communication will progress in 2020

Now that 2020 has arrived, it is time for predictive and trend analysis for this new year. Communication has been immersed in a process of change for years, first with the arrival of the Internet and the development of what came to be known as Web 2.0 (which was accompanied by the sucess of social networks) and now with the emergence of powerful technologies that are transforming different economic and social areas. In this case we are referring to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or blockchain, among others.

The truth is that, for another year, communication is facing a series of challenges and a number of unresolved issues that have been dragging on for some time. The digital ecosystem is evolving rapidly and communication, especially corporate communication, must make the most of all the advantages that it offers without giving up perhaps more traditional but also highly contributing environments.

Following the basic rules of this type of analysis, we will now describe some of the keys that will mark the development of communication this year that we have just started.

More content. It is clear that the content boom will continue to be key in 2020. Within the existing formats, as has also been highlighted, video will continue to be the king and this has been highlighted by the latest studies. Some of these studies estimate that video consumption will account for no less than 80 percent of Internet traffic this year. There are two relevant characteristics that define the content: it is ephemeral content, hence the success of formats such as Instagram’s “stories”, and very short and agile content, since it is usually consumed in “micro- moments”. In addition, the mobile phone is a leader in content consumption. It is increasingly evident the growth of content consumption through mobile devices and what is called multi-screen consumption. This type of consumption will continue to mark the generation of content by companies and organizations.

Digital storytelling. In recent years it has become clear that it is not enough to offer quality content, it is essential that it is presented in the best possible way. Innovation and creativity are two factors on which the generation of content is leveraged today. Immersive content, stories in social networks … are the digital narratives through which companies and organizations can reach their audiences.But we cannot forget another component. Good content has to engage the audience, connecting and interacting with them. Storytelling is indispensable today. Although based on facts, stories have to reach the emotions.

The monetization of social networks, pending. There are two pending subjects in relation to social networks. On the one hand, its monetization, an aspect that continues to be a “must” for companies and, on the other hand, the increasingly exhaustive analysis of the digital community that revolves around an organization, which requires greater knowledge so that The company’s relationship with it is more effective. Companies and organizations want to meet their audiences in order to offer them the best content and the best products. Although steps have already been taken in this regard, there is still a way to go.

Branded content. In recent years there has been an increase in this type of advertising format in Spain. This is because the public is tired of traditional advertising formulas and looks for the most attractive alternative brands. It is reasonable to think that this trend will grow in 2020 and that brands will continue to look for ways to generate content of value and quality for their audiences. 

Fight against fake newsEveryone knows that the only way to combat misinformation and spreading false news, this is credibility and trust. Two values ​​that today are down in the perception that users have of brands and organizations. Recovering that credibility and trust is the way to fight fake news and there is only one formula for it: transparency. Organizations today must work incessantly to appear before their audiences as transparent and open to dialogue.     

Emerging technologies. There are many aspects that must be considered in this section. We could, in fact, dedicate more than one article to the effects of its implementation in organizations. However, we are going to stop only in two tools: big data and artificial intelligence. From the first we must say that the emergence of big data in the field of corporate communication provides enormous possibilities, among which the micro segmentation of the public to know them better and that of hyper personalizing the content addressed to these segmented audiences.

It is clear that both opportunities have a negative face in the form of challenges, because we must not forget that in order to carry out these tasks it is essential that companies opt for the hiring of professionals with the appropriate profiles to carry out the data analysis.

On the other hand, and in relation to artificial intelligence, it is necessary to comment that one of the great trends in this area is the use of software, robots or applications that allow companies to reach those audiences of maximum interest. In this sense, so-called bots or chatbots have been developed enormously, computer programs that assume repetitive tasks through the Internet, managing to extract relevant data from users and then use them in multiple decisions. It is at this point where you can find big data and AI. Algorithms developed from the analysis of massive data from users drive the consumption of content in the direction that organizations want. A clear example can be found on platforms such as Netflix, which bases content suggestions on data analysis and processing using algorithms. The power of these can even determine the preferences of the public at the time of consumer certain content or products.

 



Bárbara Yuste
Digital Communication Manager at Proa Comunicación

Carmen Gómez Menor: “Communication is part of the business and it impregnates everything”

The expert in Communication and Brand Carmen Gómez Menor defended that “communication is part of the business and it impregnates everything” during her participation this Wednesday December 18 in a session on the situation and new challenges facing the profession organized by Proa Comunicación, in which she also warned that “having credibility before the media is the most important thing for professionals in this sector. In the context of a detailed tour of the different stages of his professional career, Gómez Menor offered his vision and the lessons he has learned from each of the positions he has held from his beginnings in small agencies to his passage through other leaders or large companies in the luxury sector.

Thus, he stated emphatically that, right now, “communication is part of the business, has gone beyond traditional limits and it impregnates everything”, highlighting how difficult it has been to make companies understand that the person responsible for this area has to be with the CEO.

With regard to the lessons learned, he stressed the importance of understanding the cultural environment in which one works and of considering “where the one in front of you comes from”, illustrating this with his experiences in Cartier’s Communication department in Asia, in Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. But he also advised using the good things in each. He added the need to have a solid knowledge base, as well as a sense of responsibility to make everyone’s work profitable and a constant search for innovation to “anticipate the risks and challenges that clients will face and anticipate trends.

As for the challenges for the future, the technological revolution, in particular the extension of artificial intelligence, and the increasing globalization, advised to face them “focusing on emotion and personalization”.

Tessi Iberia Trusts Proa Comunicación with the Communication of its Innovation Event in Madrid

Tessi Iberia trusted the communication of its first event about innovation in Madrid with Proa Comunicación. They presented the tech startup accelerator, Pèpites Shaker, a different model based in transferring innovation from newly formed startups to larger companies.

Proa Comunicación managed inviting press and media relations, achieving important impacts in national, economic, and specialized media. Through this, Tessi Iberia has achieved visibility and media notoriety, an essential objective to achieve the company’s desired positioning in the Spanish market

Tessi is an international company present in France, Switzerland, and Spain. They are a process outsourcing leader helping companies transform digitally.

Featured in the image is Tessi’s Iberia CEO, Christos Yannicopoulos, giving a speech at Afterwork Innovation.

Communication and Public Affairs

Alonso Lopez, founder of Reti España, a leading strategic communication company in Lobbying, Government Affairs and Media Relations, details the value boutique firms have to offer. Explains what Reti is for its clients. Also, he touches on the synergies between communication and public affairs. Finally, he announces the new collaboration between Proa Comunicación and Reti.

How to communicate in a VUCA environment

How do we categorize VUCA environments? They are spaces dominated by four basic characteristics: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. These four terms, originally from the English expression, mark the business communication activites that we have today to develop professional communication. This communicaction is sometimes surprising due the speed of its changes, especially those related to technology and the digital ecosystem.

It is true that when developing in these environments it is more than necessary to build a strong communication strategy, which empowers organizations through what we call intangible assets, which ultimately translates to a good reputation.

This environment of constant transformation and information saturation requires strategies based on trust and credibility, two assets which communication professionals must work with that are largely achieved by generating knowledge and commitment. But not only that. It is essential that those of us who dedicate ourselves to this profession must manage safe spaces for dialogue with stakeholders and the company’s different groups of interest, putting users at the center of all actions and knowing that digitalisation has empowered them.

The uncertainty that dominates the current ecosystem forces professionals, agencies and companies to develop innovative communication strategies based on a series of aspects and crucial values to achieve their set objectives. Some of those factors are:

A strong, clear approach, which can serve as an attempt to stop the volatility. If we can predict what is coming, organizations and their leaders can anticipate any challenge or unexpected incident. In many occasions, and given the speed of the technological changes to which we are accustomed, it is very complicated to “stop the ball from rolling” and look with a different perspective.

Understanding the world. It may seem a righteous-sounding phrase, but it is the reality. In a changing world full of complexities, the most appropriate attitude is to face anything comes from understanding and knowledge. Understanding always requires observing and listening to others in the search for different solutions. A communication strategy in VUCA environments must be the result of an active listening process, mainly within the organization, and with creative and innovative proposals.

Trust. Today more than ever and, above all, in an ecosystem like the one we live in, it is necessary to have the confidence of your stakeholders or interest groups, from employees to customers, through suppliers and media.

Agility and reaction capacity. How can we combat ambiguity? Obviously, with speed and ability to moving inside and outside of your organization to implement solutions. Faced with unforeseeable environments, the response of companies marks the communication strategy, much more than planning.



Bárbara Yuste
Director of Digital Communication at Proa Comunicación

Interview with Arnaud Dupuis-Castérès, President of Vae Solis Corporate, Proa Comunicación’s Partner Consulting Firm in France

We interviewed Arnaud Dupuis-Castérès, president of Vae Solis Corporate, a French communication consulting firm and partner of Proa Comunicación, to explain how they work from the agency and how they deal with their greatest challenges.

What is Vae Solis Corporate?

Vae Solis Corporate is a consultancy specializing in communication strategy and reputation capital. Our positioning is very clear: support and advise managers independently on issues they have regarding image and reputation.

What are the origins of the company?

The company was founded in 2002 and in 2007 we launched the Vae Solis Corporate brand. My initial desire was to create an independent consultancy with an original positioning: to be multidisciplinary, with a tailor-made approach and a team of senior professionals capable of advising the most senior executives of companies and institutions. Between holistic communication groups and small highly specialized agencies, I wanted to build a medium-sized firm that offered an alternative, a positioning strategically focused and with conviction from the very beginning: reputation is one of the most valuable assets of our clients. Therefore, it must be valued and protected.

What is the current composition of the Vae Solis team?

The Vae Solís Corporate team consists of nearly 35 multidisciplinary consultants, with complementary backgrounds and extensive experience in the public, political and private sectors. The team is led by 10 directors and partners who manage the projects, two of which are based in Brussels.

From which sectors or business areas do your consultants come from?

We are a very diverse team, made up of profiles which complement each other. Diversity is one of our fundamental values. Some of our professionals come with a specific formal educational background in communication, but most have other sorts of qualifying experiences, such as experience working with ministers or parliamentarians and large companies. Others have been officials, bankers, journalists or lawyers. This diversity is very useful and greatly enriches our approach. This is one of the main strengths of the firm.

What value proposition does the consultancy offer that differentiates it from its competitors?

Our approach is not that of a company which operates in tight departments (relations with the press, lobbying, digital communication, financial, etc …). Our vision and challenge is managing the reputation, how to create it, improve it and protect it. At our level and independently, there are very few players that have this vision and such a broad field of intervention. At Vae Solis Corporate, we do not “duplicate” our methods. We always develop a tailored, strategic consulting service, thanks to our team of professionals. Nowadays, all the stakeholders we address are perfectly permeable (public affairs, relations with the press, influential people, opinion leaders, academics, researchers, etc.). Therefore, it is essential to have a global and coherent strategic vision.

What kind of profiles do your clients have and which sectors do they operate in?

We work with CAC 40 clients, as well as startups and support many institutions and associations. We are fortunate to have many loyal customers with whom we have worked with for many years, and together we have built very close and trusting relationships. One of the firm’s strengths is that it works for different sectors of activity (finance, infrastructure, agri-food, construction, telecommunications and health, etc.). This diversity enriches our professionals and our ability to understand the main problems faced by companies and institutions.

What is the service or practice most appreciated by your clients?

Vae Solis forte is precisely in its ability to impart a global strategic vision of reputation. For example, mastering crisis communication and risk prevention is often very useful and relevant in developing a communication strategy. In addition, customers appreciate our ability to respond to, mobilize, and react very quickly. We can support our clients for long periods of time, like in the case of the “yellow vests” social crisis, seven days a week, 24 hours a day for several months. If we know how to do it, it is because we have been doing crisis management for 20 years.

What is the key factor to fostering a lasting relationship with your clients?

Our clients expect us to be always proactive, to inform them about popular trends, and to be able to decipher weak messages. The agency should be a partner that helps the client to take a step back and analyze their problems from a different perspective. Finally, it is undoubtably about obtaining results over time. Without results, customers will look elsewhere.

How relevant is crisis communication as a tool to improve your customer’s income statement?

Risk prevention is more important than crisis communication. Risk prevention not only reduces the risk of a crisis happening, but when it does occur, it reduces the impact of the crisis and, when it has some impact, it allows for better management and turns the crisis into an opportunity. The Chinese word “crisis” (“Weiji”) is composed of two ideograms: “danger” and “opportunity”. If we understand the danger, we have opportunities ahead.

What is the main objective that Vae Solis aims to achieve? Is strategic positioning or brand management more essential in preserving reputation?

In my opinion, working on strategic positioning cannot be fully conceived without brand management. Both enhance each other. Corporate communication, even more so in the current era, is becoming a fundamental element of brand strategy.

How can communication contribute to the creation of synergies between Spanish and French companies?

We are accustomed to working with non-French companies and organizations and we have many international clients in Europe, but also American, Chinese, African, etc. We support French-speaking companies in international matters, but also international clients in their issues in France or in Francophone countries. Our ability to mobilize a solid international network of high quality partner agencies is clearly an asset for our clients, especially in Spain with Proa Comunicación.

From Success to Fallout in Just a Few Hours

A few months ago I personally experienced an episode that perfectly exemplified the importance of fully understanding the power of the media, especially during legal proceedings. A person of public standing wanted to hire me specifically for the market launch of his product. It was a revolutionary service that had enormous chances of success. The road seemed so clear that the businessman could only heard the chimes of glory. Even the investors were on board, determined to finance the project.

There was only one problem. Our entrepreneur was immersed in legal proceedings. I tried to convince him that it was crucial that he this into account when designing his communication strategy. I warned him that not doing so would negatively impact his business. He ignored me. He insisted that one thing had nothing to do with the other, that they were two different issues and that, besides, the legal trouble was in its last final stages.

Quite evidently, the media didn’t understand it in that way. Just a few hours after launching new brand before the public to great acclaim, journalists threw harpoons and dragged our budding entrepreneur down right back in his place, certainly not where he wanted to be. Inevitably, the product suffered and so did the image of its mastermind. But even that wasn’t the most important thing. The investors who, quite logically, follow the media, started to believe that there was some risk in their investment and chose to abandon what they thought was a sinking ship.

A different approach would have saved the project, no doubt, and today things would have fared differently for the entrepreneur. Designing an adequate communication strategy with experts in the legal field, knowing how to adapt it to every circumstance and executing it with flexibility are crucial not only to successfully weather the media storm, but also to take advantage of the wave and improve the reputation of the client. Glory is never assured in this of communication, but putting the right means puts things on track.


 

Rocío Hidalgo

Director of Proa Comunicación in the Valencian Autonomous Community

Innovative Trends in the Field of Communication

Juan de los Ángeles, founder and director of C4E, shared with the Proa Comunicación team current trends in the field of communication. During a session of inspiration, De los Ángeles underlined the importance of innovation and creativity in devising company strategy, as business become increasingly aware of what is currently driving the market and attracting consumers.

De los Ángeles highlighted the relevance for companies in any sector of being aware of the latest trends to be able to anticipate changes and meet the increasingly demanding demands of their customers. Today innovation is the best tool, also in the field of communication, to continue to improve and offer the market products and services with a clear demand for them.

In his presentation, Juan de los Ángeles reviewed the main trends that mark the evolution of advertising campaigns and communication strategies of companies such as “the power of the ‘mini versus the maxi'” and the application of technology to consumption.

Spanish Communication Agencies among the Fastest Growing

Spanish communication consulting firms are the ones that have grown the most in the last five years, dominating the market over the multinationals, according to a publication by the communication news portal Dircomfidencial.

The results are quite substantial, highlighting that domestic communication firms are those that have grown the most in terms of revenue in the last five years shown.  In particular, the main consultancies in our country have increased their revenues by no less than 83 percent on average between 2013 and 2017. Meanwhile, multinational companies in Spain have only done so by 47%.

This data demonstrates the robustness of communication consulting companies, a sector that grows and is becoming ever more consolidated in Spain due to strong performance and the ever growing need that companies have today for professional communication services that respond effectively to their demands.

 

3 Things to Avoid when Organizing Events

Organizing a successful event is a challenge for any company. Getting illustrious speakers who can attract an audience eager to listen attentively is the first step towards success. Filling the selected venue with a suitable number for an audience is also a hard task for which one must compete actively due to the great plethora of events scheduled every day in a city like Madrid.

But what happens once you’ve overcome these first three steps? The day of the event arrives and at the hour you’ve scheduled, only a handful of guests not exceeding two digits in total number have registered. You’re worried, but only relatively, because you’ve already foreseen that in this country everyone is late and you had it written in your agenda. After about 15 minutes of courtesy (or even half an hour in some cases), the program begins and it turns out that only 30 percent of your intended audience has shown up.

Between this point and halfway through the speaker’s presentation, there still is a continuous trickle of arrivals, with the consequent disruption both for the person delivering the program as well as for the audience already sitting in their seats. Because, as another one of those things, the first ones that arrive always occupy the seats closest to the aisles. It’s an event law! Finally, the total of number attendees reaches just over 50% of the people who have confirmed. Did anyone ever stop to think about the wastefulness of not attending something that they’ve signed up for? The number of attendees influences all of the logistics that gets organized: the size of the room, amount of food and drink or merchandising and giveaways, to name a few.

This occurs on a daily basis in Madrid (and I guess also in the rest of the big cities in Spain).  Worst of all,  we actually admit it naturally, as one of those distinguishing characteristics (I do not know why) that we have as a Southern European society.

As for those who specialize in organizing these types of events, I recommend that, if most of the audience will need special devices to listen to translations, that they would have them picked up during check-in registration, even if their particular program isn’t the day’s first . Recently, I missed an interesting conference queuing up to pick up one of these modern gadgets (which didn’t work in the end!). And, if journalists attend, please find them a place where they can work comfortably. Keep in mind that whoever uses a laptop will probably need a plug at some point during the day. Equally important, whoever takes notes on paper (don’t laugh, some of us still do) will need at least some bearable lighting. In the same event that I just talked about, some editors had to write in their notebooks while lighting up with their mobile phones. Some lessons to be learned.



Cristina García Alonso
Consultant at Proa Comunicación