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Up, Up and Away For Covent Garden’s New Art Installation

Consumer Trends & Insight, Culture, Entertainment
capco_CoventGarden_Heartbeat

French artist Charles Pétillon presents his first public art installation – and his first ever live work outside of France – in Covent Garden as 100,000 giant white balloons fill the grand interior of the 19th Century Market Building.

This post was originally published on Covent Garden.

French artist Charles Pétillon presents his first public art installation – and his first ever live work outside of France – in Covent Garden as 100,000 giant white balloons fill the grand interior of the 19th Century Market Building.

Capco Covent Garden is an Edelman UK client.

Why Beth Comstock Matters
By Richard Edelman

Corporate Reputation, Culture
beth_comstock_matters

This week, Beth Comstock was named a vice chair of GE, responsible for Business Innovation. She will also continue to oversee GE Lighting, GE Ventures and Licensing, corporate marketing, sales and communications. Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman explores why more communications professionals are reaching top management positions.

Beth Comstock was named a vice chair of GE* yesterday, responsible for Business Innovation. She will also continue to oversee GE Lighting, GE Ventures and Licensing, corporate marketing, sales and communications. As GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said of Comstock, “She has a proven reputation inside and outside of GE for transforming the enterprise and being a catalyst for digital innovation and growth.”

Comstock is one of us, having run corporate communications, then moving to chief marketing officer for the company, with a stint as president of NBC Universal. She has done more than any CMO to bring together communications and marketing. Take a look at the GE web site for a view into the future, where every company is a media company. Whether it is GE Reports or the Thomas Edison blog or the active presence on Instagram and Pinterest (Where else can you see such beautifully decorated windmills?), you can see that Comstock goes where the audience wants to be and offers a chance for co-creation. She is relentless in her search for the new and different, trying small agencies, visiting Silicon Valley start-ups, learning constantly. She brought forward Ecomagination as a means of expressing GE’s premium eco-friendly product innovation with advertising and promotion, using PR as the foundation of this now decade-old sub-brand that now accounts for 25 percent of GE’s total sales.

It is rare to see a person with Comstock’s background promoted consistently to the top level of one of the world’s great corporations. I can think of three who made it to CEO, John Fallon of Pearson and Dave D’Alessandro of John Hancock, who began his career at Edelman New York as an account executive and Richard Plepler, who spent two years at Edelman, now president of Time Warner subsidiary HBO. He is a genius in programming and in sensing the consumer trends ahead of his competitors. His HBO Now product allows subscribers access to content when and where they want it, while the recent deal with Sesame Street broadens the audience.

In the next five years, there will be many more PR people who will ascend to top management; here are a few reasons:

  • Business is increasingly dependent on social channels for customer service, new product introductions and employee connection.
  • The power of earned media is going to be enhanced even more by ad blockers being touted by Google and Apple.
  • With the loss of trust in major institutions, there is dispersion of authority to friends and family, a peer-to-peer model best understood by PR executives.

There is a new expectation of business to lead, to fill the void left by government that is stymied by politics, facing funding gaps and lacking credibility due to scandal. It is for those with PR backgrounds to imagine recruiting of talent from the ranks of those returning from military service (GE did this), to understanding the potential for one brand to lead in taking tobacco off of the retail shelves (CVS*) or to partner with NGOs to reconstruct the supply chain with sustainability and humane labor practices as priority (Walmart).

The innovative companies based on principles of the sharing economy will be particularly subject to criticism based on fears of employment (taxi drivers in France striking against Uber) or sanctity of personal data. Watch for the emergence of a PR person as CEO in this category.

Smart companies should look at young communications executives as possible candidates for the fast track to senior management. And those of you going back to college this week should consider taking courses in computer programming, foreign languages and business management/accounting so that you are ready for this possibility. Beth Comstock has shown that the dream can come true. Bravo to you, Beth.

This article originally appeared on 6A.M., Richard Edelman’s blog on trends in communications, issues, lessons and insights.

Image by GE.

*Edelman client

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

Stay The Course
By Richard Edelman

General
china_stock_market

Edelman President and CEO, Richard Edelman, on the stock market reversal in China which has led many to question the stated GDP growth rate of 7 percent, and the strategy of moving from an investment-based economy toward a more consumption based model.

The stock market reversal in China has led many to question the stated GDP growth rate of 7 percent and the strategy of moving from an investment-based economy toward a more consumption based model. At the same time, the Brazilian economy has officially moved into recession, with drop in GDP of 2 percent in the second quarter. And Russia earlier in the week decided to blacklist a few more Western brands, this time from P&G, with flimsy excuses on product safety. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is chugging along at 3.5 percent growth in GDP in the second quarter. This may lead some in the agency business to reorient investment to the safer developed world; that would be a drastic error. We have to stay the course.

There are a few important trends to recognize that are now confirmed for PR agency managers.

First, the spending by U.S.- and UK-based multinationals will be concentrated in fewer markets. For example, in Europe, the focus is now on the UK, France and Germany, much less in Eastern Europe, especially Russia. In Asia, there is a bit of a pull back from the smaller markets in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Myanmar).

Second, there is a gradual move by the developing market multinationals into global markets. Those developing markets that are too small to hub MNCs outwards will be more of a challenge for building a sustainable enterprise.

Third, there is room for a marketing focused business in developing markets that relies on local brands in their home bases. The local brands are going to have an advantage in the more austere economic times.

Fourth, there will be a change in the trust landscape. The reputation of government from Brazil to Mexico to China to South Africa is sinking fast. The corporate sector and brands will have to pick up the slack.

Fifth, many of these markets are ahead of developed ones in digital, having made the leap direct to mobile devices. For instance, there is much to be learned from the Unilever* mobile radio play in India which offers a certain number of free songs after an advertisement.

Sixth, all of us have work to do in incorporating senior Asian and African talent into senior management. We also have a long way to go in having creative that is led by developing markets.

I agree with Sir Martin Sorrell’s comments in the Financial Times earlier this week tied to his release of earnings. He reaffirmed his commitment to China and his confidence in the developing markets overall. We will continue to invest in talent, in growing the local MNCs into global relationships and in making a bigger play in digital. If some of the world’s biggest marketers are going to have nearly three-quarters of their revenue from developing markets by 2020, that is a good enough signal for me.

This article originally appeared on 6A.M., Richard Edelman’s blog on trends in communications, issues, lessons and insights.

*Edelman client

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

Connections: The 2015 State of Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement
Connections_Aug15

We recently conducted two studies to explore what Internal Communications and Human Resources teams are actually doing to measure engagement and convert it into competitive advantage. What’s working and what isn’t? And how can we improve?

By Dr. Andy Brown, Executive Director, London, and Christopher Hannegan, Executive Vice President, Chicago

It’s hard to deny that engaged employees are a key competitive differentiator. Creating deeper connections with employees, across organizations and with the wider world are important for business success. We recently conducted two studies to explore what Internal Communications and Human Resources teams are actually doing to measure engagement and convert it into competitive advantage. What’s working and what isn’t? And how can we improve?

To read our five key findings, you can view and download our August edition of Connections below, or here.

If you’d like to hear more about our Employee Engagement offering, please get in touch.

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