This well-conceived and persuasive spot by online content specialists, PurpleFeather, reminds me that some ads are great.
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After reading the survey results in this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer, in addition to media coverage, I wonder if the survey confirms that mixed messages dilute trust. In the US, where trust is down across the board according to the survey, the well-coordinated messages from the Republicans, Tea Party and conservative pundits contradict everything stated by the Obama administration and his supporters in the media.
For instance, the arguments for creating an affordable healthcare system for all were rejected by people who don’t want their tax dollars to pay for someone else’s well-being. Canada’s public healthcare system was also falsely presented as irreparably broken and used as a negative example of exactly what Americans want to avoid.
So did this contentious debate in addition to other partisan messages make it harder for Americans to trust anyone? Maybe.
And what about China? Trust in government increased from 74% to 88%. As far as I know, this emerging world leader’s state-controlled media helps the government deliver consistent messages. There aren’t as many mixed political statements, I imagine.
So why is trust in Russia so low at 39% this year versus 38% in 2010? After all, the Russian government also controls the media for the most part. Perhaps it has to do with Vladimir Putin’s self-appointed role as Prime Minister which dilutes President Dmitry Medvedev’s authority. Maybe Russians aren’t sure who’s in charge or maybe they don’t trust a political system that allows self-appointments.
As any communications pro will tell you, message consistency is key. Keep it simple and ensure you understand the needs of your clients, customers, etc. before you say and do anything.
Honest transparency and credibility also help. But apparently even consistent messaging can overcome the lack of these two things, at least when it comes to governments.
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Interesting Globe and Mail article by Tara Perkins about a progressive idea for non-profits to issue bonds and start businesses. This so-called social impact bond resembles an equity investment and could provide investors with returns based on the successful work of the non-profit.
For instance, in the UK, money raised by a bond goes to a prison program to rehabilitate short-term prisoners. “If, as a result, re-offending drops by more than 7.5 per cent within six years, investors will receive a proportion of the money saved by keeping people out of jail, to a maximum return of 13 per cent,” writes Ms Perkins.
In Canada a task force that includes former prime minister Paul Martin is lobbying for changes that would allow this type of social investing.
While this is a good idea, socially inclined investment that helps people while creating profit isn’t new in Canada. Social Capital Partners, a past client, has successfully provided social finance for 10 years.
Ideally, Paul Martin’s group is consulting with SCP and other social investment leaders. A united front would likely produce better results, especially when it comes to getting the Canada Revenue Agency to change. The CRA, some will say, is exceptionally out-of-date in terms of the rules it applies to non-profits.
One other piece of advice: build in regulations and controls to prevent social impact bonds from becoming financial tools overwhelmed by the self-interest of investment managers. JP Morgan reported last year that social investing is, “emerging as an alternative asset class in the same way that hedge funds and emerging markets did.” Depending on priorities, I’m not sure it’s good to mention social investing and hedge funds in the same sentence.
It’s great to see that social finance continues to grow. The social and financial returns of the double bottom line benefit a lot of people.
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Recently, I had the privilege of sitting on the other side of the pitch table and evaluating University of Toronto Rotman Commerce students who were presenting marketing ideas for a fictional product. The product this time was an allegedly carcinogenic, 1989 cell phone.
Brand Blitz is an annual marketing exercise for these young business students to learn about advertising and communications. It’s also an opportunity for them to learn about giving presentations.
This is my third time judging their work and the ability of these students to take limited information and experience and turn it into good ideas continues to impress me. After viewing the creative and well-delivered presentations, I liked, for the most part, that they defined stakeholders and used a decent mix of marketing to solve the fictional problem of the cancer-causing cell phone.
However, I was surprised that none of the three teams included public relations, which is critical for managing issues. So I asked, “Do they teach you PR in your marketing programs?” Unfortunately the answer was “no.”
Which means it’s time to augment the undergrad curriculum at Rotman. After all, the company that tries to manage its way out of an issue or crisis without PR is a company that’s failing. As most everyone knows, a brand without third-party support is a brand is in trouble.
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TEDxToronto recently hosted another seminal, thought provoking event. The daylong chatter-fest featured smart presenters sharing their points of view on a wide variety of topics. If you’re not familiar with TED, do yourself a favour and watch any of the videos that look interesting. You’ll see why the ideas presented are really “worth spreading.”
What stood out for me with the recent TEDxToronto was the opening video about Toronto, which was produced by The Biz Media. In it, the featured speakers shared what this city means to them and why they love it. Their credibility is impeccable because they’re not self-interested hucksters. Instead, they’re a varied group of thoughtful Torontonians who seem to truly love where they live. And the words are supported by great images of neighbourhoods, people, restaurants and storefronts.
Of course the video also shows the attractions including the Art Gallery of Ontario and City Hall, but it’s the words delivered by these thought leaders that pull me in. As Amanda Sussman, senior advisor, Plan International, Canada, says, “One of the best ways to make a difference is to build a coalition of unlikely allies.”
Literate, engaging, beautifully shot and edited – our local politicians, tourism orgs and biz development groups would be smart to use this video, or a similar version, to showcase the city. It’s storytelling at its best and a reminder of all that’s good about Toronto.
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