Elliot Gooch, vice-president at Allison, selects three PR and comms pet hates he would banish to Room 101 and kick out of the industry altogether.
Can we prove the value of this?
We now exist in a world where the presumption is that we have reams of data at our fingertips and can call upon it whenever we wish. There is a world in which this could, more or less, be true. The problem is that first, you have to invest the time in building a robust measurement framework that reflects the business and communications objectives of your client. Then you need to invest more time in maintaining the data, so it doesn’t contain any inconsistencies or false positives that skew the results (the fact that scandal boosted your numbers is not to be celebrated). There is a lot of value in good measurement, but the effort needed to collect and extract it is misunderstood and it is preventing us from moving forward.
We need to get away from reports demonstrating the value of our work being seen as some kind of commodity or bolt-on that comes after the ‘exciting’ stuff. This is especially pertinent as stakeholders across our clients’ businesses want to gain a better understanding of ‘what communications does’ (and let’s not get started on that).
The version 2.0 press release
For the sake of our own sanity and that of our colleagues in journalism, this really does need to stop. I appreciate there are other reasons for these releases being issued, such as being useful reference points for customers and analysts, but as an industry, we should issue an indefinite moratorium on pitching them to the media. Journalists might even stop tweeting about us then.
“I have too many meetings”
Who hasn’t once thought or said this? How many have then actually done something about it? So often you hear people (and that has included me) complain about the number of meetings in a day but they do not realise they have a say in that matter. More people need to feel able to address the meeting mania instead of resigning themselves to back-to-back calls and existing in a perma-state of looking for a meeting room.
Are your weekly account catch-ups actually achieving anything? Try cancelling them and see what happens; chances are the world won’t fall apart. Or, if you have been asked to attend a meeting at short notice, double-check that it can’t happen tomorrow or even next week. If it is crucial, make sure that everyone is clear on the objective of said meeting before it starts: you don’t want to waste time or lose everyone’s interest explaining why you have brought everyone together in the first place.
Having fewer but more structured meetings also encourages more informal conversations between team members about where work sits and any support that might be needed. People aren’t always comfortable admitting they need help or discussing something they are unsure of in a group setting. These moments are when people can explore the best way to tackle the task at hand and are when real learning happens – we should all be finding more time for that.